Friday, January 31, 2014

Wrestling and Pop Culture Feb 2011


Feb 1, 2011 –

Monday Night Raw- WWE rolls out a mysterious video with a house shrouded in darkness in a rainstorm. Speculation begins immediately. People want WCW Franchise and multi-time champion Sting to come into the WWE to compete at Wrestlemania , get put into the Hall of Fame and to be a part of DVD box set.2/21/2011- who is in the house? Is it Sting? Why is it raining? WWE hype machine has us anticipating something, someone?

 

Feb 5 , 2011 – Paul Bearer storyline father of Kane and manger to the Undertaker was released by WWE. This brings the total to 3. 3 talents have been released from WWE that I saw live at Smackdown in November of 2010, MVP, Kaval and now Paul Bearer.

Feb 8, 2011 – Medallion Press releases The Road Warriors: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling by Joe “Animal” Laurinaitis.


 

The Road Warriors :The Life and Death of the Most Dominant Tag Team in Wrestling History (2005 WWE)

This is a great 2 disc compilation of the biggest matches of the most dominant tag-team in sports entertainment. This features a well made documentary and several matches, moments and promos from their legendary career – here from Road Warrior Animal , their manager Paul Ellering , Jim Ross ,Michael P.S. Hayes and more. Well worth owning. A


 

“The Road Warriors changed the wrestling business forever, just like the British Bulldogs.” – Bull Pain

ROH Presents Straight Shootin’ Series with Paul Ellering 12.1.04

This disc includes a shoot interview with the manger of the Legion of Doom/ The Road Warriors Paul Ellering. The sit down dialog covers his singles career and start in the business from training at the Verne Gagne camp with Bob Backlund and The Iron Shiek to working several territories, refusing to job, accepting the king’s crown in Memphis and more. The meat of the program covers his run as the manager for one of the most dominating tag teams in wrestling history. This can be a little dry –but I enjoyed spending time listening to one of the most intelligent folks to participate in the grappling game. The last 18 minutes of the DVD includes some ROH match footage with performers like Doug Williams, John Walters and Homicide. This is a good supplement to the WWE 2005 Road Warriors DVD- think of it as audio footnotes. B

 

 

 

WWE Biggest Knuckle Heads! (2010 WWE)

Oh those wacky sports entertainers. This set of goofy  moments is hosted by Josh Matthews and the Big Show. Things start off with a forced bit of comedy in some HD TV truck and then a montage with production music of Santino.- then we get the Santino mankini dance . Up next more zaniness with a Hornswoggle montage- leaping leprechauns – this is backed up with Chavo Guerrero having an arm tied behind his back while he rassles Hornswoggle-. After 13 minutes of eyemelting sports entertainment – they include a classic segment from Monday Nitro – the 1004 holds list by Monday Night Jericho.

  Then they play some decent moments from the WWF Monday Night attitude era with the Showster and some Head Cheese( I miss that tag team).

   A 5 star classic is next up – as the Stooges grapple the Mean Street Posse-worth it for the entrance of Brisco and Patterson alone. The crowd pops for the double submission finish like it was a main event- a fun segment. “He’s single fellas”- JR after Pat Patterson does a pose-down Hulkster style. This is followed by a funny sound-bite from the Brahma Bull and the Buschwackers.

  Then we get Dx reunion taking on the Spirit Squad. This is followed up with the Excess segment about the battle of the billionaires..

  A  60 minute DVD with no extras- seriously- in 2010- the main feature has enough funny to get a pass- if this were a videotape- but a 60 minute DVD that promises 90 minutes on the back is lame. There is plenty of funny moments they could have used- the classic musical chairs segment from Raw with Space Mountain, Tajiri, The Coach ,Stacey Keibler and others or the Shockmaster segment or how about the confrontation between Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon on Larry King –hilarious. This was initially released in conjunction with the un-watchable Big Show comedy Knucklehead as a Wal*Mart exclusive- I picked this up on sale at an FYE- I still paid too much-  this is not horrible- but not worth a slot in your collection. D+

 

 

Feb 11, 2011 –   Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resigned from office due to the wave of  protests.

Feb 13 , 2011

Jeff Hardy regains the TNA Championship by beating Mr. Anderson at the Against All Odds PPV.

 

Feb 14, 2011

Vince McMahon reveals that the guest host of Wrestlemania will be Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. The Rock then proceeded to cut a 20 minute promo- highlighted by Rock calling John Cena a big fat bowl of fruity pebbles, because John Cena has sold several bright colored t-shirts over the last few years. It was the Rock’s first appearance on Raw in 7 years, The Rock had really distanced himself from WWE, only showing up to induct his father and grandfather into the WWE Hall of Fame. Rock was very funny during the induction ceremony spending most of his speech cutting promos on guys like John Cena and Santino Marella and a little bit of his time actually discussing the inductees.

Dwayne Johnson also known as the Rock and wrestled as Flex Kavana(in his early career) is the most well known wrestler who parlayed his wrestling career into a successful acting career. His most recent movie Fast Five had the biggest opening for any movie in the month of April pulling in more than 80 million on opening weekend. In the 2000s I managed a video store and subjected myself to several of his movies. I enjoyed (for what they were) The Rundown (2003) and Walking Tall (2004) – enough to finish watching them – but not enough to own them- Walking Tall has a commentary track by  The Rock and if you are a fan of his you might enjoy that extra – but neither movie is really worth seeking out. I could not finish Be Cool – the sequel to Get Shorty- The Rock is seen in this movie in an afro and playing a homosexual- neither fact bothers me- I admit I tried watching the movie to see The Rock in it- since I did not care for Get Shorty. After that point I did not watch movies simply because the Rock was in the movie- but he was enjoyable in The Other Guys. In 1999 The Rock was a guest star on Star Trek Voyager in an episode where he played the Champion who fought Seven of Nine(Jeri Ryan) in a televised gladiator type match – The episode is known Tsunkatse and is available on DVD.

