Page 1 of 1

BRM Reviews the 12/18/2017 Raw

Posted: Dec 19th, '17, 12:23
by Big Red Machine
Kurt Angle comes out to remind us all that week’s #1 contendership main event didn’t have a decisive finish. You’d think that Kurt would have come up with a solution in the 165 hours since then, but apparently not. He does, however, promise us an answer by the end of the night. Also, he tells us that Brock is here.
Kurt tries to move on to other business but is interrupted by an angry Braun Strowman. He says he deserves the Universal Title shot at the Royal Rumble because he was the only one left standing last week. Then Kane came out and says he deserves a title shot because he has “caused more destruction than anyone in WWE for over twenty years.” Since when does aggregate destruction earn you a title shot? Kane then made a more reasonable point that Brock has never beaten him before (though it would have been better if he had pointed out that Brock has beaten Braun before rather than name-dropping The Undertaker just to get a cheap pop.
Then Paul Heyman came out and said that no one was making any decisions on this without Brock’s input, and out came Brock and oh my G-d just announce a Triple Threat match already!
Then Kurt Angle very quickly announced that the title match at the Royal Rumble would, indeed, be a Triple Threat, then ran for the hill so as not to become collateral damage in the violence that was surely about to ensued. Said violence ensued, with Brock emerging victorious, giving Kane an F-5 after Braun had been sent to the outside. Brock walked off, and Kane sat up., teasing that maybe an F-5 won’t be enough to put him down. This segment accomplished everything it needed to and did not waste any time in doing so.

After Rollins came out but before Joe came out, Jason Jordan came out to whine about not getting a match against Joe, and telling Rollins that he’ll have to wait until he’s done with Joe to have their scheduled match. This whole time, all I could think was “where is Joe?” Shouldn’t he have been right there at Gorilla ready for his entrance, right after Seth’s? And from what we’ve seen since he got called up to the main roster, does anyone have any doubt that the most in-character thing for Joe to do in this situation is run out behind Jordan and choke him out on the ramp?
Ah. Here comes Joe. He cuts a promo suggesting that Seth and Jason wrestle each other, and the winner gets to face him next. Seth said that this whole argument is stupid because his match vs. Joe is already booked. He suggested that Jason Jordan “go look for his daddy’s approval somewhere else,” which Jordan responded to by shoving Seth down. Seth wanted to face Jason Jordan now, and the referee (who apparently has booking power) told the time keeper to make it official, so we got…

WINNER GETS TO FACE SAMOA JOE: Jason Jordan vs. Seth Rollins- 7/10
Joe sat down to watch the match from ringside. After a commercial break, we learn that Kurt has decreed that the winner of this match will face Samoa Joe “at some point in the future” rather than right away as we had assumed. Why so vague, Kurt? Why not just book it for next week?
These guys went almost twenty minutes, and while it did drag a little bit, it was still pretty great. I thought Jordan’s roll-up after that physical spot between Joe and Rollins on the outside where Rollins got the best of Joe was an excellent false finish that played off of what feels like the usual WWE misdirection formula would be.
Rollins picked up the win right afterwards and Joe attacked him after the match. Once referees managed to pull Joe off of Rollins, Joe headed to the back… but gave Jordan a cheap-shot on the way to keep his issue with Jordan at exactly the right place where Jordan inserting himself into the situation next week will be understandable and yet still kind of annoying.

Michael Cole referred to Joe vs. Rollins as a “long-time rivalry.” They feuded, for, like two months earlier this year. That’s it. Cole has very lax standards.

First it’s Rollins, then Ambrose, too. Then Jason Jordan shows up and says that he wants to face Joe. Seth & Dean tell him to stay out of it. Kurt books them all against Joe, Sheamus, & Cesaro in a six-man tag, because Rollins & Ambrose must face Sheamus & Cesaro every f*cking week. I thought this would have been a lot better if it was Rollins, Roman, and Jordan, as Roman also has heat with both Joe and Jordan, and it would have given us a different Shield pairing than we’re used to.

BRAY WYATT PROMO- he says that his feud with Matt Hardy is a “chess match.” Two monkeys throwing poop at each other is more accurate.

