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As the weekend progressed, a Mercedes 1-2 on Sunday felt pre-ordained. Apart from Free Practice 2, during which running was severely disrupted, The Black Arrows were in a class of their own; Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas seemingly racing in a different class than the rest of the field. In the Star Wars metaphor where Mercedes is the Empire, it looks like the rebellion has been crushed and there is no hope for the system. Mother Nature tried her best to hold back the Mercedes freight train, with the Hungaroring presenting the drivers with a slippery surface and uncertain conditions as start time approached, but nothing could stop the Mercedes team and Bottas could stop Lewis Hamilton from winning yet again in Hungary. The championship leader is the undisputed King of the Hungaroring for this era. Records are tumbling down as Hamilton’s career unfolds, and he is, as a result of his victory today, tied with Michael Schumacher for winning the same Grand Prix eight times (Schumacher having done so at the French GP), while being five wins short of the overall win record held by the heptachampion. It is worth pointing out that both drivers have also won the same Grand Prix seven times (Canadian and San Marino for Schumacher, Canadian for Hamilton), and six times as well (Schumacher doing it in 4 different GPs, Hamilton in 3), sharing that mark with little known names such as Alain Prost (Brazilian and French) and Ayrton Senna (Monaco). If anyone had any doubts before, it does seem as if this Hamilton chap is pretty handy behind the wheel.
Red Bull Drama
Before the cars had even reached the grid, the tricky conditions had already claimed their first victim. On his way to the grid, Max Verstappen’s tires momentarily lost grip coming into Turn 12 and, unable to regain traction, the Red Bull skidded off into the barriers, the nightmare weekend for Red Bull seemingly about to get much worse, as his left suspension looked damaged as he made his way to the grid The Red Bull mechanics proved their extraordinary quality once more, however, bringing his car back to working conditions with 20 seconds to spare. Verstappen would make sure their efforts did not go to waste, ultimately salvaging the best possible result from what looked to be a dreadful Hungarian experience for the entire Red Bull family.
And It's Lights Out
Once the lights went out, Hamilton scampered away and seemingly without breaking a sweat had a more than comfortable 3-second lead to Lance Stroll in P2 at the end of Lap 1. If anyone still harbored illusions that Mercedes could be contained, those evaporated after just one lap around the track. Behind the leader, things were chaotic. Bottas and Sergio Perez, starting P2 and 4, had terrible starts, dropping to P6 and 7 respectively, jumbling the order up and down the field, as the cars behind them scrambled for space in the narrow Hungarian track. Kimi Räikkönen, fresh off an AMA with our sub, started dead last and was immediately up to P15, with Nicolas Latifi reaching P10 in the Williams, with the Ferraris getting jumped by fast starting Max Verstappen. As conditions improved, a flurry of pit stops jumbled the order even further. Charles Leclerc and Bottas both pitted at the end of Lap 2, going on Softs and Mediums respectively, followed by seemingly the entire field the following lap, the gaggle of cars going in and out of the tight pitlane causing some drivers to lose significant time, as their teams waited for an opening to release their cars safely, Sebastian Vettel and Carlos Sainz being the biggest losers in this category, as Ferrari and McLaren holding them stationary for over 8 seconds. Williams was not interested in such frivolities, releasing Latifi into the path of Sainz, who did well to avoid a collision at the exit of the pits. The Williams suffered a puncture, the rookie spinning as he went into T1. In addition to dropping to last, he would also be given a 5-second time penalty for the unsafe release, rather destroying any chance of a good result after his tremendous start (he did have this excellent exchange before the race, though). After an excellent Saturday, Sunday would come to a close with both Williams cars dead last, with George Russell leading Latifi home. Even if Russell would finish the race as with the 9th best lap between drivers, the momentum from yesterday led to a deflating Sunday for the team. The same fate would befall the Alfa Romeos. After Räikkönen’s excellent start, their cars would drop down the order as the race progressed, ultimately finishing ahead of only the Williamses, with Giovinazzi trailing his teammate home. A nondescript and ultimately frustrating weekend for the Italian team, highlighted only by Kimi’s AMA with us, naturally. Once the flurry of pit stops ended, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean found themselves P3 and 4, as they jumped into the pits after the formation lap. Although both cars would not be able to withstand the pressure of the frontrunners as the order re-established, the race would prove to be an unexpected boon for the USA-based squad, as Magnussen’s no-prisoners attitude was in full display as he fought tooth and nail all race before managing to hold a hard charging Sainz at the end to finish P9P10 and score the team’s first points of the season, with the team exploding into celebration as the flag dropped at the end. Both drivers are under investigation, however, for a possible violating, during the formation lap, of the rule against driver aids (article 27.1 of the F1 Sporting Regulations).Both drivers were penalized for violating article 27.1 of the F1 Sporting Regulations when the team told them to box during the formation lap, so Magnussen dropped to P10 behind Sainz. After pitting for Medium tires, Stroll made good on his start and was quickly back with both Haas cars, eventually overtaking both to stay in P3, as Red Bull pulled off a tiny strategic master stroke, leaving Verstappen out for a few additional laps, during which he did a sequence of fast laps to overcut Stroll. Eventually, Bottas would also overtake both Haas cars, setting off in pursuit of Stroll and Verstappen. Although he would take P3 from Stroll, Verstappen put on an amazing driving display and held back the charging Mercedes until the end, securing a second place finish that seemed impossible less than two hours before. Across the garage, Alexander Albon also salvaged an excellent result, coming home in P5 after his troubles on Saturday. Albeit short of his teammate, it was a beautiful drive, in a rear-happy car in trick conditions, and the Thai driver also escaped a penalty that could have wrecked his Sunday. Even if Pierre Gasly could not shake his mechanical troubles from Saturday (the team changed his ICE, TC, MGU-H, and MGU-K, but his gearbox had a very smoky failure after only 15 laps) and was the only retirement for the race, a weekend that looked like a nightmare for both Red Bull teams turned out to be quite decent, with Daniil Kvyat managing to climb up to P12 after starting in 17th place. Renault saw Daniel Ricciardo among the midfield leaders for a long spell, but he was ultimately unable to progress much further than the P8 he finished in, with his teammate Esteban Ocon came home P14, one position behind McLaren’s Lando Norris, who was unable to deploy Scenario 7 today. The team has again protesting the Racing Point cars’ brake ducts, in what is obviously going to be a repeating pattern until a decision on the matter is issued. Racing Point again showed that they are a real threat to anyone not named Mercedes, even if Perez could never quite recover from his race start to join his teammate at the head of the field, but a finish of P4 for Stroll and P7 for Perez means the team is in an excellent position to challenge for “Best of the Rest” honors. Ferrari had a much happier day compared to the Styrian GP, but the Scuderia is still in some trouble. Finishing with only one car in the points (Vettel in P6, who appeared to achieve more than the car should be capable of today), with Leclerc P11, is certainly not what Maranello hoped to achieve this season. To add another layer of ignominy to the season so far, both cars were lapped by Hamilton, which cannot be a good sign for those hoping for a Ferrari resurgence this season. Leclerc was put on Softs after his first pitstop and his race was severely compromised from there on out, ending up on 40+ lap old Hards that hampered his pace so much he was unable to challenge Magnussen for P9 nor hold back Sainz for P10. Back to the race winner and now championship leader, apart from a late pitstop in Lap 67 for Soft tires (enough for a race lap record 1:16.627, over a second faster than the next fastest driver), Hamilton’s race was as straight-forward as a mixed conditions win in a tight and twisty track can be, in yet another reminder of the seeming inevitability of the Mercedes/Hamilton combo this season.
As with any complex machine, Formula 1 is a contraption that requires multiple cogs working together to create a precise (or in this case, chaotic) race. Here are the most important gears in today’s race. The largest cog in this race was made up for several smaller ones. Max Verstappen and the Red Bull Racing team performed flawlessly after Verstappen broke his left front push rod on the installation lap, securing a second place that even the most ardent RBR fan would not bet on just minutes before the start. The RBR mechanics performed a near miracle to repair the car with 20 seconds to go in the start procedure deadline and, after a scintillating start, along with great strategy calls, Verstappen clearly finished much higher than what the car should have been capable of. Even if the team debrief will be extensive and detailed as they look to solve their understeer, oversteer and setup problems that have plagued them the last two weekends before the F1 circus reaches Silverstone. A fun stat for today: Car 33 has 33 points in the WDC and took his 33rd podium this weekend. Another big gear is Lewis Hamilton. With the pace the Mercedes has shown and the exquisite form he is showing, Michael Schumacher’s days as the holder of the record for most wins in Formula 1 seem unlikely to reach 2021. Along with the obscene advantage Mercedes already enjoys in the Constructors’ Championship (they currently have more than double Red Bull’s tally), the only question seems to be when will the team confirm their 7th straight WCC and who will win the team’s 7th straight WDC. Smaller cogs added to the chaos of this race, including the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, able to secure a P910, with the team’s strategy call to pit at the start proving both a boon before ultimately costing their drivers 10 seconds each, and (even if their race result proved disappointing) Williams, as they made their second straight Q2 appearance. After three races, we are still waiting for a clear picture of what the midfield looks like. Racing Point is, undoubtedly, at the front of the pack, even if their wet and dynamic weather pace seem to be a weakness, as both Red Bulls and Vettel’s Ferrari could take points away from them today. Ferrari and McLaren seem to be interchangeable depending on the weekend, while Renault and AlphaTauri try to break through to trouble them. With the triple header done, we now have a much needed one week break before the fans and the paddock can set their eyes on the next triple header, with two races at Silverstone, including the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, along with a visit to Catalunya, starting August 2. In the meantime, we will try our best to keep you informed and entertained, with the last part of the excellent “The Losers of the Red Bull Junior Team" series dropping this week.
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:
We open with a ton of details on Steve Austin walking out on WWE last week, and the story took a darker turn this week when Austin was accused of allegedly beating his wife Debra. Looks like Dave is just going to run through the whole last couple of weeks first though, before we get to all that. No wrestler in the history of the business has generated more money than Austin has in the past 5 years, leading the way for WWE to become listed on the New York Stock Exchange and valued at more than $1 billion. Hulk Hogan, Antonio Inoki, Gorgeous George, Jim Londos....no one in the history of wrestling, even adjusted for inflation, has been a bigger money-maker than Steve Austin. Throughout it all, he had a reputation as a pro's pro, always working hard and being unselfish in trying to help the company and his co-workers grow. But over the last few months, things had changed. The company is nose-diving, Austin had become paranoid and distrustful of the locker room, particularly when the NWO guys were brought in. He refused to work with Hogan at Wrestlemania and wasn't happy about working with Hall either, and insisted on decisively winning their match and blowing off the feud. He went home after Wrestlemania, no-showing Raw the night after, but things seemed to be patched up soon after. When he came back, he still wasn't happy and spoke out publicly against the brand extension and the overall creative direction of the company. A lot of people in the locker room supported Austin, feeling he was completely justified in his complaints because everyone realizes the wheels are falling off the company lately. The Sunday night before Raw last week, Austin was told by Jim Ross that the plan was for him to face Brock Lesnar, with the idea that Eddie Guerrero would cost him the match. Austin pointed out the obvious: him vs. Lesnar is a huge money match that should be built up for months on PPV. Lesnar should go through the whole locker room before he gets to Austin last. No first, on free TV, with no build-up. Austin hated the idea and said he wasn't coming if that was the plan. Ross told Vince, who called Austin and left a voicemail. He told Austin to call him back, no matter what time. Austin did call back, at 2am, and they discussed the plan. According to Vince, Austin had reluctantly agreed to it. Austin evidently felt otherwise, because he showed up to Raw that day, found out the Lesnar match was still booked, and decided, "fuck that", got on a plane and went home with Debra.
Raw that night was mostly built around the angle where Ric Flair would have to be Austin's personal assistant after he lost their match last week. Because much of the show was written around that, they had to re-write the whole show at the last minute in a panic, abruptly turning Flair babyface again and ending the huge dual-ownership angle with no build-up (it really sounds like Vince was determined to give away something huge on TV that week without building it up. "Ok, fine, Austin walked out. What else can we ruin this week and throw away a perfectly good PPV money opportunity?"). Meanwhile, Austin was ignoring all phone calls until he finally answered one from Jim Ross, who told Austin he was being unprofessional and to come try and talk it out with Vince. But Austin refused, saying he refused to work with McMahon anymore, and hung up.
So then came the burial. Vince McMahon and Jim Ross taped interviews for this week's episode of WWE Confidential in which they completely buried Austin, with Vince vowing to never bring him back. Basically everything you can imagine: Austin turned his back on the fans, he betrayed the little kids with Stone Cold shirts and all the fans who made him rich. WWE invested so much in Austin only for him to turn his back on them and so on and so forth. Jim Ross in particular dumped a lot of dirt on Austin's grave here, which Dave seems taken aback by. Austin saved Jim Ross' announcing career by insisting that JR be brought back for his Wrestlemania 15 match with Rock. At the time, Ross was still suffering from Bells palsy and Vince had no intention of ever bringing him back, but Austin insisted and the crowd reaction led to Ross being brought back permanently. So for Ross to be burying his good friend like this seems to rub Dave the wrong way (for what it's worth, it rubbed JR the wrong way too. He's gone on record a million times since then saying he wished he hadn't done it and he's apologized to Austin profusely for it). Ross talked openly about some of Austin's personal business, like his previous divorce or when his kids went to live in England, and hinted that Austin's issues were more than just professional burnout. At the time this was being filmed, nobody knew just how true that was.
The night before WWE Confidential aired, at 4am, Austin's wife Debra called 911 to their home in San Antonio, claiming Austin had attacked her. Austin drove away in his yellow Corvette before the police arrived. When they showed up, they found Debra crying with a large welt on her face. She said Austin had hit her several times after an argument then left when she made the 911 call. She said she was worried about the call because of how famous Austin is and knowing word would get out. She also showed them several marks on her back where she said Austin hit her. Austin called the house twice while police were there and they spoke to him and advised him to come home. Austin was cordial to the officers on the phone but refused to come back home while they were there. Debra declined to press charges and because she refused to seek medical attention, under Texas law, the police pretty much consider it a dead issue unless she changes her mind. Austin later returned home after they left. The national news media didn't pick up on it until Monday, at which point it became a huge story. They even had a news helicopter following Austin driving around town (with an open beer in his Corvette), talking with his neighbors in his yard, and also showed him flipping off the news cameras (I can't find footage of any of this). Because Austin is a wrestler and play fighting is what they do, the media treated this very serious issue as if were almost a joke, which Dave seems disgusted by.
With Austin being all over the news that day, this led to the unannounced surprise return of The Rock on Raw, after they spent the whole show teasing that Austin would show up. Rock wasn't scheduled to return until next month, to build for a match at Summerslam, but knowing the company was in a tough situation, Rock agreed to come back early. The plan appears to be for Rock to challenge for the WWE title at Fully Loaded next month. There's also been talk about Rock winning the title and then dropping it to Brock Lesnar at Summerslam, which is a surefire way to create a new superstar (indeed, that's exactly what happens). Rock's return, since it came as a complete surprise, was a flop in the ratings. If they had built it up just one week, they could have made some money on it, but not building up anything seems to be the M.O. for WWE these days. Between the Shawn Michaels return, the FlaiVince blow-off, and now this, that's 3 Raws in a row where they gave away major moments that should/could have been built up for bigger ratings or PPV money. Dave calls WWE a junkie pawning its $2,500 ring for $500 just to get a quick fix. And that's not even getting into the smaller details, such as the fact that Rock is a Smackdown guy, so why the fuck is he returning on Raw anyway? But again, the wheels are totally off the WWE train here in 2002. It's clear to see in retrospect how WWE was falling from their peak and Vince was desperately clawing at any idea he could think of to stop the bleeding.
