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Most Memorable Moments of the Year - The Wrestling Year 2018 in Review

Most Memorable Moments of the Year - The Wrestling Year 2018 in Review

I'm relatively new to Reddit and SquaredCircle. In fact this is my first post on this subreddit. I recently wrote a review of the wrestling year 2018 in a German Wrestling Forum. Now I want to share it in a translated form with this awesome community. I hope some of you like it. In this review there will be featured 36 moments from 12 different wrestling promotions (namely AAA, AJPW, CMLL, Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, MLW, NJPW, NWA, ROH, STARDOM, WWE and wXw).

  1. Picking up after a disappointing start - WrestleKingdom, Golden Lovers and the Implosion of Bullet Club! It was Wrestle Kingdom time, Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship! Many expected the title would change hands to Naito. He seemingly was the perfect candidate to end the record breaking run that was the 4th reign of Kazuchika Okada as Heavyweight Champion (which was then and is to this date the longest reign in the broad history of the title. So it was no wonder that many were disappointed this seemingly perfect scenario of Naito being the one didn't happen.To me personally that match was only the top of an overall disappointing show (on the highest possible level of course, but disappointing nonetheless). Some weird decisions were made at that show even more so if you take the show a day after Wrestle Kingdom into account. Bullet Club for example lost the titles at WK only to regain it the following day. The match Cody vs. Ibushi was kind off disappointing considering the high standards of "normal" NJPW matches in general and Kota Ibushi specifically. Also the first part of the double main event wasn't good either (and yes, I know many will disagree with me on that one). To me Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega was not good, it was a match that had a huge level of hype to it but couldn't live up to it in the ring.But the turning point for New Japan should come very soon in Sappora. It was at that place were Cody Rhodes started a war for leadership of Bullet Club. But that was only a minor thing considering the Re-Union that some said was obvious others called it a complete surprise and some simply didn't care. To them it was just beautiful. None other than Kota Ibushi stepped up to help Kenny Omega in his hour of need, thus reforming the "Golden Lovers" tag team in the process. That was day two in Sappora, but day one didn't disappoint also. It delivered a great wrestling show with a very good main event match between Minoru Suzuki and Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, which was won by Minoru Suzuki.
  2. Twenty-five years of Monday Night RAW (22.01.2018) It was on January 22nd when World Wrestling Entertainment had all reasons to celebrate. Twenty-five years to that date the companys weekly TV-show RAW was on air. What a great reason to celebrate and of course it should not be any ordinary party but a huge one. WWE decide to use not one but two arenas to celebrate with various legends being featured. All in all it was what one would expect popular acts from the past celebrating together with popular acts from today. Sadly WWE could stop their bad habit of putting old over new/current.Also the two venues didn't turn out as such a great idea as the company hoped for. The Manhattan center mainly got throwaway Matches und for a very limited amount of time it was, that Manhattan Center got to see anything at all. Mainly they had to watch the show on the titantron and therefore basically were TV viewers who paid big money for that.The viewers at home got a show that could live up to the expectations. I hoped for a show as well balanced and executed as RAW 1000 was. Sadly we got something different. It was basically a show of goofiness and highly predictable elements such as Vince McMahon getting a Stunner from Stone Cold Steve Austin. We also got a highly predictable women's match (Asuka was undefeated at the time and it was obvious that won't change anytime soon, let alone in a non-singles match). It didn't help much, that a cringey Rumble-preview spot with the women was added after the end of the match. Neither did it help to have Miz win the Intercontinental Title out of nowhere for. To top things of we got DX and Balor Club celebrating with "Too Sweets" only to be interrupted by The Revival. The latter paid for that interruption by being defeated by Anderson & Gallows and afterwards humiliated by the DX who also got help from Razor Ramon. Also we got a promo from The Undertaker of which I am not sure to this date if anyone knows what he did or wanted to say. The show was closed with the Undertakers brother Kane who in 2018 wanted to focus on politics but just by the way was in a world title feud at a Big 4 PPV.
  3. A historic Weekend! - WWE Royal Rumble & NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia (27./28.01.2018) On January the 27th and 28th history was written in WWE (that actually happens every day, if you believe what WWE is telling us ;-) ). The weekend was kicked off by an NXT TakeOver show, that overall was "just good". We got a match between Undisputed Era and The Authors of Pain (who at the time still had Paul Ellering as their manager), a very enjoyable but from a wrestling POV just okay Match between Velveteen Dream and Kassius Ohno followed by a mediocre NXT Women's Championship match between Shayna Baszler and then-champion Ember Moon. There also was an Extreme Rule match between Aleister Black and Adam Cole that was pretty good, but the match this show will be remembered for happened in the main event of the show. The champion Andrade Cien Almas faced his challenger Johnny Gargano in one of the best matches I have ever seen. Tension, drama, interferences from their women (Zelina Vega as business manager to Andrade Cien Almas and Candice LeRae as the wife of Gargano). That match had it all! Simply put it was an outstanding, superb match that one could also call "perfect".I personally think that match is the best WWE match I have ever seen and also one of the three best wrestling matches I've ever seen in my live (I'll come back to that statement later). And if that match wasn't enough thereafter Tommaso Ciampa started one of, if not THE feud of NXT with just one simple strike with a crutch. Oh, and by the way that match was the first match in 7 years (since 2011's Cena vs. Punk) that good five stars from Dave Meltzer. But that was not all. Day 2 of the weekend was yet to come, the Royal Rumble. And WWE announced something historical before the event. That night featured the first ever Women's Royal Rumble match and as we know now it even main evented the show. But let's talk about the rest of card for a second.The night opened with a 2-on-1 handicap match between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. Afterwards the Usos won a Best Two Out Of Three Falls Match with 2:0 against Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. Then the Men's Royal Rumble Match started and it was a very well booked rumble match, including some great surprises (NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas & Adam Cole). The winner of that match was of course Shinsuke Nakamura, who was massively cheered for that victory. The cheers even intensified when he announced that he would not face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship, but AJ Styles for the WWE Championship instead making official what many had hoped for the dream match for WrestleMania. Well, we all didn't know then how that would turn out...Before the Women's Rumble finally started there was a title change on RAW and their tag team division and the obligatory title defense. Then finally the Women's Royal Rumble started and turned out to be a very well booked one. A great and very entertaining mix of current women's wrestlers, NXT women and women from the past. The match was won by Asuka who last eliminated Nikki Bella. But that was not all, another memorable moment happened when suddenly with Asuka and the two champions standing in the ring another music hit. Ronda Rousey entered the arena and with one simple appearance divided the WWE Universe. I'll just leave this moment with the statement that it was just that one of the memorable moments 2018 produced, no matter if you like or hate it.
  1. Reviving the Cruiserweight Division The WWE Cruiserweight Division was at an all time low at the beginning of 2018. After losing the topstar of the division in Neville they went a different way and opted to make the worst wrestler the division had to offer to the one that should save it. Many fans back then said that can't work, WWE however didn't listen. Therefore the reign of Enzo Amore ended a different way over wrongful accusations of sexual harassment that ultimately led to his release from WWE.The cruiserweights were at an all time low with no champion at that time, but WWE chose to start over again. At the beginning of February 205 live got his own authority figure in the newly recruited Rockstar Spud, now billed as Drake Maverick. He took the rebuilding of the division seriously and under his leadership (and a rumored creative takeover of Triple H backstage) the show prospered. A tournament to crown the new Cruiserweight Champion was announced and was set to culminate at WrestleMania.That moment in February when Drake Maverick took over marked the rise of the division to its current status where it constantly delivers good matches and is at least a serious insider tip.
  2. The Multi Champion returns to his home! Austin Aries did very well for himself in the first half of the year. He adopted the gimmick of "The Belt Collector" travelling various independent promotions winning their gold. With that collection of gold he returned to the place he once called home, Impact Wrestling. And not only did he return to Impact Wrestling, no, he used the moment of surprise to defeat the World Champion Eli Drake and add yet another title to his collection.A title he would go on to hold for a very long time, only interrupted by one day/three weeks, when he lost it to Pentagon Jr. but regained it immediately.
  3. The longest Match in RAW history! It was time for the Go Home Show of Elimination Chamber 2018. Everyone expected a basic show with not much happening other than hyping up the upcoming PPV. But no! That was not what happened. Instead RAW started with a gauntlet match between all the participants of the Chamber match. Judging by logic one would expect this to be a quick affair, not to long, just easy going to save energy for the Elimination Chamber match. It as I said before came different and we got to see the longest match in RAW history (and afaik also the longest match in WWE history). The first hour of RAW went by, the match was still on. The second hour started and went on. At the end of that second hour after 105 minutes Braun Strowman defeated The Miz to gain the victory. MVP of the match however was Seth Rollins. He started this match as the first entrant who went on to stay in that match for 65 minutes. He also was able to defeated two opponents, no less than Roman Reigns and John Cena the absolut top guys at that moment. All in all we got no boring go home show, but a record setting match that will be remember for years to come and cemented Seth Rollins as one of the most constant workers in all of WWE.
March 2018
  1. UN-BE-SIEG-BAR! (09./10./11.03.2018 - wXw 16 Carat Gold 2018) “Ich schulde jemandem einen Gefallen…” with those words (losesly translated to "I owe someone a favor") WALTER started what has to be considered as the "Comeback of the Year" in European Wrestling. Ilja Dragunov, the winner of 16 Carat Gold 2017, who seemingly had retired after his loss in Dezember 2017 against wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion "Bad Bones" John Klinger and did not have any further appearance in the world of wrestling since then returned to wrestling and Westside Xtreme Wrestling. That return blow of the roof of Turbinenhalle in Oberhausen, Germany. In a very good three way match the returned fan favorite and self proclaimed tsar of wXw captured the Unified Wrestling Championship.This second day of the Carat tournament definitely stole the show. However the third day didn't disappoint either. The veteran, or VeterAAn as he calls himself, Absolut Andy got the victory! Also the third day had Pete Bouncer turn against John Klinger, who didn't consider him worthy to represent RISE in their tag team bout. Also the newly crowned champ Ilja Dragunov defended his title as the fighting champion he was, against Matt Riddle.
  2. Future and Veterans This entry will feature two moments that seemingly do not have anything in common. The title wins of Christopher Daniels in Ring of Honor and Starlight Kid in STARDOM respectively. Christopher Daniels started the month by winning the ROH World Six Man Championship alongside his SCU mates Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky defeating the Hung Bucks. That victory officially made him the first and to this date only Ring of Honor Grand Slam Champion. At the end of the month Starlight Kid became the inaugural winner of the Future of Stardom Championship, a title for rookies and wrestlers under the age of 20.Those two moments who seemingly have nothing in common despite the "winning a title theme" show two sides of a pro-wrestling career and also two promotions that know what they are doing. Ring of Honor chose to give one of the veterans of their company a unique accomplishment whilst STARDOM decided to give the future of the company a title to fight for, a title to showcase those who one day will carry the company on their shoulders. That is how veterans should be treated and that also is how you build your future!
  3. Zack Sabre Jr. conquers NJPW! March was Zack Sabre Jr.'s month! The englishman, who found himself a Japanese-speaking "hypeman"/manager was scheduled to compete in New Japan Cup. But he did not just compete in the tournament. He came, he saw and he won the whole thing! Zack Sabre Jr. was only the second Non-Japanese to win the Cup. On his way to tournament victory the Best Technical Wrestler of our times defeated Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Sanada and Hiroshi Tanahashi while also submitting the Ace of New Japan!His price was the tournament victory, a magnificent trophy and a title shot of his choice. Of course he chose to square up with the IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. Unfortunately his winning streak then came to an end but not without him am Okada putting up an outstanding match.
APRIL 2018
  1. WrestleMania Weekend - NXT TakeOver: New Orleans & WrestleMania 34 April, that is WrestleMania-time! The weekend was once again opened by the development brand NXT in what some call a good, others a very good and a few even the best NXT TakeOver of all time. The show was started with a Ladder match for the new NXT North American Championship. A midcard championship for NXT. To me that didn't sound very appealing, but the announcement of the participants and the stipulation changed that.Adam Cole, EC3, Killian Dain, Lars Sullivan, Ricochet and Velveteen Dream had the job to present the title the best way they could. They did not fail, they exceeded expectations and delivered a match one could call the best ladder match in history. Everyone played his very own and distinct part in this match ranging from "spot guy" Ricochet to the two big dudes bent for destruction Lars Sullivan & Killian Dain. In the end it was Adam Cole who became the Inaugural NXT North American Champion.Next the Shayna Baszler got another chance to become NXT Women's Champion and much to my disappointment she did and therfore ushered in a new era for the NXT Women's Division. I wasn't a fan of hers and probably never will be but she definitely improved over the course of the second half of the year. The match itself was just average and in my opinion not a suitable farewell to Ember Moon, who debuted at RAW AfterMania. A complete booking disaster that turned out to be an absolute masterpiece followed. On the one hand this match had so many confusing elements. Not only the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finale but the NXT Tag Team Championship was decided in that Match and Undisputed Era won it after a shocking betrayal of Roderick Strong! It was perfect and weird all in one. Undisputed Era a team not even part of the Dusty Classic won exactly that Dusty Classic!To round out the evening we had a pretty decent NXT Championship Match. Aleister Black got the Title thanks to an interference-gone-wrong from his now-wife and business manager to Andrade Almas Zelina Vega. That match was followed by Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa (which got ***** from Meltzer). NXt TakeOver was a tough act to follow for WrestleMania.At first it looked like WrestleMania would pull the unthinkable and beat the masterpiece that was NXT TakeOver the night before. A very good Intercontinental Championship Match started. Cool special attires, a very high workrate, overall a great match where Seth Rollins beat champion The Miz and Finn Balor to win the Intercontinental Championship and become Grand Slam Champion in the process. Then Asuka vs. Charlotte had a memorable moment, when Asuka tapped out to Charlottes Figure Eight thus ending her undefeated streak that began in October 2015. These two highlights started a great first third of the show. Other moments were Rousey/Angles vs. Steph/HHH and the squash match Undertaker vs. Cena. Sadly after another storyline-wise good, but bad executed match in Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss and a good match between Nakamura and AJ that just could not live up to the hype. After that match the show fell apart, when a 10-year old and Braun Strowman won the Tag Team Championship and Brock Lesnar once again was victorious.
  2. Titus World Slide Every Year-in-Review article needs the comedic moments, too. One of those moments this year was delivered by Titus O'Neil at the Greatest Royal Rumble, a show that was the first in a co-operation of WWE and the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia. I hope there won't be that much more. The reasons for said wish should be obvious and are also the reason why I won't mention the other show in Saudi Arabia in this article. But back to Titus World Slide:
  3. MLW Fusion April also was the month of a rebirth. The rebirth of Major League Wrestlingand start of their weekly show "Fusion". It is a show with very high quality and an attraktive roster, that soon was considered an insider tip and beloved alternative to established weekly wrestling shows. In its first run the league went bankrupt, but now a decade later MLW finally delivered what they had planed to be years ago, a serious wrestling show with good storytelling giving unknown wrestlers a chance to shine but also feature well liked and established stars of the business. With the start of live broadcasting in December we look into a good future for what has to be considered a true phoenix reborn from the ashes.
MAY 2018
  1. Naomichi Marufuji wins Champion Carnival 2018 can be considered a year where many wrestlers returned to the place they started their careers and Naomichi Marufuji was one of them. He returned to the company he once started at. The company he left to work for the rival promotion at that time. In 2018 some 10 years after a short return to AJPW and 18 years after he first left the company he competed in the Champion Carnival the biggest singles tournament of AJPW and not only that, he also won. On his way to the final he defeated many great wrestlers and even the AJPW Champion in the final. In the rematch for the title he unfortunately lost.