 

 

Southland Tales – (April 20,2008)

I watched the latest DVD release featuring Dwayne Johnson(formerly the Rock)- an interesting post apocalyptic story set in the near future where America is still reeling from a nuclear terrorist attack and has put the country under martial law.The cast list is virtual where are they now mix of SNL alum(Jon Lovitz,Cheri O'Terri,Nora Dunn),Wallace Shawn,Sarah Michelle Gellar(Buffy as a porn star),Christopher Lambert ,Will Sasso, John Laroquette, Justin Timberlake and others. The plot is little convoluted- something about Fluid Karma, revelations, extortion and time travel and the movie is rather long- 2 hours and 21 minutes.It is a definite odd movie with some random dance sequences, parody commercials and a floating van. If you like head-trip movies like The Wall or sci-fi stuff you may enjoy this one- but if you are looking for a typical action flick this will probably annoy you. The DVD has a 30 minute featurette and a 10 minute cartoon as extras. I liked the movie- but I tend to like stuff that is a little out of the norm. C+

 

“I was one of the first people to interview The Rock, back story on that, The Rock – Dwayne Johnson – the movie star – his dad – I did some wrestling shows locally for his dad Rocky “Soulman” Johnson and I knew his grandmother Lia Miavia who ran shows in Hawaii.

They were doing this show and they asked me to have The Rock on my public access show and I said “No, We have the Black Shadow on!  I don’t have time. “

They said “just give him 5 minutes.”

I gave him 5 minutes and I’m kicking myself now thinking I could have had the Rock for a lot longer. But of course back then you don’t know that.”

- Shannon Rose talking about an interview that almost did not happen with The Rock before Dwayne Johnson became the Rock or even Flex Kavana

 

 

 

Get Smart

Wanted to see Hellboy II today but the free passes I had did not include movies in their first 2 weeks- so I opted to watch Get Smart instead- the price was right. I did not hate the movie and Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway did a good job as the leads. What made the movie fun was the ensemble cast with funny quips from Alan Arkin,  Terry Crewes, Patrick Wharburton and Dwayne Johnson. Terrance Stamp was excellent as always as the villain. Former WWE champion Dalip Singh(The Great Kahli) is also in the movie as a killer for Kaos- he kind of reminded me of Jaws from Moonraker- the first confrontation with him was even a parachute fight. This is mindless slapstick fun- nothing memorable nor did it forever tarnish the vague memories I have of the old show. Worth Netflixxing or a matinĂ©e if you are looking for some lowbrow shenagins. The highlight(maybe lowlight) was seeing a preview for the remake of Deathrace 2000. C+ 

 

 

My thoughts on the Rock returning from 2008 (at this point he had not returned and it looked like he was doing everything he could to distance himself from WWE and wrestling)


June 8, 2008

 

Currently on the cover of this week's Entertainment Weekly- Dwayne Johnson- fine the Rock is dead- sure I miss him- but I prefer to think of the good stuff- then have his career watered down with appearances that tarnish his appeal- sure Stone Cold was the man during the attitude era- but nowadays his appearances tend to bore me- cuz you know the person in charge or Vince will get stunned. Either way congrats to Dwayne Johnson on his new career-sure it would be nice to see The Rock vs. Cena or Kennedy or making fun of CM Punk & the Miz- but if he has another way to make a living that does not put him at risk of being paralyzed or have him perform as a shell of himself  for years and years past his prime like the recently retired Nature Boy(and Flair still had some good matches-but not like his stuff in the NWA or even in WCW in the 90s).Dwayne Johnson does not owe me or Vince or anyone a return to wrestling- and if he feels that he needs to have a new image to further his career- well that is his business-not mine- I mean I would have skipped The Gameplan or Doom no matter what he calls himself. Others have tried to escape to Hollywood- how many times did Piper retire? and come back? and it looks like Y2J is back for awhile and about to turn heel.Sure the WWF helped make Rock- but Dwayne did as much for them- think on this- how many other folks have been pushed or pushed to the moon and did not pan out- how many folks added as much as he did- he was the total package- looks, heritage and great promos- sure his in-ring ability was not the best- but he had a great way of working the crowd- watch his match with Hogan @ WM 18 or his loss to Brock @ Summer Slam- that was a great passing the torch moment- the Rock made those matches the huge events with his persona- why destroy that persona with crappy 15 minute promos twice a year during Raw that get the huge pop to start with - but descend into a catchphrase blackhole for 14 minutes and then a Rock Bottom or People's Elbow to Santino or Adamle. If Dwayne Johnson is done with wrestling- then so long- if he comes back full time I am for that also-but if he is just going to do cutesy promos - why bother.

 

 

 

Feb 15 , 2011 – The Libyan civil war starts with the rebels wanting the ouster of Muammar al-Qaddafi.

Feb 16, 2011- Chris Jericho releases the fun and informative Undisputed his second foray in the literature world. This autobiography covers his entrance into the WWF, his time away and his return to WWE- this is well worth picking up.