So back to Austin. Even after the story broke, Vince went on Raw and changed his tune, saying he hoped Austin would some day come back to WWE but time would tell and for now, he's gone. Dave says if you think this is going to end Austin's career, look at Mike Tyson, Jimmy Snuka, Invader I, and Chris Adams. All of whom did even more heinous things than Austin and their careers were just fine. Dave is pretty sure he'll be back. Rock came out on Raw, gave a big rah-rah speech in which he also pretty much buried Austin for "taking his ball and going home" and did the whole "get the F out" tagline. And that's it on the Austin saga for now.
It's officially super-duper extra official now: the World Wrestling Federation is dead. WWE lost its final appeal in the UK's highest court in their battle against the World Wildlife Fund. Vince McMahon had already thrown in the towel and the company has already been renamed to WWE, but the final appeal was never dropped and was still going through the system. In the highly unlikely event that they somehow won the case, they planned to revert back to the WWF initials. But of course, they didn't win. Just like every single lower court before them, the court handed the wrestling company its final defeat. So WWF is dead. WWE it is.
Motoko Baba officially announced that she will be retiring as AJPW president at the end of September. It's expected that Keiji Muto will take over the role, which has been heavily rumored ever since he jumped ship from NJPW.
A rookie named Trevor Rhodes, who was trained by Harley Race, will be working the upcoming tour for Pro Wrestling NOAH (this would be future WWE star Trevor Murdoch).
NJPW held its annual stockholders meeting and Antonio Inoki couldn't even be bothered to attend. Masa Chono and Tatsuo Kawamura were named to the board of directors, to replace Riki Choshu. Speaking of, Choshu was also there and sold all his stock in the company and left without speaking to reporters.
In a radio interview, Jesse Ventura announced that he will not be running for a second term as Minnesota's governor. Ventura didn't go into all the reasons why, but he did acknowledge a recent controversy as playing a part. There's been some news stories this week noting that Ventura's 22-year-old son used the governor's mansion for a late night weekend party awhile back. Cleaning crew members of the mansion went public saying that when their parents are gone, this kid basically throws wild parties there that they have to clean up after. Ventura shot back, basically claiming his son is being slandered and denied it, but said the attacks on his family made him not want to run again. The news stories talked about some of the alleged damage and Dave actually sides with Ventura here. The damage doesn't sound that bad (some empty beer cans, a broken pool cue, and some tables that were scuffed up. "Geez, that's my house whenever there is a fight night," Dave writes. Doesn't sound like that wild of a party. A 22-year old brings his friends over to watch sports and drink some beer. Dave doesn't think that should be a huge controversy or anything. Neighbors near the mansion have said there's been no issue with noise or disturbances.
Major League Wrestling had its debut show at the old ECW Arena and the MLW championship was won by Shane Douglas. They did an angle where they basically tried to re-create the famous Shane Douglas/NWA title incident, where Shane was gonna throw the belt down, but they did an angle where he was told he'd be fined and suspended for life from wrestling if he didn't defend the belt. Angle didn't get over at all and most people there hated it and it led to pretty mediocre reviews for the show overall. Bam Bam Bigelow was supposed to work the show, but when he arrived, he found out they wanted him to do a job to AJPW wrestler Taiyo Kea in the first round of the title tournament. Bam Bam said fuck that and bounced. Steve Corino also managed to get a "fuck Paul Heyman!" chant going, in the ECW Arena nonetheless, which is an interesting note.
Sandman will be doing a celebrity boxing match in Philly soon, going against Tony Luke, who owns a bunch of sandwich shops in the area and is known as "The King of Sandwiches" in Philadelphia. Sure, why not?
There was a recent news story about Sputnik Monroe from a reporter who was in Memphis for the Tyson/Lewis boxing match. The reporter went to the Memphis Rock 'n Soul museum and saw the big display they had there for Monroe, including his ring jacket, trunks, boots, etc. Dave recaps the history of Monroe, who is credited with desegregating wrestling in Memphis during the Jim Crow days of the 1950s. Monroe was a white wrestler who hung out in the black part of town and, as a result, became the black fans' favorite wrestler. He was a huge draw in Memphis at a time when black fans weren't allowed to sit in the main seats, only the nosebleeds in the balcony. Monroe's popularity was so big that one week, they turned away more than 1,000 black fans even though they had room in the arena. Just not in the "colored" section. So Monroe told the promoter he was quitting if they didn't let in his black fans. And since Monroe was such a huge draw, the promoter caved, and just like that, black fans were allowed to sit with white fans anywhere in the arena. It actually had a domino effect, because it was the first sporting event in Memphis to desegregate and it led to other sporting and entertainment events in the city following suit. In the 50s and 60s, Memphis was one of the only wrestling territories in America that was desegregated like this (fun fact: I used to live in Memphis and just went to that museum back in 2018. For starters, I highly recommend it if you're ever in town. In fact, I have a million recommendations for anyone who ever visits Memphis. That city is my heart and soul. Also, the Sputnik Monroe exhibit is still there).
The TNA debut show hasn't happened at press time, but Ken Shamrock is expected to win the NWA title in the battle royal gimmick. If he doesn't, it's because there was a last minute change, but as of now, it's absolutely going to be Shamrock.
Good news for TNA, the company reached an agreement with Dish Network, which adds another 7-8 million potential homes to their exposure. The only PPV provider in the U.S. not carrying them now is Cablevision.
The TNA cruiserweight title has been renamed the "X" title. The idea is that it's not necessarily going to be limited to just small guys and will act more as a secondary title to the NWA belt, not exclusively a cruiserweight thing.
Disco Inferno turned down an offer to join TNA because they wanted him to change his name to Ad Man and have a gimmick where people print/draw ads on his body, like they do in boxing sometimes. Or like a NASCAR. The idea is he would be covered in ads and every week, he'd lose a match and a "sponsor" would drop out and eventually, he'd have no sponsors left because he keeps losing. Gee, hard to see why he turned that gimmick down.
Random other TNA notes: Ed Ferrara is involved in writing the shows along with Jeff and Jerry Jarrett (and, let's be honest, Vince Russo, though that's still top secret. Shhhh, don't tell anybody). Jeff Jarrett was in the pits for the recent NASCAR Kroger 300 race with Hermie Sadler, who is scheduled to be at TNA's debut show. Former ECW manager Sinister Minister will be part of this company, using his real name James Mitchell. K-Krush (Ron Killings, aka R-Truth) is expected to be one of the main heels in the promotion.
Okay, fine. Let's talk Russo. Officially, he's still not involved, but he has submitted a bunch of ideas, many of which are expected to be implemented on the debut show. But "officially" he's not part of the company (he's still gotta have a quick cup of coffee in WWE before they kick him to the curb again, at which point he finally decides to join TNA for real).
The WWA promotion is in deep trouble. They have a show scheduled for Ireland soon and ticket sales for that show are pretty decent. But every other show on their books looks to be dying. They have 3 shows scheduled for Germany next month and all 3 shows have less than 500 tickets sold each. The German promoters are wanting to cancel the tour but WWA promoter Andrew McManus has a contract that will result in a lot of financial penalties for him if the shows are canceled, so he's fighting it. Lex Luger is booked for the tour, which would be his first time wrestling since WCW went down. They're also still promoting names like Jeff Jarrett and other TNA contracted talent, but with their new plan of running live every week, it's going to be hard for any of them to get overseas, work the tour, and still do the TNA tapings.
XWF is making one last grasp to survive. Even though they've been saying this for almost a year now, the promotion is claiming once again to be very close to getting a TV deal. If it goes through, the plan is to hold a press conference to announce it and then tape 5 weeks of TV to air in Sept. and Oct., with plans to air a PPV some time in late-October. Dave says this sounds like desperation to him and he's not buying that a TV deal is close. Especially since they lost all their top stars, like Hogan, Curt Hennig, and Jerry Lawler, all of whom were involved at the beginning but have all since returned to WWE (though Hennig has since been fired by WWE again, so he's available). But even if this miraculously happens, most of the marketable names left out there have already signed short-term deals with TNA that will last through October, so they wouldn't be available either. So XWF will be struggling to fill a roster with names anyone even cares about (obviously this never happens).
UFC will make its TV debut as part of a 30-minute segment on Fox Sports' "The Best Damn Sports Show Period." It will be hosted by Fear Factor host Joe Rogan, who is a huge UFC fan and has a lot of martial arts experience himself. The idea is to show one full fight in its entirety (Robbie Lawler vs. Steve Berger), with highlights of other fights to fill out the rest of the time. Dave criticizes them for not putting Chuck Liddell vs. Vitor Belfort on the show, or at least airing highlights, but that's not the plan as of press time. Obviously, that's a strong PPV draw and that's where the money is, but you only get one chance to make a good impression and Dave thinks it would be in UFC's best interest to give TV viewers a taste of their best foot forward and try to get somebody like Liddell over with a new, large audience.
Dave says the Bob Sapp fight in K-1 that was talked about last week, in which Sapp basically mauled his opponent in such a way that he got DQ'd, was at least partially a work. Had it not been, Sapp would have been immediately fired, not given a rematch with the same opponent 6 weeks later. There's a pretty good chance that his opponent didn't know and that the people who ran in to separate them after the fight didn't know either, but Dave seems pretty confident that Sapp was instructed by someone higher up in K-1 to do what he did.
Rock's next movie, "Helldorado" is expected to film between September until around Christmas. WWE is hopeful Rock can make some appearances on TV during the those months in between filming dates, but that's going to be difficult to pull off (indeed, he never shows up during this time).
Speaking of Rock, he worked the Honalulu, HI house show over the weekend, which drew an easy sellout crowd, the first sellout for a house show in a long time. Due to Rock being on the card, tickets sold out in 2 hours and scalpers were making a ton of money. In fact, the show was such a big deal that a local radio station was giving away tickets for the craziest stunt fans could pull and 2 fans walked through downtown Honolulu completely naked in order to score tickets. Rock beat Jericho in the main event in a great match. It was WWE's first time there in 8 years (Dave corrects himself from before, when he said 14 years in a previous issue and someone here on Reddit called him out on it haha). Rock got a reaction like Antonio Inoki in Japan, he was basically a god in this city. A lot of his friends and family were there as well and backstage, Rock told people that the show was bigger to him than even his 4 Wrestlemania main events and called it the biggest night of his career. When talking about his grandfather, Rock got emotional and began crying and talked about his history promoting in Hawaii. Bruce Willis, for whatever reason, was in attendance, and during the match, they did an angle where Rock held Jericho for Willis to punch him which got a huge pop. Genichiro Tenryu and Motoko Baba were there as well, meeting with John Laurinaitis (Johnny Ace, who spent much of his career in AJPW). They were there to discuss doing business with WWE as well as to get some photo ops for the magazines back in Japan so they can get that WWE-rub. (Sure enough, here's an article from just a couple months ago where Rock says once again, to this day, that the match with Jericho in Hawaii was the most meaningful match of his career. I can't find any footage of the damn thing though, which is a shame).
Notes from Raw: X-Pac lost in a King of the Ring qualifier match to RVD and Dave says it's a good thing nobody in WWE pays attention to their own storylines because just a week or two ago, the story was that if anyone in the NWO loses a match going forward, they're out of the group. But of course, that wasn't even acknowledged or remembered here. Raven lost to Jeff Hardy in 3 minutes and Dave's not sure that Raven made the right move by giving up his safe commentary job because they sure don't seem to see much in him as a wrestler. The "Molly Holly is fat" storyline continued because fuck this company. Lawler even tried to get a "She's a fat ass" chant going. Backstage, X-Pac was shown crying after his loss, "sort of like real life," Dave jokes. They teased Austin showing up by playing his music and having Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit come out instead. They did a thing with Jackie Gayda teasing her being on the WWE Lingerie Special that airs next week and had Vince hitting on her backstage, making it very apparent why she was chosen to win Tough Enough over the obvious most deserving finalist, Kenny. And in the main event, Nash and Shawn Michaels were on commentary burying the match, making fun of Jim Ross, etc. And of course, the show closed with Rock doing his surprise return and promo where he pretty much buried Austin for leaving.
Coming out of Raw, a TON of fans still seemed to think the Austin thing was an angle. Vince's first promo, which was a total shoot about Austin being gone, didn't get over that way, with most fans in the arena expecting an angle and waiting for him to show up. There were constant "We want Austin!" chants and many people that Dave has heard from even thought the Confidential episode was all a work.
Notes from Smackdown: all the mentions of Austin on commentary weren't done live during the show, but were later dubbed in. Mostly it was just an effort to plug the Confidential episode about him, and it was such a last minute decision to do that episode that they had to edit the plugs in after the show was taped. The wall of security guards in the ring during the Triple H/Undertaker contract signing was copying the same thing they did before the Tyson/Lewis fight because it's a pretty cool visual. Nidia is doing a hillbilly gimmick now. Hurricane seems to be dropping his gimmick and going back to Gregory Helms. Word is most of the agents hated the Hurricane character for whatever dumb reason.
Dave talks about the upcoming Hogan vs. Kurt Angle match at King of the Ring and is curious to see how it goes. He thinks the most likely ending is Vince costing Hogan the match and Angle pinning him, but he's curious to see if Hogan is really going to try to put Angle over or is it gonna be another Kidman situation. That being said, WWE is protecting Angle and there's serious talk of giving Angle a run as the top guy, in the wake of Austin and Rock leaving and Undertaker and Triple H being so banged up. The idea is to put the belt on Angle and have him take on all comers, heel and face, like an old-school Lou Thesz-type champion. Either way, this Hogan match is going to be a test of how good Angle is because if he can't carry Hogan to a good match, then no one can. It's also going to be a test of whether Hogan is really the team player he claims to be now (yeah Dave's gonna be shocked at how this one ends I bet).
At the latest WWE tapings in Atlanta, Dusty Rhodes was backstage visiting and introducing his 16-year-old son Cody Runnels to everyone. Cody has been training with his father to be a wrestler. Good luck kid.
Former 50s-80s promoter Jim Barnett was also backstage at Raw and since it was his birthday, the McMahons got him a cake and orchestrated everyone singing happy birthday to him. Barnett was there because he was just hired as a consultant, which is curious timing. Barnett hadn't been officially hired by TNA or anything, but he had agreed to appear at their debut show as part of an angle with old NWA champions. So when WWE swooped in this past week and hired him, it got a lot of people talking but Dave says there's nothing to it. If Vince McMahon was trying to poach people from TNA, he wouldn't start by hiring a 78-year-old guy to be a consultant.
The local FOX station in Los Angeles, like everyone else, covered the Steve Austin/Debra story on the "Good Day L.A." morning newscast. The story was presented as a big joke, even using the headline "Smackdown At Home." Well, one of the anchors, Jillian Barberie, refused to play along, presenting the story as the serious issue it is and afterwards, criticized the station's writing team live on the air, calling them low class for making light of a woman being beaten by her husband.
Random WWE news and notes: Bubba Ray Dudley missed the UK PPV and TV this week due to the death of his mother. Edge and Chris Jericho have joined Kurt Angle as part of the Get Tough on Angina campaign that Angle has already been doing commercials for. A commercial for Summerslam was filmed this week with a bunch of guys chasing Trish Stratus in an ice cream truck.
Rey Mysterio made his WWE debut at a house show in San Diego, beating Chavo Guerrero. Mysterio was wearing his mask again and was said to be more impressive than anyone else on the show. The mask actually did come off by accident at one point though. Mysterio also looked substantially bigger than he did in WCW because, well, he's coming to WWE and you know how that goes.
NEXT WEDNESDAY:Bret Hart injured in bicycle accident, WWE re-hires Vince Russo, King of the Ring fallout, and more coverage of TNA's debut than you could ever possibly want, and a ton more...