  2. Momo Watanabe takes over from Io Shirai In May it seemed almost certain that the Ace of Stardom and then Wonder of Stardom Champion Io Shirai would leave the company towards the USA. Six days before it was finally confirmed Io Shirai defended her title against Momo Watanabe in a match that can be considered a passing of the torch. She passed the torch to a young woman who celebrated her 18th birthday the day before, Momo Watanabe, who became the new Wonder of Stardom Championship. Momo won her first singles championship in Stardom and catapulted her career to a new level. It certainly is not easy to step in the footprints of a wrestler like Io Shirai but a few months later I can confidently say Momo Watanabe is the women that can fulfill this quest and lead Stardom for years to come!
  3. V12 Kazuchika Okada seemed to be a champion who had nothing left to prove because he already captured any accomplishment there was to capture. In fact one such accomplishment was missing from his list. Himself and Hiroshi Tanahashi were tied for most successful defenses of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. One more defense? Easy, let's take a guy that doesn't seem to week and there you go. But that was not the Okada way. He did not chose any fluke challenger he chose the man he had to share the record with. The man who was able to defeat him before. He chose to fight the Ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling.Hiroshi Tanahashi was the man, Fukuoka the location, Dontaku the event and May 4th, 2018 the day, the day Okada crowned himself the record breaking champion and undisputed best IWGP champion of all time!
JUNE 2018
  1. Best of the Super Juniors 2018 The annual Jr. Heavyweight Tournament of New Japan was a showcase for two main characters in 2018. Both, Hiromu Takahashi and Taiji Ishimori, made this tournament their tournament. It was only fitting those two would meet in the final of the tournament and that was exactly what happened. The recently debuted New Bone Soldier and Bullet Club representative in the Tournament and the fan favorite and Los Ingobernables de Japon member Hiromu Takahashi, who became champion a few days later beating Will Ospreay, put up an outstanding, astonishing performance that I personally put on my top 10 list of the greatest matches of all time. It simply was awesome!
  2. Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada - The Real Best Match Ever?! (09.06.2018) The year prior my review featured a discussion on which Okada vs. Omega match was the best match ever and if it could be a time limit draw that is considered best match ever or even just perfect. This year there is no discussion. They did it! Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega exceeded all expectations in the fourth match of their series. A match I have no problem with calling it "The Best Match Ever"!
  3. NXT UK and Five Billion Dollars! Once again I will put two moments together. In June 2018 WWE made the next step in their expansion to the United Kingdom. From what was a division without much sense or exposure they made a independent brand under the NXT banner. NXT UK was born! Johnny Saint a UK-legend was nominated the General Manger of NXT UK and a two day Show was announced to give the new brand a good start. And it was. NXT UK to this very day is a entertaining product.But that wasn't the only big announcement WWE made in June. Tehy announced two new TV deals that will bring the company five billion dollars. A new brand, much money and a man that won't to rule over the entire industry. A dangerous mixture. The really gravitas of that deal only came to light in the second half of 2018. Time will tell, where this gigantic income will lead the wrestling world!
JULY 2018
  1. G1 Special in San Francisco - Form Zero to Hero and Two Bad Starts. In July NJPW once again run a show in the United States that will be remembered from three title defenses. The G1 Special was the show where both the IWGP Heavyweight and Jr. Heavyweight Champion would have to defend his title for the first time since winning it at Dominion. It also was the show were for the first time ever a US-citizen became US Champion.It was the show of Juice Robinson, who crowned himself champion in a good match against Jay White and also thereby proved that the days as CJ Parker in NXT are long gone and he is a new and changed man now! He did it! He was the first US-American who won the United States Championship!The two first defenses sadly are remembered badly, but for very different reasons. In case of the Heavyweight Championship it simply was a matter of the two competitors Cody and Kenny couldn't deliver. It really is as simple as that. The Jr. Heavyweight Championship is different. It was a good match, but unfortunately Hiromu Takahashi got injured when Dragon Lee hit a botched Phoenix-Plex on him. He know is out with a broken neck and had to relinquish the title that was rightfully his. So far he did not make a return, but teased it for WrestleKingdom. Soon we might know more!
  2. Impact Wrestling Slammiversary 2018 The theme of "Redemption" run through Impact Wrestling in 2018. After so many failed attempts to restructure Impact Wrestling with new owners, re-brandings etc. this year should be the turning point for Impact Wrestling to better times. Slammiversary was one of the shows that played a huge role in this redemption tour. It was a good show with a nice mix of standard matches, gimmick matches, Hardcore, Street Fights and it also featured a Mask vs. Hair match and two good women's matches. All in all it simply was a very well rounded show!One women on the card also deserves a special mention: Madison Rayne. She competed for RoH, WWE and Impact Wrestling within a few weeks and showed the world just who good she still is. Ring of Honor then made the right called and signed her. Congratulations to Rayne and RoH alike.
  3. The Greatest Sports Entertainer in the World! Tommaso Ciampa who I mentioned earlier gave this moniker to himself after fighting many grueling battles against former best friend Johnny Gargano. The two pretty much were the main thing going on NXT. In July it finally happened, all the rivalry and hate between those two affected others. Tommaso Ciampa got himself a NXT Title match and Johnny Gargano only had one thing in mind: preventing his foe from becoming champion!He failed! He interfered in the Championhsip Match and caused what he seeked to prevent. He was the reason Tommaso Ciampa became the NXT Champion! He still is and just recently proclaimed himself "Greatest Sports Entertainer in the World"!
August 2018
  1. G1 Climax Of course the G1 Climax can't be left out. It started with some really great matches, namely the rematch from last years final between Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito. We also got very good performances from the Stone Pitbull Tomohiro Ishii and Kenny Omega, who went through the tournament with a winning streak and delivered maybe the match of the tournament on the last day, when he faced off against his best friend Kota Ibushi, who also had an excellent tournament!But not all was good. I also remember two negative Booking one was the booking of US Champion Juice Robinson, the other was the booking of Bullet Club OG. Robinsons Booking was just not my cup of tea, as I like him and wanted him to succeed and not lose so much. Buleet Club OG just hurt the tournament in general.
  2. TakeOver Brooklyn IV - The Pirate Princess Claims Her Treasure For people who know me this doesn't come as much of a surprise, after all it might just be the most predictable of all the moments I included. It also was I moment I seriously didn' believe would happen until it did! At the beginning of the match when the bell rang I didn't believe Kairi, my most favorite wrestler, would get that title. All MMA-4-Horsewomen were present, the North American Championship changed before and hardly ever do two championships change hands back-to-back. Also I knew the houseshow results and they really pissed me off. Kairi Sane hit the Insane Elbow and Shayna Baszler just kicked out and won via Kirifuda Clutch. And that scenario was about to happen again and I seriously hated it!But then it happened! Kairi managed to pin Shayna Baszler on the mat for a three count. She was the new NXT Women's Champion! Kairi stood there in the ring happy and with tears of joy in her eyes. And myself? I sat here in front of my laptop and was so emotionally invested in the whole match that I was crying, too, and and so happy of what just happened.I don't like Shayna Baszler to this day (less so because of the booking that followed) but on this day this very match wasn't good despite Shayna, it was good because of Shayna obviously no because of her alone, but her contribution to the match was great and meant a lot for the overall construction of the match story. It made this whole story work so well.
  3. TripleMania XXVI - The good parts of a shit show! TripleMania XXVI was a Shit-Show. Nothing to argue there and I think most of us know the videos from twitter, botchamania and Co. Vampiro, who calls for his music, the injury of the president and other things immediately come to mind.But there was a different side two! Both Main Events were very enjoyable and the World Cruiserweight Championship Match also was very good. For both the good parts, as well as the "car crash"-appeal of that show it was a moment of the month of August.
  1. ALL IN - The Biggest Independent Pro Wrestling Show Ever! ALL IN was an ambitious project. Born from a risky bet, carefully organized and built up over months, sold out in a few seconds. It was a good show, although there certainly where things not anybody was digging (penis druids) and in the end there were problems with the timing of the show.In the end ALL IN was a nice Showcase for Independent Pro Wrestling and above all fan service! The follow up to that is currently undisclosed. One Night Only or is ALL IN 2 coming? All Elite Wrestling? Something entirely different? 2019 for sure will be an interesting year for Wrestling and Cody Rhodes and the Jackson-Brothers contributed big time to that.
  2. Marty "The Moth" Martinez - Lucha Underground Champion! Marty "The Moth" Martinez had a great year in Lucha Underground 2018. He started with the promotion as a fan that interfered in a match and from then his character turned more and more psycho! In September he not only bought himself a Gift of the Gods championship match with the wealth of his family in the background, like his sister did the week prior, he also asked for something extra. This "extra" turned out the be the right to cash in his Gift of the Gods title with the usual one weeks notice to the Lucha Underground promoter Antonio Cueto. He cashed in, and with the help of Reklusa (Chelsea Green) the man that started out as one of us, the believers, became the new Lucha Underground Champion ending the record setting reign of Pentagon Dark in the process and securing himself a spot in the main event of Ultima Lucha Cuatro!
  3. SmackDown 1000, NWA 70th Anniversary und CMLL 85th Anniverary It is not just RAW that had a reason to celebrate in 2018, but SmackDown, too. The 1.000th episode of the second show from World Wrestling Entertainment was about to happen und we got an interesting and enjoyable mixture between Nostalgia and current time SmackDown.Evolution deserves a special mention and above all Batista, who teased a Match against Triple H. That's a match up I think is very interesting. Also the Tag Team Championship Match should be mentioned. It was a outstanding on and I was very happy that the best Tag Team in recent years got back the title.But not only WWE had anniversaries in this month. The National Wrestling Alliance had its 70th Anniversary and it was also the 85th Anniversary of CMLL. Both promotions, both shows deserve to be mentioned for the good product they delivered and the history of those companies. The NWA grew back to strength under Billy Corgan and delivered a good wrestling show that was sadly diminished by the production them. Ironically they hired others because they felt a lack of ability themselfes. Two new champions were crowned that day. A new National Champion in Willie Mack as well as a new Worlds Heavyweight Champion in Nick Aldis who regained his title!CMLL delivered a good show, as always. There wasn't really an outstanding match or an underwhelming one. All matches delivered on a high level. It was a show consisting of good matches and good matches only!
The month of October features four moments as it was correctly pointed out by traitorcerealguy that the Roman Reigns announcement happened in October and not, as it was previously listed in September.
  1. Shingo Takagi is X! After the injury of Hiromu Takahashi Los Ingobernable de Japon recruited a new member. Reinforcement for the group not replacement for Hiromu was what they sought for. There were many theories floating around on how the new member might be. In the end it was the arguably hottest free agent in Japan Shingo Takagi, who became the sixth member of Los Ingobernables de Japon. Im really curious to what the now six man group will do in the months to come, but I am calling it right now: 2019 wil be the year of Los Ingoberables de Japon!
  2. Evolution & Mae Young Classic The Women's Revolution didn't stop in 2018 and it was time for the first All Women's PPV! The PPV was really good, the only think that wasn't is the choice of which match is in the main event. All in all we had good matches, a nice mix of old stars and current women. The event also had the debut of the MMA- Horsewomen who helped Shayna Baszler to make history as the first ever two-time NXT Women's Champion.Another big part of the PPV was the final of Mae Young Classic 2018. Toni Storm and Io Shirai had a very good match to finish a tournament that was definitely better than the year before, because the field of competitors was more divers and better. Therefore the tournament had many good matches. Most outstanding to me were the Japanese women especially. Io Shirai, Hiroyo Matsumoto and Meiko Satomura delivered the highlights to this tournament, but new women as well delivered, namely Kacy CatanzaroUnfortunately the tournament had his bad parts, too. The match Rhea Ripley vs. Tegan Nox endet due to referee stoppage because of an injury, what meant that she didn't win the tournament as she was scheduled to, but was eliminated immediately. There's nothing more to say other than: Get well soon, Tegan! Also I wish her the mental and physical strength to battle through this.
  3. "My real name is Joe and I've been living with Leukemia for 11 years... Sometimes a moment best speaks for itself:
  4. Jericho Cruise - Chris Jericho's Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager at Sea 2018 has also been the year of Chris Jericho. Besides his title win over in NJPW and his successful music career her also planed and executed his first very own cruise. On this cruise je brought together what helped gain main stream publicity for wrestling years ago: Rock and Wrestling!
November 2018
  1. Ultima Lucha Cuatro: Last year Ultima Lucha was a very long - I would even say to long - show. I'm glad it was shorter this year! Three hours were enough to end season four on a high note and have fans begging and hoping for a fifth season. All feuds were brought to a satisfying conclusion with the end scene setting up the main story in a huge way. But first the matches:Part I had a good Trios Title Match in which the champions retained their title much to my surprise, but I like that decision. The Reptile Tribe was unstoppable! Taya was able to defeat Ricky Mundo to get revenge on him and in the main event the mask of a luchador who used said mask to have a new identity that was at stake. Killshot was demasked as Jermaine Strickland and seemingly left the temple forever.Part II has some more highlights. Highlights that were overshadowed by the crazy end segments! We got to know the master of Vampiro, Taya got overtaken by a goddess, the monster that haunted Lucha Undergorund since day one got killed and the Lord in the Limousin revealed his identity. And if that wasn't enough Aerostar again travelled back in time and revived Dario Cueto as the champion of the good side in the upcoming battle!
  2. The Female Stone Cold?! Survivor Series! Brand vs. Brand, Champion vs. Champion i about to happen and the champion gets injured during a segment to hype up the PPV. The worst case! But Becky Lynch with a bloodied face is what many see as the "female Stone Cold" and her "Austin 3:16" moment. If don't want to argue on that comparison, maybe it is a 3:16 moment, maybe not! What no one can deny is that there was barely any women as over as Becky Lynch. With the Women's Revolution in her back a female WrestleMania Main Event seems to be possible now!
  3. WarGames II and the 6:0 Disaster. The previous moment I talked about Survivor Series, now it is time to talk about that weekend and its ambivalent weekend. As alsways TakeOver was first and deliverd at least four good matches and a cool debut moment for Matt Riddle (you can't really call that a match). It was a good show! If you like the WarGames stipulation (I don't) you might even call it an excellent show.Survivor Series also hat good matches, but the problem was the end result, or rather the development that followed. Because there was none! Also we should probably not mention the incident that occurred in the tag team bout.
December 2018
  1. Completing the Grand Slam PACkage Neville finally left WWE after a long time he had to wait over his frozen contract. But finally PAC was back! And not only did he come back to the indy scene but specifically to where it all began for him, Dragon Gate! At the beginning of the month he also won his first championship since leaving WWE. And it wasn't just any championship! It was the Open the Dream Gate Championship. The world championship of Dragon Gate and also the only Dragon Gate Championship PAC never won before.Therefore he not only became World Champion, but also a Grand Slam Champion in the process.
  2. Rhea Ripley - NXT United Kingdom Women's Champion! & NXT UK TakeOver Blackpool Also in December Rhea Ripley became the first ever UK Women's Champion by defeating the Mae Young Classic winner Toni Storm in the tournament final! Ripley thereby crowned he transformation from nice girl in last years Mae Young Classic to her new mean bad ass persona this year! But who will step up and try to dethrone her?At NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool a TakeOver-Show based off the US-example it might be the time for a new Champion of the women's division and we should get UK Tag Team Champions as well. Maybe, just maybe even Pete Dunne has to fear for the title he held so long.
  3. Tag Team Wrestling In some companys Tag Teams seem to be an afterthought. ROH and NJPW proved that it can be much more than that on Road to Tokyo Dome and Final Battle respectively. Both shows featured outstanding tag team match. A ladder war and a preview match between champions and challengers for WrestleKingdom!
If you made it to this point of the review I say thank you for reading this and I hope you enjoyed it. I hope I gave a good review of the wrestling year and I am also looking forward to all of your suggestions on moments I forget or chose not to include. Let's hope 2019 just turns out as amazing as 2018 did!
Note: Edited on 20.12.2018, 14:18 CET to correct the mistake mentioned above. Included the LU Championship win of Marty Martinez, which sadly didn't make the final 36 moments in the first version of the review, as a new moment of the month in September.
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[QUALITY POST] So You Have Decided to Hate Ed Sheeran: A Guide for Popheadians