Feb 18 , 2011 – Edge is stripped of the World Heavyweight Championship for using the spear by his former wife Vikki Guerrero ( storyline wife btw) and she awards the title to Dolph Ziggler. Edge regains the title from Dolph that same night during the 600th episode of Smackdown

WWE Elimination Chamber 2011 – 2/20/11

 

This typical WWE PPV DVD seems to have been released with little or no fan-fare- of course- this was released during the road to Mania- so they stayed on point. I found this DVD simply because I was checking out the new releases on DVD @ Best Buy. Although the event featured a Raw and a Smackdown Elimination Chamber- the emotional highlight of the night was Jerry Lawler vs Miz championship-from the excellent 3 minute video package before the match to the contest itself. I would wait for this to play on WWE Classics on Demand(WWE posted this event on July 22 on Classics) or get a used copy.  This is nothing essential – just a decent PPV.   B-

 

The PPV drew 199,000 buys down 86,000 from 2010.

 

Unknown is the weekend box office leader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 21, 2011

 The big reveal – the house in the rain is the domicile of the Undertaker, when he hits the arena he is followed by into the ring by Triple H – they point and gesture at each other and the Wrestlemania sign – not a single word is uttered but the WWE universe is transfixed for the entire segment.

 

Feb 22, 2011

WWE releases Big Show: A Giant’s World on DVD and instant streaming- I only saw the “documentary” portion of the disc on Netflix streaming- it was cool learning about what Big Show has to deal with on a daily basis and learning parts of his story. If you can stream this on Netflix – it might be your best option unless you are a huge fan of Big Show.

 

 

 

Royal Rumble 2013 review


After a video package recapping moments of the previous night’s Royal Rumble, Vicki lets us know that tonight’s episode of Raw Roulette will be determined by 3 wheels (the superstar wheel, the stipulations wheel and the Vicki Vegas challenge wheel).

A livid CM Punk storms the ring and starts an animated promo about the Phoenix screwjob. He is interrupted by Vince McMahon.

“You are flesh peddling hack, swindling promoter.” – Punk berating Vince

Vince then claims he will produce video footage showing that Paul Heyman is complicit in a conspiracy. He indicates that he will have a personal performance review with the former leader of the Dangerous Alliance later in the show.

The Miz is the special guest ref for the opening contest between Randy Orton and US Champion Antonio Cesaro. Randy Orton wins the match after some extra shoving by the Miz and Antonio.

Ryback spins the wheel and is part of the Make Me Laugh challenge with the Prime Time Players. Tennis legends Steffi Graff and Andre Agassi are in the front row. The PTP joke incorporates Darren Young’s stolen catchphrase and is booed by the audience. Ryback tells an unfunny joke and then beats up the tag team and delivers shell shock to Matt Stryker.

Another Bob Backlund video package is shown.

Wade Barrett chooses to fight Bo Dallas to gain revenge for being tossed from the Rumble by the second generation grappler, sadly the plans for vengeance backfire on the barrage and Bo Dallas gets a rollup victory on the current IC champ.

A graphic for the ages is shown as we get the tale of the tape between John Cena and Fred Flintstone since Cena has usurped the cartoon caveman from the box cover of Fruity Pebbles.

John Cena takes on Cody Rhodes and his caterpillar.

“This is a waste of Cody Rhodes, I’m leaving.” – Cody Rhodes

Before the second generation grappler can vacate the premises he is snatched up by Cena and loses the match.  John Cena indicates that he will face either Punk or Rock at Mania. The Shield attack Cena and then Sheamus and Ryback attempt to help all three are left beaten by the rogue group of intruders.

Tensai comes out to the ring in lingerie for a dance contest with Brodus Clay. I think Tensai should have won. Oh and Ron Simmons said “damn”.

Up next the torture porn segment , Big Show duct tapes Alberto Del Rio to the ring ropes and then beats the tar out of Ricardo Rodriguez and eventually knocks out the World Heavyweight Champion.

A lumberjills match between Taminia and Kaitlyn devolves into a Vegas showgirl melee and no actual winner.  The production team runs tweets and the announcers end up belittling the segment.

The Rock cuts a promo thanking the fans and then CM Punk comes out and challenges the Rock.  He tries to challenge the Rock at house shows or Raw and then says he will face him in 3 weeks at the Elimination Chamber.

“It’s not my rematch, it’s yours” – Punk

A solid promo by both guys and although I am pretty certain that Rock will win I want to see the match because it is obvious it will be a good battle.

Sheamus beats Damien Sandow in a tables match.

The Great Kahli attempts to sing “sexy boy” and is interrupted by 3MB. Kahli, Ryder and Hornswoggle send the air band to the back after a beatdown.

Y2J is back and subsequently confronted by Ziggler and his motley crew.

Y2J and Dolph are forced to team up against Team Hell No and lose the match.

Trish Stratus joins Mick Foley and Bob Backlund in this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class.

Vince and Paul shake hands. Vince puts lotion on his hand after the handshake. The former promoter of ECW cuts an amazing promo about lying – getting a cheer from the crowd.

Vince shows footage proving collusion between the Shield and Brad Maddox and Paul Heyman. This is a solid moment, showing what it would be like backstage if the villains conspired backstage.

Paul states that he is not the person in the video. Vince is about to fire Paul ….

Brock Lesnar returns and f5’s the chairman.

A great ending to a decent show. A goo d mix of comedy, returns, decent promos and some low level comedy.

I don’t mind that the Rock will not be on every show, nor am I offended that Brock and Y2J are part-timers. This is entertainment and it is okay to pick your spots. Hell I think that wrestling, especially WWE is around too much. The NFL maintains is place as the top spectator sport because it is only around for 16 games and a short playoff run. WWE is on TV 3 hours on Monday , an hour on Wednesday , 2 hours on Friday and a half hour every Saturday. Throw in YouTube content and WWE Classics on Demand and it is overload. Guys like Cena and Dolph that are there every day lose their luster because   they are always there. The commodity of guys like Brock and Y2J and Rock are maintained because they manage their time in and out of the ring. The road to Wrestlemania should be different than the rest of the year and so far it is.