[OC] We intend no harm - Chapter 23 (Hynian Adrenaline)
Hello again. Well well well. This chapter took a bit longer, because I had to deal with friends and food and fun. All that stuff keeping me from writing ;) As usual, I wasn’t sure how things would turn out. But now that the chapter is complete, I’m satisfied. Have fun reading. First | Wiki | Previous | Next Captain Zork was standing in the crammed map room. He listened to Zokosh reporting the events that had led to his weapons officer’s death. When he heard that she had been attacked while showering he felt bad that he had to question her. But it was the standard procedure for murder cases. Luckily Zokosh knew this procedure. She had stated at the beginning of the ‘interrogation’ that she would take no offence and he was just doing his job. While he listened to her, he noticed that Zokosh did not seem to be distressed over the events. Her voice was as calm and steady as if she was reporting a slight malfunction in an unimportant subsystem. When she described how she pierced him with her knife, her voice took on an subtle sharpness and disdain. It was easily missable, but when the captain picked it up he felt its icy chill creeping down his spine. He instantly hoped to never incur her wrath. After the Captain had tried to poke a few holes into her story, as it was mandated, he told her to get some rest. While Zokosh went to her quarters to properly dry off, the captain went to the crime scene. Karom the ships medic was already examining the body. The Captain told him Zokosh’s story. “That matches the evidence.” Karom pointed at the dead hynian male with the combat knife sticking in his skull. “But there was something I found strange when I looked at the crime scene.” “Something strange? What do you mean?” The Captain asked looking at the corpse and than at the shower stall trying to find something odd. “Look at the body. There are no knife wounds. A lot of scratches from claws and some bruises. But if she had the knife in her hand, shouldn’t there be at least some stab marks?” He bent a bit forward and jabbed his hand repeatedly against an imaginary opponent. Now the captain understood immediately. “If you look at the scratches on his chest, she could have stabbed him a dozen times. Maybe she had to pick up the knife from somewhere.” He looked at the Stall. It was the easy to clean kind, just a flat wall with a single push button for activating the shower. No shelf to store shower gel, shampoo or knifes. Zokosh’s stuff was still standing on the floor. “I can’t imagine her picking up a knife from the floor during a fight. I heard that a crewmember had seen her putting the knife between her lips. But you told me, he had put his hand on her mouth.” Karom said and showed the captain the corpse’s right palm with the bloody bite marks. Zork’s ears twitched while he was thinking. “You're right. Something is strange.” The medic pulled the bloody knife out of the body’s skull with his gloved hand. Then he looked at the injury. He gently closed the knife's wound with his fingers. “Look at that.” In the middle of the closed cut was still a round hole. “What kind of weapon would leave a small hole like this?” Captain Zork asked confused. “Hmm … something like a stiletto dagger, maybe? But why hide the wound with the knife? And then again 'where would she keep it'.” The old medic was thinking hard. “I heard some rumors about the Secret Order. Allegedly they are using...” “Shut it!” Hissed the Captain causing the Medic to flinch. “Don’t talk about them.” After the captain had calmed down he continued. “So, he was attacking her in the shower and she killed him in self defense?” “Yes, Captain. The evidence backs it up. It looks like he was waiting in the stall at the far end for his opportunity. After Admiral Xem was able to struggle free, she pierced his skull. If I could do an autopsy, I could tell you if he died of blood loss or because she broke through the bone and penetrated the brain.” Stated the medic. Zork sighed. “Well, that was not the kind of penetration he had hoped for.” He had known the dead guy only for a few months, so he wasn’t too attached. In hynian culture women did not have the same rights as men had. They were meant to be pleasant and nice to look at. Just like the beautiful flowers in the imperial palace’s gardens had to be protected from pests trying to feast on them, it was the honor and duty of men to do the same. Ironically some of the most beautiful flowers in the gardens were poisonous enough to kill any pest touching them. Of course the Captain had never been in those gardens, but every hynian knew about that metaphor. “Do you still need that?” The captain pointed at the former weapons officer. After the Medic flicked his ear dismissively, the Captain grabbed the dead guy’s jumpsuit and ripped his rank insignias off. Then he wrapped the jumpsuit around the corpses neck and dragged him across the ship. The rumor has spread fast around the Cheshnak Ra. So the crew gave their best to not notice the corpse. All of them knew what Zork was about to do. A captain was responsible for his crew, so it was his job to rid them of their collective shame. When he reached the trash compactor the first officer was waiting for him. He did not salute, it would have been a disgrace to the emperor to do that in front of trash. Except for the FO only the crew members working in this section were present, they were focusing intensely on their mundane tasks. “For the report. He was not killed in action. He had been trialed, judged and executed for sexual assault. He has become the pest in the garden. Thus he was stripped of his honor as a man and his rank as an officer. He will not be permitted into the afterlife. His family will be informed that he is neither be named nor grieved. He will have never existed.” After the FO had filed the record, the captain hoisted the corpse into the trash compactor and closed the lid. The crushed and mangled corpse would be disposed with the rest of the Cheshnak Ra’s waste. In cynian culture the body had to decompose to let the soul reach the afterlife. Pressing a body into a cube and letting it drift through hyperspace was the ultimate punishment. It would take a few days until it would be time to dispose of the trash. Of course they could throw it out right now, but nobody dared to give this pest even that amount of attention. Later someone would sneakily dispose of the tainted jackpot as well. ++++++ After Admiral Zokosh had returned to her quarters, she took off her jumpsuit and started to dry herself properly. Once she was done, she climbed into her bed and switched the light off. She had been lying in the darkness for a while, but she was unable to sleep. Her blood was still saturated with adrenalin. With an annoyed hiss she got up again, put her clothes on and left her quarters. Most species especially prey races had a flight response when they faced danger. Some had a fight or flight response. Hynians instinctive reaction was always to fight, they had to willfully work against their biology to flee or surrender. Luckily their bodily reaction was not as strong during ‘unpersonal’ fights like spacebattles. A crew on adrenaline could not operate a spaceship properly. But in ground combat or even hand to hand combat, their instincts would still trigger the same chemical processes as eons before. Hynian adrenalin was an impressive ‘drug’. They produced more of it than any other species and it was way more potent. There are reports of hynians who ripped tendons because their muscles were overstimulated in particularly intense life or death situations. The other thing that was special was that the adrenaline would not dissipate for a few hours. Zokosh knew that she needed her brain to realize that the threat was gone. Seeing your enemy dead before you would normally do the trick, but the pest’s death was so quick, that her brain refused to stop producing adrenaline. There were two more ways to get rid of it. She was not in the mood for one of the methods right now. It would also undermine her authority and her self respect. So she took the other option. Soon after she left her quarters the Admiral reached one of the storage rooms. She opened the door and looked inside. Some of the night shift who were on standby were training with weights or sparring with each other. Even the best life support systems could not get rid of the humid smell of fresh sweat. The one crewman who was facing the door almost dropped his weights when he saw the Admiral. Of course everyone knew what happened a few hours ago. Zokosh flicked her ear signaling him to keep on. Then she walked over to the half naked guy pummeling the punching bag. His blue skin was glistening in the artificial light of the makeshift gym. Zokosh tapped him on the shoulder. “Excuse me, but I really neeeed that right now.” She blushed a bit, when her voice had such an seductive tone. With this amount of pheromones in the air her body seemed to have considered option one against her will. The crewman looked surprised at her and then at the punching bag. It took him a moment to understand, then he smiled and stepped back. “All yours, Admiral.” “Thanks, Crewman. As long as I’m off duty, you can call me by my name. If you think you earned it, you can call me Zok.” She responded returning the smile. This offer was directed to everyone present. Then she started to beat the punching bag with a combination of many fast jabs mixed with some heavy blows. She was quick on her feet evading imaginary attacks. From time to time she sprinkled some kicks into the mix. The crewmen who were training were giving their best to not mess up their training routines, while watching the woman dish out one hell of a beating. Of course all of them had heard how she toyed with that guy before she boarded the Cheshnak Ra. But seeing her go all out was a sight to behold. Zokosh was the beautiful daughter of a duke, so she could be seen as the epitome of what hynian women should be like. Right now she did not give a fuck on proper conduct. She wanted that adrenaline out of her system and it felt great pummeling away at the sandbag. Because of the adrenaline her stamina had increased about tenfold. She could not care less about sweating or the eyes that she could feel on her. The crewman had grown up in hynian society, so they were raised to see women as beautiful but fragile. Some of them were shocked to see how intense Zokosh could be. Some were discovering that they really liked that kind of woman. After 15 minutes of a nonstop beating, Zokosh decided to get more air. Without a second thought she unzipped her jumpsuit to her midriff and let it fall from her back. She was wearing a sports bra, because she had anticipated that this might happen. After she tied her sleeves around her waist she continued the pummeling. Wearing a tight top like a sports bra during training was not that uncommon. But because the crewmembers weren’t expecting her to do that and because all they had on this ship were data sticks with red dots, they looked at her surprised and a bit too intrigued. Zokosh did not care. Maybe that was caused by the slowly decreasing amounts of adrenaline in her blood. One of the guys who were sparring earlier was walking over to Zokosh. He was shirtless and had wrapped his sleeves around his waist just like her. “You look like you need something better than that old bag.” He flicked an ear at her, obviously joking with whatever he meant. His fellows laughed amused. Zokosh smirked at him, while beating the living daylight out of the punching bag. “You want to help me get rid of the adrenaline? I’m sure your idea involves that mat. But are you brave enough to take me on in front of your friends? Might be embarrassing, if you were finished after a few seconds.” She was breathing heavily while talking. Goshk looked surprised for a moment. He had expected her to reprimand him or make him clarify that he had sparing in mind. For a moment he thought about trying his luck today and offer her some private practise somewhere else, but then he decided against it. “I would be totally up for that but I meant sparing.” “Brave enough to admit, but smart enough to make the right choice.” Zokosh responded smirking impishly, not revealing what she was thinking about that. Before she went to the sparring area, she took a chug of water from her bottle. While they were taking positions the other eleven crewmen surrounded them. Zokosh looked at them her heart was still pumping fast. “I can’t go back to the sandbag after fighting for real. So you guys better get ready, if Goshk goes down to fast.” After she said that, they were discussing the order in which they were facing her. If you were to late in line, you might not get a chance at all. If you were to far in the front, you would most likely get beaten quickly. The best places were somewhere in the middle. Grappling with this sweaty women sounded alluring to all of them. “Any rules other than the standard?” Asked Goshk. “Hmm … If you try to cop a feel, I’ll knock you out. Except for that, no holds barred.” “Fair enough.” One of the spectators gave the starting signal and the sparring partners started to circle each other. Goshk knew that if he waited for to long Zokosh would recover her stamina, so he had to make his move quickly. He lowered his center of gravity and tried to grapple the Admiral. She dashed sideways and hooked his foot with hers, causing him to stumble. In this situation she could have brought him down and locked him to the mat easily, but she wanted this fight to last longer than one exchange. Zokosh let him turn towards her before she attacked him with a flurry of punches and jabs. Of course she did not go all out on him, like she did with the punching bag. She used just enough force to make sure he would not want to get hit. He protected himself pretty well and used an opening to start his counter. The spectators were watching the fight in suspense. The two opponents were enjoying the spar just as much as the spectators. This time Zokosh did not have to show off, so she held herself just enough back to keep the fight enjoyable. She was sure that Goshk must have noticed it. After a few minutes Goshk managed to grapple her, making him the crew member with the closest contact to a women in months. Zokosh held against it, trying to topple the bigger Hynian. Her heart was still beating fast and now it was pounding against the males chest. She did not notice it, but the spectators were quite envious of him. After both of them showed some impressive footwork, Zokosh managed to hook Goshk's leg. All she needed to do now was to push her upper body a bit more against her opponent to throw him off balance. Goshk fell backwards and Zokosh slipped out of the grapple. When he hit the ground, she grabbed him and placed him in an armlock. Her leg was bent and her shin was pressing against his face while she was locking his arm whith hers. To do that she clamped his forearm between her upper arm and her flank, while holding his upper arm with her hands. She did not use enough pressure to cause him pain, but her grip left him nowhere to go. “Do you give up?” Zokosh smiled victoriously. Her adrenaline levels were now dropping fast. “You got me.” he replied with her leg in his face. “You held back, didn’t you?” “It’s more fun that way. I hope you don’t want to complain.” She let go of him and laid down on the mat breathing exhausted. She was still smiling. The reduced adrenaline make her realize, that she was showing the crewmembers way more than they should see. Hynian adrenaline was one hell of a drug. She knew she should cover herself, but she still needed some time to cool down. Luckily the spectators were surprisingly decent. They had openly watched her pummel the sandback and they had looked at her during the fight, but now that she was lying on her back breathing heavily, they went back to their training routines. Maybe they had looked enough earlier. Whatever the reason, it gave Zokosh the time she needed. Goshk had already gotten up. He was not ‘high’ on adrenaline, so he had noticed how her chest felt against his. He could have sworn that he felt her heart pounding. While he was drinking from his bottle, he looked at the half naked smiling woman. His ears raised for a moment, then they flicked in opposite directions. “I’m going to get a shower. I’m all sweaty and stuff.” He said to no one in particular. One of the less buff, more cheeky crewmen responded. “Better take a long shower, to get all that ‘sweat’ out … off. I meant get that sweat off.” The rest of the guys chuckled, but it didn't bother Goshk. They were just jealous that he got a good reason to take a shower. Zokosh did not react, maybe she did not even hear it. She was focusing on herself. She savored feeling her heart rate slow down and her muscles relax. When had finished her post adrenaline rush ‘meditation’ she got up and put the upper part of her jumpsuit back on. “Thanks for letting me rest.” Zokosh was pulling her zipper back up. “I guess i need another shower.” She said to herself. The cheeky guy responded again. “Don't worry, we’ll stay here. Except you want someone guard the door.” She smiled at him. “Thanks for the offer, but that won't be necessary. Good night, guys.” “Sleep well, Admirell.” Responded the group. Zokosh flicked her ears in an amused way and left. ‘When did they come up with that?’ When the Admiral had left the improvised gym. One of the guys laughed. “Dude, you could have told her that Goshk is ‘showering’. If she goes there now she'll totally run into him.” “You could have also told her. But you didn’t. Maybe they go for a round two in the shower? I don’t want to rob Goshk of that chance.” The cheeky one laughed again. “You know that she just stabbed a guy in there, might be a bit strange to do it.” “She looked like a case of adrenaline rush, not like she was bothered or something like that. The law says that he is to be forgotten. So doing it right there would be fine. At least I would totally do it there if I had the chance.” He explained. “You would do it anywhere if you had the chance.” The guys laughed. “Hey, wanna bet if they do it?” Asked one of them ++++++ Zokosh was writing a message on the datapad taped to the door. ‘Attention. I'm taking a quick shower. Please do not disturb. Zokosh.’ After she did that, she opened the door and waltzed in. She blushed when she saw Goshk walking naked from the bench to the shower stalls. Goshk had expected to have the shower all to himself, it was the middle of the night after all. He looked surprised and confused at Zokosh. Than he looked down on himself and at the reason why he needed that shower. The female Hynian bit her lower lip while she was looking at him. “Can you keep a secret?” She asked. “Hm? I guess?” He replied still confused. Zokosh closed the door behind her. “That’s not good enough. I’m an Admiral and a noble. Can you keep a secret?” She repeated her question, slowly unzipping her jumpsuit. Now it finally clicked for him. “Yes! I’m really good at keeping secrets!” “That’s good. If someone asks, I have seen you in your underpants we had a laugh and then I went to bed.” She was stripping fast letting her clothes trail behind her. When she reached the enamored male, she pushed him eagerly into the shower stall. First | Wiki | Previous | Next I wasn’t sure, if they should hook up. At first I wanted to add the shower scene as a funny mishap, but then I thought, that the two got some good chemistry. I hope you enjoyed it :) good night.
