Thursday, March 31, 2011

Who Really Deserves the WWE Hall of Fame?

With the induction of Drew Carey into the WWE Hall of Fame, most of us are embarrassed to call that a legitimate Hall-of-Fame. But let’s be honest. It’s not a Hall-of-Fame for the wrestlers. It’s a wing for the celebrities. Do I really think Drew Carey deserves a spot in the HOF? Of course not. But he’s not getting inducted as a wrestler. He’s going in as a celebrity. And he is the only celebrity to ever compete in the Royal Rumble. I understand he’s got something to plug, and I think it’s totally embarrassing the WWE is using a HOF induction to help him plug whatever crap he’s plugging. Maybe they could have named him the emcee of the event.
But in honor of Drew Carey getting inducted for giving Kane money, I have come up with a list of 15 celebrities that I feel deserve induction into the WWE HOF more than Drew Carey. These are not in order of priority.
1.       Jenny McCarthy-A woman who started out as eye candy that moved on to being a child advocate against vaccines (even though she was wrong) and autism. She also was a very successful writer about books about pregnancy and motherhood. Maybe being inducted by Shawn Michaels, this would be a reminder of a big moment from Wrestlemania XI.
2.       Pamela Anderson-The biggest part about the 1995 Royal Rumble was that the winner got to be escorted to the back by Pamela Anderson. And then at Wrestlemania, she escorted Diesel to the ring. This was a big moment as she was at the hottest her career got at that time. The WWE always likes to have their big celebrity moment. Inducted by recent returnee Kevin Nash? Nash on the mic is always great fun.
3.       Regis Philbin-Regis has always had wrestlers on and never worried about his image. He’s freakin’ Regis. And then when Steve Austin propelled himself to superstardom, aside from the big Mike Tyson “shove heard round the world,” one of the watershed moments in his career was when he appeared on Regis & "the one before Kelly Ripa." Austin wore his “Austin 3:16” and Regis had his “Philbin 911” t-shirt. And there was the moment when Austin got in his face and Regis rubbed Austin’s head and Stone Cold smiled. Stone Cold would be the perfect person to induct him.
4.       Burt Reynolds-The guest ring announcer at Wrestlemania X, I don’t really think he has contributed THAT much. But he was a big name. And since WWE has always loved their Hollywood celebrities whenever they could get them, if they could get Burt Reynolds for this role, they would be in “We make movies” heaven. I’m sure HE has something he could plug. I could see him getting inducted by Bret Hart or Roddy Piper.
5.       Joan Rivers-Is there anybody better at stirring up a buzz? And doesn’t she have some reality show or documentary to plug? And when has Joan Rivers ever turned down an appearance? Anywhere? I could see her getting inducted simply because she was Joan Rivers. Who would induct her? Take your pick. I’m sure any of the young lions would benefit from the rub: Ted Jr., Randy Orton, Zack Ryder.
6.       Muhammad Ali-Arguably the greatest boxer ever, if not the greatest athlete ever. He was the referee at the first Wrestlemania. Plus, Ali makes news any time he goes to the grocery store because of the sheer legend behind him. Who would induct him? Again, take your pick. Any wrestler of Black or Muslim heritage would be great here. The Rock, Booker T, Kofi Kingston (I don’t know of any wrestlers who are of Muslim heritage or beliefs.), etc.
7.       Dick Butkus-One of the greatest defensemen in the history of pro football and a man who appeared in several Wrestlemanias. I know that he has his charities that he takes care of. He definitely wouldn’t mind appearing to plug that. And who wouldn’t want to induct the great Butkus? Maybe somebody from Chicago like CM Punk. Maybe a college player like The Rock. I don’t see how they could go wrong.
8.       Tommy Lasorda-A Hall-of-Fame baseball manager known for being very colorful on the mic. Of course, the Atlanta crowd may not warm up to a Dodgers legend. Any wrestler would love to induct him. It would get them on some MLB sites and I’m sure Tommy Lasorda would love to plug a charity.
9.       Alice Cooper-Doesn’t he still put out songs and albums and stuff? I’m sure he’d love the chance to come back and speak to the fans. Who inducts him? Obviously not Jake “The Snake,” as that might require sobriety. But which wrestler wouldn’t want to induct a legend in the music world? Chris Jericho maybe?
10.   Ozzy Osborne-A former figure in Wrestlemania 2, and one of the most-recognized music icons of all-time, Ozzy Osborne would be GREAT  for publicity. The man can still draw, and he still must have some marketability as he was used for one of the biggest Super Bowl commercials this past year. Again, any wrestler would love to induct Ozzy freakin’ Osborne.
11.   Mike Tyson-I’d just love to hear him say “My man Cole Stone” one more time. Wrestlemania XIV was one of the biggest moments in wrestling history. That was a watershed moment of the Attitude Era. Of course if he came back, we’d always be reminded of how great their product was back then and how it isn't now. Who would induct him? Triple-H, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, Jim Ross, take your pick.
12.   Bob Uecker-If there is anybody in humanity that deserves a microphone, it’s the Iron Sheik. After him, it’s the great Bob Uecker. Most of us remember the visual of Andre the Giant choking Uecker with his massive hands. Again, who wouldn’t want to induct one of the funniest men ever on the mic? Take your pick. I think Santino would be a great fit there.
13.   Aretha Franklin-She sung at Wrestlemania III & XXIII. The Queen of Soul, who wouldn’t want to induct her? Of course, it could be a well-known Black competitor like Booker T, Ron Simmons (lots of “Damnnnnnnnnns” in that speech) or Kofi. Of course, the one who makes the most sense would be Lillian Garcia, whom I’m sure they could bring back for one night to induct Aretha.
14.   Cyndi Lauper-The fact Drew Carey is going into the celebrity wing of the HOF before Cyndi Lauper is downright embarrassing. Cyndi Lauper has done more for the wrestling business than show up in a match to plug their show. Brawl to Settle It All, War to Settle the Score, Wrestlemania, she used HER name to get the publicity on these events. Again, Lillian Garcia would be a great fit to induct her. So would Roddy Piper, Edge or anybody who watched her as a kid and was inspired to get into wrestling because of her participation on these big events.
15.   Motorhead-The group who has created one of the most iconic entrance themes in the history of wrestling. It is also arguable that is the most iconic entrance theme ever (with respect to “Real American,” Piper’s & Undertaker’s music and maybe Stone Cold’s and The Rock’s). From the first time you hear “Time to play the gaaaaaaaaaaame” you know that Triple-H is coming to the ring. Obviously, it’s kind of silly who would induct them. Triple-H, of course.
What are your favorites? Who do you think we should see?
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Boxing Preview 3-26-11