By Jobber Joe (follow and interact on Twitter @jobberjoe99)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The French Connection

This gritty grimy crime story is well known for it's car chase scene but 40 years later it also serves as an amazing time capsule for a New York City that does not exist anymore. William Friedkin's film is shot on location and has an entrancing score by Don Ellis. This best picture winner is well worth checking out , amazing scenery and a great look at police procedures before cellphones and computers.  A+

 
French Connection II is streaming on Netflix - it is rather disappointing . Popeye Doyle is Tarzan in New York - rather he is in France tracking the bad guy and well this sequel directed by John Frankenhiemer is not terrible it is not a good extension of the original nor that logical. The scene with the drunken baseball talk is pretty darned funny- but overall this is not worth the time. C+
 
 
ALSO if you were planning on going to the 12th Planet Show in Virginia Beach tonight -
Due to the inclement weather, tonight's show at Peabody's with 12th Planet has been cancelled. Sorry for the inconvenience. Refunds are being given at point of purchase.
 

No Holds Barred - the adventures of Superman episode 11

In 1952 Superman helps stop a grappler with a paralyzing hold. The Swami is being held captive by a shady promoter and is teaching pressure point holds to a wrestler to help him win matches. This episode features arena wrestling and 2 appearances by Superman - in the last he has a terrible fight with the evil stable of wrestlers. Vintage television fans may enjoy this but modern fans will probably feel the urge to leap over a tall building to avoid finish the entire episode.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Phenix City Story / Desperate / Murder by Contract

The Phenix City Story -solid film noir- a mix of cinema vertie - the opening documentary with Clete Roberts interviewing the local yokels about the shocking vice industry in a small border town in 50s America. was a charming but slow speed-bump- then we get into the meet of the story- basically- the town is a nice town- except for 14th street with it's gambling,violence and whores,Richard Kiley is the son of the respected town lawyer- back from the war- he decides to take action.The story has been told before and since- but the execution- along with a swinging score and some great casting make this well worth Netflixxing if you enjoy classic crime movies.  A+



Desperate- we follow an innocent truck driver as he tries to hustle his expecting bride away from danger.This Anthony Mann picture looks excellent - but is hamstrung by a doltish hero that beyond all logic digs his hole deeper and deeper with the law while being chased by a gang led by Raymond Burr.The lead movie on the fifth compilation of noir movies from Warner Brothers - the DVD has no extras-a bad surprise considering every movie on the fourth compilation had a commentary track.Not a top tier noir movie- but a solid investment in time if you love the genre.

Murder By Contract -solid 50s noir about a hitman.Vince Edwards is superb as the gun for hire- add in a great score,classic dialog and a tight script and you have a B-movie classic. Well worth a Netflix slot if you like film noir. B+

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014 Rumble results and reaction

My review of the 2014 WWE Royal Rumble for Wrestle Hustle

Hustle , Pumping Iron , The Stepmother

Hustle (1975)

October 13, 2010 at 10:48pm
Hustle- Burt Reynolds is a homicide detective in LA - he and partner Paul Winfield investigate a body washed ashore.Along the way we follow the relationship of Reynolds and Catherine Denueve. Mixing a suicide,a couple of gun fights in between a relationship with a high priced hooker Reynolds seems out of sort for most of the movie.There is a couple of continuity gaffes,a laughable score and overly twisted plot to contend with also.A solid cast included Paul Winfield,Eilene Brennan,Ben Johnson,Ernest Borgnine with Robert Englund and Fred Williard in cameo roles.I snagged this cause it was directed by Robert Aldrich(Kiss Me Deadly)-- this movie tries to have it's artistic moments -but usually it is lost .Not worth a Netflix slot unless you really crave seeing Burt Reynolds without a mustache.


This week I also tried to watch Ninja Thunderbolt by Godfrey Ho-although it had tons of unintentional comedy- the mixture of convoluted plot,terrible lighting and random fighting made it a struggle to complete.I also watched Batman:Under The Red Hood- ok animation-some big ideas- but not in love with it.


Amazon Women on The Moon- sketch comedy from the early 80s- this movie is inconsistent- but when it scores it is a lot of fun- from the cad catcher computer skit with Steve Guttenberg to BB King's testimonial for Don "No Soul" Simmons to the continued problems with the showing of the late movie Amazon Women on the Moon.Sure this is dated and inconsistent- but a decent investment time if you are looking for some silly fun with a cast of soon to be famous folks.  B-

Underworld USA(1961)- Solid Samuel Fuller crime and revenge flick starring Cliff Robertson,A good mix of superb cinematography ,an over the top score and quick pacing make this worth checking out if you enjoy film noir.


Pumping Iron- interesting look at something I am not that interested in- bodybuilding- basically we get the run up to Arnold Schwarzneggar's 'last competition for Mr Olympia(his 6th in a row) his competitor is none other than Lou Ferrigino.The movie has some very quotable stuff- sadly- we find out in the special features - this is a docudrama- not a documentary and Arnold confesses that he fabricated most of the storyline and he did that to make the movie more interesting- oh well.Still interesting look @ wieghtlifting culture.  B-

The Stepmother-this 1970s drive-in movie is a doozy- mixing 70s fashion,a non-sensical storyline,some bad freeze-frames and incest-this movie is one of those so bad it's okay type movies.Larry Linville (from M*A*S*H)  is a supporting actor in the flick. D
 



 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

of the day

Song of the day- gospel meets chicken scratch funk - omg this rocks


 
 
Movie of the day - Map of the Human Heart - story of a lovelorn eskimo out of time and space during World War 2
 