Ranking every PM Chapter/World until TOK releases: #01
Welcome back to the Top 10s everyone. If you're just now joining us, this project has been ranking one or two chapters a day to count down to The Origami King's release, but also just to reflect and take a walk down memory lane. The rankings positions are purely the opinions of me and u/ulk96. More information can be found on the first post, Rank #36, and every previous entry is linked at the bottom of the page. I just drove down to Gamestop to reserve a copy of The Origami King for myself. In 14 hours, I'll have a physical case in my hands and less than half an hour later, I'll be playing it for real. I can't believe it's already here. It was two months ago when I first heard this game's existence, one month ago when I first join the Mario RPG discord and started defending it with Klu, and one month ago when I began this series expecting it to go on forever. This may be the last entry for this particular series, at least until my thoughts on TOK settle. I'll release another post with my overall thoughts on this whole project and my experience in making it and interacting with the Paper Mario community as a whole. For now though, welcome to the Glitz Pit. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?! Chapter 3: Of Glitz and Glory, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door A lot of people may be disappointed in how basic a selection this ultimately is. A significant portion of the fanbase has this chapter as their absolute favorite, and with the spicier silver and bronze picks just preceding, a lot of people have voiced their disappointment. I've expressed earlier today in Twilight Town (Rank #02) that shock value does NOT play into the position these went to. Chapter 3 ultimately earns it's position for a reason, as many many fans will attest to. Ultimately, however, I do want to stress that by no means is this a perfect chapter. The most significant set back is the fact that Chapter 3 doesn't have much exploration or level behind it. This ultimately works in it's favor, because Thousand Year Door is routinely terrible at map design outside of cities and dungeons, and a chapter that drops all that to do it's own thing ultimately has a higher success rate in the vacuum that is TTYD. However in the end, this does mean that the chapter ultimately suffers from missing one of the elements that make fans adore this series. How much that matters is ultimately subjective, and personally I do like the elements Gltizville brings to the table in exchange. If I didn't, this wouldn't be gold. The floating Island of Glitzville has an absolutely fantastic design, that's both a loving spoof of consumerism and pro-wrestling media. The sheer variety of advertisements and swarming fans are a joy to behold, and the Glitzville NPCs have more dialogue than any, constantly changing to reflect Mario's status in the ranks. The abundance of NPC lines, Easter Eggs, and more ultimately make Glitzville feel like it has a more distinct culture than most places in TTYD. The city brings a specific theme, and a fantastic design, and ultimately feels so alive despite the face we have no idea where the civilians live or stay. Upon arrival via the Cheep Cheep Blimp, which is an absolutely gorgeous introductory cutscene which really establishes the setting, you're immediately shown a match between Rawk Hawk and the Koopinator, where Rawk reveals the Champions belt is the next crystal star. You realize that as there isn't much level to begin with in the Glitz Pit, this is going to be a tournament arc. If you've been enjoying TTYD's battles, you probably feel super excited for that. You'd have had no idea what you were getting into. Cleftor bring back painful memories of Jasperoid, brah. The first thing you might notice is the sheer variety of characters you're introduced to, almost all of which end up with genuine roles to play in the narrative. I'm honestly at a loss for how to go down the list, so I'm going to start with the minor leaguers, because ultimately, even after you graduate from this place, it never quite stops feeling like your home. Master Crash and Cleftor ultimately don't contribute to the narrative of the story, but they are fairly amusing in their own right. Their verbal ticks are largely used for gags, but I appreciate there presence for a reason I'll cover when I get to the actual gameplay of the chapter. The way Cleftor gradually opens up to you and Crash attempts to mentor you with advice unrealizing how much you outrank him is genuinely sweet, and as unexplored as they are, they ultimately contribute to the feeling of home the minor league has. King K. is ultimately the main attraction here. Upon your arrival, he immediately decides you're his best friend and boy is he willing to work to make that mutual. The man is so friendly and such a good sport to you that you ultimately wish you could hang out with him. Sure, he talks a bit... overtly modern, but he's such a friendly character. He doesn't begrudge you for kicking his ass, he constantly wishes you luck and chats with stuff with you. When he says he plans to retire, you ultimately feel bad for him, but it's fairly understandable why when we have cutscenes establishing the dangers with the paramedics in the hall. Of course, after he goes missing, you assume he retired like he said he would. This leads to one of the bigger twists in the series, honestly, and is phenominal. Bandy Andy I personally consider a super underrated character. He's essential to the design and narrative of the Glitz Pit. Not only does the fact that he's uninterested in climbing the ranks make the fighters within the Glitz Pit feel more alive and varied, he's also the first clue you have that the chapter is going to subvert your expectations and engage in the elements of mystery. Finding him in the hallways and hearing about the Seven Wonders of the Glitz Pit is ultimately an extremely fascinating read through and ultimately foreshadows so much of the Chapter in a way that doesn't spoil anything. Most notably, when he says he plans to investigate the mysterious lights under the ring, it directly foreshadows just what's going to happen and which one of these Wonders ultimately leads to the problem of the chapter. The Armored Harriers are probably among the best ways they could introduce Yoshi and his kit this chapter. First of, having a pair of sore losers serve as the gate between the minor and major leagues is awesome. The dialogue from the Harriers is so unintelligent that you can't even blame Grubba for directly pissing them off because it makes the fight so much more interesting. You know you'd be more invested watching that with the audience, but also... the Glitz Pit ultimately has very little time to establish Yoshi and this was the best way they could. Having him join your party as the specific answer to a battle situation was a good way of introducing his macho, brawler type persona and the fact that he sticks to the wrestling scene is great. I bet he has fun moping the floor with these losers all the time. Rawk Hawk is a fantastic red herring as well and the perfect example of a wrestling heel. He's underhanded, dirty and the kind of person you root to lose but ultimately have to respect for the sheer power and charisma he brings with his arrogance. His antics at keeping his belt ultimately become a fantastic red herring for the mystery, and helps preserve the Mario charm in what gradually ends up a darker chapter. Once he's defeated and you arrive at the Champion's room however, he lets the real story kick in and sound off the finale once he's dealt with, serving his role in style. Shout out to the poisoned cake trick and the foreshadowing about how NPCs note that he sent a cake to Prince Mush before their fight as well, strongly implying that he might be responsible for the Prince's disappearance. While he ultimately probably tried to poison Prince Mush, he doesn't turn out to be willing to go as far as kill the man like the true culprit did. Have you noticed a trend yet? I'm listing character after character with nothing but positive things to say, not only for how humorous they all are but for how well they all fit into and serve their role in the narrative. The tale of the Glitz Pit is honestly told beat for beat to perfection with the exception of the random Bowser our of nowhere. Every character has a role to play with the lore of the arena, and the word of mouth and gossip from all NPCs paint interesting pictures as well. They talk about Prince Mush and let you know the old champion went missing. They talk about the red herrings, they talk about the mysteries. The sheer amount of character and strength that goes into the chapter could fill an entire, independent game. In the right corner, we have this writer, Toad! And in the other, we have the twelve hours until her local gamestop opens and she can buy Origami King! Can she survive?! So we've talked about the setting. We've talked about how the characters are fantastic and add to the mystery and plot. But before we gush about how the plot plays out, can Chapter 3 successfully stand the test of gameplay? I think it ultimately does. A lot of the detractors of this chapter will point out that the core gameplay of fighting twenty waves of enemies ultimately feels padded and I could not disagree more. Of the enemies encountered, only the Goombas, arguably the KP Koopas, the Dull Bones, and the Mind Bogglers are not original enemies that debut in this chapter. Every round provides a unique challenge, and 20 battles ultimately isn't any more than any other chapter demands from you, unless you're like, doing a low level run where you dodge ever enemy. You have a lot more unique fights here, and Grubba's orders generally aren't too difficult, and are just a nice additional challenge. I especially appreciate the fact that they exist, because it's totally a jab at real world fighting tournaments where fighters are encouraged to balance actually trying to win with telling a good narrative to keep the audience hooked. Source: competitive boxer. What's most important to balance how much fighting is in this chapter is the sheer amount of content that happens between rounds. Most notably, every single fighter in each locker room has unique dialogue for each and every rank. After each battle, the first thing I'd do is to talk to Cleftor, or Master Crash, or Hamma Jamma, because the amount of effort spent writing for them is genuinely insane. The NPCs outside are hardly any slouches in the writing department either, changing every few fights as well, I believe the number is five. This ultimately helps to make the Pit feel more alive, in addition to all the events that pop up. Within the context of the minor league, generally speaking you mostly talk to King K and explore the tone of the Glitz Pit. He tells you about the Hot Dog stand and the Yoshi Egg, but you also overhear an injured fighter in need of paramedics. But when you get to the Major League and no longer have King K to hang out with, you get X, who has you run various chores that are very well spaced out in order to prevent the chapter from staling. Which leads me to the final part of my extended gushing about the Glitz Pit. The story itself. This is the final caption in the write ups. The picture is suitably blurry. Thank you all. In a lot of ways, the mystery of the Glitz Pit is the greatest chapter specific story every told in a Paper Mario game. Not only is it intensely tied with the setting, but also builds on a lot of it's themes and has a suitably diverse cast of suspects. Prince Mush's ghost hangs over the NPCs surrounding and just talking to them and realizing the man disappeared will have you realize that something more is going to happen but you have no idea what. It stays so simple. The crystal star is the Champion's belt, right? Just become the champion and walk away. It shouldn't be hard. Until Rawk Hawk comes in and you realize that the belt is fake, then you start getting emails from X. There's four real email chains from X throughout the ten remaining Major League fights, but you also get emails from another person threatening you to stop following X's emails. You begin to realize that there's two players present and you begin to try and figure it out. Grubba, Jolene and Rawk Hawk are ultimately the suspects for the master mind behind the Crystal Star, who's attempting to protect it through the emails. Rawk Hawk has been plotting against you already, for selfish reasons, which makes him an effective red herring. He's also in the perfect position to swipe the Crystal Star. Grubba's been nothing but kind but when you overhear him talking to Jolene from above the store room, he implies he knows about the stars. This is also where you find out that fighters have been going missing and King K never actually retired. You're invested in King K as a friend so this in particular raises questions immediately. But it could also be Jolene. She's been stopping your investigations, implies she's hiding something, and shows up just at the right time to confiscate the papers that X wanted you to see. And who's X? Grubba? Jolene? Someone new? Bandy Andy who's investigating the Glitz Pit? But despite all the possibilities, every motivation is consistent and sensible, and the timing of how the information and hints are fed to you ultimately slowly whittles it down. When you find Bandy Andy and King K, drained and crushed under a block, the latter warns you about going into the arena when no one is around. This moment instantly elevates the tension and stakes, and gradually, Rawk Hawk is eliminated as a suspect when he comes clean about his motives in the championship bout. At the end however, when the mysteries are solved one by one, the last one remaining is "Why is Grubba still so young?" Combined with the fact that fighters are disappearing, you realize just what's going on, and the confrontation through the airvent in the Champion's room is not a moment too soon after the last red herring was eliminated. Grubba as a whole is a fantastic antagonist on par with Doopliss, because he's both very amusing throughout the chapter and maintains the Mario charm while being utterly heinous and terrifying. One it's revealed how he's selfishly using the Crystal Star to stay young by draining the strength of fighters with the machiene under the stage, puzzles begin to start falling into place. Bandy Andy's testimony, the disappearance of Prince Mush, everything. And he puts up an awesome and engaging final confrontation as well. All in all, he's extremely well done and it helps that despite his shallow motives, he still ends a graceful loser and compliments Mario on a good fight. This is also the moment Jolene steps in and reveals herself as X, a twist that ultimately makes a lot of sense once everything is put together, and she's reunited with her brother, Prince Mush in an incredibly heartwarming moment. This is also the chapter that best exemplifies how the Crystal Stars do not distinguish between good and evil, something that Frankly brings up but is often not shown. Grubba uses the Star for selfish desires, but once he's defeated, it answers the will of Jolene and Mario in freeing her brother, adding an example to the over all plot of TTYD. Ultimately, the mystery, story and characters of this chapter create a polished and ingenius contender among the best of the best chapters in all of Paper Mario. From the best presented mystery of the series, that isn't super challenging but is ultimately very well written, to the sheer ton of dialogue from all the NPCs that are surprisingly intertwined with the narrative of the chapter, and the fact that the game play is both engaging with completely unique battles throughout and plenty of things to do and mystery to solve between them. In the end, the Glitz Pit may be one of the most skillfully polished Paper Mario Chapters throughout all time, and it's an experience that leaves many players completely unable to put the game down. At the end however, this chapter is not untouchable. It manages to accomplish a lot using the tools it has, but it does depend a lot on broken expectations and on treading new ground. It's hard to call it the perfect Paper Mario Chapter, when it avoids many of the strengths of the series such as the exploration. But for all the polish and sheer spectacle it presents through it's narrative, it has soundly earned it's position as my favorite Paper Mario Chapter... at least, before the release of The Origami King. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In a few hours, I will release a longer and more mushy post thanking all my readers for following me on this journey. You've all been fantastic. But if you're uninterested in all that touchy-feely good bye stuff, then I still want to make a brief farewell here. This has been a fantastic month and I've hoped you all enjoyed my writings. I've appreciated all the fantastic discussions we have and I hope I'll have you back whenever I launch another project in the future. For now, thank you for reading. Previous Rankings (to walk down memory lane): Rank #36Rank #35Rank #34Rank #33Rank #32Rank #31Rank #30Rank #29Rank #28Rank #27Rank #26Rank #25 ( Bonus ) Rank #24Rank #23Rank #22Rank #21 ( Bonus ) Rank #20Rank #19Rank #18Rank #17Rank #16Rank #15Rank #14Rank #13Rank #12Rank #11Rank #10Rank #09Rank #08Rank #07Rank #06Rank #05Rank #04Rank #03Rank #02
Verasity is a rewards based platform for gaming and video entertainment. Their SDK can be integrated into the most used online video players, such as Twitch and Vimeo, and video gaming content is monetized with their Ad Stack. Also, their coming platform will enable users to create their own eSports tournament, with custom Jackpots, as well as combining gaming, crypto and betting.They already have some live products, namely, their GameStore ( http://games.verasity.tv/) and a dedicated browser wallet (https://verawallet.tv/); however, their larger product to date will probably be their eSports platform, which will launch this week in anticipation for their first tournament, which will be a CS:GO (Counterstrike - a best-selling Steam game) tournament starting next monday and featuring several pro players, including xccurate (one of the best CS:GO players in Asia, 9k followers on Twitter - announcement here: https://twitter.com/xccurateCSGO/status/1272831382499274753) and NBK (mighty European pro player, regularly ranked in the top10 in recent years, with 280k followers on Twitter - announcement here https://twitter.com/NBK/status/1275005750801240068). More players are joining every day, leading to the tournament start on Monday.Yesterday they also launched their fiat on-ramp, allowing users to buy VRA with their credit card (announcement: https://twitter.com/verasitytech/status/1275450829294600192). Their fiat on-ramp buys tokens from some exchanges (those with highest liquidity), and token will be demanded by gamers to bet on their players during the tournament next week. VRA is lsted on Kucoin, Bitmax, Binance DEX, Bittrex. There are some ongoing rumors of a new listing coming very soon. Current marketcap is $3.4m; considering that top100 threshold is $61m at the moment and top200 is currently at $16m, if the tournament gains good traction and pro players manage to attract good viewership, volume and adoption for the token, a conservative target might thus be a 5x from here, while a bolder target might be put at 15x. As always, DYOR, and good luck everyone.