VICE Broadly Creators Garage i-D Amuse Motherboard Munchies Noisey Tonic Thump Impact VICE Sports Waypoint VICELAND VICE News VICE Video LATEST
Paul Thomas Anderson on Perfectionism and Making 'Phantom Thread'
When Social Media Snooping On a Crush Becomes a Problem
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10 Questions You Always Wanted to Ask a Pizza Delivery Guy So You Have Decided to Hate Ed Sheeran: A Guide for Americans His inoffensiveness is what makes him offensive. Or: is it the fact he actually seems really, really sound?
TWEET Joel Golby Joel Golby
Jan 31 2018, 4:45pm
Ed Sheeran in 2015. Photo: The Photo Access / Alamy Stock Photo
Ed Sheeran is the world’s biggest pop star, and he sucks. America is now waking up to this fact because this weekend Ed won the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance for "Shape of You" – over "Praying", Kesha's song about overcoming sexual abuse – but didn't even show up to collect his award, and then did a cat picture on Instagram to celebrate his eventual double-win.
Look, here’s the cat picture:
That's annoying, isn’t it? But not all the way annoying. And therein lies Sheeran's particular allure. He falters along this blurry grey line where he is always straddling two states of being: at once charming and un-charming, a banger machine and anti-music, good at pop and bad at it, annoying and irresistible, horny and homely, a pop star and not.
We have known of The Duality of Sheeran in the UK for years, and it's now time for America to stop being quite so charmed by him and see through his many faces and, through that window, find themselves in a dark little pit of something stronger, something else. Welcome, America, welcome. Come on in, the water is lovely.
IS ED SHEERAN A BAD DICKHEAD? AN ARGUMENT FOR THE DEFENCE Ed Sheeran is not, I’m afraid, a bad dickhead. He actually seems fundamentally quite decent and sound. I bet he’s absolutely fine to have a pint with. Like: fine. Not good, but fine. No awkward pauses. Gets the rounds in. Brings back two packets of nuts for the table. Doesn’t have any loud opinions about real ale or "commercial lager". Decent enough at pool to not be a hindrance when you play doubles against two salty old lads who’ve insistently put a 20p piece down when it was your turn to play and said that, actually, the rule in this place is that it's winner-stays-on. You and Ed Sheeran leave the pub in different directions with a dry over-the-jacket-shoulders-hug and an empty promise of Yeah, We Should Do This Again Some Time.
Is Ed Sheeran a bad dickhead? No. He is not a bad dickhead. Are you going to text him for another pint some time? You're not. You've got other friends, better friends. He has his whole… his whole music thing, going. He’s probably busy, isn’t he. He’s probably got friends, right? Better friends. So let’s just leave it.
IS ED SHEERAN A BAD DICKHEAD? A MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH LONGER AND MORE CONVINCING COUNTER-ARGUMENT I'm going to have to break this down into the four sub-truths about Ed Sheeran that make him so largely hated by everyone who does not fiercely love him (it is difficult to be Sheeran agnostic: you either adore him with the power of a thousand suns, or you think he’s horrendous. There’s no middle ground, here. It’s like Marmite grew out a messy bowl cut and started singing at your wedding), thusly:
My dude is about as rich as it is possible to be from music alone (Forbes says he’s worth $37 million (£26 million), and literally any time he wants £15 million more he can just release an album or do a tour or whatever) and yet, despite that, he really very genuinely has the vibe that if his black jeans fade he will just scribble over them with a Sharpie while still wearing them, or that he just has a vague odour of damp laundry to him, or that he had a whole argument with his mum last time his mum's friend was having a wedding because he tried to wear the same trodden-down Etnies he always wears along with his suit, and when he got there he met up with some old college mates and they nicked a jug of scrumpy that was being saved for the reception and drank it, and Ed’s mum had to apologise to the bride because she was crying about the missing scrumpy.
This is it: the man is a multi-millionaire but he looks like your mate’s younger brother who broke his bed once so slept for three months across two beanbags squished in the middle and pressed into a fitted sheet. Ed Sheeran can sleep under absolutely any circumstances, I’m sure of it. I feel like I could blow Ed Sheeran's mind by slowly talking him through the concept of nail clippers. There is no way Ed Sheeran doesn't have a "formal hoodie". No other pop star alive has such a "if you spray enough Lynx on you, you don’t really need a full shower" vibe as Ed Sheeran. He is a human wallet chain.
You’re at your mate’s house and you are all smoking weed. It’s one of those halcyon days between lower sixth and upper: you’re all 17, your mums have left to go to work, you have a perfect endless summer against you, the sun outside is technicolor-bright and the wind is softly rippling the closed curtains against your back. Close your eyes and imagine yourself back there: that acrid, sharp smoky smell on the air again; a wet roach being passed around; one of your mates is cueing up a funny video he saw on YouTube. This is before you saw and became bored of every meme in the seconds after it formed. This was before you went to Instagram to get memes to send to your Twitter friends who sent them on to their Facebook friends. There was no meme hierarchy, no urgency. Only fun. On the screen, a dog leaps on a trampoline. You all laugh. "I haven’t seen that one before," you say. "That’s amazing." Hold the feeling.
Ed Sheeran’s there, isn’t he? Ed Sheeran’s there, with his legs folded underneath him on the bed. Ed Sheeran is wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt with a short-sleeved T-shirt over the top of it. Ed Sheeran has a single leather thong necklace tight around his neck. You don’t know where Ed Sheeran came from, or how and when he infiltrated your friendship group, but here he is, drinking flat supermarket-brand cola straight from a two-litre bottle, just a split-second of backwash, every single time he swigs. "Hey mate," Ed Sheeran says to you. "Here, mate," Sheeran says. "Pass the Dutch."
Ed Sheeran holds his hands out to you in a pinch gesture, and a thought crosses your mind. Make Sheeran do something gross for weed. And that’s how you all end up with shaky BlackBerry camera footage of Ed Sheeran licking a toilet bowl, crying, and saying, "Come on, guys!" before being allowed three small tokes on the communal joint. You can imagine it, can’t you? You can imagine that entire thing. This is the biggest pop star on the planet right now.
Listen, OK, fine, I'll say it: "Shape of You" slaps. It slaps. I’m sorry about this. I’m sorry to admit this. It’s a good song! We wouldn’t be talking about him if he didn’t do enough good songs to get famous! But at the start of the year it was fucking everywhere, the same way his big fuzzy orange face (*1) on the cover of + was everywhere for an entire year when that came out; the same way there has not now been a single wedding since B.E. (Before Ed) that did not feature that fucking song about falling into your loving arms. Ed Sheeran is everywhere, he is everything, his ubiquity becomes an assault on the senses, and worst still he knows this. Look at this excerpt from a Guardian interview with him from last March:
He talks about how 2017 is going to be his year, how happy and settled he is with his girlfriend, Cherry Seaborn, an old school friend; how all the artists he sees as competition – “Adele, Beyoncé, Taylor, Drake, the Weeknd, Bruno” – have already put albums out, so ÷ has “kind of a clear lane”. When I ask how he would feel if it did well, but sold less than its predecessor, 2014’s 14m-shifting x, he says: “I’ll bet you anything now it won’t. I don’t think there’s any possibility it will. The next album, I promise you, will sell less, but this album will sell more. I don’t think I’ll have a year like this again.”
His ubiquity is, worst of all the things, incredibly calculated and cynical – he plays the music industry like a fun game that he just happens to be exceedingly, effortlessly good at, and he does it while acting and dressing like the meek lad who fits you for kit every time you play paintball.
Every time I have seen footage of Ed Sheeran playing live – which has always been in the middle, unannounced, of something I did want to watch, like when he did the Olympics closing ceremony in a hoodie or when he turned up at [insert name of literally any awards ceremony in the last five years] – he’s always played with a sort of inverted stage presence, like a busker who sings the words "thank you" when you drop them 50p instead of just saying nothing. He is literally that kid from every town in the UK who got a loop pedal and beatboxes in the centre of town every Saturday so he can pay his mum rent, but on this timeline he is our most famous pop export.
That annoys me. As an expression of British pop, Ed Sheeran – Lad From Halls Who Electrocuted Himself Making Toast, Never To Be Seen Again Beyond Fresher’s Week – is the pinnacle of it. And he still looks like he woke up from a cider-and-watching-Blackadder party where he fell asleep and got drawn on with felt-tips and had to do his entire shift at Asda in a big fleece so no one clocked he was still drunk.
I’M STRUGGLING TO JUSTIFY WHY I DESPISE HIM BEYOND: THE FACT HE SEEMS EXTREMELY SOUND IS ACTUALLY WHAT MAKES HIM IRRITATING? GOD, I REALLY HAVE NO IDEA, DO I Sheeran is just: he’s just that quite forgettable lad from your year at school who nobody really knows the surname of, or who his mates are, or where he goes at lunch ("Where does Ed go at lunch?" – everyone at Ed Sheeran’s school, at some point), and then despite all this, despite all this, he makes absolutely irresistible bangers that your body cannot help itself from liking. You cannot not pop a shoulder to "Shape of You". You cannot not feel weird and gooey while holding hands and listening to "Thinking Out Loud". But the kid who made these songs is also the lad who stood at the front of the tuck shop line, begging everyone for their spare change so he could buy some Nik Naks.
He’s just fine, isn’t he. He’s just the male Ellie Goulding: there, yes, and recognisable on the radio, but you’re not going to go out of your way to enjoy it. He did that annoying Game of Thrones scene and there’s something very fragile and irritating about some of the depths in his voice, and his songs are catchy but not likeable, and he sometimes says some very cocky things, but I say cocky things sometimes and I’ve never made £30 million even once in my life, and that’s it: that’s what’s annoying about him. That you cannot put your finger about what is annoying about him. He’s that feeling of plunging your hands into cold oily dishwater. He’s a bus parked in traffic that refuses to open its door for you. Ed Sheeran is that grim empty feeling you get after spending £7 on a Pret lunch you didn’t even like. He’s just there. Being so inoffensive it is offensive.
Welcome to this feeling, America. We have been struggling with it for years.
(*1) NOT a ginger thing! His face is literally orange and fuzzy! Look at the album cover! I hate it with my life! I have seen it one-hundred million times!
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FILM Paul Thomas Anderson on Perfectionism and Making 'Phantom Thread' "At a certain point, my attention span runs out. I don't exactly have the temperament."
TWEET Oliver Lunn Oliver Lunn
Feb 1 2018, 8:22pm
Phantom Thread
Consider this: Joaquin Phoenix humping a sandcastle in The Master. Or this: frogs falling from the sky in Magnolia. Or perhaps, cast your mind over Marky Mark’s 13-inch fake schlong in Boogie Nights. You never know what Paul Thomas Anderson is going to do next. You only know that the images he creates will be forever carved into your brain.
I had no idea what to expect from Phantom Thread, Anderson’s new movie about a dressmaker in 1950s London. The trailer made it look like a sniffy BBC costume drama your parents might watch on Sunday night, all perfect postures and drab colours.
This was all the more surprising because his last film, Inherent Vice, was a stoner comedy set in 1970s LA. He’s said before that he’d hate to repeat himself – "I don’t wanna go back, that would be fucking horrible – which helps explain his leap from offbeat rom-com Punch-Drunk Love to There Will Be Blood and everything since.
In Phantom Thread’s twisted tale of a fucked-up relationship, Day-Lewis plays a dapper dressmaker called Reynolds Woodcock. He’s a complete control freak, as particular about the stitches on his dresses as his elaborate breakfast orders. Naturally, he’s not so great in relationships. He starts seeing a Belgian waitress who becomes his model and muse. One morning, in full controlling-dickhead mode, Woodcock snaps at the girl for buttering her toast too loudly: "I can’t begin my day with a confrontation."
If that sounds like a dreary drama about an impossible misogynist, believe me, it’s not. There are heaps of hilarious outbursts from Woodcock, and lines you’d never hear in a more hoity-toity drama. Take Woodcock’s offence at the word "chic". "Chic! Whoever invented that ought to be spanked in public. I don't even know what that word means! What is that word? Fucking chic!" The movie is punctuated by these eruptions. It’s intense and unpredictable, like a grenade thrown towards the conformity of British cinema.
When I sit down with Anderson in a hotel in central London, I ask him about this latest sharp turn. His eyes widen the moment I mention the word "risk". "Yeah. You're challenging yourself [as a filmmaker], mixing it up," he explains. But why this story? Why London's couture world of the 1950s? It all began when Anderson started reading about fashion designers from that era, like Balenciaga and Dior. "They were super obsessive personalities," he says, "super controlling, completely preoccupied with their work." This is Day-Lewis’s character in a nutshell.
You wonder how anyone could date someone that controlling. I ask Anderson if he was interested in how someone with such faulty emotional wiring can sustain a relationship. "No. What was more interesting was when somebody is that controlling of their life, and what happens when something is out of their control – like an illness comes along – and what it does to them, and what does this weakness reveal in them? What Woodcock is really after is somebody to punch him in the face."
I’m curious about possible parallels between Anderson and Woodcock. Can the filmmaker see himself in the dressmaker? "At a certain point my attention span runs out, I’m kind of a little bit impatient. I don’t exactly have the temperament." So the charge of "control freak" is a fair one? "Oh, for sure, but on a scale of 1 to 10 I’m probably hovering somewhere around 5. On an occasional day a proper 10. I mean, nobody likes it when a director doesn’t make decisions. There have been a couple of times where I’ve tried that and everybody gets really irritated. They’re like, 'Right, just fucking tell us what you like, because I don’t wanna have to guess.'"
I bring up the fact that there’s a slew of film nerds on YouTube who pore over his signature style, dissecting everything from his trademark whip-pans to his frames within frames. Again, "meticulous" comes to mind. I ask him if he’s conscious of his signature. "It has to come from whatever the story is," he says. "With There Will Be Blood you could have an epicness, because you’re outside and you’re following this large-scale story." Whereas the camerawork in Phantom Thread – which Anderson had a hand in – is more subtle. What happened to his beloved whip-pans, dolly shots, and high-wire visuals? "There’s physically no room to whip the camera around," he explains. "You’re shooting in a Georgian townhouse. So unless you want to start doing horseshit crane shots up through the floor and stuff like that, then the style comes out of the story and the characters."
This story’s setting couldn’t be more different, I agree, but Day-Lewis’s dressmaker does share some DNA with other Anderson characters. Not least There Will Be Blood’s Daniel Plainview, the actor’s other monomaniac male in pursuit of perfection. Both are flawed males, both the very picture of toxic masculinity. Sure, they’re not quite in the same league as Magnolia’s Frank TJ Mackey (“Respect the cock! And tame the cunt!”), but their masculinity is clearly insidious in relation to those around them. What draws Anderson to these antiheroes? "They’re funny usually. That kind of lends itself to humour, when somebody is like that."
Anderson talks about Day-Lewis on set as if he didn’t meet the actor, but rather Reynolds Woodcock. Was it different to the experience of working with him on There Will Be Blood? "Well, it’s the difference between working with Daniel Plainview and working with Reynolds Woodcock," he says, again as if the actor was in character 24/7 (something he’s famous for). "Plainview is a little bit easier to hang out with; he just wanted to get what was in the ground out; Reynolds is really obsessed with his wallpaper and chairs and things like that."
Paul Thomas Anderson. Image: VICE During the Boogie Nights-era, Anderson would eat pizza in interviews and talk non-stop about movies like he’d drunk ten cups of coffee. Talking to him now, at 47, he’s more reserved, with grey hair and four kids. But he still oozes that fresh-out-of-film-school hunger to knock you sideways in the cinema. He still can’t wait to dive headfirst into something totally different.
And the films themselves? His recent ones have been the most divisive of his career. The Master was a two-and-a-half-hour film loosely based on the early days of Scientology that Entertainment Weekly, in an article entitled Why I Fell Out Of Love With Paul Thomas Anderson, said "lacks a character we care about". Then there was Inherent Vice, an adaptation of the notoriously hard-to-adapt author Thomas Pynchon, that reportedly got walkouts because of its freewheeling narrative.
I loved those movies for their zero-fucks attitude to plot. If anything, my early apprehension about Phantom Thread was that it seemed like safe subject matter. I mean: to go from the sleazy setting of the porn industry, or the potheads of 70s Venice Beach, to this? A film set in polite society?
But here’s the thing: it’s easy to label Phantom Thread as the work of a more "mature" filmmaker, with the glory days of caffeinated whip-pans and coke-fuelled narratives behind him. To be sure, the film's style is more laid-back, the camerawork less energetic. Could it be that the former enfant terrible is slowing down? Speaking to him, I don't get that impression at all. It's not because he’s older and more reserved now, but because, he tells me, this story and this style just happened to be "getting me off" at that time. In other words, his taste is always changing.
I wonder what’s getting him off now. "It’d be nice to do something a bit more fidgety again, I suppose. No more English drawing rooms for me for a while," he laughs.
While English drawing rooms might be old hat, it would be great to see Anderson turn his head to the seedier side of Britain. I’d love to see him, say, make a "kitchen sink" movie in London, again putting the genre’s tired tropes through the PTA blender. And as if reading my mind as I’m leaving, he says: "I did have an idea the other day of wanting to do something in London again, because I really enjoyed my time here and I feel like there’s still more to do."
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FILM Paul Thomas Anderson on Perfectionism and Making 'Phantom Thread' DATING When Social Media Snooping On a Crush Becomes a Problem It's impossible to avoid, because it's all we've ever known. But you need to know where to draw the line.
TWEET ByMegan Nolanillustrated byErin Aniker
Feb 1 2018, 8:02pm
I can pinpoint the exact moment I realised that social media snooping had become the single largest problem in my relationship. Five years ago I was sitting in an apartment I shared with my then-boyfriend, a bottle of wine and four episodes of Gossip Girl deep into a solo Friday night while he partied with his friends. I smoked anxiously as I scrolled through his tagged pictures, trying to see what the party was like, which women were there, if he had slept with any of them.
When I ran out of pictures of that night I just kept going, further back into the recesses of his past, the country he used to live in, the house he had shared with his girlfriend there. I had seen the pictures before, countless times, but I kept scrolling, eager to find the one that hurt the most. It was a sun-dappled photo a friend of theirs had taken in Montreal, both of them laughing at the camera, beautiful and cool. I pulled up a picture of he and I together, and flicked back and forth between the picture of them and the picture of us. Back and forth, back and forth, trying to decipher which picture looked better, which couple was happier, which face was objectively prettier – hers or mine?
I am, at 27, of that generation which was submerged for the first time in the muck of social media while still puzzling out puberty. I was 13 when I first posted on a music forum, when they were largely populated by boys incessantly demanding "Hu here is horny??" after paying perfunctory lip service to a Korn song.
When we were 14, my school was swept by MSN fever. We conducted entire torrid romantic trajectories without ever leaving our bedrooms. It suited me perfectly: a fat, not-quite-pretty, bookish nerd who nevertheless had pretensions of cool, mainly due to the fact I read the NME.
MSN, Bebo and MySpace all meant I could impress my selected targets by name-dropping bands and films, and gathering their admiration the old fashioned way – pretending to like exactly what they liked. A few years later, I lost my virginity to an electronic musician I met on MySpace. My teen romances were, all in all, Extremely Online.
I never had a relationship or even a crush before social media. It was second nature to me to stalk the objects of my affection until I knew every cultural product they liked, had seen every photograph of them. It all felt normal at the time, because I didn’t know anything else. It’s only now that I see how strange it was that we all entered this great unknown, no precedent or consideration for what it all might mean – no idea that simultaneously getting to know a real person and their other, online self could be so disquieting.
Where do you draw the line with snooping on your significant other's online life? Do you scroll through their Twitter (tweets AND replies, why is she responding to his jokes all the time)? How many times a week do you look at their Instagram? Do you check who's liked each selfie (that clapped bloke from her office who’s always commenting heart-eyes emojis)? What about pictures they’re tagged in? What about the friends who posted the pictures they’re tagged in? What about finding the hashtag for a wedding he and his ex-girlfriend may have attended seven years ago? What about following the NGO where she works because sometimes they post candids from the office? Totally fake, not-real, personal examples there, which I use only to illustrate how quickly innocently snooping on someone can descend into a shame spiral.
Deep-dive snooping, drawing hysterical conclusions about your lover’s arm being around a friend, obsessing over their exes – not only is this behaviour a form of psychic self-harm, it has the same seedy feel of reading someone’s diary without permission, the same dread of certainty that nothing good will come of it.
Of course, some innocent snooping is only natural. That beginning part of an immense crush is so powerful that it can literally knock thoughts out of your stupid head. When I have a full blown crush on someone I forget what they look like. The intensity of it is so potent that when I close my eyes and try to recall their face, the features shift around, Picasso-like, and my mind can’t put them back together. It can feel really romantic and fun to sit there with a dopey smile mooning at an album of over-exposed pictures of their Christmas work-do from three years ago, a little dopamine surge to see you through until your next date. It’s fine to want to admire and get to know them.
The problem is when we go from wanting to know a person, to wanting to know them entirely; for there to be no part of themselves they have not revealed; when we want to exhaust their private reserves; when we want to consume them. This is what we do when we insist on knowing those parts of a person’s life which they have not decided to share with us. A key part of desire is the other person’s mystery, but we are compelled to try to destroy the very thing which excites us, the unknowable in them.
Social media tends to distill us all into easily absorbed images, and it's only when we occasionally experience ourselves from the outside that we can see how uncanny it is, this self of yours that looks and speaks and behaves like you and yet does not live your life. I remember roaring with laughter after bumping into my ex a few months after moving to London. "I’ve been stalking your Instagram – you look so happy over there!" he said, and the idea that anyone could have thought this when I was almost dizzy with sadness seemed ludicrous to me. But of course he had – I had as good as told him so, even if I didn’t mean to.
I often experience profound disturbance when I unexpectedly see a picture of an ex on Instagram; I think because it’s so jarringly intimate and so alienating at the same time. Here I am, the images say, and you don’t know me at all. I keep wondering when I will get used to it, when it will all stop seeming so strange. I wonder if I will unlearn this way of seeing, and then I remember that I never knew a different one.
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POLITICS The Culture Minister's New App Is Going Really Well "Come back on live stream Matt I need to masturbate."
TWEET Simon Childs Simon Childs
Feb 1 2018, 7:48pm
Matt Hancock MP
Culture Minister Matt Hancock has released an app to help his local constituents keep up to date with new pictures of him smiling while standing next to people. It's obviously supposed to be a forward-thinking attempt at 2.0 democracy, but it's basically it’s like a Facebook/Insta feed from one politician, with some opportunities for users to comment.
Within certain limits, of course:
Users are loving the opportunity to be themselves and share their views:
Some say the government is useless. I say to them: good luck getting anyone to believe you now they've provided us with an innovate new wanking platform.
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FILM Paul Thomas Anderson on Perfectionism and Making 'Phantom Thread'
Paul Thomas Anderson on Perfectionism and Making 'Phantom Thread'
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Subreddit Stats: btc top posts from 2017-05-17 to 2018-05-16 16:37 PDT