 
 
 
 
Here are some pictures of action figures in the snow
 



 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Hardcore Truth + WWE 50 DVD


The Hardcore Truth by Bob Holly with Ross Williams

ECW Press

This is a straightforward narrative presented with a clear voice by Bob Howard better known to many wrestling fans as Hardcore Holly. This autobiography is a compelling story about a lifelong fan that overcame a middling gimmick to have a decade and half career with the largest wrestling promotion in the world. He pulls no punches talking about backstage politics, his peers, steroids, and his run with the world-wide leader. It was a solid read and worth the time , sure Howard is a little defensive about how he is perceived , but that is the problem with having a public persona for so long , especially one that seemed to portray a character that was a no nonsense bully to some. I liked the book and think it is a worthwhile addition to the modern wrestling library.  B+
 
WWE 50 Years DVD
 

The DVD is centered around a 2 hour documentary covering the history of the WWE. It kicks off with Vince McMahon parking his car at Titan Towers and then goes into the history of the company. It follows the company from Capital Wrestling Corporation to the WWWF and more. In 1956 Vince McMahon, Sr. put his shows on the Dumont network this program helped grow the product. Mixing archival interviews and current interviews with vintage video and pictures this is neat look back at the history of the WWE. It is frustrating that only 30 minutes and one match are given to the first 3 decades of the promotion while most of the focus is on more current events. My favorite extra on the set is the Hogan vs Andre match from Mania III with no announcers. This is a decent DVD but like many WWE attempts at writing their own history it leaves a little to be desired. I mean they covered the steroids tribulations and the Monday night wars – but they could have covered more vintage material , how do you tell the story of the original WWWF and not mention Antonio Rocca- I don’t know but they found a way. Still I am glad to have this set as part of my collection.  B-

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bronies The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony

In the tradition of Trekkies this John DeLancie documentary follows several fans of the recent edition of My Little Pony. Quirky and brief this movie follows fans of the animated show from all over the world and how they are perceived by the general public and how the fans find solace in the growing network of internet fans. The movie touches on how the older male fans are ostracized by outsiders and perceived as weirdoes or homosexuals and even shows a Fox news clip making fun of the Bronies and one gentleman from North Carolina details a bullying incident. Overall this movie probably won't garner new fans for the re-booted cartoon and may not offer enough insight into why fans like the show but it was a fun watch on Netflix Streaming.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Sir Oliver Humperdink // RIP Mae Young

I first knew of Oliver as the head of the House of Humperdink in Mid-Atlantic wrestling and well I did not like him - since his crew was trying to maim my favorite grappler Roddy Piper. I later was lucky enough to meet him via facebook and trade links to classic soul and blues songs




with a fellow music fan and was just as lucky to do an interview with the former wrestling manager. He was a class act and I will miss him.




Also as many wrestling fans know - the legendary Mae Young passed away this week - Mae had been grappling since World War 2 and has entertained generations of wrestling fans. My thoughts go out to her friends and family.

 
 
 
 

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Mae Young update /// thick of it / Maron

http://www.wrestlehustle.com/mae-young-gravely-ill/


Been binge-watching - or binge viewing - really marathon laziness with a laugh track = first I suffered thru tons of commercials to get thru the entire run of Thick of It on Hulu Plus- Peter Capaldi is a profane genius - I have been wanting to watch the show since I saw In the Loop.



my ultimate fake government would include Dennis Haysbert as President , Ron Swanson as VP , with Malcolm tucker as the press secretary and Benjamin Sisko as the head of the pentagon- would it work - I don't know - oh wait maybe the president wrestler guy from Idiocracy.

also have been watching Marc Maron's show on Netflix sans commercials- seriously commercials on hulu suck=specially for shows like Newhart- really? The Maron show is funny - for fans of stuff like Newhart or CYE

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

WWE network coming - will watch on 360

In a groundbreaking announcement, WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon heralded the launch of WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 streaming network, which will feature all 12 WWE live pay-per-view events – including WrestleMania – for only $9.99 per month. Learn more about WWE Network right now.
MORE DETAILS: http://wwe.me/spafu
SEE PHOTOS: http://wwe.me/spbje
WATCH VIDEO: http://wwe.me/spbl8
WWE NETWORK FAQ: http://wwe.me/spbmJ

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

The latest Cohen brothers is character study about a struggling folk musician in 1961. Set in the winter in the Big Apple we follow a folkie trying to climb off the hamster-wheel of couch surfing and low paydays. Beautifully shot this movie is a tone poem about a guy trying to find himself and get ahead while seeming to upset everyone around him. This movie is probably not for everyone but I loved the road trip to Chicago with the jazz musician portrayed by John Goodman and the goofy astronaut song he Davis performed with JT.    B+

The Topsy Turvy World of the Law and Order universe /// Sunset Strip

When Law and Order first aired I never watched the show. I only watched the show on Netflix after re-watching the Wire and Underbelly. Sadly Netflix only has 8 seasons of the show and 5 seasons or so of SVU. So I have to flood my DVr to get Law and Order and get Hulu Plus to get the whole SVU run. What I love is how some actors get used over and over again in different roles. Dan Lauria(the father from the Wonder Years) has been a pedophile coach , a grieving dad and the chief of police. One fun thing is seeing actors from the Sopranos and the Wire and characters like Ashy Larry from Chappelle's Show and Leon from Curb Your Enthusiasm as perps or witnesses. The other thing I like about the show is the turnover of cast- not a single person from the initial show was with Law and Order when it ended although the original captain from the show is still with SVU. Is the show perfect no- I do think the show has devolved - the first season felt more cinematic at times and the writing was tighter and wittier- sure Orbach delivered plenty of punchlines during his run as Lenny Briscoe - but nothing like the repartee between Max and Logan.