The Last Precursor is a brand new HFY-exclusive web-serial which focuses on the exploits of the last living human amidst a galaxy of unknown aliens. With his species all but extinct and only known as the ancient Precursors, how will Rodriguez survive in this hostile universe? Make sure to read Parts 1 and 2 first if you missed them! Previous Part Part 001 ....................................... Several kilometers from the Bloodbearer, aboard the Assault Ordinance Platform, 'Dragon's Breath.' Orgon the Unkillable paces back and forth on his ship's bridge. The Kraktol Fleet Commander reveals his impatience as he turns to his Chief Tactical Officer. "Officer Soren! What have you found?" The red-scaled Kraktol swivels in her chair to face her Commander. She pounds her chest and lowers her head. "Kyargh! Commander, I have completed my fifth scan. I am still unable to penetrate the Precursor vessel's hull. I know nothing of its occupants, nor its internal technology. The metal composing its body is far denser than any alloy we have on file." A flash of anger appears on Orgon's face. "Don't give me excuses. Give me results! I called off the attack on Tarus II for the sake of capturing that errant vessel. If we don't obtain that Precursor stealth craft, the Thülvik will have my head!" Behind Orgon, a slightly shorter Kraktol with bright yellow scales approaches him. "Commander." Orgon turns to look at the newcomer. "First Officer Megla. Tell me you have good news." His first officer nods. "I have calculated the age of the unknown Juggernaut-class Precursor ship. The scorch marks lining its shell appear both numerous and ancient. Preliminary readings show it has resided within this nebula for tens of millions of years." The Fleet Commander cocks his head. "Tens of millions of years? So... could that mean...?" "Aye, Commander. I believe the vessel is an unclaimed Precursor relic. If we are lucky, we might have a chance at obtaining it for ourselves." For the first time in an hour, Orgon's expression brightens. "Huhuhu... remind me to grant you a medal of commendation when we return. No! Three. Haha. This news is most fortuitous, indeed!" A gleam of greed appears in Orgon's eyes. He falls silent as his thoughts turn inward. Such an advanced piece of Precursor technology... if I obtain it, the Thülvik will surely promote me to the highest rank! Perhaps she shall even take me for her mate! Huhuhu... After a moment, Orgon frowns. No. Aren't I thinking too small? The Juggernaut warship is a thousand times more incredible than our best vessels. If I were to obtain it... why would I hand such a powerful and priceless artifact over to the Thülvik? Huhu... wouldn't it be better if I took it for myself? Even in the Core worlds, my might would be uncontested! Those damned Mallali haven't anything of comparable might. The Commander forces a neutral expression while noticing the look his First Officer gives him. I must keep such thoughts to myself. If the crew were to learn of my mutinous intent, they might turn against me. First, I should secure the vessel, and only then will I turn my attention toward those worthy to stay at my side. Commander Orgon harrumphs to clear his throat. "Graugh! Since the vessel is unclaimed, I believe now would be the ideal moment to approach. If we delay for too long, the fugitive Kessu may take over the vessel's control systems. The last thing we want are the descendents of the filthy Sky Cats to-" "Commander!" Officer Soren shouts, her voice rising an octave. "We're being hailed! The origin source is... the Precursor vessel. The Juggernaut!" Orgon's words halt in his throat. A sense of unease grabs him, making him turn to face the primary viewscreen, where his officers sit. "The vessel itself? Damn! Don't tell me the Kessu have already made their move! Everyone, return to your stations. Officer Soren, put the hail onscreen." "Yes, Commander! Kyargh!" Orgon's First Officer and the others nearby take to their seats, while Orgon himself remains standing. His crew turns to face the viewscreen, using their numbers as a show of strength. Click. The viewscreen shifts, revealing six bipedal aliens, all of them bald on their bodies, except for the tops of their heads. The one in the middle sports fur under his lips and around his chin, making the Kraktol all feel a sense of confusion. Hm? Orgon thinks. I do not recognize this species. They are not Kessu. Of the six assembled aliens, five of them wield highly advanced energy rifles, far mightier than anything aboard the Dragon's Breath. None of the Kraktol crew misses this distinction. "Greetings. I am Fleet Admiral Rodriguez, head of the United Terran Coalition, servant of the Divine Emperor Malathus the Third. Who are you, and why have you brought a fleet of battleships into my space? Are you planning to declare war upon me?" The bipedal alien speaks with authority, making all of the Kraktol bridge crew feel a hint of respect toward him. His voice does not shake, nor does his conviction waver. Orgon the Unkillable folds his claws behind his back. He straightens his posture while meeting 'Admiral Rodriguez's' gaze. "Graugh! I am Fleet Commander Orgon of the Kraktol, follower of the Thülvik. I am unfamiliar with your species, alien. Are you native to this region of space?" The alien doesn't respond for a moment. "...You could say that. My people are known as Terrans. Humans, if you like. I will repeat my earlier question. Why have you appeared before me with a fleet of death machines? Are you attempting to intimidate me?" The Kraktol Commander shifts his feet. Several questions pop into his mind upon hearing the Terran's words. Death Machines? Compared to the vessel these aliens control, my fleet can hardly be considered a nuisance. Why does the Terran pretend he is at a disadvantage? Damn. What is a Terran, anyway? I have heard of no such species in all my years! Don't tell me some scavengers from the Core stumbled upon this vessel before me! If they've taken over its weapon systems, I won't have a chance at seizing it for myself! The Thülvik will behead me for sure! Orgon casually raises his palm; the universal gesture for deference. "Ah, my apologies, Admiral Rodriguez! I was unaware the vessel you reside upon had already been scavenged. You see, I am a Rodak of many talents. I was pursuing a group of fugitives who stole valuable technology, when they entered this nebula and stowed away aboard your vessel! I wasn't certain if your Precursor vessel had been claimed by anyone, and now it seems my question has been answered. Might I implore you to hand over the thieves who took our technology?" Several seconds of silence follow. Admiral Rodriguez's eyes flick to the side, as if listening to someone else speak. Not long after, the Admiral blinks in acknowledgment. "I see. You were in pursuit of a species known as the 'Kessu.' Is that correct?" "Graugh! Yes, you are a very discerning Terran, Admiral Rodriguez. If you would be so kind as to return my stealth-craft, I will be on my way." "According to information I've just received, the 'Kessu' you speak of have not stolen any such technology. They claim that the vessel is theirs. Are you able to provide proof for your accusations of theft?" Commander Orgon's eyes flicker. "Hmm... the thieves stole not only the vessel, but many important documents related to its ownership. How about this? I can provide you with a substantial number of Core credits in exchange for the return of that vessel. You see, if I do not retrieve it, I will suffer a great humiliation. As one who is wise in the ways of negotiation, you understand what I mean, yes?" "Mmm." The Terran nods. "Certainly, I do." "Excellent!" Orgon says, as he clasps his claws together. "I can guarantee you a fruitful friendship with the Kraktol if you choose to cooperate with me today. Additionally, regarding your Juggernaut vessel, my people would be willing to offer a fortune in credits for the transference of its ownership. You need not rush to a decision, Admiral Rodriguez, but I hope you will consider my request! Why be a scavenger when you can live as a king?" The Terran frowns. "I am confused regarding a few matters, Fleet Commander Orgon. If you would be so kind, would you mind explaining a few things to me?" Orgon falters. "Graugh. Yes?" Admiral Rodriguez continues. "You keep using the term 'Precursor.' It might be that my translation interface is not working properly. Would you mind explaining what that term means?" Several question marks appear over Orgon's head. Is this alien not from a species our translator recognizes? Perhaps 'Precursor' means something different in the Terran's native language. "Ah, yes, of course! I will be happy to explain. Maybe your people have a different word which refers to the former super-civilization that once ruled the Local Cluster. Most Core-worlders refer to them as the Precursors. They were the ones who created the ships you and I currently reside upon!" The Terran nods. "Ah, so that's what you mean. Yes, I believe I understand. You mean the species which perished many tens of millions of years ago, correct?" "Graugh! Yes, that is exactly right." Commander Orgon shakes his head inwardly. This Terran seems intelligent, but he does not even know the universal term for the Precursors! Perhaps his people are nomadic, merely flitting about from one dilapidated outpost to the next. Admiral Rodriguez narrows his eyes. "Next, you implied that I was a scavenger. What did you mean by that statement?" Orgon's internal laughter comes to a sudden stop. The Terran's cold expression chills his blood, reminding him of the one time in the past he screwed up and pissed off the Thülvik. Ancient Rodaks! The look on the Terran's face could freeze a star solid! Have... have I inadvertently insulted him?! The Kraktol Commander suddenly becomes acutely aware of how much more powerful the Terran's scavenged vessel is compared to his. Even if 99% of its weapons might be nonfunctional, the remaining 1% could atomize his fleet with ease. "...Ah! Perhaps there was another mistranslation! Graugh... what poor decorum of me to choose my words so flippantly! Let me rephrase my question, great Admiral Rodriguez! Ah... might I ask in which way you procured the vessel you currently reside? The Juggernaut Precursor ship, I mean." The Terran Admiral's expression doesn't change. "That is my business, and mine alone, Commander Orgon. My crew numbers more than fifty thousand. All of them are highly trained, elite warriors. We are not scavengers who obtained this ship through ill-means." Orgon's scales shiver as the Terran's eyes threaten to bore holes in his natural armor. "Y-yes! Of course. Naturally, I misspoke! Forgive me, for I know very little regarding the ways of your people, the 'Terrans.' For you to acquire such a priceless Precursor ship, I am sure you must have explored far and wide across the galaxy. It seems you would not be willing to part with it for a reward as trifling as credits, yes? Perhaps some form of equivalent exchange?" The Admiral's reply drains the blood from Orgon's scales. "My vessel is not for sale, Fleet Commander Orgon. As for the fugitives who have slipped aboard, they must have done so under the cover of the plasma storms pervading this sector. I will end our communication here and re-establish contact with you later. If I find that your claims are true, I will consider selling their ship to you for a fair price." Orgon's dampened spirits immediately experience a full revival. He clutches his claws together and nods politely. "Oh, yes! Yes, we will give you any sum you wish-" "But..." Admiral Rodriguez says, cutting off the Kraktol Commander. "...If I should find that your claims are false... only the Divine Emperor's command will save your fleet from my wrath. For your sake, I hope that you have not attempted to deceive me." Orgon's words jam in his throat. He quickly folds his claws behind his back to hide their shaking. "Y-yes... of course, Admiral Rodriguez." Without another word, the viewscreen turns black as the Terran disables the connection from his side. All of the crew aboard the Dragon's Breath remain perfectly still. The atmosphere becomes so tense that one could hear a pin drop. Still trembling, the Fleet Commander takes a few steps back and sinks into his seat. I'm finished. Commander Orgon's eyes turn vacant. If I don't retrieve the stealth-fighter, the Thülvik will behead me for abandoning our mission to annihilate the Kessu. If I don't retrieve the Juggernaut-class Precursor vessel, I won't have the power to make myself the new Thülvik. And if that Terran speaks to the Kessu aboard his ship, he's likely to find out the truth and destroy my fleet. He's... he's not a mercenary, nor a scavenger. The Kraktol Commander's eyes slowly close. He's a damned zealot. He must belong to a species that thinks of themselves as virtuous protectors of the innocent. Orgon raises his fist and smashes it against his chair's arm. "First Officer Megla!" Orgon roars. "Dig up every piece of information you can find about these damned Terrans... these filthy humans!" The First Officer jumps out of her seat and nods. "Kyargh! Yes, Commander!" "Chief Tactical Officer Soren! Draw up a plan of attack! If that Terran turns on us, I want a shot at seizing his vessel! I don't care how little!" The Tactical Officer nods. "Kyargh! I will do as you command." Finally, Orgon turns to his Chief Navigation Officer. "Gorlax! Send a report back to the Thülvik regarding what we've found! Encrypt it with the highest security! We must keep this vessel's existence a secret! If the Buzor learn of its significance, they might come here before us!" Gorlox, like all the other officers, merely nods. "Graugh! Yes, Commander!" Quickly, the whole bridge gets to work following Orgon's orders. As they do, the Fleet Commander leans back in his chair. A look of animalistic rage appears in his eyes. You dare to threaten me?! Filthy Terran. I'll wipe your whole species from existence! ....................................... After ending the call, Admiral Rodriguez exhales deeply. "Is there a problem, Admiral?" Irene, the blond-haired Bio-Entity asks. "Your discussion with the Kraktol designated Orgon appeared most fruitful." José nods. "Yes. Assuming that crocodile-creature's words were true... it seems humanity has, indeed, gone extinct. The chances of finding some long-lost colony are remote. Additionally, I've learned that the galaxy is aware of neither our appearance nor our proper species' name, or else the Fleet Commander would have recognized me immediately. At the least, someone aboard his bridge would have." "Umi," José continues, "keep an eye on the enemy vessels. If they move so much as a half-step closer, inform me at once. Additionally, monitor their transmissions. Something tells me the Commander isn't as meek and polite of a fellow as he pretended during our chat. I suspect he'll call for backup, and soon." "Orders confirmed," Umi replies. "Admiral Rodriguez, I have downloaded the data stores from the Kraktol vessel. Their primitive security measures were unable to prevent my access. Would you like to take a look at what I've found?" "Later," José says with a wave of his hand. "Right now, I'm curious about that stowaway vessel Orgon mentioned. Why didn't you inform me of its presence?" "You have only just awoken from stasis," Umi says. "Due to the nature of your hibernation, I deemed the refugees unimportant. The vessel they reside upon is a relic of the ancient United Terran Coalition war fleet. Its fleet signature identified it as an ally, and therefore, I decided it was a low-priority compared to the Kraktol fleet." Admiral Rodriguez turns away from the viewscreen. "I see. Bio-Entities, please return to the tasks I gave you. Umi, I want to know more about the 'Kessu' vessel. Who are the Kessu, and why were they fleeing the Kraktol? I don't intend to step between two warring factions, even if their technology is lightyears weaker than the Bloodbearer. After all, Ramma's Chosen must never interfere in the matters of other factions. We have been and will continue to remain politically neutral." Umi's voice softens. "You are the last living member of Ramma's Chosen, Admiral Rodriguez. For the sake of your mental health, I feel the need to remind you that there is nobody left who will punish or reprimand you for doing as you please. As you are the current highest-ranking member of the United Terran Coalition, I do not even technically have the right to refuse orders contradicting Ramma's creed." José nods. "I know, but keep those thoughts to yourself. I am unable to change my state of mind so easily. From my perspective, I was a mere Private amongst a strict military hierarchy only one day ago. This whole situation makes my mental state somewhat difficult to readjust." "Understood. I will not bring up this matter again unless I deem it a Priority One need. Admiral Rodriguez, do you have any further orders?" The newly minted Admiral strides through the Bridge's exit doors, leaving behind the five Bio-Entities. "I do. Pull up anything regarding the Kessu that you can find. Use the information you lifted from the Kraktol and cross-reference it with whatever news you've obtained from our stowaways. I want to quickly piece together the galactic situation outside this plasma cloud, as well as find out how much of what the Kessu and Kraktol have given us checks out." Umi beeps in confirmation. "Orders acknowledged, Admiral. The requested operation will take me fourteen seconds to complete." José smiles. "Good." ... Twenty minutes later, after José has strolled down the Bloodbearer's hallways while taking his time, he arrives at the rear of the ship, its hangar bay. The gigantic open area features five levels of interceptor and assault corvette storage space, with more than 200 miniature battleships already docked and room for another hundred. José steps through the entrance to the hangar and pauses as he glances around. Unlike many areas José has passed, including the mess hall, the hangar bay appears especially clean and pristine. Every inch of its interior sparkles and shines, making him frown. "Umi. How has the hangar bay maintained its cleanliness for 100 million years? Are the Bloodbearer's janitors still functional?" "Affirmative, Admiral Rodriguez. However, out of a complement of three hundred and seven Filth Expunger Units, only twelve remain functional. Five of them remain inside the hangar bay, where they have continued working since the crew entered stasis." "Hm. I'm not complaining. Better to have twelve than zero. Send a few of them to the dirty sections of the ship. I'll work on repairing the others when I have time." "Orders acknowledged, Admiral." With a satisfied nod, José strides along a catwalk some three hundred feet above the hangar floor. Its reach spans the length and width of the entire hangar, with multiple vacuum tubes at recurring intervals for reaching the levels above and below. "Seven hundred meters from your position, Admiral: That is where the Kessu's vessel resides. Turn seven degrees to your right and look for the arrow-shaped craft." José follows Umi's direction. After confirming his destination, he quickly strides across the catwalk and stops at a vacuum tube, intending to ride it to the bottom. However, due to a hundred million years of wear and tear, it fails to open, leaving him stranded. Umi speaks, her robotic tone containing a smidgen of embarrassment. "My apologies, Admiral. I did not realize the vacuum tubes were out of operation. There is a ladder one thousand and two hundred meters starboard of your current position. You may use it to descend-" "No need," José says, waving Umi's concerns away. "I'll just jump." The synthmind's voice jumps an octave. "Admiral Rodriguez, I understand that you are one of Ramma's Chosen, but a 300-meter fall will-" "It won't do anything," José laughs. Without another word, the human swings his legs over the guardrail and jumps off the catwalk. His body plummets to the metal floor below, where he crashes into it feet-first with a clang! José straightens his posture and shakes a bit of numbness out of his legs. "Hm. I'm a little out of shape." "Admiral..." Umi says, her tone revealing audible annoyance. "You are the last Terran. Please do not take such risky actions with your life. The effects of extended cryosleep can result in drastic weakening of both your muscles and bones. Had you broken a limb, I would have limited methods at my disposal to retrieve your body and transfer you to sickbay. My assistant bio-entities are presently few and far between." "Relax," José says. "I'm fine. I know my own strength. I once fought a group of Void Roamers on Ataraxia II, near the Third Spiral Arm. When they surrounded me, I leaped from a cliff ten times this height and survived. Don't underestimate Ramma's Chosen." "Those circumstances were different-" "I don't want to hear it. End of discussion. Now, please behave yourself as I introduce myself to the Kessu. I'd like to make a good first impression with our potential allies. We could use some influential connections in this hostile galaxy." "Admiral. Regarding the Kessu... they are not an advanced culture. You should temper your expectations." "Oh? Then why were the Kraktol acting as if the Kessu possessed a vessel lightyears more advanced than theirs? Perhaps you are underestimating our stowaways." Umi's tone shifts to one of exhaustion. "...Affirmative, Admiral. You are... possibly correct..." If José notices the discrepancy between Umi's words and tone, he doesn't mention it. Instead, the human saunters the remaining 100 meters toward the Kessu's ship. Once he nears it, he raises an eyebrow. "Oh? I thought you said this vessel came from the 14th Era? Its appearance mirrors craft from ten eras beyond. Were you, perhaps, mistaken?" "Negative, Admiral. The Slipstream is a specially designed craft capable of adapting its shape and appearance by borrowing the design elements of other advanced vessels. Theoretically, it could mimic many aspects of the Bloodbearer, given enough research time." José's expression shifts to one of surprise. "Ohh! An adaptive-type science vessel! I've heard of these! Supposedly, they can improve their programming and adjust their hulls over time to obtain ever-greater levels of utility. Admiral Baruchen mentioned the researchers at Rylon V made a few prototypes during our chats in the past. How fascinating. Well, why don't I introduce myself?" With a bit of a spring in his step, José strides toward the entry port of the Slipstream. As he nears, the craft's entry bay lowers, revealing its interior. Before José can jog up the ramp, a host of strange, cat-like creatures appear at the top. The Admiral slows to a stop, as do the unfamiliar aliens. Admiral José's heart skips a beat. These must be the Kessu! I bet they're also the 'Sky Cats' the Kraktol mentioned before. And no wonder! They look like large, bipedal breeds of various feline species from my era! Slowly, the Kessu shamble down the ramp while keeping their eyes locked on the hulking, nine-foot-tall human at the bottom of the Slipstream's ramp. As they draw near, a cat with colors resembling a panda, one who leans on a walking staff, raises his paw. "Nyarr mrow meow prraw?" A bio-chip embedded in José's brain translates for him. "Greetings. I am Nyoor of the Kessu." A shiver runs down José's back. These... these Kessu... they're... He swallows a lump in his throat. ...too damned cute! Next Part ....................................... Author Note: Klokinator here! I am also the author of The Cryopod to Hell. The Last Precursor takes place in the [Cryoverse] which TCTH spawned. You do not have to read TCTH to enjoy TLP. However, I highly recommend it if you enjoy HFY themes, but be warned it will take some 200 parts to get to the relevant HFY elements due to the nature of the story. (A similar structure involving very few humans fighting against vicious demons that have taken over the galaxy.) If you like this story, please consider subscribing to my Patreon! I am very poor and presently jobless due to Coronavirus, so every dollar helps. You get access to Cryopod artwork, and plenty of other exclusive posts, with more to come soon. Thank you!
