Allow me, if you will, to present a tale. A tragedy, really. One that took place in 2022. The biggest thing to take place in 2022. Yeah, I know, I previously said that some other shit was bigger, but I was just fronting, this was the tale that truly defined the year.
Pretty ballsy of me to state that Jordana not agreeing to an interview meant that she automatically hated me and everyone reading? Perhaps for other people, but I have always been confident in my writing skills and the affection that Jordana has for her fans, especially one who has been with her from the start such as me. Also, I have generally been good at judging this kind of thing in the past: I haven’t done many interviews for this blog in the past, but every person I’ve asked has agreed.
That includes you as well, reading this now, by the way. If she didn’t agree to an interview it meant she hated me, hated everyone reading that original post and also everyone who ever read this blog, and also everyone who ever read anything, on or off this blog, in the present, in the future, and in the past. Pretty hateful thing to do, I’m sure you’ll agree. But! Like I said! No worries! I knew we had each other’s backs.
With no thought of the massive psychological damage it would cause to middle aged children and the dread it would impose on their already suffocating sense of mortality, with no consideration given to the fact that it was Christmas 2021, like, yesterday, 2022 is soon coming to an end. In previous years I have trailed the year’s Necessary Evil’s list of the year’s best music by naming the year’s best in comparatively unimportant sectors such as films and video games. 2022, however, saw an event so momentous that it renders all other debate on art or even the wider human condition comparatively meaningless, and so I owe it to my legions of fans, I owe it to the internet, I owe it to the culture itself to mention it. Not only that, but I’ll have to try and explain its importance to non wrestling fans, which might actually beyond my ability.
Jesus, everyone, Jordana was twenty one years old when she released this incredible record back in December 2020 (Making it. Eligible. For this year’s. List. So sick of having to explain how this works), isn’t that just terrifying?
For her, I mean. This isn’t one of those “Whaaaaa! They’re so young and I’ve comparatively failed in life!” takes. Partially because – Jesus fucking Christ – those mournings are so boring. We’ve all failed in life, that’s what connects us so beautifully as people, and even the ones we assume haven’t still think they have, let’s not create divisions by imagining any one of us is making a better go of this shitshow we call existence. Mostly because, seriously, you eventually get to an age where fucking everyone is younger than you (except Caroline Shaw, of course), you stop being such a big baby about the whole thing (“Malala Yousafzai was only fifteen years old when she was shot in the face by Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan gunmen?! Lucky!! What had I done by that age??”) and instead switch to being in constant mortal dread of your own imminent demise. It’s honestly a cool transition.
Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaars!! Pe-ggy! Pe-ggy! Pe-ggy! The latest astonishing collection by hip-hop’s premier avant garde electronica pushing Communist! You know what that means? That’s right: some of the most progressive and experimental music currently being made by any artist, in any genre, in the entire world. Oh, but most importantly, loads of wrestling references.
It also means that, unfortunately, there’s little space between the much appreciated wrestling call outs to actually talk about Peggy’s music. But do you need any more explanation on how he’s such a generational talent? A thousand articles by writers far more talented than me* have already written lengthy pieces and conduced many interviews that shed light on why you should be deeply ashamed if you’re not already on the Peggy Train. ‘LP!’ (always a fan of exclamation marks) retains a lot of the more melodic and slightly less abrasive styles that he presented on his recent (amazing) EPs, but uses it to only squeeze his music into more unique places. It’s a fucking banger.
The Manic Street Preachers are the greatest rock band ever. That’s not an opinion, it’s a conclusion that I’ve reached and am now saying it loudly and not listening to any dissenting voices, which in 2021 counts as a ‘fact’.
Their greatness is… complicated… and not easy to explain in a simple intro to a blog post… These 100 tracks aren’t necessarily the greatest songs ever. Even as a pathetically dedicated Manics stan*, even I would argue that they’ve only ever released one indisputable, stone cold classic record from front to back (see if you can guess which one after you read the list!). They may have supernatural control over melodies and how best to ensure a chorus hits just there, but at the end of the day they’re just a rock band. They have never really challenged the very boundaries of music, never pushed things forward or necessarily introduced anything new sonically. I would argue that only one of their albums is truly challenging and experimental, rather than just being a break from what the band usually produce (yeah, it’s the same album…). I mean, Jesus, they once shamelessly released a song including the lyric “The world is full of refugees/They’re just like you and just like me“. That’s unforgivably bad, isn’t it? They can’t come back from that, artistically.
(*I may occasionally use cool, groovy, young person lingo like ‘stan’ so you think I’m a hip young gunslinger. Not, y’know, old enough to be a Manics fan)
I’m not able to explain their magic here, but over the next one hundred (!) entries you’ll hopefully all have a better idea. It’s not as dominated by the 90’s as I was worried it might be, and every album is represented (apart from one. Because their tenth album is worse than Hitler). I’ve been wanting to find the time to do this for ages, partially inspired by the great What is Music podcast covering their entire discography and reminding me of how many big veiny stonkers this band had bulging out of their collective musical swimming trunks. They’re talking about Muse on that podcast now, a band for morons, so you only need to listen to the last season. My major blind spot is I don’t think they’ve done a decent b-side since 2001. Now, I’m sure I’m wrong, so please correct my ignorance in the comments. Tell me how wrong I am. Post your top tens. Your top hundreds. The Manic Street Preachers’ fan community is one of the greatest in the world, and no other band are as connected with their fanbase and feed off their adoration as much as The Manics. So let’s celebrate that by calling me a fat slut in the comments because I didn’t choose Little Baby Nothing.