Period: 364.19 days
Submissions Comments
Total 1000 171217
Rate (per day) 2.75 467.46
Unique Redditors 530 18280
Combined Score 587073 990947

Top Submitters' Top Submissions

  1. 27576 points, 60 submissions: MemoryDealers
    1. I'm Roger Ver, CEO of and world's first investor in Bitcoin startups. AMA (974 points, 941 comments)
    2. The pro Bitcoin Cash video from CNBC made it to the very front page of! (863 points, 191 comments)
    3. I (Roger Ver) will be doing an AMA on Monday Dec 18th starting at 10AM EST on /BTC because /Bitcoin is completely censored. (820 points, 413 comments)
    4. Reminder: Blockstream and Core got 100% of everything they asked for. (808 points, 333 comments)
    5. I'm giving away $100 each of BCH and BTC on live TV tomorrow by displaying the private key. Guess why? (744 points, 832 comments)
    6. How wrong were they? More than 2 years ago the CEO of Lightning Labs said LN would be ready in less than 6 months (689 points, 276 comments)
    7. To the Censorship loving tyrants in /Bitcoin, don't Say didn't warn you! "In the unlikely event that the 2MB block size increase portion of Segwit2x fails to activate, will immediately shift all company resources to supporting Bitcoin Cash exclusively." (677 points, 364 comments)
    8. I just bet 1,000 BTC (~$4M USD) that Segwit 2X coin will have more value than Segwit 1x coin. (645 points, 399 comments)
    9. If you think consumers are going to throw away $100’s (and soon $1000’s) on transaction fees to open up a payment channel on the Lightning network, you are delusional. (599 points, 221 comments)
    10. PSA: If you get an email from me (Roger Ver) asking to borrow BTC, you can be 100% sure it as a scam. If they ask to borrow BCH, it is more plausible, but still a scam. (597 points, 73 comments)
  2. 23187 points, 41 submissions: Egon_1
    1. bitcoin mods removed top post: "The rich don't need Bitcoin. The poor do" (4814 points, 511 comments)
    2. WSJ: "[bitcoin core] fees have reached an average cost of about $30 per transaction. That makes bitcoin virtually unusable for all but very large transactions. The Bitcoin Cash crowd is just trying to offer a solution to that problem." (1303 points, 339 comments)
    3. Rick Falkvinge:"Fun fact: I am aware of a truckload of companies currently in the process of converting from Bitcoin Legacy to #Bitcoin Cash. I am aware of zero (0) companies going the other direction." (654 points, 228 comments)
    4. " wallet now displays "Bitcoin Cash" and "Bitcoin Core" balances. Should satisfy everyone, right? ;)" (626 points, 448 comments)
    5. GDAX: "We will open the BCH-BTC Order Book on Wednesday, January 17 at 9:00 am PST." (624 points, 114 comments)
    6. Stephen (BitPay CEO):"a typical #bitcoin transaction costs $1.80 now, >200k unconfirmed transactions, time for a hard fork to larger blocks ... 8mb please" (545 points, 113 comments)
    7. Erik Voorhees: "Fellow Bitcoiners, are you ever going to realize how problematic these fees are getting? Avg fees now over $40 per tx. A year ago avg fee was $4. A year prior, $0.40. Growing faster than price, and exponentially with usage. We just spent $4800 to move 15 BTC in one TX." (539 points, 147 comments)
    8. @Bitcoin: "The ownership of this account has not changed hands. I became busy with other things, much has changed since then and I've decided to take a more active role in the community once again." (536 points, 125 comments)
    9. BitPay CEO: “If people can’t engage in commerce, it’s hard to imagine why they’d want to store their money in Bitcoin in the first place” (530 points, 134 comments)
    10. U.S. Regulators to Subpoena Crypto Exchange Bitfinex, Tether (527 points, 196 comments)
  3. 13318 points, 28 submissions: hunk_quark
    1. Censored! Youtube removes Roger Ver's video on "The effects of Censorship and Propaganda upon Bitcoin" (1001 points, 297 comments)
    2. CNBC is waking up (882 points, 145 comments)
    3. Despite massing brigading from bitcoin and core, @Bitcoin twitter account has gained 50k subscribers since it came out in support of BCH last week. (623 points, 198 comments)
    4. Warren Buffet's Berkshire is the single largest stockholder in BoA and WellsFargo. In case you were wondering about his attitude towards Bitcoin. (616 points, 114 comments)
    5. Bitfinex defines Bitcoin Cash as the coin that fulfills the original promise of p2p cash, a bitcoin upgrade that is ready to scale and sound money! #Winning (608 points, 166 comments)
    6. Wouldn't wanna be this shopper. (587 points, 125 comments)
    7. GDAX enabling EUBCH trading pair next week. #winning 🎆 (574 points, 67 comments)
    8. Thank to this community's effort, Forbes has corrected Kyle's Torpey's LN article to clarify LTC tx fees is much higher than BCH. Now let's ask for 1 more correction: Bitcoin cash is not Bcash. Links in comments. (508 points, 176 comments)
    9. Elizabeth Stark of Lightning labs calls out Blockstream on letting users tinker with LN that's neither safe nor ready for mainnet. (492 points, 269 comments)
    10. The $2000 tip for Bitcoin ABC dev shows we don't need blockstream to pay our developers, we can do community funding through tippr! (462 points, 131 comments)
  4. 10330 points, 13 submissions: BeijingBitcoins
    1. Average Bitcoin transaction fee is now above five dollars. 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day. So much for "banking the unbanked." (3417 points, 465 comments)
    2. Dear Reddit Admins: We need to talk about /Bitcoin (1340 points, 284 comments)
    3. Paid for this whisky with Bitcoin Cash! Ginza bar becomes third Tokyo retail establishment to accept BCC (749 points, 60 comments)
    4. Samson Mow says Bitcoin isn't for people earning less than $2 a day. With average transaction fees now at $27.20, is Bitcoin even for people earning less than $100 a day? (661 points, 163 comments)
    5. Protip: If you are new to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, you really should read the document that started it all, the Bitcoin whitepaper [PDF] (647 points, 73 comments)
    6. /Bitcoin in a nutshell (537 points, 69 comments)
    7. Three years ago today, Mike Hearn published an article explaining exactly what would happen when the 1MB blocksize limit was hit. He was right on all counts. (482 points, 173 comments)
    8. Shit, they're on to us (455 points, 67 comments)
    9. "Am I so out of touch?" (437 points, 164 comments)
    10. abrkn on Twitter: I've bought some Bitcoin Cash. Now I just need @Blockstream to keep kicking developers, banning wallets, and insulting miners. (426 points, 95 comments)
  5. 9412 points, 19 submissions: BitcoinXio
    1. /bitcoin is censoring the NIST report that says "Bitcoin Cash is the original blockchain" and Bitcoin Core is not. If you have to censor to get people to believe you, then you have lost. (854 points, 500 comments)
    2. Someone hacked the account todu which was a mod here to point users to /bitcoin (736 points, 263 comments)
    3. Congrats: /btc has reached 150,000 subscribers! (702 points, 356 comments)
    4. Twitter continues to go downhill - flags @Bitcoin account as ‘temporarily restricted due to unusual activity’ (637 points, 216 comments)
    5. There is a huge edit war on Wikipedia where trolls like the user "Jtbobwaysf" are trying very hard to inject the word "bcash" into Bitcoin Cash pages and reverting/editing other pages that speak factually poorly on topics such as Lightning Network, Segwit, etc. (626 points, 153 comments)
    6. What /bitcoin mods desperately don't want you to see! (597 points, 106 comments)
    7. /btc is trending on reddit today, congrats everyone! (584 points, 18 comments)
    8. Bitcoin Cash is upgrading on May 15 to 32MB max block limit (579 points, 335 comments)
    9. /DarkNetMarkets shut down by Reddit (452 points, 324 comments)
    10. Just a heads up on what is going on in this sub - please be aware of what is happening. There is a coordinated effort by a specific group to undermine and destroy everything that we support because they are about to lose power come mid-November. (422 points, 200 comments)
  6. 9302 points, 2 submissions: censorship_notifier
    1. Evidence that the mods of /Bitcoin may have been involved with the hacking and vote manipulation "attack" on /Bitcoin. (8584 points, 1173 comments)
    2. New anti-censorship bot for /bitcoin (718 points, 347 comments)
  7. 8263 points, 15 submissions: jessquit
    1. You can now store a year's worth of continuously full 8MB blocks for the cost of a single BTC transaction (1375 points, 386 comments)
    2. There never was a "scaling problem." The only problem is "people that don't want Bitcoin to scale." (776 points, 419 comments)
    3. Please stop saying "Increase the block size" (661 points, 450 comments)
    4. [PSA] If your Bitcoin are not ready-to-transact in a wallet whose keys you exclusively control, then you don't control your Bitcoin (625 points, 216 comments)
    5. Why us old-school Bitcoiners argue that Bitcoin Cash should be considered "the real Bitcoin" (585 points, 587 comments)
    6. I think we need an EDA fix before the Nov hardfork (535 points, 346 comments)
    7. Why large blocks: because one man's "coffee purchase transaction" is another man's monthly income (508 points, 104 comments)
    8. There is a word for a "store of value" with no underlying utility, and that word is "collectible" (481 points, 171 comments)
    9. Ripple user comes to defend Ripple, gets hundreds of upvotes, but can't answer the most fundamental question: what prevents inflation? (462 points, 407 comments)
    10. If you don't agree that the mission is to make onchain transactions readily available to ALL people at ALL income levels then you don't understand the whole reason Bitcoin was invented to begin with (449 points, 203 comments)
  8. 8227 points, 17 submissions: increaseblocks
    1. No Neo I'm trying to tell you ... (700 points, 77 comments)
    2. Blockstream is falling apart - Greg Maxwell resigns - Blockstream takes down team page in a hurry to reorg team - Adam Back must be worried (680 points, 496 comments)
    3. * Ripple is not mineable (it is a centralized private blockchain run by banks) (628 points, 254 comments)
    4. rBitcoin moderator confesses and comes clean that Blockstream is only trying to make a profit by exploiting Bitcoin and pushing users off chain onto sidechains (576 points, 188 comments)
    5. Fixed - Bitcoin Cash moving money far better. SegWitCoin moving money with high fees and slow confirmation times! (538 points, 105 comments)
    6. Blockstream investor emails leaked - shows Blockstream motivation to steal transaction fees from miners and pay to Liquid sidechain customers (531 points, 250 comments)
    7. Vitalik Buterin says what we've all been saying - CoinDesk is scammy and complicit bad actor in the cryptocurrency world and should be shunned (511 points, 61 comments)
    8. "Blockstream plans to sell side chains to enterprises, charging a fixed monthly fee, taking transaction fees and even selling hardware" source- Adam Back Blockstream CEO (494 points, 143 comments)
    9. Coinbase comes through and does the correct thing and adds clarification on the upcoming Segwit2x Fork (452 points, 199 comments)
    10. Core trolls have hard decisions to make (437 points, 141 comments)
  9. 8207 points, 19 submissions: Windowly
    1. "If BCH hashpower > BTC, I'll start referring to it as just 'Bitcoin' :" ~ Gavin on twitter (773 points, 238 comments)
    2. You want to go grab a coffee?? (643 points, 420 comments)
    3. "I guess my idea of "freedom from corrupt banks" didn't include transaction fees that forced 99% of the world's population to keep using banks."~Erik Voorhees (595 points, 122 comments)
    4. "With recent developments, I'm putting all available dev resources to retool my software for #Bitcoin Cash. I suspect I'm far from alone."~Rick Falkvinge (Pirate Party) (493 points, 134 comments)