 
Oh wow Cutty from the Wire was on season 4 of SVU- yeah he is also on Walking dead. And now Spike Lee's sister(first time I have seen her since I think Jungle Fever).
 
 
 
SUNSET STRIP
This 2012 documentary is a fun ride down the infamous road in tinsel town. Featuring vintage footage and interviews with Hollywood's A-List this is a solid watch for entertainment and history fans who have Netflix streaming.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Old School Raw

How do you minimize a big moment? Over shadow it with something bigger Roman Reigns defeated CM Punk - but this was trumped by the return of Jake "The Snake" Roberts to the WWE after a long absence due to personal demons. We shall see how this plays out in the long run. I did enjoy Sgt. Slaughter trying to dance with 2 Cool and Rikishi.

Monday, January 06, 2014

day 6 - my review of 2012 wrestling


2012

Highs and lows and consistently inconsistent – that was pro wrestling in 2012. CM Punk held the WWE title the entire year while the World Heavyweight title was lost and won in record times by various grapplers. The simplicity of What was trumped by the duplicity of Yes and No. While the divas devolved into eye candy – 3 of the most popular divas left WWE – the Bella twins and Kelly Kelly. While John Cena was the focal point of many storylines, his character suffered many setbacks including a loss to the Rock at Wrestlemania. My favorite match of the year was the brutal match between Brock Lesnar and John Cena the following month. On the downside John Cena was one of many guys kissing the skipping  AJ Lee.

Raw went to 3 hours after its 1000th episode and WWE also added a Saturday morning show and Main Event on Wednesdays.  After Summer Slam I stopped making an effort to see PPVs- I lost my motivation. I am simply not invested in the characters enough to leave my home to see the matches. Of course I will be watching during the run-up to Mania since I love the Royal Rumble and like Elimination Chamber.

After being immersed in pro wrestling 2011 – I stepped back in 2012; truth is I got a day job and a night job. I left the day job in December of 2012 with the goal of focusing on wrestling in 2013- we shall see. TNA lost me after Bound for Glory- I just simply stopped watching – probably as much for the day the show ran- truthfully I stopped watching Smackdown as much because I am busier on the weekends than weekdays.

ROH had the same problem although I watched more of their product than TNA – I am surprised they buried their December PPV Final Battle at 3 pm on an NFL Sunday.

The internet increased access to international grappling and documentaries. The BBC ran a superb albeit too short documentary called when Wrestling was golden focusing on wrestling in the United Kingdom from the 60s through the 90s. PBS had an informative documentary about lucha libre entitled Tales of Masked Men.

While Raw maybe the flagship program of the WWE my favorite WWE show is the Legends of Wrestling featuring a Roundtable discussion of various topics discussed by grappling greats. My favorite YouTube program is Are You Serious hosted by The Road Dog and Josh Matthews with frequent interruptions by Puppet H. Are You Serious is a dumping ground for the deluge of Wrestlecrap in the WWE vault and is a fun 5 minutes worth checking out every Sunday.

If you are looking for inside information about the industry but are tired of the shoot interview format I suggest checking out the Timeline series from Kayfabe Commentaries. They focus on a year and have one guest go through the year and events- my faves include the ones featuring Jim Coronette and Kevin Nash.

While WWE 13 did gonzo box-office and I do own a copy of the game for the 360 I have to admit I have rarely played it –since I am still hooked on the Call of Duty series.

WWE and TNA and ROH and Evolve all provided some great moments this year- the problem is wrestling is competing with its own past being so easily accessible and so many different and convenient entertainment options. Why settle for watching wrestling when you can watch football or stream a movie or play videogames. Sure that has always been the issue or option, but now with so much available at the click of button, every form of entertainment is struggling to be seen. Conventional advertising like radio and TV aren’t as effective and now wrestling has invaded the social media with formats like Tout and other ways of trying to reach the fans.

I am still a wrestling fan and I still tune in- but as much as I watch the current product the true allure is in the past, documentaries, books and interviews. My favorite wrestling podcast is the Old School Wrestling podcast and they tend to not cover anything that is newer than 10 years ago.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Day 5 Wrestling 365

today was company brunch and now listening to random stuff on Soundcloud.

Tomorrow is Old School Raw- Flair and Piper / Piper and Flair- my 2 faves are advertised - so I will watch.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Wrestling 365 day3///DVDs in the mail

got a comp featuring Antonio Rocca and another featuring 80s grappling in the mail from Barnes and Noble. Under the weather watching Law and Order on the TiVo today.


Magnus is the champion in Dixieland.

Friday, January 03, 2014

supposed to be watching TNA

instead I watched Law and Order and then hooked up a mixer to practice- day 3 fail

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Wrestling & Pop Culture January 2011


Jan 1, 2011


Wrestler, trainer, mask maker and musician Verne Langdon passed away. He can be seen in Slammers gym discussing Plan 9 from Outer Space in the documentary Flying Saucers over Hollywood.


 


Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

DVD- 2000 Wade Williams

Long hailed as the worst movie ever made. But I enjoy this movie tremendously- a unique script and a odd menagerie of on-screen talent make this a memorable film opus. Billed as screen legend Bela Lugosi’s last film( he is in some brief scenes- and then doubled for on most of the movie). The cast also includes writer and director Ed Wood, horror show hostess Vampira and wrestling icon Tor Johnson a/k/a The Swedish Angel. The bizarre script and terrible acting make this a fun movie to watch – having been taken on by MST3K and parodied over the years- this movie is something to experience.  The DVD also has a full length documentary The Plan 9 Companion which includes an interview with Verne Langdon conducted while he sits on the ring apron while several wrestlers work in the ring behind him. The Plan 9 Companion also spends about 5 minutes talking about Tor Johnson, complete with pictures from his wrestling career and the origins of the iconic mask made his visage. Cardboard cockpits, unintelligible dialogue and a plot rumored to be written around some silent footage of Bela  Lugosi combined with a title modified by the Baptists that ended up paying for the movie make that is  so bad it’s sublime.