HANDICAP MATCH: Finn Balor vs. The Miz-Tourage- no rating, surprising segment.
The Miz-Tourage stopped making tags so they got DQed. They beat Balor up until f*cking KENTA showed up to make the save. When we got back from a commercial this turned into…

Bo & Axel got good heat on Balor. Balor eventually made a hot tag to Itami who beat the crap out of them and… Go 2 Sleeped? (Gone 2 Sleep? Got 2 Sleep? How the f*ck do you say this in the past tense? He hit him with an inverted Ushigoroshi, okay?) Axel for the win.

RENEE YOUNG INTERVIEWS CEDRIC ALEXANDER- he wants to be Cruiserweight Champion, but he’ll make sure not to overlook Gulak in tonight’s #1 contendership match. Fine promo.

ENZO AMORE PROMO- he says that Cedric vs. Gulak will “rival anything you’ll see in the new Star Wars movie.” I hope not. I don’t think I have enough negative stars to give out if that were to happen.

DREW GULAK PROMO- he puts over Jar Jar Binks, then puts over Enzo. Corey Graves buries himself by confusing Star Wars and Star Trek.

#1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH: Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak- 7/10
Enzo did guest commentary for this match. Despite having just shown us him putting his headset on about less than forty seconds earlier, they cut away from the action to show us Enzo sitting there and talking. I will admit to giggling when Enzo called Booker “Certified T.”
Cedric & Gulak had a great wrestling match that the announcers and Enzo almost completely ignored. Enzo left commentary (supposedly because he got a Twitter message from Nia Jax), and him leaving briefly distracted Gulak, which let Cedric take over and get the win.

Nia held the creepiest smile on her face for a solid ten seconds or so before she started talking. She thinks now would be a good time to finish their conversation from last week. YOU HAD AN ENTIRE WEEK! WHY DIDN’T YOU CALL HIM?
Anyway, Enzo says that he has been thinking about what Nia said and tells her, “I think that the answer is right at the tip of your tongue.” If Ezno thinks he’s getting a blowjob from Nia, he’s going to need to find a ladder first.
Drew Gulak interrupts them, bleeding from the nose and mouth, and apologizes to Enzo for failing him. He inadvertent cock-blocking was hilarious, and because it’s Enzo, cock-blocking actually manages to make him a babyface. This whole thing was wonderful.

Fox cut an in-set promo in which she expressed both confidence in her ability to win tonight’s match and her anger at getting jumped by the Order of the She-o Solar Temple last week. Asuka won. Booker T’s commentary is worth listening to just to hear him stammer on and on trying to explain his point while both Cole and Graves laugh their asses off at him.

They had some very good stuff with Jason Jordan in the beginning where he immediately tagged himself in, and rather than go after the legal man (Sheamus), he knocked Joe off the apron. Tagging himself in was douchy but fits in perfectly with him wanting to prove himself, and the way he went after Joe feels heelish in this context, but is understandable after what Joe did to him earlier. They’re doing a great job of walking the tweener line with him.
The heels isolated Rollins and worked over his back. If I was booking this, I would have had Jason Jordan steal one of his partners’ pins on one of the tag champs, as that would give Jason something he could point to as a “big win” while also putting him on the wrong side of our beloved Shield babyfaces (plus, it would inject some new, much-needed blood into the tag title scene, if only temporarily).
We’ll likely never know exactly what their intended finish was, however because Ambrose legitimately hurt himself on the outside and the finish came right after that, with Seth getting Brogue Kicked and pinned. If it was me, I would have pinned Jordan, as he still doesn’t lose anything because he doesn’t really have any momentum to lose as far was wins go, and he can use the “we were down 3-on-2” argument to dismiss the loss, and even to put himself over for valiantly fighting against the odds.

STEPH IS HERE- so yeah. They’re making the Women’s Royale Rumble announcement. I’ll go into why I don’t like this when the actual announcement comes.