Wandsbek, Hamburg, Germany
Alexander Dimitrenko (30-1) vs. Albert Sosnowski (46-3-1)
Looks like Germany is going to be putting forth a nice night. Sosnowski is ranked higher in the world but Dimitrenko is the top-ranked German heavyweight. Dimitrenko is 4 for his last 5 vs. Sosnowski's 3-1-1. Dimitrenko is fighting in his home country, as opposed to the Polish Sosnowski. Dimitrenko also has a higher knockout percentage. Sosnowski's biggest advantage is his experience. On paper, I say Dimitrenko wins this.
Susi Kentikian (27-0, 1 NC) vs. Ana Arrazola (19-5-3)
Looks like Germany is bringing in fodder for their boxing darling. She has only NOT won a fight one, and that was her most recent fight which was an unintentional head-butt. Arrazola is 3 for her last 5. She has the hometown going for her advantage. Experience is kind of a wash. Their knockout percentage is pretty much even.
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Steve Molitor (32-1) vs. Takalani Ndlovu (31-6)
This looks to be another really exciting fight. Both are pretty even in experience. Molitor has the momentum edge, winning his last 5, as opposed to Ndlovu 3 of his last 5. Ndlovu is fighting in his native South Africa, so he gets the home crowd advantage. We also have #6 Super Bantamweight (Molitor) facing #8 (Ndlovu), so Molitor gets the ranking advantage. Part of me wants to say that Molitor walks away with this one.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Yuriorkis Gamboa (19-0) vs. Jorge Solis (40-2-2)
HBO really is bringing it tonight. Gamboa is one of Cuba's biggest athletes and Solis is a well-traveled veteran from Mexico. Solis is 4 for his last 5. It's a little hard to compete with Gamboa's 19-win streak. Neither are fighting in their home countries, so that is a wash. To be honest, this is a highlight of Gamboa's abilities. The Cuban wins.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