 

Tor Johnson also appeared in the hilariously bad Bride of the Monster for Ed Wood- the MST3K version was so funny it got me hooked on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

 


 


 

 

 

 


Jan 4 2011


Wrestle Kingdom V Tokyodome


WKV is an amazing super-card from Japan – featuring competitors from several Japanese promotions alongside TNA grapplers and CMLL luchadores. The IWGP match between Prince Devitt and Kota Ibushi is worth checking out if you have the opportunity- great high-flying action. ON the flipside Jeff Hardy seemed blown up for most of his TNA title defense versus Tetsuya Naito and stunk up the joint. I don’t speak Japanese so I miss out on some of the reasons for the feuds and fights- but I love the overly dramatic vignettes and the intense action and the epic feel of the event- even though the audience is quiet until the action climaxes. Sometime it is nice to have a crescendo of noise instead of constant listen to us clap 5 x we’re so witty we are the show chants.


Zoning in and out while watching a program in a language you are not familiar with can cause some weird thoughts during Battle Combustion II I thought the announcer said something about peanut butter massage- I could be incorrect.


The match between Masato Tanaka(yes the same guy who put on the amazing matches with Mike Awesome in ECW) and  Togi Makabe was an intense back and forth battle that started getting the crowd involved.


The Main event of the evening was a good 20+ minute tussle for the IWGP strap and had the audience engaged for the entire match between Tanahashi and Kojima. This event is worth seeking out if you can find it online. It is frustrating that most international wrestling is not available domestically for purchase. I readily admit I don’t watch as much Puroresu or Lucha because of the language differences- I would love the super-show DVD releases with optional language tracks- but I guess there is not enough of a market for that to occur. You can find this event at ivpvideos.com for an affordable price.


Wrestle Kingdom reminds me of the early Starrcades- a supercard with contenders from all over the world- in other words a once in a lifetime event not to be missed- not a mix and match of the same wrestlers from the week before.


Wrestle Kingdom V is worth ordering if you are looking for a unique spectacle with a true super-card with a variety of styles and workers from all over the globe.


 


Jan 8, 2011


 


 


The top movie at the box office is True Grit a remake of a John Wayne film by respected film-makers The Coen Brothers.


 


 

 

Jan 9, 2011


Mr. Anderson defeats Jeff Hardy to win the TNA championship at the Genesis PPV.


 


 


 KURT ANGLE made a brief appearance on Extreme Home Makeover on ABC that was highlighted by him loosing a thumb-wrestling match- but no mention was made of him being with TNA wrestling-he was part of an episode with an amateur wrestling enthusiast - the guy was more impressed with meeting amateur wrestling legend Dan Gable.


 

 


Jan 10, 2011


The New Nexus led by CM Punk starts to implode when CM Punk insists that the entire group go through hazing type initiations.  Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater decide to leave the Nexus rather than beat each other up with Kendo Sticks. The other members of the group subjugated themselves to near torture situations in order to maintain their membership in the heel stable. While the group would limp thru the spring of 2011, it would never regain the impact or dominance they had when Nexus first exploded onto Raw in June of 2010.


 

2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton leads Auburn to the National Championship in the BCS championship game as his team defeated the Oregon Ducks 22 to 19.

 


 


 


 


 

 

 

Wed Jan 13 2011

I finally played AAA Heroes Del Ring game for Xbox 360- took forever to find online competition- the game is ok- but am glad I got it used. It feels like a last generation title and although I am always a fan of masked grapplers and Lucha culture – this is a not a game I would suggest for others to purchase.


  Even though the graphics and gameplay are better for modern games compared to older wrestling games- I am not as interested in wrestling games as I used to be, because I tend to play Call of Duty games instead.


 

January 16, 2011

Ricky Gervais ruffles a few feathers with some of his scathing jabs hosting the Golden Globes. After the hubbub he is still hired to host the ceremony in 2012.(which ends up rather tame in comparison)

 

 

 

Jan 18, 2011- Morning talk show host Regis Philbin announces that he will be leaving Live with Regis and Kelly at the end of the 2010/2011 television season. Philbin has been a longtime supporter of professional wrestling and used to bring Freddie Blassie on his Los Angeles based shows often. Philbin also has a cameo in the made for television movie Mad Bull starring NFL great Alex Karras as grappler who is stalked by a crazed fan, think Taxi Driver in spandex.

 

 

 


 

 

 


Jan 23, 2011


Mongo Wrestling Alliance – Adult Swim 2011

Former WWE writer Tommy Blacha launched this short running over the top wrestling animated series on Adult Swim early in 2011.This show mixes gross out humor with weird action sequences. Each episode is approximately 11 minutes long and features the ongoing battle between the loveable lug Rusty Kleberkuh and the evil Johnny Dubose(voiced with relish by Harry Dean Stanton. Although this is a cartoon- the over the top violence and sexuality may be a bit much for the more conservative element of the parental universe. I enjoyed the first season and will continue to watch this odd creation that mixes elements of lucha, the occult and low-brow comedy.  B

 

Fitness expert Jack LaLanne died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia in Morro Bay, California.