I think I have malaria now: Recap of 90DF Happily Ever After S05E07
If you think the dog days of summer are challenging, I’d like to introduce you to 100+ degree days when your city is resting under a warm blanket of tear gas. Who has two thumbs and is grateful for garbage television? This one. Father Libby and Charlie arrive in Moldova, to see how many negative American stereotypes can be crammed into a single carry-on bag. As masters of complaint-as-conversation, they unfurl their first scroll of inconveniences that relegate international travel to “total nightmare” status. After a few rounds of “ain’t it awful” that include the special burden of having to walk almost a mile, and noting that Moldova has more outgoing than incoming air traffic, this dynamic duo is certain they’ve endeared themselves to Andrei enough that they’re ready to meet the rest of the fam. As they get into the car, Andrei reflects on what a great gift his parents have been given in not understanding English, as he wades through a conversation that makes the average person long for a discussion of a nonprofit 990 tax document. Father Libby: Do you have Fourth of July here? Andrei: No. Charlie: No fireworks? What the hell? What do you do when the Dodgers win? FL: Is there a Walmart here? Andrei: No. FL: What about hot dogs? Apple pie? Cowboys? Do you tell time here? Charlie: Do you double bag? Nibble on bath salts? Where is the America here? Andrei: I’m still an asshole. Libby: Blinks. FL: Is this a road? Do you people call it driving? I’m talking about the thingie with wheels here. Andrei: (In his safe space.) FL: Do they pull people over here? Were you a cop? Andrei: Yes, but I was not on patrol. It was a desk job. Now I drift off, for dramatics, and also thin blue line. FL: You were like a detective? Ha ha ha! This laughter is to make you feel secure in sharing details of your life with us! Charlie: They don’t have detectives in Moldova! They don’t even have July Fourth, how could they have detectives? This isn’t even Europe. Andrei: Do you have maps? Charlie: Why would we need maps? Andrei: Please stick to questions about whether there is Denny’s. Charlie: Oh we’re GONNA ask about Denny’s. FL: Why aren’t you working for your father right now? This doesn’t make sense to me. Charlie: That’s so weird! Libby: We’re here! Scene. Despite the awfulness of this team, Family Andrei welcomes them with a lovingly prepared feast, and Father Andrei eagerly shares his hand-crafted wine. Father Libby smartly decides to make a toast and compliment their efforts. They then begin to interrogate the family about Andrei’s absent work ethic, and Brother Andrei notes that he doesn’t like working all the time, while his wife sits there, drinking from a deep pool of judgment. Andrei tries to pin his unemployment on Libby, insisting they’ve talked about this and him staying home made the most sense. I mean, she doesn’t even have to try at her job to get paid, and he makes up for it by hanging a TV that one time. Father Libby then says he offered Andrei a job, but he was too good for it, and again Andrei tries to pin it on Libby, only for her to say that she’d rather he work. “I don’t know if it’s hormones or if she’s being dumb,” Andrei says, checking off two accusations on the misogynist check list. “But later I will tell her she’s crazy. You cannot put all of eggs in one man for himself, you know?” Colt has swaddled himself into a sports coat, and packs up Debbie so she can fertilize Brazil’s soil with her bullshit. Debbie says she plans to just be herself, and Colt suspects that’s not going to go very well. Once they arrive everyone hugs them both hello, which is like second base for Debbie, so she calls Jess’ father “weird,” because clinging to your son’s ankle is normal. Instead of just eating the food and asking questions, Debbie finds ways to repeatedly invoke Larissa between culinary criticisms, because nothing comes close to her welcome feast of beef stew and disappointment. Father Jess is eyeing Colt, and asks what he wants with Jess. Colt says Jess is the best person he’s ever met, and seems authentic, which soothes Father Jess. Mother Jess says that if he loves Jess that much, she should be married in their opulent house. This bums Debbie out, since she was hoping to dust off the cousins for another in-uniform declaration of ill intent, and this is going way too fast for her to sabotage. Debbie just doesn’t understand why she isn’t enough for Colt. “It’s like sometimes people don’t see the person who is already there,” Mary sobs, crying all the way from Geoffrey. “Does anyone else think they’re moving too fast? He’s just a baby tickling the teet of 40, for God’s sake.” Debbie is ready with the question. “Fuck off, Debbie,” Jess is ready with the answers. Debbie is appalled that she’s failing to ruin things and Jess isn’t kissing her ass, so she says she wants to go home, and assumes Colt will lobby for her soul-sucking cause. Instead he stuffs her into a cab back to the hotel, so he can focus on winning over what could be his future family. “When I said we shouldn’t put Colt in the middle, what I meant is Colt should always choose me,” Debbie explains. Jess’ family is unimpressed by Debbie, and declare her bossy, and note that she wants Colt all for herself. “Exactly,” Debbie agrees. The next day Colt is hungover from the good time that kicked off the minute Debbers drove away. He goes to check on the kickstand of his life, who is disappointed that other people seem to be enjoying themselves. She says Jess put her hand in her face, which must have been difficult from so far away, and Colt considers that his mom might be jealous, which is reasonable if this is Bates Motel. “She’s out of control, just like Larissa, and the other women I stuffed into the crawl space,” Debbie asserts. “Out of control, out of control.” Later on Colt takes the other woman to the beach, where they can be alone with the camera crew and producers. They told Colt he’d get a bonus if he wore nut huggers in public while talking about how important his mother is, and dude said he’ll take that bet. Jess ogles Colt’s bod and declares that he makes her think about sex all the time before laughing maniacally, and can we ditch Colt and Debbie and keep Jess? Jess and Colt talk about Debbie, and Colt considers that maybe his mother thinks that children are Jess’ idea exclusively, since he neglected to tell her this was his way of thinking, too. Jess says that Colt doesn’t defend her, and she calls him a mama’s boy, and Colt starts crying and calls her a daddy’s girl, which doesn’t bother Jess, because she managed to go all the way to America without a parent. Colt insists that he needs to take care of Debbie because she doesn’t have anyone else, and Colt doesn’t consider why his mother has no one else save for her adult son. If you’re wondering how boring Larissa’s scenes are, the answer is very. The “detachable thumb” trick your grandfather did between war stories and nose blows is 5,000 times more interesting than this. Larissa bemoans that no one wants her around her except Eric. Carmen kicked her out for getting back together with him, so she calls him, and Eric just happen to have an empty room in his house for her to occupy. Crazy! Once they arrive roommate David comes out of his room, where apparently he’s been fishing, and Larissa declares that they need to be best friends. David says his best friend lot is already occupied by Eric, who is likely going to be heartbroken, but “A lot of people go back to the same watering hole,” which I apparently where Larissa plays Bloodbourne. If you find that riveting, you’re going to be flattened by the scene where Larissa meets with a friend to report that Eric is like a cake. Then she looks at Eric’s phone and finds messages he sent another woman while they were apart. In the text exchange Eric describes Larissa as a bad mother who doesn’t take showers. So Larissa calls her, and despite this reportedly being a surprise happening the woman picks up right away. Who does that? The Other Woman describes Eric as the “worst man” and says they hung out one night just to bash Larissa. She details a time when Erik and Colt got together to compare butt sex and blowjobs, and I’m not sure who was more turned on at the time, but now it’s Debbie. “He’s like a bitch,” Larissa states, which is unfair to bitches everywhere. Eric comes home so Larissa hastily hangs up, and reports she feels so bad about herself she wants to change her hair and face, and oh honey. In women that will be changing nothing about themselves, Angela is having road rage all the way to the market, despite riding shotgun, and Michael foolishly thinks Angela will get ingredients to cook. “You’ll see. Cause I’m not doing none of that shit,” Angela ends the suspense. Angela looks high and low for a roast chicken from a 7-11 deli and some mac and cheese in a plastic tub, and when she comes up short she’s forced to usher in the finest moment of the episode: Angela goes to the market. There she is knocked out cold in the first round of a Boss Fight with The Woman Selling Rice. First, Angela asks her to dig deep into that bag of rice, because she doesn’t want the stuff on top. The woman fills an empty soup can with all the fucks she has left to give, and then pours the surface rice on top. Angela objects, and asks if she has anything pre-bagged. The Woman Selling Rice then empties the soup can of rice into a plastic pornography bag, and hands it to Angela. Totally beaten, Angela takes the bag and thanks her. Can this woman interact with Family Libby next, please? A single ingredient in hand, Michael starts hunting for a tomato, and Angela declares, “This is getting out of hand.” She insists they need to ditch this and warm some Totino’ pizza rolls on a paper towel in the microwave instead. Before her fantasy can develop any further, she sees multiple goat heads flanked by flies, and since that bitch saw VVitch and doesn’t know whether or not that goat is loaded, she runs. From the safety of her car she attempts to restore order by taking a deep drink of a liquid that dissolves cars, but the memory of fly covered meat is still too fresh, and so she vomits, thus revisiting the Pixi Stix she snorted the night before. “I can’t go back to that meat,” she protests. “I probably have malaria now. Two of them sitting on a table, and they were like ‘heeeelp me’ and they’re dead.” Michael just apologizes every time she wretches, which is the foundation of their relationship. Michael is upset, because he really wants his mom and aunt to feel welcome in their apartment. Angela insists that it’s her apartment alone until they get married, and Michael feels as cut off from the 90DF gold as Superstar Soja Boy. Later on Michael’s Queen Mother arrives, and enthusiastically greets Angela in Yoruba with giant smiles. They are disappointed in the lack of food, and Angela outs this as a fake scene with her over-the-top presentation of lukewarm pizza and half-assed plantains. Then Angela distracts everyone with rumors about the viability of her baby maker, and no one is hungry after that. Asuelu and Kalani haven’t talked since California, but on the bright side that means she’s not pregnant again. They take both kids to the park, and while he’s being pushed in a swing Oliver looks like he’s over this shit, as his dad revisits his bungled birthday party and apologizes. Kalani thinks that’s a great start, but wants his behavior to actually change. He gives her a hug and a kiss, and steps away before he needs a condom for slut people. Asuelu then says that since they can’t go to Samoa, he wants to see his family in Washington. Apparently his mother lives there, along with a half sister from a different dad. Kalani is okay with this, so long as he doesn’t throw her under the bus at every point of conflict. “I promise I will no throw you the bus. I want you to be my bus driver,” Asuelu announces, and once again, this show has written our Valentine’s Day cards well in advance. Kalani and Asuelu call his mom and sister to reveal their travel intentions. Kalani is not close to his family, because despite being stateside, none of them could be bothered to attend their wedding. Asuelu’s mom claps her hands and demands love for her children, and then starts crying in menopause. Mother Asuelu reports that in Samoa she worked hard, but in the US of A she’s just eating, sleeping, and waiting to die. Then she asks for money, at least $1,000, and his sister does the make it rain gesture, because apparently his mother is a stripper. Kalani is not pleased by this development, since part of her resistance towards going to Samoa is that she’d be viewed as a human ATM. There seems to be no way to explain to these fine folks the salary limitations of free sample filling. “You’re supposed to take care of your family before anyone else,” Sister Asuelu says, totally ignoring the family of small people. “I don’t know Kalani, what she wants,” Asuelu responds, aiming her body for the front of the bus so she can be hit by all four wheels. Paul has retrieved his dogs from a training center where he left him during his brief stay in Brazil. Now he’s happy to bring them to the rabbit hutch they’ll call home. He looked all over this one trailer park for a home, and now he’s putting some effort in to making it nice as a surprise for Karine. He cleans out the fridge, sets up a bed frame, and teases the possibility of dropping an air conditioner out the window, preferably multiple times. The camera folks were clearly also on pins and needles about the slapstick possibilities of this scene, because they were on him from the minute he waddled through the door with one of those heavy bastards in hand. The great news about Paul’s tiny house is that it’s going to be a dream of energy efficiency, and can actually be cooled with that single window unit. There’s enough space for them to be comfortable, and it looks clean. He brings Karine to the place, and she looks around with a critical eye before declaring that she likes it, and Paul practically orgasms from joy. This might be the only time Paul has smiled on this show, and we’ll take it. Karine then suggests they might need curtains for the windows, and Paul quickly cobbles together one curtain, and then starts putting a pillow in the window while Karine laughs. After he stacks a second one on top, boom, curtain with bonus insulation. For once, they seem happy with each other, which means next week either she’ll be pregnant again or they’re moving to Alaska. Next week, Syngin wishes he never left South Africa, Angela finally talks to Michael about the goat’s head lurking in her uterus, Debbie rats out Colt to Jess, and Paul can’t get a job because people have seen this show. Thank you, Patreon supporters! Patreon.com/fractalfay
Kubala, the path to glory of Barcelona's most loved legend: A story of overcoming, adventures, crazy nights, majestic matches and of a good man who made everybody around him happy.