    5. "We've tested Bitcoin Cash vs Lightning Network and... LN feels so unnecessary and over-complicated. Also, still more expensive than Bitcoin Cash fees - and that's not taking into account the $3 fees each way you open or close a $50 channel. Also two different balances? Confusing" ~ HandCash (465 points, 252 comments)
    6. That Awkward Moment. . . . (431 points, 129 comments)
    7. "There was an entire mall in 2013 to 2015 in Berlin that accepted Bitcoin. This stopped when fees rose. There was wide adoption once. Fees kill use"~Dr. Craig S. Wright (427 points, 155 comments)
    8. "Billion-dollar corporations take note: Bitcoin Cash is open for business! Just try to fill up our blocks, I dare you. There will be no "Fidelity Effect" with BCH. Unlike BTC, we want you to use the Blockchain. BCH never really hits a scale ceiling."~Dr. Peter Rizun (419 points, 177 comments)
    9. Bitcoin Cash finally released on Open Bazaar! (417 points, 36 comments)
    10. Trezor is refusing to provide full wallet support for Segwit2x. This means if you buy Segwit2X on an exchange you can't store it in your hardware wallet. Another reason to buy a Ledger! (394 points, 200 comments)
  10. 8112 points, 2 submissions: PedanticPendant
    1. The idiocracy of bitcoin (7759 points, 751 comments)
    2. I made a new version of the well-known "Differences between the two versions of Bitcoin" diagram which I think is more informative (353 points, 135 comments)
  11. 7032 points, 11 submissions: rdar1999
    1. South Koreans sign petition (100k signatures) to reject ban proposal and 30k signatures asking to FIRE the Justice Minister and the Finance Minister for market manipulation. Crypto is winning!! (1858 points, 119 comments)
    2. BREAKING NEWS: South Korean Government confirms NO CRYPTO BAN. What they will do is to enforce regulations, anti money laundering task force, anti market manipulation, the usual stuff. (1089 points, 52 comments)
    3. Friendly reminder: Vitalik "I consider BCH a legitimate contender for the bitcoin name." (800 points, 181 comments)
    4. Shutting down or restricting the uses of bank accounts, thereby forbidding clients to buy crypto, is a blatant affront to the rights of civil liberty, manifested, but not limited to, in the rights to private property and free speech (563 points, 262 comments)
    5. GDAX: Bitcoin Cash Launch Retrospective -- trades were halted after 3 minutes because THE STASH DRIED OUT DUE TO AN AVALANCHE OF BUY ORDERS (486 points, 164 comments)
    6. While Jamie Dimon is shutting down your accounts, Russia’s largest State Bank is about to open cryptocurrency exchange In europe (433 points, 39 comments)
    7. Flippening: says: "We have made the decision to support the only bitcoin fork with a postive utility momentum, which is Bitcoin Cash.(...) We will not add future support for the Blockstream fork of bitcoin ("Bitcoin Legacy"), and will be deprecating it entirely " (426 points, 110 comments)
    8. National Institute of Standards and Technology confirm: "Bitcoin Core (BTC) is a fork and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the real Bitcoin" p.43 para 8.1.2 (365 points, 115 comments)
    9. TABGATE==> the astroturfing/hired shills scandal. Adam Back let it slip he hires full-time teams of social media shills/trolls. Just read! (358 points, 273 comments)
    10. Naomi Brockwell on Twitter: "[I] won’t succumb to censorship through intimidation." (330 points, 190 comments)
  12. 6983 points, 1 submission: boomtnt46
    1. As of today, Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method (6983 points, 1192 comments)
  13. 6148 points, 7 submissions: normal_rc
    1. Legacy Bitcoin tries to buy a cup of coffee (2299 points, 503 comments)
    2. WARNING: Brutal scam. Guy buys a Ledger Nano wallet on Ebay, and it steals all his cryptocurrency ($34,000, which is his life's savings). (1475 points, 522 comments)
    3. How the Bilderberg Group, the Federal Reserve central bank, and MasterCard took over Bitcoin BTC. (590 points, 221 comments)
    4. Cryptocurrency usually automatically downvotes any pro-BCH thread into oblivion. But I got my post to trend to #3 on their front page, by simply not saying "Bitcoin Cash". Proof that people would love BCH if they kept an open mind. (541 points, 208 comments)
    5. Tor Project can accept small donations again, thanks to Bitcoin Cash. (452 points, 35 comments)
    6. 100,000+ Merchants Start Accepting Bitcoin Cash. More than 100,000 BitPay merchants are now accepting Bitcoin Cash with the option seemingly automatically turned on for all of them. (413 points, 109 comments)
    7. Bitpay announcement: Electron Cash wallet now fully supports Bitpay BIP70 payment invoices for Bitcoin Cash. (378 points, 37 comments)
  14. 6118 points, 12 submissions: btcnewsupdates
    1. Starbucks CEO Wants Crypto. Considering All Currencies Except Bitcoin Core (BTC): "It is not a currency today nor will it be in the future” (824 points, 221 comments)
    2. Roger Ver: "Dear @reddit, [...] I'll pay you $100,000 USD if you simply appoint a moderator to /Bitcoin who supports free speech." (803 points, 428 comments)
    3. Hundreds of botted accounts mixed with some real ones simultaneously post "Bitcoin Cash is Trash" on twitter. Blockstream reaching sheer desperation status. (724 points, 285 comments)
    4. Overstock accepts Bitcoin Cash - BCH holders can now buy Home Goods, Bed & Bath Essentials, Jewellery & More! (597 points, 115 comments)
    5. ProtonMail asking for community assistance to enable Bitcoin Cash payments (536 points, 84 comments)
    6. WooCommerce brings Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to its 380,000 online retailers. (471 points, 98 comments)
    7. A Bitcoin Entrepreneur Jonathan Hamel knowingly misleads a Canadian Parliamentary committee to smear Bitcoin Cash (BCH). More Lawlessness from Bitcoin/Lightning (406 points, 193 comments)
    8. Largest Sports Gambling Site in the World, Bovada, now Accepts BCH. Billions of dollars in transactions a year (384 points, 60 comments)
    9. Bitcoin Cash support on OpenBazaar now live (360 points, 44 comments)
    10. Korean exchange KuCoin announce BCH trading pairs. (347 points, 40 comments)
  15. 5793 points, 12 submissions: BitcoinIsTehFuture
    1. “Graphene” is a new Bitcoin block propagation technology that is 10x more efficient than Core’s “Compact Blocks”! Created by: Gavin Andresen, A. Pinar Ozisik, George Bissias, Amir Houmansadr, Brian Neil Levine. (719 points, 225 comments)
    2. Just so you guys know: Ethereum just had another successful hardfork network upgrade. Blockstream is wrong when they say you cannot hard fork to improve things. (663 points, 399 comments)
    3. Western Union vs. Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash (634 points, 102 comments)
    4. It's called "Bitcoin Cash". The term "Bcash" is a social attack run by bitcoin. Not joking. Here is the full explanation, with proof. (568 points, 311 comments)
    5. On a reply I made in bitcoin that had over 350 upvotes, I was first somehow blocked from being able to reply on bitcoin and then actually banned when I edited my comment to state that I was blocked from replying. (505 points, 100 comments)
    6. The /bitconnect subreddit just got set to private! Bitconnect experienced a 90% drop, from over $300 down to $26! The scam has gone belly up at last! (442 points, 169 comments)
    7. Bitcoin Core Dev "Luke-jr" is asked why he is interested in Bitcoin. This is one of the main people in charge of Bitcoin right now. (408 points, 384 comments)
    8. I believe Bitcoin Core/Blockstream is now attempting to infiltrate Bitcoin Cash in the same manner that they did with Bitcoin Segwit. They are suddenly befriending Bitcoin Cash. Only in that way can they destroy from within. Do not be fooled. (405 points, 170 comments)
    9. #NOTX (392 points, 56 comments)
    10. Bitstamp just now renamed "Bcash" to "Bitcoin Cash". Win! (366 points, 61 comments)
  16. 5332 points, 1 submission: 11111101000
    1. Buy, sell, send and receive Bitcoin Cash on Coinbase (5332 points, 1034 comments)
  17. 5148 points, 2 submissions: peptocurrency
    1. Guess who controls over half a billion Tethers across 3 exchanges—over 73% of USDT currently in circulation. (4745 points, 637 comments)
    2. Dear Bitcoin: You're right. BTC has been attacked. (403 points, 107 comments)
  18. 5048 points, 8 submissions: cryptorebel
    1. You have $100 worth of BTC. So you purchase an item for $66, but have to pay a $17 fee. Now you have $17 worth of Bitcoin left, but it costs $17 more to move it. So $66 item effectively cost you $100. #Thanks BlockStream (1427 points, 434 comments)
    2. President of SBI Holdings: "The vision of the original Bitcoin white paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto calls for a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. That is a powerful vision, and SBI Group will devote resources to enable a future world where Bitcoin Cash is used globally for daily payments." (847 points, 84 comments)
    3. They used to use Bitcoin... (738 points, 179 comments)
    4. Elizabeth Stark of Lightning Labs admits that a hostile actor can steal funds in LN unless you broadcast a transaction on-chain with a cryptographic proof that recovers the funds. This means LN won't work without a block size limit increase. @8min17s (496 points, 434 comments)
    5. CEO of Roger Ver challenges Samson Mow to a debate once again, will Samson refuse again? The reason small blockers do not debate and need censorship is because they know their arguments cannot stand up to scrutiny. (429 points, 208 comments)
    6. Update from BitGo: "Due to strong customer interest BitGo will enable full support of Bitcoin Cash" (406 points, 25 comments)
    7. BitPay CEO hints at possible Bitcoin Cash acceptance: "We do listen to our customers and for quite some time their number 1 complaint has been the high fees and slow confirmation times. We really don't like to pre-announce things though. Things move fast and plans can change at the last minute. " (359 points, 73 comments)
    8. Congratulations, we have surpassed /bitcoin in "users here now" with 3600 users! (346 points, 63 comments)
  19. 4323 points, 6 submissions: Anenome5
    1. Government: "Cryptocurrencies are too risky." Also government: "Buy lottery tickets." (1297 points, 141 comments)
    2. Death of a Scamcoin: Bitconnect's front page screenshotted moments before they went private, showing panic, anger, and lots of ill-advised investment claims, several claiming to have lost over $100k (949 points, 314 comments)
    3. Let's End the War and focus on the TRUE ENEMY (722 points, 349 comments)
    4. has received over twice as many donations ($4800) in Bitcoincash as compared to BTC. This is how we win. (547 points, 157 comments)
    5. Segwhat? Gavin Andresen has developed a new block propagation algorithm able to compress the block down to 1/10th of the size of a Compact Block (Core's technology) using bloom filters called GRAPHENE. 10 times larger blocks, no size increase! 1mb 10mb, 8mb - 80mb, etc. (407 points, 182 comments)
    6. Remember Ross Ulbricht: Dread Pirate Roberts and the Silk Road experiment (401 points, 218 comments)
  20. 4259 points, 10 submissions: knight222
    1. PSA: /bitcoin IS UNDER ATTACK (764 points, 262 comments)
    2. /btc is trending! (522 points, 63 comments)
    3. Bitstamp To Launch Bitcoin Cash Trading (483 points, 81 comments)
    4. CBS is referring the new chain as "Bitcoin Cash" and the old chain as "Bitcoin Classic". Ahah (414 points, 121 comments)
    5. Bitcoin cash (BCH) price could lead to bitcoin "death spiral" - Quartz (373 points, 55 comments)
    6. Bitcoin Cash just destroyed the narrative of a contentious hard fork. There is nothing contentious with free choice. (372 points, 115 comments)
    7. Bitcoin Cash support expected in the next Mycelium release! (362 points, 84 comments)
    8. Anti-Censorship Bot For Detecting Deleted Posts on Reddit Gets Censored - Bitcoin News (326 points, 88 comments)
    9. Every mainstream news outlet refer the fork as "Bitcoin Cash". (324 points, 123 comments)
    10. On Shapeshift right now. (319 points, 98 comments)

