5 years after #Shermageddon – did it change Louisville for the better?

5 years ago (it happened September 9, 2011), Louisville was hit with an unexpected 162 day I-64 shutdown at one of the worst possible locations – the Sherman Minton Bridge.  That closure left Louisville with just two Ohio River crossings – the 4 lane Second Street Bridge (also known as the George Clark) and the overloaded Kennedy Bridge.  Locals that were willing to take the scenic route had the option of the Bradenburg Bridge (which suddenly became the go to option for the family as they were in the Fort Knox area), or the Milton-Madison Bridge up north (despite the construction project that was going on at the time).  Louisville was pretty much SOL and there was nothing that the locals could do about it.

At the time of the closure, there was bickering going on about building a new Ohio River bridge – which had been successfully stalled by a group of NIMBYs that allegedly had some strong financial backing by a wealthy suburb called Rivers Edge and assisted by the funding issues by both KYTC and INDOT at that time.  At the same time there was another group that wanted was not only NIMBY on the new downtown bridge, but wanted I-64 in downtown Louisville removed.

What happened after the 162 day nightmare ended: KYTC and INDOT threw in the towel and decided to use tolls as funding for the new bridges, and the NIMBY group virtually went on to do an about face rather quietly.

The downtown bridge, which became the Abraham Lincoln Bridge, has since opened to traffic but tolling will not start for another month.  The Kennedy Bridge is getting a much needed rehabilitation project that is nearing completion.  The East End Bridge is nearing completion and is slated to open late this year or early in 2017.

While Shermageddon did hit Louisville with an wakeup call, it is still too soon to determine the long term effects.  What it did show was that bickering over the fine details just adds to the problems.

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WWE TLC reactions

Prior to the PPV, I predicted that heels were going to have a banner day at the PPV.  In fact, heels won all but 2 matches – and the babyfaces that did win had to resort to heel methods.

The League of Nations may not be the best heel stable assembled in recent years.  But this foreign heel stable is what the WWE needs right now, and 3 of their members all notched wins at the PPV.  Two of them did it with help from their fellow members, Alberto del Rio won clean.

I though Sheamus cashing in the Money in the Bank last month was a good idea in a lot of things.  Shemaus was chilling in the midcard with Wade Barrett, and since then – it has benefited all the foreign heels.  In one month, Shemaus did what other heels failed to do – put Roman Reigns over as a fan favorite.

Roman Reigns vs Triple H at Royal Rumble is inevitable now, and Shemaus is likely going to hold the WWE Title until Wrestlemania.  As long that the WWE doesn’t do live events in Europe before Wrestlemania, the League of Nations can get a big heel stable push simply by bragging about how shitty that America has gotten.  It is a throwback to the Hart Foundation in 1997.  The one thing that could put a end of that heel run – is another heel stable, so booking must be careful about pitting Bray Wyatt on a main event push.  If anyone from the Wyatt Family emerges from the Royal Rumble as the winner, fans will see them as faces – and they wanted the two stables go against each other just last week.

Nobody from the League of Nations is expected to emerge out as victors of the Royal Rumble as long Sheamus holds the WWE title, so the priority of Barrett and Rusev is to get into the tag team ranks.  The New Day may be a heel tag team right now, but that League of Nations could very well turn them into de facto babyface champions.  The heel turn of the New Day benefited them greatly, but they need to see this stable as a potential rival.

Kevin Owens was one of the two heels that did lose at TLC, but it was possibly by design.  Owens is probably one of the favorites of Royal Rumble, and fans have pulled behind him despite his status.  Owens was a legit contender during Survivor Series, and rarely pulls heel stunts off – rather using his skills to the advantage.  The heel turn he pulled off in NXT earlier this year did not make him into a top heel – it was meant to groom him into the rigors of the WWE main roster where newcomers are typically brought in as heels.  Eventually the League of Nations will see him as a threat to Sheamus – and a likely Kevin Owens face turn will be inevitable after the new year.