Nothing in Kubala's life was normal. Now that TV series about sportsmen are fashionable, the one that could be made about the adventures of Ladislao Kubala Stecz (Budapest, 1927) would raze through many seasons. In one season we could go deeper into his facet of legendary footballer, capable of changing the way of playing this sport, how he saved his life at the very last moment by not getting on the Torino plane that crashed in Superga, or how he was ten minutes away from signing for Real Madrid or enrolling in the Pirate League of Colombia, all of this in order to end being Barcelona's biggest icon... who ended playing for Espanyol. We could add a season of adventures due to his incredible escape from communist Hungary. His journey through Italy with a football team, the Hungaria, of stateless people in which in addition to Hungarians also played Croats, Albanians, Romanians and Serbs who were looking for a life as good as they could get. One could also add to this the facet of the social phenomenon that dazzled a country during the dark years of Franco's regime by becoming a pop star, and end up with another season about the legends, real, invented or simply exaggerated, of his adventures in Barcelona's nightclubs. Everything about Kubala is like a movie.
Born in Budapest to a Hungarian man and a Slovakian woman, he always considered himself as both Hungarian and Slovakian, even when this republic was part of the now extinct Czechoslovakia. By the age of 20, Kubala was a football star known for his performances with Slovan Bratislava and Vasas Budapest. In fact, he had already been capped by Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Later, he would go on to play for Spain, and is still the only player to have been capped by three countries. But fed up with the system that was preventing him from developing his professional football career, he embarked on an escape proper of a movie to the West. He contacted a human trafficking organisation, a mafia that, in exchange for a large amount of money, facilitated a partial escape. As is now the case with criminals who gamble with the lives of people who want to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe or pass to the United States through the southern border, the smugglers did not secure anything. The last part of the journey depended on the luck and expertise of the escapees and often ended tragically. "I remember that when I escaped from Hungary I was just a kid. The traffickers left us in the middle of a mountain to do the last stretch on foot. We were a large group. The adults gathered the children and gave us palinka. A liquor similar to brandy to get us drunk and fall asleep. A child's cry could alert the border guards patrolling the mountain. And they had orders to shoot to kill. The group split in two. My group was lucky and we were able to win the Austrian border. Once we were safe, we learned that the other group that had travelled with us and took another road was discovered and killed." The chilling story is that of Zoltan Czibor, the son of the former Barça player who tells how he had to flee Hungary with his family to join his father in Italy. The odyssey of Kubala, six years earlier, was mirrored. The traffickers disguised Kubala as a Russian soldier and put him in a truck that would leave the escapees at an undetermined point in the mountains so that they could cross the border into Austria on their own. Kubala remembered that this journey scared him to death because unlike his comrades, he was a national celebrity and any soldier who checked the military truck would recognize him. He was endangering his life and the lives of those who accompanied him. When they were left in the mountain on January 27, 1949, Kubala walked, and crossing a river helped by a tire that carried him, managed to reach Innsbuck, Austria, without any documentation. He was a stateless man starting from scratch. In Austria he managed to sign with Pro Patria, a team from Milan, but he could only play friendly matches. His escape provoked the anger of the Hungarian regime, which denounced him and blocked his registration. Kubala had married Anna Daucik two years earlier, sister of Fernando Daucik, a veteran player of the era who would later become a famous coach. When Kubala fled, he left behind his family, whom he was unable to reunite with until six months later, when Anna was able to cross the border and meet Ladislao in Udine. He arrived with one more member of the family. A baby, her firstborn, whom Kubala did not yet know. While he is irregularly enrolled in the Pro Patria, he gets the chance to sign with Torino, Italy's dominant team at the time. He is offered a trial match. Nothing better than a friendly match that Il Grande Torino had in Lisbon as a tribute to Xico Ferreira. However, when the Turin team's plane is about to take off, the president of Torino prevents Kubala from boarding because he fears a federal sanction. On the return flight, on 4 May 1949, the Fiat G 212 of Avio Linee Italiana crashed into the retaining wall of the Basilica of Superga due to the wind, poor visibility and an error in the altimeter of the aircraft. At 180 kilometres per hour and with a visibility of 40 metres, the pilot saw the stone wall of the basilica too late when he thought the plane was at 2,000 metres and was actually at 690 metres above sea level. The 31 people who were travelling in that aircraft died. Kubala had saved his life again.
With no possibility of playing in Italy because the back then very powerful Italian Communist Party was pressing to prevent people fleeing from countries in the orbit of the USSR from taking refuge in Italy, Kubala had no choice but to form a team of stateless people who hired their services throughout Europe to play friendly matches against whoever hired them. The team was called Hungaria, was managed by his brother-in-law Fernando Daucik and was mainly made up of Hungarians, although there were also players of other nationalities. It was made up of: Kis, Marik, Torok, Mogoy, Lami, Rákosi, Hrotko, Majteny, Nagy, Kubala, Otto, Licker, Turbeky, Monsider (Croatian), De Lorenzi (Albanian), Szegedi (Romanian) and Arangelovic (Serbian). They played their first match against Italy's B team, but again pressure from the PCI forced them to play outside Italy. And that is how they arrived in Spain, hired by Santiago Bernabéu. On June 5, 1950, they faced Real Madrid in Chamartin, losing 4-2, but with a stellar performance by Kubala, who scored both of his team's goals. Three days later, they beat the Spanish team that was preparing for the World Cup in Brazil, where they came in fourth, 1-2 again with a great performance by Kubala, who received an offer from Real Madrid to be signed. Kubala requires that to join the team, Madrid must also hire Daucik as a coach, something that Bernabéu does not agree to. The Madrid coach at that time was the Briton Keeping, a great connoisseur of WM tactics. Daucik is offered to train the Plus Ultra, a Madrid branch that plays in the third division. That negative and the federative problems that drags Kubala cause that Madrid becomes disinterested in his transfer, that was already agreed lacking of some fringes that turned out to be determinant. The Hungaria moves two days later to Barcelona, where on June 10 plays against Espanyol losing 6-4 in a match with Pepe Samitier, the technical secretary of Barça, in the stands. It is necessary to emphasize that Hungaria had been playing three matches in five days with a very short team and without being able to make substitutions. Even so, Kubala amazes and Samitier does not mess around. Six days after that match, on 16 June 1950, at half past six in the evening, Kubala signed his three-year contract with Barça at the Pasaje Méndez Vigo. Obviously, with Fernando Daucik as coach. President Montal, Sr., signed him as an "amateur player" in order to avoid any trouble for the federation. Real Madrid rages and is shocked. Pablo Hernández, general secretary of the white entity and Santiago Bernabéu's right hand, assures that Barça had broken a non-aggression pact between both teams and had hired a player with whom they were in talks. Samitier, who was unbeatable in the media, declares that he had been following Kubala for months and that the pact had not been broken because it referred only to players who played in Spanish teams. And Hungaria was not Spanish. In fact, it wasn't from anywhere. But Kubala's problems didn't end there. He still didn't have a registration card or an international certificate. Vasas in Budapest and the Hungarian Federation had reported him to FIFA. Barça used the weak argument that since professionalism had been abolished in Hungary, any amateur player could choose his destiny. But the fight was not going to be so easy. Barça, it is fair to say, had the total support of the regime and the Federation to carry out the transfer. At the level of anti-communist propaganda, Kubala was perfect. A young and extraordinary sportsman who fled from the red hell to take refuge in Franco's Spain was a candy too sweet to let go. Muñoz Calero, president of the Federation, rowed in favor of Barça as did Ricardo Cabot, secretary of the organization, who, in addition to his affection for the regime, was a well-known Barcelona supporter. But the procedures were very slow and Kubala could only play friendly matches. He made his debut against Osasuna on 12 October, scoring two goals on the day the Barça fans knew instantly that they had just signed a star. Then he played against Zaragoza, Frankfurt twice, Girona and the Badalona. In six friendlies he scored 11 goals. The fans and the player himself were eager to meet in an official match. For all this, the Federation to play the role with FIFA fined Barça every time he lined up Kubala with the symbolic figure of 50 pesetas. It is at this time that Kubala is about to leave everything and go away from Barça. He needed the money and wanted to play at the highest level and in Colombia he was offered the chance to do so. The South American country had organised the so-called Pirate League outside FIFA and many of the world's biggest stars joined, including Alfredo Di Stefano who went to Millonarios in Bogota. Kubala had a tempting offer from Atletico Bucaramanga. With the option of Kubala leaving, events accelerated. To begin with, Barça fixed his financial situation by means of a peculiar amateur contract in which they paid him 1,200 pesetas for "compensation" and 3,800 for "encouragement and overfeeding". On April 2, 1951, he was granted the status of political refugee as a stateless person, which was a step towards granting him Spanish nationality. But for this step, Kubala first had to be converted to Catholicism through the sacrament of baptism. Every Spaniard had to be a Catholic. Kubala was baptized in Aguilas, Murcia, the birthplace of Muñoz Calero, president of the Federation. It is then when Barça, to avoid problems, settles its differences economically with Vasas, which despite being against capitalism accepts a payment of 300,000 pesetas to provide the transfer, while the Pro Patria, which also complained, is satisfied with 12 million lire. The Kubala era could now really commence.
Kubala made his official debut with Barcelona in Sevilla in a cup match. The Sevillistas at that time were one of the best teams. Sevilla and Barça had developed in that period a great rivalry in the high places of the table. In 1946 Sevilla had stolen the possibility of winning the championship from Barça by drawing in Les Corts on the last day, in 1948 Barça beat the Sevillians in the final of the Eva Perón Cup (which would be the current Supercup) and in that campaign a Barça without Kubala had lost all its options to win La Liga after losing 4-0 in Nervión three days before the end of the season. The Cup, by that time was played once the regular season was over and in those circumstances the official debut of Kubala took place. On April 29th in Nervion, Barça arrived to play against Sevilla in the middle of a difficult atmosphere. The Andalusians had lost the league in a dramatic outcome when they drew at home in the last match against Atletico Madrid with a refereeing performance that the locals judged scandalous. For further concern, the Federation allowed Kubala to line up with Barça in the first round of the Cup, which in Sevilla was taken as a surprise. With the stadium full to the flag, Barcelona defeated Sevilla in an exhibition of Kubala. He wasn't just the best of the match but he showed Spain a way of playing football unthinkable until that time: chest controls, shots with curve, millimetric changes of play of 40 meters, protection of the ball with his back, use of the body in the shot and touches with the heel. Domenech, Sevilla's attacker who was the direct protagonist of that match, explained years later how he remembered that day. "It was something never seen before. Ramallets kicked it and he would receive her with his chest, or with either of his legs. If you tackled him he would dribble you in a brick. He'd put the ball where he wanted her. Besides, from time to time he changed with César, he'd be a center forward and César would be a midfielder. They drove us crazy. The anger of the people became clamours. We were witnessing something extraordinary. It was like going from black and white cinema to colour," explained the former Sevilla player. The Sevilla crowd, who had welcomed Barça and its new superstar with anger, ended up giving Kubala a standing ovation for every action as if they were watching a glorious bullfighting performance. Kubala's actions on the field change football forever. Since there was no television, his exploits are reported orally. There is no other way to see it than to go to the field of Les Corts, which is packed for every game Barça plays as a local. It is a very common argument to say that Kubala forced Barça to build the Camp Nou because the old Les Corts was not enough to accommodate all the people who wanted to admire him. Maybe he had an influence, but as the journalist Frederic Porta, author of an interesting biography of Kubala (Kubala, l'heroi que va canviar la història del Barça. Ed. Saldonar) explains, "the truth is that Barça had already bought the land to build the Camp Nou two years before and the idea of making a bigger field already existed, but Kubala advanced everything and justified the change". Blessed with brutal technique, a sensational strike of the ball and an unusual physical strength, Kubala changed football. He would throw free-kicks over the wall with curve or by making the ball bounce in front of the goalkeeper, he would take penalties (he was practically infallible) with what was later called paradinha and was credited with the Brazilians although he was the first in Europe to do so. Physically he was a bull. In his youth he had practiced boxing and if he didn't become a recognized fighter with a great career it was because he had short arms. His lower body was sensational. He had a butt and legs that allowed him to protect the ball like no one else. Frederic Porta says that "in his time of splendour they measured his thighs and each one had a circumference of 69 centimetres, which would be the waist of one of his companions". He was also capable of running the 100 metres in less than 11 seconds. A total athlete with a very refined technique. However, that physical strength and the confidence he had in her, for he never avoided a collision, were his downfall. Kubala became the target of a hunt by rival defenders. He never went into hiding and that's why in eleven years at Barcelona he suffered up to eleven injuries of some seriousness. With matches without television, the harshness that bordered on violence was the order of the day. He was being kicked to death. But Barça was living its most golden period to date. Moreover, the club revolved around Kubala. Frederic Porta compares it with the present time: "Now they say that Messi commands the club and surely he commands, but nothing to do with the influence that Kubala had. Kubala was the boss and even the one who decided the transfers. And no one was surprised. That Barça adopted the socks with the horizontal stripes blaugrana is his imposition. He saw them on the rugby team, liked them and incorporated them into the football team by decree. In fact, it is he who insists on signing Luis Suarez when he impresses him in a match against Deportivo. Kubala was Suarez's first fan, but what happened in the stands, which was divided between Suaristas and Kubalistas, is another matter. Suarez was eight years younger than Kubala. He arrived at Barcelona at the age of 19, Kubala was 27 and his physique was very punished by his injuries and the life he was living, as he did not deprive himself of anything. If he held out, it was because of privileged genetics. Therefore, there never was a real competition between them, but there was a lot of influence here from the figure of Helenio Herrera, the Barça manager, who saw Kubala as older and slower and was looking forward to a quick change by the young Galician as the leader of the team. The debate reached the stands and the media. It was an absurd debate, because they didn't play in the same position, with whom Kubala really had a certain rivalry with Eulogio Martínez, who was the one with whom he alternated the position. Kubala's physical problems were not only due to injuries. He had the whole of Spain in suspense when he suffered a tuberculosis that could have cost him his life. There are apocryphal versions that explain that this tuberculosis was actually a stab wound he suffered in a fight in a cheap pub in the fifth district (Barcelona's Chinatown) and he has to retire to Montseny to recover. Nobody is betting on his return to the pitch if he survives a "hole in the lung the size of a silver bullet" according to the chronicles of the time. But once again, Kubala's ability to survive prevails. He returns to the pitches, but already heavily punished and slowed down. It is against this backdrop that the 1961 European Cup final arrives, with Kubala arriving at the age of 34 with a herniated disc that barely allows him to walk, but he wants to play. He knows that the club is going through a critical situation despite having reached the final of the maximum trophy for the first time: the club is bankrupt because of the construction of the Camp Nou, the fights in the board of directors are chaotic, Luis Suarez has signed for Inter (the one in Bern will be his last game with Barça), which was where Helenio Herrera had left the team in the hands of Enrique Orizaola. Kubala tells Orizaola to line him up, that like all the Portuguese will go for him and he can barely move because of the back pain and will play with painkillers, it will give more opportunities to his teammates. But the match is a pile of misfortunes for Barcelona. Ramallets scores an own goal, Barça shoots three times to the damn square posts of the goals (from then on they would change their shape) even Kubala kicked a ball that hit a post, went through the goal line until it hit the other post and came out repelled. Barça lost and Kubala's time at Barcelona came to an end.