MATT HARDY SH*T- terrible. He’s playing chess against a goldfish. The board magically changed itself or something. This is terrible.
Do you know what they should be doing with Matt Hardy instead of this “Woken” crap? They should have had Matt and Dash Wilder each lose a series of singles matches before facing off in a singles match that goes to some sort of double count-out. They then realize that they are both, at their hearts, tag team wrestlers, and since their partners are injured, they decide to team up. It is an uneasy alliance for the first few weeks, with Dawson yelling at Matt for taking risks by going to the top rope and Matt being unhappy with Dash using some underhanded tactics (but nothing too bad like a low blow or a weapon shot), but they learn to work together and they earn themselves a tag title shot at the Royal Rumble… and they lose after Matt misses a move off the top rope and gets pinned.
Wilder turns on Matt the next night, and they feud until whichever of their partners is ready to come back first. If it’s Dawson I’d just have him run in on a match and push Matt of the top rope for the DQ leading to a 2-on-1 beat-down, and Matt would feud with them both alone until Jeff is ready to come back, whereupon Jeff returns by making the big save for Matt and we get Hardys vs. Revival at WrestleMania. If Jeff is ready to come back first I would have Dash do something dastardly to put Matt out, then, about two weeks later, we’d get the Hardys music playing and everyone would be expecting it to be Matt but Jeff would make the surprise return instead and the feud would continue as above but with Jeff in Matt’s place, again leading to Hardys vs. Revival at Mania (which Revival would win). Then, if you really want to do this “Woken” crap you can have that Mania loss lead to both Hardys breaking together.

They are sitting with the trainer when Joe, Sheamus, & Cesaro attack them. Joe tells Rollins that “you’re never safe!” and also does more damage to Dean’s arm. With the benefit of hindsight I know that Dean’s injury is actually legit, so I will take this moment to applaud WWE for focusing on it and turning it into an angle so that it can be used to get actual heat, and so the idea of the injury will resonate more than if it was just a thing that happened during a match that they then quietly ignored until Dean is ready to come back. This way, each time we see Dean not there with Seth and Roman, we know that Samoa Joe, Sheamus, & Cesaro are to blame.
Speaking of absences that need to be explained, though… where has Roman been tonight?

We got clips of The Revival beating people in their short time on Raw before their injuries, including both the Hardys and The New Day, to remind everyone how great they are. Then the match started… and we almost immediately cut backstage to see Titus Worldwide watching the match, including new “Director of Statistics” Dana Brooke (which is not the title Titus gave her last week, so Cole needs to pay better attention), dressed in a suit and big glasses, taking notes in full Alexandra York-mode. The Revival won what should have just been a squash but wasn’t.

This happened right after a commercial break right before which we were teased with Steph talking to Kurt about something, and between that and the beginning of this conversation it got my hopes up that Slater was about to be fired. Instead, Kurt just tells them to “toughen up” because New Years is coming. Heath doesn’t get it, but Rhyno tells him he needs to “toughen up” and says he knows how. Well… maybe they’ll finally become a serious tag team at the end of this. I can hope, can’t, I?

ELIAS SAMSON SINGS- he cut a good cheap heat promo before he was interrupted by Sasha Banks of all people. Drifter took this all in stride and just assumed that Sasha was out here to listen to him play his guitar, so he started to play again. Then Mickie James interrupted him, too. He assumed that she, too, was here to listen to him and commented on how all of the ladies want to walk with Elias, which was a line that got good heat but was a HUGE missed opportunity because what he should have done was tell Mickie that he usually doesn’t like letting other people in on his performances, but because she is such a successful singer in her own right, he’ll graciously allow her to join him by providing backing vocals.
He was going to play again but this time Bayley came out. One of her inflatable tube-men keeled over and died, making it quite the apt metaphor for Bayley’s career this year. Throughout all of this Michael Cole keeps shouting that “it’s like *INSERT NAME OF MUSIC FESTIVAL HERE*!” It was embarrassing. Elias finally left, but not without one last heel move, rejecting Bayley’s offer of a hug.

XX-Factor gets DQed for not making tags. At least that’s what I assume the result was. We never got an actual announcement. They were going to beat Sasha up some more when Nia Jax (and just Nia Jax, as opposed to the huge coalition we got last week) came out to make the save. She beat the heels up all on her own for a while until she stopped to pose, which allowed Paige to chop-block her knee. The Paige of the Fall then beat down Nia until all of the other women came out and a big brawl erupted. And yes, Asuka was included in this pack other women, even though it would have made much more sense if she- who had gotten jumped by D-Gyneration X last week- was the one in Nia’s place.
Then Steph came out and everyone instantly stopped fighting because the great mother-goddess of the Diva’s/Women’s R/Evolution, Stephanie McMahon, deserves their attention a lot more than the immediate threat of the dangerous foes they find themselves standing right next to. And to make this as bad as possible the non-Impact Paiges let this dangerous faction known for jumping people stand DIRECTLY BEHIND THEM. And it’s not just me saying this. Michael Cole went out of his way to point out how everyone stopped fighting and paid attention to Stephanie. But hey. I’m sure that damaging suspension of disbelief and doing a stupid non-finish DQ schmoz in the main event was all worth it. I mean… the real star of the show needs her spotlight, right?