Top Commenters

  1. jessquit (18478 points, 1851 comments)
  2. H0dl (8651 points, 1170 comments)
  3. tippr (8182 points, 3135 comments)
  4. MemoryDealers (7610 points, 205 comments)
  5. ForkiusMaximus (7398 points, 685 comments)
  6. Ant-n (6860 points, 932 comments)
  7. knight222 (6608 points, 689 comments)
  8. imaginary_username (6465 points, 524 comments)
  9. BitcoinIsTehFuture (5444 points, 475 comments)
  10. LexGrom (5404 points, 1642 comments)
  11. BeijingBitcoins (5188 points, 404 comments)
  12. BitcoinXio (5072 points, 282 comments)
  13. Adrian-X (4416 points, 854 comments)
  14. poorbrokebastard (4324 points, 782 comments)
  15. PsyRev_ (4261 points, 532 comments)
  16. Egon_1 (4254 points, 292 comments)
  17. BitttBurger (4154 points, 464 comments)
  18. btcnewsupdates (4084 points, 402 comments)
  19. Kain_niaK (3996 points, 660 comments)
  20. cryptorebel (3801 points, 376 comments)

Top Submissions

  1. Evidence that the mods of /Bitcoin may have been involved with the hacking and vote manipulation "attack" on /Bitcoin. by censorship_notifier (8584 points, 1173 comments)
  2. The idiocracy of bitcoin by PedanticPendant (7759 points, 751 comments)
  3. As of today, Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method by boomtnt46 (6983 points, 1192 comments)
  4. Buy, sell, send and receive Bitcoin Cash on Coinbase by 11111101000 (5332 points, 1034 comments)
  5. bitcoin mods removed top post: "The rich don't need Bitcoin. The poor do" by Egon_1 (4814 points, 511 comments)
  6. Guess who controls over half a billion Tethers across 3 exchanges—over 73% of USDT currently in circulation. by peptocurrency (4745 points, 637 comments)
  7. Average Bitcoin transaction fee is now above five dollars. 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day. So much for "banking the unbanked." by BeijingBitcoins (3417 points, 465 comments)
  8. Latest projections show BTC will break the time space continuum by cryptopicker (3288 points, 151 comments)
  9. <--- This many people want to follow Coinbase and go green for brand recognition by connor-j (3262 points, 373 comments)
  10. Two biggest Bitcoin subs according to their counterparts (posted on both subs) by themetalfriend (3131 points, 232 comments)

Top Comments

  1. 2533 points: esquonk's comment in As of today, Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method
  2. 2290 points: nanoakron's comment in Evidence that the mods of /Bitcoin may have been involved with the hacking and vote manipulation "attack" on /Bitcoin.
  3. 2028 points: kairepaire's comment in As of today, Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method
  4. 2019 points: vbuterin's comment in "So no worries, Ethereum's long term value is still ~0." -Greg Maxwell, CTO of Blockstream and opponent of allowing Bitcoin to scale as Satoshi had planned.
  5. 1210 points: vbuterin's comment in Vitalik Buterin tried to develop Ethereum on top of Bitcoin, but was stalled because the developers made it hard to build on top of Bitcoin. Vitalik only then built Ethereum as a separate currency
  6. 1205 points: LiamGaughan's comment in As of today, Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method
  7. 1181 points: anothertimewaster's comment in Evidence that the mods of /Bitcoin may have been involved with the hacking and vote manipulation "attack" on /Bitcoin.
  8. 1178 points: TacoPi's comment in Buy, sell, send and receive Bitcoin Cash on Coinbase
  9. 959 points: insanityzwolf's comment in bitcoin mods removed top post: "The rich don't need Bitcoin. The poor do"
  10. 871 points: SethEllis's comment in As of today, Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method
Generated with BBoe's Subreddit Stats
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Match Thread: QPR vs. Aston Villa