Early Royal Rumble predictions (too soon to see what happens as of 12/14)

Roman Reigns beat Triple H

Sheamus retains WWE title with outside interference, possibly via the DQ strategy

New Day loses the tag championships via a screwjob to the League of Nations, causing them to turn face

Royal Rumble comes down to Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, and the Wyatt Family – with Ambrose coming out on top but not before KO gets screwed.

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FIFA 16 career mode thoughts and reactions

I preffifa16titleerred the career mode over the ultimate team in FIFA 15, so when I played the career mode in FIFA 16, I was in a shock at the changes.

The Good

  • Training mode makes it easier to boost potential of young stars, and notable weaknesses of key players.

Without this feature, some of the younger players may end up on the transfer list, especially ones with a glaring weakness at stamina.  This was a frustrating thing in FIFA 15, having a young player with great overall and potential after a May boost, but with a stamina of just 40-45.

  • It now cost less money to buy scouts

Instead of spending 11M on a scout, you only have to fork over 3M to 4M for your desired scout, leaving more room in the transfer budget.  It is useful on weaker teams.

  • Signing Free Agents outside of transfer window

Very useful when you get a slew of key injuries or a sending off of your only goalkeeper on the roster that results in a 3 game ban.  I always keep a handful of useful free agents in the short list for these emergencies.

  • Multiple game suspensions for straight reds

This change was to meet the real life rules of several nations, especially England.  You can be suspended up to 3 games for a straight red card.  The suspension for yellow card accumulation or a soft red remains at 1, unless the player has obtained a lot of them.

  • Youth players get the role you give them once a senior contract is issued

I hated it when I give the Future First Team Player role to a young player only to find out in a few weeks that they were demanding Important First Team minutes.  This was fixed in FIFA 16.

  • Roster size limit is now 52

Very useful when you have 2 year loans, which may be more valuable than ever before with the potential glitch being nerfed.

The Bad

  • No more May boosts for Youth Academy

Instead, players are given a slow but steady increase.  It may now be wise to hold them in the youth academy until they turn at least 18.  Youth academy players, however, can be trained once per week, so if you got a position that is a major need, you may want to use that to fast track your 15 year old player.

  • Youth players can refuse senior contracts

Had a player that gave me a lot of problems, especially he had a high rating.  It may be best to release them and then sign them as free agents.

  • Player potential after short loans no longer increase by the amount like it did

Instead of getting a 5 to 10 point potential boost with the short loan, your player may be lucky to see a 2 point boost. It may be best to stick with 2 year loans with young players, or don’t loan them out at all.

The Ugly

  • Free player glitch no longer works

If you attempt this in FIFA 16, as soon as you go back to the emails you will find that the player contract option in the email for a player has been removed.  This, combined with the potential nerf, will make you want to consider players that have expiring contracts.

  • Certain injuries now require longer time on the sidelines

This applies to concussions and most of the leg injuries (ACL, broken bones, MCL).  A concussion can now sideline a player for several weeks.  A player, however, can no longer moan about their team role while sidelined with a injury.

  • A player that refused a contract will not sign another offer

What you used to do in prior games is wait about 3 weeks after a contract refusal, and give them a new offer with future first team player role that they usually signed.  It cannot be done in FIFA 16, instead you will get a message from the board stating that the player will not sign any more contract offers.  At this point your only option is to wait for a transfer offer or an loan offer.

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Post WrestleMania 31 reactions

Tag Team Title Match

It was a better match than expected.  Despite the losing streak, it was expected for the champions to retain when it matters the most and that happened.

Andre the Giant Battle Royal

AxelMania did not run wild, being on of the first to go.  Itomi did make a few eliminations and lasted better than expected – there will be more out of that person in the near future.  The big story was that Mizdow turned on The Miz while the Big Show just soaked it all in.  Mizdow then gave the Big Show all he could handle before getting eliminated in a clean finish.  This shows that the Big Show can win without the Authority backing him up.

IC Title Match

This was a great match that got the crowd going, but it was not the 5 star match rating.  The ending of Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan fighting over the belt was what I expected, but Bryan prevailed.  Now the speculations going in is for Bryan do a slow heel turn like he did in 2012 and play that cocky heel that used the DQ and countout strategy to retain the belts.