Before I get into my booking problems with this, let’s look at Steph’s delivery. She started off by saying the following sentence:
“Three years ago a revolution started in the WWE, led by all of the women in this ring, all of the women on Smackdown Live, and every single woman to ever step foot inside the squared circle, including the Fabulous Moolah and the great Mae Young.”
1. After years of arguing over who started this thing, it turns out that the answer is “everyone did. YAY TEAM!”
2. It was led by “all of the women in this ring, all of the women on Smackdown Live, and every single woman to ever step foot inside the square circle.”
Yes, apparently this new revolution was led by women who weren’t even in the company at the time. That’s quite the feat.
3. Presumably “every woman to ever step foot inside the squared circle” includes the likes of Trish Stratus, Ivory, Kelly Kelly, Sable, Rockin’ Robin, Sheri Martel, Bull Nakano, and Wendi Richter… all of whom finished their wrestling careers well before the “three years ago” that Steph said this revolution started, so HOW THE F*CK COULD THEY POSSIBLY HAVE HELPED LEAD SOMETHING THAT HADN’T EVEN STARTED YET!?
4. Please find me the argument for anything Miss Kitty ever in WWE did contributing positively to women’s empowerment. The only one you can try to make is one that comes from a sex-positive viewpoint, but sex-positivism is exactly what this marketing campaign has been meant to shift away from, so I’m betting that’s not an argument WWE wants to have to make.
5. I love how the two people she mentions by name are Mae and Moolah. Not Trish Stratus, who was literally hired just to be a sexual object and worked her ass off to become the biggest star the company has ever had from the standpoint of being a female wrestler. Not Alundra Blayze, who was doing the Divas Revolution in the WWF before anyone ever thought there would be a need for one. Not Rockin’ Robin, who has overcome everything from being sexually abused by her own father to losing her house and all of her belongings in a hurricane to rebuild her life several times over. Not Chyna, who broke ground for women in WWE by wrestling men… and winning. No. She mentions Mae Young- who made a living posing as a prostitute so she could assault and rob men, and Moolah, who had dictatorial control over the lives of many female wrestlers, and used that control to book them out to promoters, who she would then tell that it was perfectly okay to withhold payment from the women until they provided them with sexual services. Score one for the sisterhood!
Actually… when you put it that way, I am in no way shocked that these are the two women who Stephanie McMahon reveres the most.
Also, when she went out of her way to specifically mention Mae and Moolah, I was almost certain that they were going to flash a disclaimer on the screen that specifically excluded AJ Lee and Chyna from receiving any credit.
Steph continued, turning to the women now all standing in a line behind her: “And all of you, who turned that Revolution into an Evolution.”
That’s not how evolution works. So we’re now two sentences in, and in her great big speech about how far women have come, all Stephanie has done is prove that she doesn’t understand the concepts of evolution, time, space, and that robbery and coercing people into providing sexual favors are wrong.

“Because of you, the Divas’ Division became the Women’s Division.”
No. F*ck you, Steph! WE did that. The fans. The people you claim to love and respect and always listen to and always do everything for. We had been screaming at you for years to get rid of your stupid, demeaning branding term in favor of a word that is both more respectful and natural, and you ass-hats NEVER would have changed it if not for us, so don’t give me this bullsh*t about how you did it because the wrestlers were so good. If you really respected us, you’d at least give us credit for supporting this. Or... you know... not come out here and lie to our faces about everything.