QPR vs. Aston Villa
Venue: Loftus Road
Kick Off: 16:00pm BST/GMT
Referee: Oliver
Why not join the IRC live soccer chat?
With Joey Barton in fine form since joining the London club, and a Villa side who need a result this weekend after a poor midweek performance against Bolton, this match could be a corker!!
So let's get the match facts.
Match facts/preview
TEAM NEWS QPR have no fresh injury concerns but Kieron Dyer remains out with a foot injury and Clint Hill joined Nottingham Forest on loan this week.
Jamie Mackie is not yet in contention but is back in full training after a double leg break last January.
Aston Villa are hoping deadline-day signing Jermaine Jenas will finally be fit after a thigh injury.
But Darren Bent has been ruled out with a groin problem, while fellow striker Emile Heskey remains an absentee.
MATCH PREVIEW The last time QPR beat Villa, pop star Jarvis Cocker was about to stun the world! When Kevin Gallen grabbed the only goal of that victory in December 1995, Michael Jackson was Top of the Pops with his Earth Song dirge. Cocker was so enraged at Jackson's performance at the Brits a few weeks later, he invaded the stage and waggled his bottom in Jacko's face!
People who downvote Match threads have aids, let's see who actually reads this stuff. I'll go for a first Rangers top-flight win since they beat West Ham in April 1996 QPR now have someone who loves to get in the face of opponents and they hope Joey Barton continues his abrasive form.
He's already driven them a long way from the naive opening hammering by Bolton and can inspire a first home Premier League victory of the season against Villa, who were poor in the midweek cup defeat by Bolton and who are fortunate to still be unbeaten in the league. I mean, I bet I can put anything, an nobody will give two shits.
Injuries to Darren Bent and Emile Heskey have hit them. Gabby Agbonlahor, though, is looking sharp. He's scored half of Villa's league goals and three in his last four Premier League games. His quick movement in from wide positions will threaten QPR's new-look defence, where Luke Young will be up against his old team. I mean, who do redditors think they are, I create a thread for a Premier League match, because nobody else can be bothered, and they downvote me. Well, guess what, I give you something to downvote, not that you will notice.
With Shaun Wright-Phillips in sparkling form in his opening two matches, Barton's leadership and DJ Campbell's quick feet in the box, I'll go for a first Rangers top-flight home win since they beat West Ham in April 1996.
Earth Song was just an insipid memory by then. Mark Morrison was at Number One with Return of the Mack. Now he did have a bit of snap and snarl about him - just like Joey!
MATCH FACTS Head-to-head
QPR are unbeaten at home to Aston Villa in the Premier League (W3, D1). Villa won 4-2 in the last league meeting between the sides - that was in March 1996 when Dwight Yorke scored twice, while Kevin Gallen was on the scoresheet for QPR. Gallen also scored the winner when the teams last met in the league at Loftus Road in December 1995. Managers Neil Warnock and Alex McLeish previously met in the 2008-09 season when both were in the Championship - McLeish's Birmingham beating Warnock's Crystal Palace at St Andrew's, and the sides then drew 0-0 at Selhurst Park. QPR
QPR haven't scored at Loftus Road yet this season in league or cup. Last season, Rangers won their first four home league matches without conceding a goal. Captain Joey Barton scored the opening goal for Newcastle in their 6-0 win over Aston Villa last season. Aston Villa
Aston Villa are unbeaten after five games of this season's Premier League (for the first time since 2006-07) but have drawn four of their matches. Gabby Agbonlahor has scored half of Villa's league goals this season and has scored three in his last four league games. Only Newcastle have conceded fewer goals than Villa in this season's Premier League. Darren Bent has been caught offside 12 times this season, more than any other Premier League player.
So where are both teams in the league at the moment, I hear you ask?
1 Man Utd 6 17 16 2 Man City 6 14 16 3 Chelsea 6 5 13 4 Newcastle 6 4 12 5 Liverpool 6 0 10 6 Tottenham 5 0 9 7 Stoke 6 -2 9 8 Aston Villa 5 2 7 9 Everton 5 0 7 10 QPR 5 -2 7 11 Wolves 6 -3 7 12 Arsenal 6 -5 7 13 Sunderland 5 2 5 14 Norwich 5 -2 5 15 Wigan 6 -4 5 16 Swansea 6 -5 5 17 Fulham 6 -3 4 18 Blackburn 6 -5 4 19 West Brom 6 -5 4 20 Bolton 6 -8 3
So both teams have had the better of performances out of 20 this season so far, with both teams resting in the top 10.
So you're now interested after reading all that, where can you watch?
Well, if you're a British or Irish citizen, Sky Sports is free this weekend, meaning at 3.30pm GMT, you will be able to pick up the game on Sky Sports 1, without paying the extra £5 per week. Bonus! If you can't find a TV but you're a Sky customer, why not use the SKY GO application, type that in Google and get yourself signed up. For people who neither have Sky or the option of purchasing Sky, you will be needing a stream?
Streams If you have anymore I will post them up.
BBC match thread
Courtesy of enabled
Obviously none of these will work till 4.00pm
Team Sheets
Not out yet, will update when out, expecting soon. They're out
01 Kenny
05 Hall
13 Traore
18 Young
35 Ferdinand
04 Derry Helgusson
07 Taarabt
11 Faurlin
17 Barton
32 Wright-Phillips
10 Bothroyd Campbell
Substitutes 26 Murphy, 02 Orr, 16 Connolly, 14 Buzsaky, 09 Campbell, 21 Smith, 22 Helguson
Aston Villa
01 Given
02 Hutton
03 Warnock
05 Dunne
06 Collins
07 Ireland
10 N'Zogbia
16 Delph
19 Petrov
25 Bannan Albrighton
11 Agbonlahor
Substitutes 22 Guzan, 23 Beye, 34 Lowry, 12 Albrighton, 38 Gardner, 14 Delfouneso, 26 Weimann
Reddit Live Match Thread
Kick off! Phewww...
Is that Gary Neville doing the actual commentary?
Warnock : Yellow Card.
Half time facts.
QPR 61%
Aston Villa 39%
Attempts on target
Aston Villa 1
Attempts off target
Aston Villa 1
Aston Villa 4
Aston Villa 6
Half time snap shot
"For all QPR's dominance they have only really carved out one clear chance and they will be thankful to Paddy Kenny's expert save from Barry Bannan."
2nd Half
Hutton: Yellow Card
57' Penalty Penalty Penalty
Traore: Yellow Card
58' Bannan GOL GOL GOL
QPR 0 - 1 Aston Villa 58'
Chants can be heard all over London to the tune of 'You don't know what you're doing'.
Collins: Yellow Card
Substitution: Bothroyd off Campbell on
Substitution: Bannan off Albrighton on
Agbonlahour: Yellow Card
Subsitution: Derry off Helgusson on
Gary Neville is officially blind. That was a penalty. Shut up Gary.
Traore: Red Card
90' Traore OFF OFF OFF
93' Dunne GOL GOL GOL
QPR 1 - 1 Aston Villa 93'
FULL TIME QPR 1 - 1 Aston Villa
QPR still looking for a first home win.
Full time match facts:
QPR 54%
Aston Villa 46%
Attempts on target
Aston Villa 4
Attempts off target
Aston Villa 4
QPR 11
Aston Villa 8
QPR 14
Aston Villa 19
Penalties given
Aston Villa 1
Penalties that should have been given
Aston Villa 1
Table after the result
1 Man Utd 6 17 16
2 Man City 6 14 16
3 Chelsea 6 5 13
4 Newcastle 6 4 12
5 Liverpool 6 0 10
6 Tottenham 5 0 9
7 Stoke 6 -2 9
8 Aston Villa 6 2 8
9 QPR 6 -2 8
10 Everton 5 0 7
11 Wolves 6 -3 7
12 Arsenal 6 -5 7
13 Sunderland 5 2 5
14 Norwich 5 -2 5
15 Wigan 6 -4 5
16 Swansea 6 -5 5
17 Fulham 6 -3 4
18 Blackburn 6 -5 4
19 West Brom 6 -5 4
20 Bolton 6 -8 3
The pundits are shit.
submitted by jestalotofjunk to soccer [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: IAm Sheila Norman-Culp, leader of the AP “Dirty Game” investigation into match-fixing in soccer. AMA