Kubala's significance goes beyond the playing field. According to a vote made for Radio Barcelona by journalist Joaquín Soler Serrano in the mid-50s, the Catalans most loved by their fellow citizens were Doctor Barraquer and Ladislao Kubala. "He was literally the most famous person in the city, people really venerated him, and even Messi's influence cannot be compared to that of Kubala in those years," explains Porta. His life off the field was notorious. An unrepentant night owl, it was common to see him in Barcelona's fashionable coffee shops and nightclubs. He was a man who stood out. Alfredo Relaño defines him in some of his articles as "a demigod. Tall, strong, blond with blue eyes and an overflowing personality. He aroused the admiration of men and women alike. An idol". Frederic Porta sums it up with the argument that "he would be the sum of Messi and Beckham and on top of that, he would go out every night". Faced with Kubala's disorganised life, the Barcelona management decided to set up a private detective agency to follow him at night. The reports of the detectives are still in the Centre de Documentació del FC Barcelona and Frederic Porta published them in the history magazine 'Sàpiens'. In them, he gives a detailed account of the nocturnal wanderings of "Mr. K.", the code name of the Blaugrana star in an exercise in absurd discretion. There is also a letter from a Sabadell businessman in the club's archives, expressing concern that Kubala and Czibor had been "found in a Sabadell establishment after 2.30 in the morning accompanied by some of those ladies who were once gentlemen, I don't know if you understand". What the businessman doesn't explain in the letter is what he was doing in the same place. Kubala's fondness for drinking was no secret. Helenio Herrera explains in a television interview that "one day at an airport in customs they asked Kubala if he had anything to declare and he said two bottles of whisky. The official asked him to show them to him and he, laughing, touched his belly and said: 'X-ray, I have them inside'. On another occasion, in the same situation, but carrying the bottle in the bag, he was told to leave it at the airport because no alcoholic drinks were allowed to be taken on board. Neither shy nor lazy, he drank it in front of the astonished official. The legends about the occasions when the night was made longer and he did not arrive at training sessions or matches were recurrent. In that case, he called on the services of Angel Mur Sr., the team masseur who knew where to find him. He would start a pilgrimage through the usual places or floors until he found him, took him to the changing room, gave him a cold shower, a coffee with salt, a massage and played. The fans forgave him everything and were aware that their star was a man of joyful life. But he never failed on the field. Among the crowd at the time there were comments about the Kubala ritual in those games that followed a busy night. "He started off badly, and vaguely, but the signal was when, ten minutes into the game, he rolled up his sleeves as if to say 'I'm here, let's start, I've already cleared off', and the machine started to work. You can't find anyone in the world who speaks ill of Kubala. Absolutely no one. Everyone highlights his huge heart and that despite being by far the highest paid player of the time (he earned six times more than his teammates) he didn't have a no for anyone. His detachment from money was legendary. As proof, the anecdote explained by his biographer Porta: "one day he arrived at the dressing room and commented that his car had been stolen and that in the glove compartment he was carrying an envelope with 200,000 pesetas, which was a fortune for the time (a good apartment could cost 130,000 pesetas). When his colleagues tried to encourage him, he simply said: someone who needs it more than I do must have taken it". It was also usual for him to take off his coat and give it to a poor man who begged in Barcelona's winter, or to take in any Hungarian who came to Barcelona asking for help in his house in Carrer Duquesa d'Orleans. Kubala, remembering his times as a stateless refugee without papers, asked nothing. He would take them home and pay them a boat ticket to America. The motto among the refugees fleeing the Iron Curtain was that "if you get to Barcelona, look for Kubala, he will help you". He never failed. Later, now retired, he set up a bar next to Czibor in Capitan Arenas Street, the mythical Kep Duna (blue Danube in Hungarian) that became an unofficial refugee reception centre that was monitored by the secret services of the United States, the USSR and the Spanish police. Something like the Rick's Café in the film Casablanca, but in the upper area of Barcelona. He was the great character of Barcelona loved by all, but there was a moment when this was almost broken, strange as it may seem. It coincided with the defeat in Bern, when a part of the press came to write that "Barça must be de-Kubalized as the Soviet Union must be de-Stalinized" and, especially, when he signed for Espanyol. The earthquake was a huge one.
After the defeat in Bern's final, Kubala announced his retirement from the fields. He had taken the coaching course and was ranked number one in his class. He made a pact with the president Llaudet, who was also an interesting character as we will see, that in principle he would take charge of the footballers' school of the club and that in a couple of years he would be in charge of the first team. Meanwhile, Barcelona is directed by Lluís Miró who faces a team in disarray. Suarez has been transferred to Inter in the worst decision in the club's history and myths such as Ramallets, Tejada and Czibor were in the decline of their careers. The season starts badly and after losing at Mestalla to Valencia by a humiliating 6-2 that forces the resignation of Miro. It was time for Kubala, who was promoted to the first team in front of the joy of the fans. And the project results from the beginning. The Barça of the second part of season 61-62 recovers in La Liga and finishes second (the distance with the white ones when Kubala arrived was almost insurmountable) and avenges the 6-2 of Mestalla beating Valencia in the Camp Nou 4-0. Facing the next season, the 62-63, Kubala can make his team by giving painful drops of some of his former teammates as it is the case of Eulogio Martinez or Evaristo. One of Llaudet's reluctances to give Kubala the job of coach was that he would have to manage some of his former teammates. The positive expectations about Kubala's first full project were frustrated at first when the Blaugrana team had to play the final of the Copa de Ferias against Valencia, the team that caused the fall of Miró and the promotion of Kubala. And the history, by rare that it seems, repeats: Valencia returns to him to put 6-2 to the Barça. The fans explode against the team. In the return match, obviously, there is nothing to do, but Llaudet's ability to self-flagellation has no limits. As Alfredo Relaño writes, the Blaugrana president calls a dinner with the press the day before the game and makes this statement that if it happened today would open all the news. Llaudet, in front of the press and accompanied by the coach Kubala and Gràcia as captain, asks the fans to forgive him and announces changes in the protocol of the start of the second leg. "Valencia will go out first to receive the applause, then Barcelona, to receive the whistles. Then Kubala will come out, so he can get the thunders. And finally me, so that all the whistles fall on my person, because I am the barcelonist who loves the club the most and who is destined to die on the pitch, if necessary...". He ends his speech crying. As we can see, Gaspart didn't invent anything. The match ended in a draw and Kubala's project as Barça's coach was doomed. The manager is fired in the middle of the season and then a bomb explodes in Barcelona. Kubala accepts the offer to return to the pitch, but not as a coach, will be as a player and nothing more and nothing less than in Espanyol, Barça's eternal rival. On 3 September 1963 Espanyol, then Español, announced that Kubala would be hired as a player. At 36 years of age, he was capable of being competitive. His decision divides the public opinion. On the one hand, Federico Gallo and Juan José Castillo support his decision, on the other hand, Carlos Pardo or Ibáñez Escofet shoot at him. They call him a "Jew who sells himself for a plate of beans", a "traitor" and they see political interests in his decision. Kubala explains that he wanted to continue playing and that he saw himself capable of doing so, although he accepted that he was not at Barcelona's level. He had received offers from important clubs, including River Plate and Juventus, but he doesn't want to leave Barcelona, where he feels like another Barcelonian. The Espanyol meets his expectations. His start of the season is not bad, on the contrary, he scores in his first two games, but the team doesn't work out. The coexistence between the veteran newcomer Kubala and the team's symbol, Argilés, is not easy. Scopelli is dismissed as coach and de facto command of the team is given to the two team leaders despite their differences. The crisis erupts when the Spaniard visits the Camp Nou. The periquitos lose by 5-0 in a match in which the Barcelona crowd booed Kubala who they are eager to humiliate with his new team. Even so, at the end of the match, Kubala has a gesture to his former team that shows that he does not hold any grudge against what he has heard from the stands. At the end of the match, he organizes his teammates to make the corridor to Barça applauding the rival in recognition of the exhibition made. That gesture feels bad among the Espanyol fans and among some of his teammates. Argilés does not make the corridor and goes straight to the changing rooms. The following year, Kubala becomes a manager-player and among the departures that he causes, there is the one of Argilés, but by contrast, Di Stéfano arrives, also hurt by his bad exit from Madrid fighting against Bernabéu. Di Stefano and Kubala are like brothers. Even though they haven't officially played together, they have a special chemistry. A friendship that is forged when the Argentinian is about to sign for Barcelona. When Di Stéfano arrives in Barcelona to sign for Español, he stays first at the Avenida Palace Hotel, but after a month he is living in Kubala's house as one of the family. The children of both always maintained a relationship as if they were brothers. One of the players under Kubala's command was Jose Maria Rodilla, one of the players who would soon form the famous 'Dolphins' forward line. At 80 years of age, Rodilla remembers Kubala. "I have a wonderful memory of Kubala, I always had a special affection for him. Not in vain, he was the one who signed me for Espanyol", he remembers when answering the call of this newspaper to which he confesses that* "normally I do not make declarations, but to speak about Kubala I do whatever is needed"*. Rodilla, former teammate at Espanyol, has clear that "he was the best player in the world in terms of technique. Di Stéfano was the best footballer, but he didn't have his technique. Alfredo was more intense and more player of the whole field, but he could not do things that Kubala did" Those who had the privilege of playing with both of them remember that "for example, Di Stefano wouldn't leave you alone for a minute, he was all over you and the fights were intense, but he always set an example, he never asked you for anything that he didn't do. Kubala was more paternalistic and tolerant. For example, he would ask us to do as he did in training, and while sitting down he would be able to make 3,000 touches on the ball without dropping it. Only he could do that." Rodilla adds a story that explains Kubala's quality as a player-coach at the age of 38: "We went to play a friendly at Amposta and they called a foul on the edge of the box. Kubala takes the ball and whacks it into the corner. The referee made him repeat it because someone had moved or I don't know what. Kubala takes the ball and wham, back to the square. And the referee tells him that he has to repeat. That day Kubala got angry and left the field." Rodilla recalls that Kubala's move from Barça to Espanyol created controversy in the city, but that he was oblivious to it. "He was still a magnificent person, I never heard him say a bad word against anyone. He never got into an argument, he was goodness personified, he was unlucky in his time as a coach, but as a coach he is one of the best I've ever had, with a great love for young players and always trying to help you improve."
He extended his playing career for a couple more years by playing for Zurich and even trying out the American adventure at the Toronto Falcons, where he coincides with Branko and Daucik's son. At the age of 40 he played 19 games and scored 5 goals. In 1968 he returned to Spain and trained the Córdoba team for a short period of time until he was called up to the national team. Kubala will manage the Spanish team until 1980, when he signs for Barcelona again as a coach. Kubala's debut with Spain was, once again, a propaganda match for the regime. It was played in the Estadio de la Línea de la Concepción against Finland and Spain beat their rivals 6-0 in a match that was no longer useful. Spain had missed out on qualifying for the Mexico '70 World Cup, but the idea of that game was to showcase a great field that could be seen from Gibraltar as if to give jealousy to those in the Rock for the sports culture of Spain. Dictatorship things. It's true that at that time Spain was struggling more than anything else on the international scene. It did not qualify for the 1974 World Cup because of Katalinski's goal in the play-off match in Frankfurt, and in both the 1978 World Cup and the 1980 European Championship the team fell in the first round, but there is still no one from that era who will make a judgement against Kubala. "Kubala, one ahead of his time. No doubt he had a lot to do with his past as a footballer. And not just like any other player, like the best! I remember him always saying to me: 'Ruben, you have to get out of the way on the other side of the ball. Look for the space, not the ball. The goal I scored in Yugoslavia has to do with everything he taught me," he told Fermin de la Calle in an interview with AS Ruben Cano, the hero of the famous 'Battle of Belgrade' in the match that took Spain to the World Cup in Argentina. Yes, the one with the goal by Cardeñosa that could have changed Kubala's record with the national team. He did a lot to improve Spanish football and his idea regarding the incorporation of foreigners to improve the level of Spanish football was key in the future development of the Spanish competitive level. His players remember him as a didactic person, tactically bold and very close. At a time when fury was the hallmark of the game, Kubala never forgot that he was the heir to the Magyar tradition of the Honved and the Hungary who, by moving the ball, shocked the world the day they destroyed England at Wembley 3-6. For the average football fan, Kubala may have been a half-hearted coach who embodied an era of the national team in which nothing was won, as has been the case most of the time, and he became popular for his expressions that would now be meme material on social networks. The national team was known as the 'Kubala boys' and the coach's catchphrase before the matches saying "boys well, optimal morale" was the fashionable phrase in the coffee shops of the 70s in Spain. But among his colleagues, Kubala still deserved reverential respect. "The first goal was authentically Latin, cunningly scored and perfectly studied. I can only congratulate Kubala on his previous tactical work," said German boss Helmut Schön after facing and losing to Spain in a friendly in which the recent world semi-finalist and next world champion fell to the Kubala boys at the Sanchez Pizjuan with two strategic goals from Arieta. Yes, Arieta against Müller. Seeler, Beckembauer, Maier, Netzer and company. He left the national team in 1980 to join Barça as the coach of Núñez's second project in an operation that was the prelude to what would happen in the World Cup in Russia with Lopetegui. Kubala committed to Barça while he was coach and tried to alternate functions, but Porta refused. Finally, on 8 June 1980, four days before the start of the European Championship, Kubala signed for the Blaugrana team, which he would join after the European Championship. His second spell at the head of Barça did not go well either and he was dismissed mid-season. He continued his adventure on the bench as coach of Saudi Arabia (in that he was also a pioneer), training Malaga and the Paraguayan national team before retiring from football on the bench of Elche. He spent his final years in Barcelona as active as ever. Playing with Barça veterans, helping his teammates, not having a no for anyone and playing tennis every day or going for a run or cycling routes exhibiting an enviable physical condition. Until the light of genius and the glory faded away 18 years ago. A degenerative brain disease put an end to the adventure, but not to the legend of a world football myth. An icon that changed the lives of so many people that they wouldn't fit even in a stadium. The coffin with the mortal remains of Kubala was carried on shoulders, amidst the applause of the fans who gathered at the doors of the church of Santa Tecla, by Alfredo Di Stéfano, Gustau Biosca, Eduardo Manchón, Estanislao Basora, Joan Segarra, Josep Bartomeu, Luis Suárez, Antoni Ramallets and Gonzalvo III. He rests in the cemetery of Les Corts, next to the Camp Nou because that is what he left written in his will, while Serrat sang to him about how... ...Pelé was Pelé and Maradona was the one and that's it.Di Stéfano was a pit of mischief.Honour and glory to those who made the sun shine on our football.Everyone has his merits; to each his own,but for me none is like Kubala.Respectable silence is requested,for those who haven't enjoyed him, I'll say four things:he stops it with his head,he drops it on with his chest,he sleeps it off with his left,crosses the pitch with the ball attached to the boot,leaves the midfield and enters the box showing the ball,hides it with his body,pushes with his ass and gets in with his heels.He pisses on the centerback with a dedicated piece.and touches her gently to put her on the path to glory.
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