How many words have I vomited onto my fingers then indelicately smeared across my keyboard in respect of Money in the Bank matches? Ten thousand? Fifteen? A million?? Probably closer to the latter*. A lot, I think we can agree.
Fuck… I’m not going to finish this before tonight, am I…? Yeah, it’s gonna have to be a three parter. Sorry… 22-11 is here
10: 2018 Women’s MITB
I was all set to start this entry off by explaining the massive caveat in the room. I was planning to sit you all down, make you all a nice soothing drink, lightly tickle you all round the back of the ear and in a cool, calming voice explain that no, this almost definitely isn’t really the tenth best MITB ladder match of all time. As I sensually stroked your inner thighs to calm your righteous sense of injustice I would explain how aware I was of rating the first two female MITB matches as scientifically the weakest two in the stipulation’s history, and how I must have been subconsciously desperate to rank their third go around highly in order to address this imbalance. I’d kiss your cheek as I explained how dreaded context meant it was important to slightly overrate a match that would probably be deemed little better than par for the course were it contested by people each holding a presumed pair of testicles and a thick, veiny and lipsmackingly tempting schlong swinging between their legs*. As your boorish fury at men being discriminated against once again built up, I would try and save matters by explaining that the ridiculously high placing was more in appreciation of how a perfectly serviceable ladder match was managed to be put together by wrestlers with next to no experience in the stipulation, at only the third try. As you angrily and loudly threw furniture around the room and fired off multiple Reddit posts asking whether it was even legal to talk about men any more, I would tearfully explain how I didn’t want all three female MITB matches to float around the bottom of this list, and by far the best of these three was ranked so high as mainly a symbolic recognition of great strides made. However, it’d be too late. By that point, I’d have already been officially and forever deemed a shameless ‘White Knight‘, and political correctness will have decisively gone mad.
(*apart from [WRESTLER], ammi right, lads?! I’ll let you make your own joke their, as I am unarguably better than that, whereas you are patently not)
All 22 WWE Money in the Bank ladder matches ranked. Listen, I thought the title would work better than it does, just go with it, OK?
The Money in the Bank (from hereon in referred to as ‘MITB’, because I’ve got a lot of writing to do and I am a very, very lazy man) ladder match is the best idea that WWE have had since Steve Austin’s turn to the dark side at the end of Wrestlemania 17 in 2001 signalled the end of the Attitude Era and drew the curtain on the last period which wrestling seemed in any way relevant or widely notable. It’s arguably the only good idea they’ve had in that 18 year period. Save perhaps having The Miz replace Ted DiBiase jnr. as the lead actor in ‘The Marine’ franchise from ‘The Marine 3: Homefront’ onward. Yeah, WWE make movies now. And yeah, they’re all terrible.
The premise- 5-10 wrestlers battle to use ladders to reach a contract swinging over the top of the ring which allows them a shot at any title they choose at any time they want over the next 12 months- is simple but ingenious, and allows for great storytelling potential and the chance to quickly promote a wrestler into the main event picture. Of course, this potential is more often than not completely squandered, because WWE are generally incompetent and we’re not allowed to have nice things.
Ranking the matches is difficult, because save a handful of amazing bouts and a smaller, Jeremy Beadle sized handful of slightly poorer ones, they’re almost always a similar level of ‘alright, pretty good, I suppose’. However, I am perhaps the greatest blogger of my generation- the ‘Heart Blog Kid’ Blog Michaels, or ‘Stone Blog’ Steve Blogstin, if you will- so I knew I had the ability to do it. I had initially planned to write this list in the build up to the 2018 Money in the Bank pay per view, back when there had been exactly 20 matches, and it would have made so much more sense. Alas, now there are 22 and, to be completely honest, I can’t even promise to finish it in time for 2019’s event exactly two weeks from today. But it’s a cash cow that the WWE are unlikely to put down for a long time yet, so there’s always the chance of a top 24 in 2020. Or perhaps a top 26 in 2021. I mean, I’ve started it now and I’ve already realised it’s going to have to be two parts…
On his second song from his second album* Shamir brilliantly showcases something quite perverse about the human psyche. Let’s imagine that I was once Shamir’s shitty ex-boyfriend: if I just left my clothes strewn across the hallway when getting undressed ready for bed; if I pretended to be, like, really into hip-hop as I felt it would somehow demonstrate affinity, and yet only ever listen to Lil Yachty on loop**; if every time I entered the house I’d bound over the sofa, snatch the remote from him and turn over from whatever faggy thing he was watching like ‘Narcos’ or ‘Gomorrah’ in order to immediately watch the highlights from last night’s WWE Raw (“No, Shammy***, you don’t understand! It’s being held in Chicago and, like, CM Punk is definitely going to make a comeback!”); whenever I’d finish the last of the milk I’d just put the carton back in the fridge; if I once acted surprised when he mentioned he’s black because I ‘Really, honestly don’t see colour’; if I said to friends that you ‘obviously’ didn’t vote for Trump; if I had an ‘All Lives Matter’ bumper sticker and don’t understand the problem with it; if I always had bad breath; if I was the absolute freaking worse. Then imagine if Shamir wrote a song outlining how big of a frickin’ arsewipe I was, basically just taking the 182 words above and making them rhyme (the fucking hack), and broadcast to all of his fans what a miserable waste of flabby-fucks-not-worth-giving I actually was. Have you ever thought how that would make me feel??