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-02-20
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
Did you see that ludicrous display last night? I assume u are talking re Arsenal. yes, yes yes. Not as gut-slamming bad as Saturday's disaster against Blackburn, but no fun for sure.
What was the most surprising facet of the story that you discovered? I was shocked at the Amazonian river of money that sports betting generates... the Interpol chief Ron Noble says several billion euros a year, an ex-FIFA official has said up to $500 billion a year. BILLION...! if you are a criminal mastermind, all you have to do is use some fixed games to deliver a tiny sliver of that and you will be wealthier than you ever imagined. That's about the yearly GNP of Switzerland, no slouch economy.
This is the crazy thing to me, how many people are betting on what are ultimately not high level events. I would like to think that high levels of betting on one side of a small matchup could be observed and regulated. Until lately, no one thought to look for match-fixing in the soccer wilderness. but extremely low level games in Finland, Norway and Canada that were fixed proved that theory wrong. for fixers, best thing is virgin territory not already claimed by other fixers...
Which mobs were most involved? Turkish? Russian? Romanian? Prolly the shorter list would be what mobs DON'T want to get involved with match-fixing... AP talked to Turkish commentators who said fixing allegations have cropped up every year for at least 40 years, and even Turkish prosecutors in court documents noted that mobs had infiltrated Turkish soccer since at least 1980... As for Russia, one illegal Asian betting den that an AP reporter visited wouldn't even touch bets for Russia's 2nd division (or Greece's for that matter). Even illegal sites know when to run! Italy's match-fixing has produced over $2.6 billion for the Camorra and the Mafia. And since the vast majority of sports betting money originates in Asia, Asian crime gangs are said to be intimately involved in fixing games.
Where in Asia is the money coming from? It's coming both from billions of small bettors (betting is a way of life i many Asian countries) and from Asian crime gangs who are recycling dirty money to launder it.
How is the research going on the dinamo zagreb - olimpique game, where olimpique scored just enough goals to kick Ajax out of the champions league? Ah yes, where a zagreb player winked on a YouTube clip. plenty of suspicions, Ajax started howling immediately, no good evidence ever emerged. was about the same time in which Croatian first league (where dinamo played) was riddled with match-fixing (see our story about Croatia Seveste player Mario Cizmek) but dinamo never implicated in those trials.
To borrow from Grantland's Brian Phillips, "How #*%!ed is the beautiful game?" It's more &&#$ than top officials want to publicly admit. There are large areas of the world where football has been not only infiltrated by criminals but is being run by criminals. Last year in China, two ex-chiefs of its FA (football association for American fans) got 10 1/2 years in prison for corruption. In 2011, the national TV channel in China REFUSED to broadcast matches from the Chinese League due to widespread match-fixing. I can't imagine the reax here in London if Sky or the BBC refused to broadcast Premier League games...
What is the highest level that you believe some form of match fixing has taken place? European competition? WC qualifying? Where is match fixing most prevalent? Well, our FIFA correspondent Graham Dunbar says that depends if you include the 1982 World Cup West Germany-Austria game, which appeared to be a deal with the teams. FIFA changed its rules after that so games at the end of rounds start simultaneously. More recently you have the 2010 WC qualifier between Liechtenstein and Finland ... and Latam types will always debate whether the WC 1978 Argentina 6, peru 0 was fixed, sent host Argentina into final...
So...Juventus. As a fan, I just have to know. How involved are they in match fixing? They're always surrounding by rumors of it. Hmmm. where to start? well, going way back, juventus reputedly bough the ref in the 193 European Cup semifinal, according to one of our top football guys... and they were pretty front and center in Italy's 2006 match-fixing scandal, where they were regulated to Serie B (2nd division), got 9 points deducted, got hit by a massive fine, got stripped of their 2006-07 league titles, got tossed out of the Champions League for a year. Their club president at the time was fined and banned from the sport for five years. Their current coach, Antonio Conte, just got back in December from a 4-month FIFA ban for a separate match-fixing allegation. As Premier Mario Monti said, maybe Italian football should just shut down for a few years to get rid of that corruption thing...
I have to ask. Have you or anyone in your agency been approached or threatened as a result of your investigations? Gotta give kudos here to Chris Brummett, our Vietnam bureau chief, who visited a Wild West betting boomtown on the border of Cambodia. Going around illegal Asian betting dens, talking with bettors about fixed matches, looking for hints of Asian triad involvement. Not a place that you could take TV cameras or where bettors would let u take a picture, that's for sure. And when I was filming a TV segment at a Zagreb stadium with a player convicted of match-fixing, all of a sudden we saw that a photog with a long lens was zooming in on us. The guy came over to see what we were doing, I made sure not to speak a word of English and our photographer Darko talked to him. After that, Darko said "it's time to go." When a photog who just got back from Syria says its time to go, u go.
Do you think that this type of match fixing also extends into American sports such as Major League Baseball or the National Football League? I think of a game like the Super Bowl with all the money bet on it and I can't help but wonder if games are often fixed or the outcome affected artificially. Super Bowl betting is big in the US but is tiny in relation to global soccer betting. And the Super Bowl has one big thing that keeps it from being fixed -- very high player salaries. Players in countries like Croatia are match-fixing sometimes for as little as 2500 euros ($3300). Major league baseball salaries and NFL salaries are too high -- and you need to involve too many players to ensure a rock-solid fix. In soccer, the goalie alone has enough influence to fix a game by himself.
Where do the criminal gangs get the action on? Betfair? For a blow-by-blow account of how it all goes down, check out these links: Player who rues getting involved in match-fixing: Link to Unwritten rules of match-fixing: Link to
How exactly does it work? The players just play terribly when instructed? The criminals have money on the over? In terms of the betting, there's about five-six levels of betting in Asia, which leads from local illegal betting shops that deal in cash to next level, regional betting houses, still in cash, to next level, super betting sites, to online betting sites that take credit cards and are openly operating. Asian betting sites don't know their customers, so its easier to disguise large wagers as many small ones. European betting sites know their customers via credit cards, but criminals can use fake credit cards. anyone who knows about a fixed game can bet on whichever betting site offers the odds
Where are most of these criminal organizations based? What country? Are international matches ever fixed(England vs San Marino or something) or just club matches? Actually 'friendlies' between two nations are a prime target for fixers, because football associations can hire agencies (some of which later turn out to be fronts for fixers) to arrange the games and give a cut of the proceeds (or even bribes) to corrupt FA officials Just imagine, in a friendly you can get world-class talent for free and they can generate gobs of TV revenues. some suspect friendlies in recent times: Nigeria-Argentina 2011, one or more South Africa friendlies right before the World Cup, Bolivia-Latvia 2011, Bulgaria-Estonia 2011, several Latam games involving Venezuela and Bolivia. These are all men's games, so far no whiff of suspicion among women's friendlies.
Is there any suspicion of fixing in women's soccer in the past Olympics? It has bothered a lot of people the way the gold medal game finished. It didn't make any sense at all. Edit: I did mean semi final. My bad. No, so far no reports of match-fixing in any women's games. in fact, some of the bettors AP interviewed in the illegal Cambodian den were at the time betting on live women's U-20 game between New Zealand and Japan just because they felt it was not fixed.
Has there been any instances when you had suspicion BEFORE a match? What do you think about the recent EUROPOL expose about the 380 european matches? What does only 1 english match (liverpool v debrecen)(albeit english team not involved) say about how things are done in uk v thing elsewhere.what is it that they are doing right/others doing wrong? Me and another AP reporter have visited a betting monitoring site that runs 31,000 games thru computer models to see if they may be fixed. Companies like that can often see if games are suspicious up to two days before a match _ ie they know if XXX amount bet on a Italian league game is normal or way off. They also keep tabs on 110,000 players, teams, refs and officials and give them match-fixing credit scores... they have seen where a suspicious player changes teams and infects a previously untouched team with his knowlege of fixing... Only one match in England reflects high premier league salaries that protect the players and the game. But bet monitors do have one person on their top 20 'to watch' match-fixing suspicions list that lives in the UK.
What is the best part about your job? The sheer variety. I mean there are some things we can plan for _ we know when the 2012 London Olympics will start _ but you never know each day what will happen. Will an Icelandic volcano erupt and blow the travel plans of 10 million people to bits? Or maybe a meteor will hit Russia? i am constantly amazed.
How has the series been received by soccefootball officials? It seems to expose some dirty laundry and gotten news and TV pickups across the globe. Yes, we were very happy with the wide range of media that picked up the stories _ everything from papers in Thailand to ESPN and Sports Illustrated to non-sports outlets like Huffpost and
Which team do you support and who is your favorite player? Well, i live and work now in north London, so i would be crucified if I didnt keep up with Arsenal (condolences will be accepted here today). Favorite player, hmm. got two. Fernando Torres because i was living in Zurich during Euro 2008 (he was electric then) and he looks just like my hubby did years ago with his freckles; Robin van Persie now because the man just dances on the field, a joy to watch.
Fernando Torres is my favorite too, and believe me he will be electric again! and another question, what is the most memorable match you have ever watched live at a stadium? At a family level, I brought my ten-year-old daughter and her soccer team to see the American women play at Giants stadium in NJ when the US hosted the Women's World Cup in 1999... Mia Hamm and her buddies really inspired a generation.
Do you see any problem/conflict with betting companies (such as Bwin) being significant sponsors of the game? Betting companies are always going to advertise next to matches, its the smart operating model for their business. but it is interesting how they can be in severe denial about match-fixing. I went to a London betting conference in Nov, and a top representative from Ladbrokes insisted to me that 'maybe 5-6' games were fixed a year. he claimed that some betting monitoring companies have an incentive to say there are hundreds of possibly fixed games a year just so they would get contracts from FIFA, UEFA, national leagues. On the other hand, his own industry has a HUGE interest in not talking about fixed games -- who is going to bet if they think things are fixed? he did me a big favor though - AP reporters could not get into the monitoring sites until we reported his ludicrous comment to them.
How does it start? Does someone from the criminal organization approach a player in a shady alley? Do players that fix games do so repeatedly? Do multiple players on a team need to be bought to pull off the fix? And finally, how do the criminal organizations actually make money off fixed games? Presumably by placing the bets they've arranged, but don't the people taking their bets get suspicious? What i'm going to do is give u some link to our stories that explain all this. ironically, match-fixers often groom players just like pedophiles groom targets, according to a major 2012 study on sports corruption. Players can be seduced into fixing by other coaches or players or agents. Or they can be ordered to fix by their corrupt soccer club bosses. Or they can have no idea a game is fixed because the refs were bought off instead. so many ways to match-fix...!
How in the world would FIFA (or possibly another organization) go about fixing this or at least starting to fix it? Is the problem already too deep that anything other than a complete scrub of all teams and parties involved would fail? And could the sport even survive something like that or would it be best for the game if everyone just operated like business as usual? FIFA's latest anti-match-fixing project is to educate players and refs about the problem. A noble idea, for sure, one that no one can find fault with. but it's kinda like warning your kids not to play with matches when your kitchen is already on fire and that may burn down your whole house. Time to get out the big firehose. Let's not forget how doping has driven sponsors and TV revenues away from cycling or even track. And soccer authorities also have another problem -- their own officials may be the ones driving the fixing. A major sports corruption report last year even gave that a label "chairman-to-chairman" fixing. in turkey last year, 93 people went on trial for match-fixing, and only 14 were players. I think the best model to emulate is germany's, its FA has a omsbudman where players, refs, anyone can call to report fixing worries anonymously.
Is it anyway connected to the fixed cricket games and why is this not getting as much coverage considering soccer is a much larger sport? And do you think the Ireland v France world cup 2010 qualifier was fixed, where Thiery Henry blatantly hand-balled to knock Ireland out of the competition? That was one darn obvious handball but absolutely no suggestion of fixing in that. as we say in our Dirty Game series, referees and players can perform poorly for all sorts of legitimate reasons. Gotta say, American fans could never stomach bad ref calls like that, that's why they love NFL instant replay. the concept that such a bad call could knock a team out... it's why the NFL had to end its referee lockout...
It's amazing how deep seeded the corruption is in the sport. Do you know how much money was made globally from the match fixing (an estimate)?? FIFA has estimated between $5 billion and $15 billion a year. not chump change.
I think it's more spot-fixing than match-fixing, right? Or at least the higher up the leagues go, the more it deviates towards spot rather than match. If you got any knowlege of this, let FIFA/UEFA/the national leagues know. AP took a deep dive into fixing in Croatia's first division, (let me tell u google translator is a mess with croatian court transcripts) and found both match and spot fixing in the same games. one sports expert, David Forrest of University of Salford, says that's a great way for gangs to increase revenues, you get to place two-three-four bets on the same fixed game.
Do you think that the punishment for participants should be more severe the further up the ladder the investigation goes? That is, should the first-year first-teamer found to have been involved be given less of a penalty than the national team star? Or should a message be sent with uniform penalties for even the least involvement? Hmm. it's kinda like doping in that you need zero tolerance. That said, its clear that match-fixers target players like lions on the savannah, picking off the young (easy to manipulate) the old (nearing the end of their employment, fearing what's next) and the weak (those with betting problems or financial difficulties. Young players lured into fixing by older players should get lesser sentences if it's found that they were forced or pressured into it. Older players (or refs hitting age limits) should get harsher penalties because they absolutely knew what they were doing. national stars who fix bring shame upon an entire nation but the fixing penalities should be the same no matter what the league.
Do you feel like, historically, there has been more corruption in Italian leagues, or is it more a matter of the Italian investigations being more frequent and successful in revealing the corruption and making cases stick? There's no question that Italy has had repeated, major match-fixing instances at least since 2005. And each case seems to bring new amazing allegations. My all time favorite is the goalie who wanted to fix a game, so he drugs the water bottles of his teammates to play poorly. they stink, lose the game, and one even crashes his car afterward. Since Italy takes drunk driving quite seriously, the driver gets a blood test which shows he is full of sedatives, and the whole fixing operation is unveiled. can't make this up. I give plenty of kudos to Italian prosecutor Roberto Di Martino but the country has had plenty of corruption issues in all walks of life ... , so i dont think we can just credit good prosecutors for us hearing about italian match-fixing
At what point do you as an organisation decide that you will look into that matter. How did this all start - or better yet, what event triggered this investigation? We noticed that AP was doing about a dozen match-fixing spot stories around the world a month... but it was country by country. This trial, that arrest, this investigation. It was time to look at the whole of the sport, something that fits an international news agency better than a local or national paper. I had been interested in match-fixing since i covered FIFA for AP in 2007-2008 and did a story when they first set up their EWS monitoring site. got promoted to London, distracted by volcanos and a wonderful London Olympics, but began interviewing people last june.
Glad to oblige blatter? justkidding. What i should have said yesterday -- this AMA is about match-fixing, not Blatter. Blatter is such a vast topic that he needs a whole 'nuther forum. Maybe ask him to come on himself.
How do you stop match fixing? Whoever figures that out gets a nobel peace prize.
Do you have any knowledge of match fixing in Latin America? Specifically Libertadores Cup and Brazilian and Argentinian national leagues? Bolivia and Venezuela have had several suspicious friendlies, Guatemala had 3 players banned in recent months for fixing.
What do you have to say about one of the most outrageous things that happened in the last decade: Lyon 7-1 Zagreb leaving Ajax out of CL? Everyone seems to have forgotten about that thing and no one ever really talked or investigate that game further. That is certainly the one game that Europeans came away thinking must be fixed. it would be a great subject for a magzine piece. maybe when everyone in that game has retired, more might come out.
Which league do you believe to be the most corrupt? Even if it isn't one you've investigated. Impossible to say. too many candidates.
My dad used to bet on soccer matches with his buddies frequently, and pointed out how he would know if a match is fixed or not depending on the players' reactions during a penalty kick. Apparently, whenever a player looks backwards before taking a penalty, he is always looking for a signal as to whether or not he is allowed to make the goal. Is there any merit to this conspiracy theory that my dad and his friends developed? Wild theory, too bad it's prolly not true -- they must have been drinking pretty heavily! If a game is fixed by players, they know beforehand and they know exactly what marks they need to hit: X-X score at halftime, X-X final result, X goal differential. No need to look over their shoulder, they already know if they should make it or not. If the game is fixed by club officials, they have already told their players what to do. If the game is fixed by referees, often players don't even know. They might think it's a ridiculous penalty call but they are not going to hurt their stats, they are going to try to make the penalty.
Who's going to win the European Cup? Going to leave all game analysis to commentators and Match of the Day boys. I'm just all about corruption.
Are there times when two different groups try to fix a match with conflicting goals? This was a significant problem in Asia, and its a terrible business model when two crime gangs are trying to fix the same game. That propeled at least Asian gangs to seek out more European games, which were considered several years ago to be much cleaner. One monitor told me about a match in which his company's spotters at the game saw thugs from two different crime gangs shouting with the ref at halftime. Only one side won. (think the ref in that case had a death wish or was just blinded by greed)
What is the most common betting market on fixed games? A straight win? or something like over 2.5 goals? Or even corners or number of cards? Do you bet on any games? I don't bet on sports, not after seeing all this...! The most common bets on fixed games are four things: final score, half-time score, total number of scores and score differential. who is taking the corner doesnt bring in enough money...
Where does the actual money the gangs win come from? Is straight from the betting agencies pockets? David Forrest, the UK economist who specializes in sports betting, tells us that fixed sports betting is a fabulous way to launder money. You take cash from drug or trafficking operations, you bet on fixed games, not only do u make a profit but dirty money comes back clean. He says some crime gangs are trying to buy soccer clubs just to launder money through them.
Was the Qatar bid for hosting the 2022 world cup involved in bribery of any kind? Sri, this AMA is on match-fixing. The FIFA decision to give the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively is a whole separate (and vast) discussion.
Did your investigation have any overlap with Declan Hill's investigations in the past? Declan is a pioneer, kudos to him. Suggest everyone interested in this topic read his book "The Fix: Organized Crime and Soccer"
a comment: Kudos to you and your team for really doing some real investigative journalism. Too much TMZ-style or reactive news these days so it's refreshing to see some real shit. Second my question: I saw the amount of profit gained from this scheme was a seemingly paltry $11m. In 2012, $94m was bet on the Super Bowl alone. Is the $11m as truly insignificant as it appears? What percentage of the pie is legitimate vs illegitimate? You maybe are just looking at one Italian match-fixing investigation. Multiply that by investigations in 50 nations last year, add to it all the bribe money that is linked to organizing friendlies that can generate big TV revenue... the point about match-fixing is not illegal or legal betting. It is tainting all betting with a fix. European betting agencies pride themselves on their legality, but anyone can be undermined by a fix. In asia, illegal gambling dens thrive because gambling in an ingrained cultural habit that is going to occur even if govts ban it.
Does this only happen with football? are there stories of match fixing happening in the European basketball, volleyball, handball, water polo leagues? All sports can be vulnerable to match-fixing, especially if there is betting on them. add tennis, cricket, horse racing to that mix.
I don't really understand soccer but how and what makes a game suspicious? Huge amounts of late bets on an obscure game. In-game live betting in which lots of bettors put money on another goal and the referee orders a penalty for an unfathomable reason. Games in which all scoring is due to penalty kicks. Games in which scoring is so high that it looks more like baseball. Games in which many goals are disqualified for offsides. so many options i just cant list them all
Does anyone know if Domenico Cricito is still being investigated or if they've finished with him? Cricito, an Italian defender who plays for the St. Petersburg club Zenit, was cleared, not charged with any match-fixing. He has said that he's trying not to be angry but still is about how he was dropped from the Italian team playing in Euro 2012 due to allegations that turned out to be unproven.
How are investigations going in regard to serie a? i know the mafias in Italy have a lot of control over players and referees. Big break on Thursday (feb 21, day after this AMA). a top suspected fixer was arrested by Italian police, Admir Sulijic. he reportedly has links to singapore money man Dan Tan. --- Big break on Friday, Dan Tan being interviewed by Singapore police!!!
Is there a chance Chelsea has been involved with match fixing please say no? I'm such a cynic that I can't say 'No' about any team. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, that's a 'known unknown' -- we know there are some things we do not know. that applies to all teams, not just Chelsea.
Have there been any murders or serious crimes committed in the name of covering up max fixing? In Bulgaria, over a dozen soccer officials have been slain over the last decade. and the crime gangs there don't even pretend to make it look like an accident, they just gun people down in the street.
Due to the nature of your work, do you ever feel in danger? Our medical writer tells us that sitting at a computer for hours on end is the most deadly thing for reporters. if she's right, we are all doomed.
Which top leagues would you say are the least corrupt? Certainly the premier league, due to the players' huge salaries.
Why do FIFA or UEFA never step in to take action on the obviously corrupt English FA, more specifically, Referee's decisions going heavily in the way of a certain Alex Ferguson? There is plenty of evidence, but you just leave them to get away with it. Why? Gotta say, FIFA and UEFA are clearly not fans of the English FA and are certainly not favoring them in any way re refereeing decisions.
I like how this question is dodged. Glad to oblige.
Please tell me the Celtic v Barcelona game wasn't fixed! I have to be sure... Hey even amazing teams lose sometimes! Plus this doesnt match the typical M.O. of the most successful match-fixers. When great teams lose, it always raises more suspicions among bet monitoring companies than when bad teams lose (our reporters visited some secret betting monitoring sites). A convicted midfielder who talked to us about match-fixing says it's always better to simply have bad teams lose once again -- criminals just pre-determine HOW MUCH that team will lose by and play those odds.
Whoever figures that out gets a nobel peace prize. Sri don't mean to be flippant. You go for zero tolerance, you establish anti-match-fixing officials in every national league, you teach players and refs and soccer officials how to recognize approaches by fixers, you increase criminal penalities for fixing, you don't stop investigating serious allegations just because a referee has retired 'from the football family,' (FIFA) you protect whistleblowers better. Italian defender Simone Farina told police about being approached by a fellow player to fix, and that effectively ended his playing career and made him a pariah in italy...happily months and months later Aston Villa made him a 'community coach'
No question, but thanks for doing what you do. This kind of high quality investigative journalism is what the free press is all about. Very kind to hear. are we related? jk. hope you got a chance to read, watch or hear all the eight Dirty Game stories, three sidebars, online video, broadcast video, radio reports, etc.
What's amazing is how ESPN hasn't said a word about this yet. Because they'd rather show more Tim Tebow praying coverage, or Mark Sanchez picking his asshole coverage, or LeBron James changing shampoo types coverage, or Erin Andrews trimming her fingernails coverage. ESPN online did pick up the AP Dirty Game story... and they did a video piece after Europol cited 680 suspicious games. but on that video piece they got an Italian soccer commentator who thought this was being overblown...
Could you please investigate the NBA now pls. Hmm. I saw an NBA rep at the London conference on sports betting. the major difference, obviously, is the huge number of scores in basketball and low number of scores in soccer. 1-0 wins a soccer game, but you need what, 35-50 scores to win an NBA game? So many more scoring variables in the NBA and such high salaries. I would think college ball (no salaries) would be much much more vulnerable to spread fixing.
I am Sheila Norman-Culp, AP’s Assistant Editor for Europe, who led the AP's “Dirty Game” multiformat team that investigated match-fixing in football. FTFY. Ahh, you say football, i say tomato. Let's call a truce. Otherwise Americans in this chat will start talking about Alabama
Last updated: 2013-02-25 02:10 UTC
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