Orton vs Rollins

The match was done early and that was all indications that the Money in the Bank was going to be cashed in later that night.  J & J Security got involved but at the wrong times for Rollins behalf.  This match was back and forth, and Orton won with a RKO out of nowhere.

Sting vs Triple H

The icons of the WCW and WWE went head to head for the first time in what was a long awaited match.  This match did not disappoint, with Triple H making an epic entrance using a Terminator reference.  The crowd was behind the villain Triple H for a good part of the match, which was not a surprise.  The match had some interference from the two best heel stables during the Monday Night War era – DX and NWO, with DX for Triple X and NWO for Sting.  This was not match of the year, but a good solid 5 star match that ended with Triple H using his broken sledgehammer to get the pin on Sting and end the feud.  Triple H got the win without the help of The Authority.

Divas Tag Team Match

The Bella Twins had dominated leading up to the match.  The twins were going for their typical cheat win with their rollup but Paige and AJ did enough teamwork to prevent that and get the submission win.

Rusev vs Cena

Rusev came out with an awesome entrance to tremendous heel heat, as he is the hottest heel in the game, then interrupted Lillian for more heat.  The biggest surprise though was when the match started was the crowd pulling for Rusev and booing Cena.  Lana got involved at the worst time, causing Rusev to make a mistake that allowed Cena to get the pinfall.  The dumping of Lana was more designed to write her off of TV for the next few weeks.  The Rusev vs Cena feud needs to end, as the WWE is about to do their Europe tour where the crowd will likely be pro-Rusev.

Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt

This match should had waited for nightfall to occur to get the most out of both entrance themes.  The match showed that the 50 year old Taker still has it.  Wyatt did get an backing from the crowd but the ring rust showed from the lack of competition other than a few house shows.  The Sister Abigail finisher was not done with full power but more of a modified roll up.  That was the one blemish that came back to haunt Wyatt as the Undertaker kicked out at 2 very easily.  Veteran wrestlers often make younger stars to pay for the mistakes and the Taker countered a second Sister Abigail into the Tombstone for the clean win, putting him 22-1 for Wrestlemania.

Reigns vs Lesnar

Reigns came out to a lot of heat, Lesnar came out to cheers.  The fans were backing Lesnar for the entire match and Lesnar dominated from the start with a F5 in the first 30 seconds of the match.  After Lesnar hit a third F5, the expected cashing in of Money in the Bank took place when Rollins came in without The Authority backing him up.   Rollins was also backed by the crowd despite his villain status. The match was now a triple threat match.  After Lesnar was neutralized, Rollins got a curb stomp on Reigns for the pin in a clean finish to win the title.  The victory proved that Rollins can win without the Authority and now is the time to break up that heel stable.  Rollins got three potential opponents to feud with, and a Lesnar face turn is inevitable.  With the amount of heel heat that Reigns got, it could be possible to turn him heel later this year.  Reigns did not deserve to win the belt and it reflected with the creative team.  The problem with Rollins heel run right now is that the next WWE PPV is in Chicago, less than 200 miles from his Davenport home town and the regional hero hype may lead to fans to pull for Rollins.

The WWE creative team did a great product but when your two biggest heels (Rollins and Rusev) were getting pops from the crowd, there will be new feuds starting up soon.  Rollins also came in that WWE title match to a big pop, not the reaction that booking was looking for. WWE will be making a European tour in 2 weeks, and should Cena vs Rusev feud continues the booking is risking the chance of watching Rusev be a regional babyface and Cena a foreign heel.  The hatred towards Russia is intense but Rusev has not been running promos that bashes other nations.

Also holding out Shemaus was a smart idea.  Having Shemaus return as a heel with 2 weeks before the Europe trip is booking suicide, as the European fans will be treating him and Cesaro as babyfaces.

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Wrestlemania 31 predictions

Below is what I predict will happen for Wrestlemania 31

WWE World Tag Team Championship

The tag team division has been weak in recent weeks, so it is not surprising that its the opening match in this card.  Look for Kidd and Cesaro to retain the titles at the Usos expense.