 

 

Jan 26, 2011

 Country legend Charlie Louvin passed away at the age of 83. He recorded many essential tunes worth checking out including “The Great Atomic Power” and the lovely “In the Pines”. Mixing great harmony with engaging lyrics this band’s music is well worth owning.



 

 


Jan 27, 2011

 Former WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar is currently trending el numero uno on yahoo- something about him being underestimated as coach for Ultimate Fighter.

 

 


 


Johnny Heidmann passed away at the age of 90. He was an active competitor from 1938 to 1973.


Jan 30, 2011

“Dashing” Cody Rhodes was not part of the Royal Rumble due to him having his nose broken by Rey Mysterio in a match on Smackdown early in the month.

WWE Royal Rumble 2011

My favorite WWE event each year is the Royal Rumble. Sure Wrestlemania draws a bigger crowd and has a bigger profile- but I love the Pat Patterson modification of the boring battle royal concept. The Rumble is yearly event with 30 entrants that enter the rumble at timed intervals. This year is the biggest Royal Rumble ever, instead of the usual 30 men –we get 40 wrestlers. Before the Rumble kicked off from Boston we had to sit thru 3 championship matches- on the upside 2 of the matches were actually good.          

    The event kicked off with solid back and forth match between World Champion Edge and Dolf Ziggler managed by his storyline girlfriend Vikki Guerrrero. Vikki is also the current Smackdown GM and has decreed that if Edge uses his finishing maneuver the Spear he will not only lose the match but forfeit his title to Mr. Ziggles. Of course the ref and Vikki get knocked out and Edge ceases the opportunity to hit Dolph with the Spear-after the ref regains his sense he counts 3. Edge’s theme song hits- “Honest Abe I see clearly now” or something like that.                                                                                                                      

    After a vignette with music by Social Distortion The Miz beats Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship. Once again Miz is made to look inferior as it took interference from the New Nexus lead by CM Punk and Miz’s apprentice Alex Riley for Miz to beat the Viper.    

  Eve Torres captured the Diva strap with a moonsault in 4 person match.

Finally it’s time for the Main Event. I grew up a fan of the NWA and was never big into the WWE cartoon style of wrestling – until I rented a VHS of Royal Rumble 1992, because Roddy Piper and Ric Flair were participants. I still prefer the style of the now defunct NWA , presenting wrestling as a sporting event. I understand that WWE is the bastard child of sports and entertainment. Sometimes that is fun – I love segments like the musical chairs segment on Raw a few years ago and other times it is a double-drag – the guest host slots on Raw usually ended up in flubs like Summer Fest and C-List celebs getting in the ring, either way that is the MO of the WWE.

 

 

Drawing number one for the biggest Royal Rumble of the year is CM Punk. As soon as he gets in the ring – The Nexus and the Corre start brawling. Eventually the anonymous GM of Raw makes an announcement through Michael Cole that if they don’t cease fighting immediately they will be disqualified. The match starts when Daniel Bryan joins the fray as participant number 2. The first highlight of the match is when John Morrison staves off elimination by latching onto the ringside barricade before his feet hit the floor then he tippytoes on the barricade and leaps onto the ringside steps and then rejoins the match. Chavo Guerrero enjoys another early highlight when he tries to hit the 3 Amigos as a tribute to Eddie on several competitors until he finally hits the move. After 21 minutes the New Nexus are left standing tall- that’s right CM Punk and his lackeys are standing in the ring and beating up folks to a chorus of Boos from the Boston crowd.   The irritated crowd pops large when Booker T hits the ring and performs several of his signature moves including the Spin-A-Roonie before he also gets eliminated by the Nexus.

John Cena hits the ring like a house on fire and eliminates the Nexus crew including CM Punk. This energizes the crowd. Hornswoggle then joins the Rumble mix for several comedy spots. Hornswoggle is eventually eliminated by Sheamus. Diesel was the 32nd entrant and received a thunderous ovation from the crowd. Kevin Nash a/k/a Big Daddy Cool a/k/a Diesel was supposed to be a surprise –sadly the internet spoiled that surprise and worse a loudmouth at the bar ruined it for everyone that does not read the dirtsheets in the local Buffalo Wild Wings.

The 37th entrant into the match is comedy wrestler Santino Marella, he gets knocked out of the ring, but not over the top rope. Next in is Alberto Del Rio.

 During the final minutes of the Rumble there was this awkward moment when John Cena and Randy Orton had a faceoff- I think the brass anticipated a loud roar for this moment like the moment when Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan faced off in a Royal Rumble in the early 90s. This moment resulted in crickets mating and felt forced. The final 4 combatants where Wade Barrett , John Cena , Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio. Alberto Del Rio is the last man standing and starts to celebrate when Santino Marella re-enters the battle- after a quick tussle Del Rio holds his ground and ends up winning anyway.

The DVD had 2 extras a boring interview with Eve Torres celebrating her butterfly belt victory and Alberto Del Rio’s Rumble celebration from Monday night Raw where he ends up clobbering Edge with a guitar.     B+  

                                         me and Alberto Del Rio in 2013
 

 CONGRATS to Alberto Del Rio for winning the 2011 Royal Rumble. The John Morrison spot was great and it looks like Corre is gone before they came. It was nice to see Booker T and Nash again. The crowd at the local Buffalo Wild Wings in Virginia Beach was chanting Santino at the end and was very dejected when Del Rio won.


Alberto Del Rio is a relatively new character in the WWE universe- first built up with several short films highlighting his wealth, education and class in several classic villas over flamenco guitar. The former Dos Carras II unmasked and is now accompanied by an announcer and enters the arena in luxury cars and wears a white scarf- but you already know that.


 


The event had 446,000 buys on PPV.