“You became the Superstars and the main-eventers, headlining just like the guys.”
This quote will be important later, but for now I will merely point out that for people who actually understand wrestling, the real headliner here is not the women involved- they had a short tag match that went to a non-finish and then a schmoz. The person getting the main event spot on tonight’s show is one particular woman: Stephanie McMahon.
She continues by talking about how they are “blowing the roof of the joint.” Even the women on Smackdown, the show she hates oh so much. She went on and on about the firsts in the Women’s Division, and if I were Sasha or Charlotte, I’d be pretty pissed about everyone else being given credit for that Hell in a Cell match happening. She talks about people chanting “this is hope!” which I don’t ever remember hearing. She puts them over for their courage and for inspiring little girls and so on and so forth. Then she milks the announcement by twice asking the crowd “do you want to see these women make history once again?” Then she announces the women’s Royal Rumble… and then says “if there was ever a time for a “YES!” chant, it’s now,” because what better way to end a segment about how far women have come than with a chant started and popularized by a man. Hooray for women!
Then all of the women do the decidedly non-female Daniel Bryan’s chant and they all exchange hugs, and this segment that started with what I was supposed to believe was a big brawl between a bunch of women who want to hurt each other has now turned into a non-kayfabe pep-rally in which they’re all on the same team.

Starting with the smallest issue first, based on the way WWE usually books during this period of the year, and especially in the male singles divisions, the way they’re probably going to build up the this women’s Royal Rumble is going to be with the same six weeks of frustrating water-treading. This would be annoying enough in a vacuum, but the Women’s Division, which used to be the place that had the most actual movement during this period of time, switching over to stalling means that not only will there be more stalling, but there will also be a lot less non-stalling.
Secondly, this seems to all but confirm what I theorized in my review of last week’s Smackdown, which is that the reason that Mandy, Sonya, and the Riott Squad were called up was not because WWE had any real plans for them, but so they could have more female bodies on the main roster to fill up this Royal Rumble. This means that they will almost certainly flounder around with nothing to do afterwards, which, as we’ve seen time and again (Crews, Neville, Bo, Emma, Adam Rose, Tyler Breeze, Tye Dillinger, the Vaudevillains) is TERRIBLE for the talent. It’s yet another sign that the people in charge of this company do not learn from their mistakes.
The third, and most important reason, relates to Steph’s quote: “You became the Superstars and the main-eventers, headlining just like the guys.”
By my count there are twenty-two women on the main roster- twenty-four if you want to include Brie Bella and Maryse (according to her Twitter, Maria Kanellis is due in fifteen weeks, which is well after the Rumble). Now subtract at least four from that- two champions (can’t have them in the Rumble), plus one challenger for each of them (unless you want the champs off the card entirely. Either that or go back to them facing each other just two months after you told us that it could only happen at Survivor Series). That leaves us with twenty women. They are therefore left with three options:
1. Bring in/call up ten more women, which will then stick us with even more talent getting lost in the shuffle and floundering.
2. Fill the remaining spots- a third of the field (at least)- with one-off NXT appearances or gust returns. Having so many of these will make the whole idea feel forced and hollow.
3. Do a Royal Rumble with only twenty women in it… which will make it feel inherently less important than the men’s Royal Rumble, thus contradicting the purpose of this entire thing.
But even if they already had enough women on the main roster, there is still one major problem with all of this, and that is the fact that, while women (although if we’re being honest about it, mostly just Sasha and Charlotte) have been given opportunities to headline shows, we all know that they almost certainly will never let the women’s Royal Rumble be the main event over the men’s version, and they will absolutely never let the women’s title match resulting from a Rumble victory be the main event of WrestleMania over the men’s one. And because of that, the women’s Royal Rumble will always come off as being less than the men’s Royal Rumble, thus torpedoing their big rah-rah equality project. This is yet another example of WWE’s belief that as long they push their narrative hard enough and say their branding catchphrases often enough and loudly enough, people will fall for their bullsh*t and not think for themselves. For all of these reasons, this women’s Royal Rumble is a bad idea, and WWE is either too dumb to realize it, or, more likely, they do realize it but just don’t care because they think they can blind us with their branding.

Another pretty good show from Raw, although Steph almost killed it for me single-handedly.

Oh. Cena will be back next week. I wonder if anyone will be angry at him for siding with Smackdown? Hint: I wouldn’t bet on it.

Re: BRM Reviews the 12/18/2017 Raw

Posted: Dec 19th, '17, 13:40
by cero2k
i really do believe that they'll just do 20 women, but if they wanted to do the 30 women rumble, I think it be easy bringing 3-4 NXT talent (not call ups, just one night onlys), 1 indie name from the MYC, Nikki Bella's return, and fill in the rest with alumni like Serena and Victoria that are still good to go, and Ronda Rousey of course

Re: BRM Reviews the 12/18/2017 Raw

Posted: Dec 19th, '17, 18:38
by KILLdozer
That was like the worst, anticlimactic, surprise out of nowhere ending to a show I've ever seen. Where was Roman Reigns btw?