Andre the Giant Battle Royal

Leaning towards this to be an upset with Curtis Axel pulling this win.  I want to see Damien Mizdow to beat the crap out of The Miz, and Big Show and Kane to go at it, knocking each other out.

WWE Championship Match

Reigns have not proven himself worthy of a WWE title reign at this time based on crowd reactions, and with Lesnar resigning it is likely to see Lesnar to retain.  I won’t be surprised if Seth Rollins cashes in the Money in the Bank in a classic heel-style move.

Sting vs Triple H

Sting will put the end of Triple H.  In recent weeks it seems like Triple H has distanced himself from the Authority, lets see if that plays a factor in this match.

IC Title Ladder Match

Everyone wants to see Daniel Bryan to win, but I’m looking for Dolph Ziggler to pull off the upset and set up a feud between those two.

Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt

Wyatt has been amazing at promos but a lack of recent ring time (other than a few house shows) will come back to haunt him.  Look for the Undertaker to win in a short match.

Womens Tag Team Match

AJ and Paige have not worked together, and the Bella Twins have dominated Paige in recent weeks.  I look for the twins to win this match cleanly taking advantage of a mistake.

US Championship Match

Rusev is probably the hottest heel in the WWE right now.  We wished that this was a submission match, but this will likely cap the feud between Rusev and Cena.  Next month the WWE will be hoping across the pond for a European tour which will likely be favoring Rusev as a regional hero and Cena as a foreign heel.  Look for Rusev to retain this title with help from Lana, and pursue the WWE title later this year.

Orton vs Rollins

If Rollins chooses to cash in the Money in the Bank and screw Lesnar out of the WWE Title earlier tonight, this match would put the title on the line.  With infighting within The Authority, look for Orton pull out the win.  Rollins is over well as a heel but it is time to see The Authority to break up.  Rollins losing this match should cement that angle.

Turns

Wrestlemania is known for heel and face turns as it has happened with previous years with high profile superstars, and it will be no different this year.  The breakup of The Authority is inevitable with some of the infighting on TV in recent weeks and it will start in the battle royal with Kane and Big Show costing each other.  Mizdow should cement his face turn by beating up The Miz, costing him the battle royal.

It is time to turn Daniel Bryan heel once again, reprising his cocky heel run that was pulled off in early 2012 to set up a feud with Dolph Ziggler for the IC Title Belt that will last through the spring.  A recent losing streak will help this turn happen.

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Will #SnowJam2015 happen in ATL?

A major winter storm is expected to dump more snow in the one southern city with a track record of epic fails during such events.  In that city, 2 inches of snow feels like 2 feet of snow as they do not invest in snow removal like the Midwest.

If you didn’t know what happened last year, this should refresh your memory:

That fellow covers ATL traffic, and his feed from that day is legendary.  That was not even the first epic fail that has happened in that city.

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Time to dump the supplemental route system in Missouri

I had not had a lot of time going through the 325 plan that has been recently announced by MoDOT due to work and more important priorities that been going on.  One of the things on that 325 plan is the lack of maintenance proposed on the supplemental route system.  Personally, it is the time to start turning over the supplemental routes to local control.  Please keep in mind that not all of them will go to the locals – several key heavily traveled routes need to remain under state control for way too many reasons.  With 25,000 miles of them, about 3,000 miles should remain under state control and the rest turned over to local governments.

In St. Louis County and Jefferson County, Routes W, M, and MM would remain under the state control and become an extended Route 109 along with Route C.  In St. Charles County, heavily used Route K would become Route 79.

Access to various state routes will also need to be kept under state control – about 1000 miles of them. These could be marked or unmarked depending on the demand. The rest will be in more urban areas, such as in Springfield – Route 413 being extended on Route D until the intersection with Route 125.

The other 22,000 should be handed over to local control – the local governments may not like it but if those roads were to be maintained – it needs to be done.

This will leave MoDOT with 11,000 miles of primary roads – which will put it in line with most of the states.  Some of the primary roads are not heavily used – and maintenance can be done as needed.

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