Or was he just convinently and inexplicably left off just because and so they could do that thing with Jordan and that was the only way they could six man tag The Shield without him?

Re: BRM Reviews the 12/18/2017 Raw

Posted: Dec 19th, '17, 22:54
by Big Red Machine
Trish Stratus has already teased entering.

Re: BRM Reviews the 12/18/2017 Raw

Posted: Dec 19th, '17, 23:05
by XIV
I agree with every statement BRM makes about the Women’s Royal Rumble, While a great idea in principal, it’s terribly last minute and it’s terribly flawed. If this was properly Planned in advance, it allows them to find and make more female stars to adequately have a Rumble... announcing this five/six weeks before any Rumble is ridiculous.

And everything she said when she was talking about her admiration for the wrong people is just stupid. There was a Women’s division long before Vince sexualised the division. The fans of a new era just got sick of seeing clearly talented women left behind and sexualised and wanted more substance.

Whilst the Women do deserve credit for being an amazing roster. The fans created that movement. Just like the Yes movement. It was fans backlash against WWE’s “you’ll like what we want you to like”.

All in all. Too premature for a Women’s Royal Rumble because of talent lack and forced feel.

Re: BRM Reviews the 12/18/2017 Raw

Posted: Dec 20th, '17, 09:04
by cero2k
XIV wrote:
Dec 19th, '17, 23:05
I agree with every statement BRM makes about the Women’s Royal Rumble, While a great idea in principal, it’s terribly last minute and it’s terribly flawed. If this was properly Planned in advance, it allows them to find and make more female stars to adequately have a Rumble... announcing this five/six weeks before any Rumble is ridiculous.
i think star power and time is enough really, especially since it's really easy to make a call to Trish, Lita, Awesome Kong, and even Alundra Blayze to do a one nighter to put over whoever they want to win. I'm 99% sure this is how they debut Kay and Royce, and i'm 99.9% sure this is how Nikki Bella returns.

the one thing i do see with the roster right now is that i only see limited choices to win the whole thing. For wrestlemania i'm expecting the horsewomen vs horsewomen match which needs no titltes, and Paige vs Asuka, which does require a title, so i'm guessing whoever doesn't win the title inbetween today and the rumble, probably wins the rumble. I really don't see anyone else having the slight chance at winning.

Re: BRM Reviews the 12/18/2017 Raw

Posted: Dec 20th, '17, 10:02
by Big Red Machine
cero2k wrote:
Dec 20th, '17, 09:04
XIV wrote:
Dec 19th, '17, 23:05
I agree with every statement BRM makes about the Women’s Royal Rumble, While a great idea in principal, it’s terribly last minute and it’s terribly flawed. If this was properly Planned in advance, it allows them to find and make more female stars to adequately have a Rumble... announcing this five/six weeks before any Rumble is ridiculous.
i think star power and time is enough really, especially since it's really easy to make a call to Trish, Lita, Awesome Kong, and even Alundra Blayze to do a one nighter to put over whoever they want to win. I'm 99% sure this is how they debut Kay and Royce, and i'm 99.9% sure this is how Nikki Bella returns.

the one thing i do see with the roster right now is that i only see limited choices to win the whole thing. For wrestlemania i'm expecting the horsewomen vs horsewomen match which needs no titltes, and Paige vs Asuka, which does require a title, so i'm guessing whoever doesn't win the title inbetween today and the rumble, probably wins the rumble. I really don't see anyone else having the slight chance at winning.
The other major rumor (which seems frighteningly plausible to me) is that Asuka takes the title from Alexa at the Rumble and the Royal Rumble is won by the surprise debut of the real star of the Mae Young Classic, Ronda Rousey, leading to Ronda challenging Asuka at Mania. It would explain why Asuka has stopped using the Asuka Lock and instead started winning all of her matches with flash armbars.

Also, if they can throw enough money at her, I can see WWE actually drumming up a bunch of interest by having Trish work a Brock schedule for a year, just off of the potential match-ups.