UFC 128 Preview

UFC 128 actually looks to be a decent event developing. It has 3 fights I'm really looking forward to and one that really fascinates me (to see what Shalorus does with the new test of Jim Miller and the big stage of the UFC).
Light Heavyweight Championship bout: Maurício Rua (19-4) (c) vs. Jon Jones (12-1)
This is a main event to trump all main events. "Bones" Jones is on fire and has a rocket strapped to him that will propel him out of the galaxy. Bones has one loss in his last 5. And it was a DQ. Shogun is 3 for his last 5. Bones has a greater variety in his wins. Shogun is legendary with victories over Chuck Liddell, Little Nog, Alistair Overeem. Bones looks like he joins the ranks of the Spider & GSP in the pound-for-pound rankings. I'm going with Bones.
Winner: Jones
Bantamweight bout: Urijah Faber (24-4) vs. Eddie Wineland (18-6-1)
Faber is one of the UFC's newest stars, mostly because he was one of WEC's biggest stars. I think this is mostly a stage to showcase one of their biggest stars. Wineland has 4 wins in a row. Faber is 3 of his last 5. Other than that, this fight is pretty much a wash. I know the UFC wants Faber to win because he's their golden boy. But all signs I see point to Wineland taking an upset.
Winner: Wineland
Lightweight bout: Jim Miller (19-2) vs. Kamal Shalorus (7-0-2)
Shalorus is a man you know has some interesting stories. Born in Iran, later granted British citizenship, the guy has lived quite a life. Jim Miller has 6 wins in a row. Shalorus has never lost, but has never fought in the UFC. I really want Shalorus to win, but my gut says to go with Miller. He has more experience on the bigger stage.
Winner: Miller
Heavyweight bout: Mirko Filipović (28-8-2, 1 NC) vs. Brendan Schaub (7-1)
This is perhaps the biggest fight of Schaub's career. After defeating Gabriel Gonzaga, Schaub is rising to a higher caliber in Cro Cop. This is a man that has been the main event on Pay-Per-Views and is a living legend in MMA. If Schaub defeats Cro Cop, he might be looking at Mir or even the loser of Lesnar-Dos Santos. (I'm just speculating.) Schaub is one of the hottest up-and-comers and Cro Cop becomes his next victim.
Winner: Schaub
Middleweight bout: Nate Marquardt (30-10-2) vs. Dan Miller (14-4, 1 NC)
I once predicted Nate "The Great" would be a stepping stone. I'm not making that mistake again. Nate is 3 of his last 5. While Dan is 2 of his last 5, the two wins are his most recent fights. I'd give him the momentum edge. Nate has more experience and is a bigger name, so there might be a little more of an intimidation factor there. I learned my lesson. Always bet on great.
Winner: Marquardt
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Meditations on Snooki at Wrestlemania

I’m sure nobody else is using the word “Meditation” in regards to Snooki. I can’t do the good or the bad because this is a mixture of both. A lot of this hinges on how the match actually goes. Here are my thoughts. Some will be good; some will be bad. You may agree, but chances are you probably won’t.

1.       Wrestlemania has always had their big “celebrity” moment:
-Pamela Anderson & Jenny McCarthy at XI
-Mickey Rourke at Wrestlemania 25
-Billy Martin, Muhammad Ali & Liberace at Wrestlemania
-Lawrence Taylor and his football buddies at XI
-Floyd Mayweather at Wrestlemania 24
-Pete Rose and all his escapades
-Mike Tyson at 14
-Alice Cooper at Wrestlemania III
-Ozzy Osborne at Wrestlemania II
-Morton Downey Jr. at Wrestlemania V
-Robin Leach & Vanna White at Wrestlemania IV
-Kim Kardashian at Wrestlemania 24

This is nothing new. Wrestlemania will always have their celebrities. This year, it happens to be Snooki.

2.       Two very good wrestlers will get their matches. There was one year when MNM carried the Smackdown! brand on their shoulders and they couldn’t find a Wrestlemania match for them. Now not only does John Morrison get a match, he gets the (arguably) highest-profile match on the card. Dolph Ziggler has also put forth a lot of work this year for the WWE. The two are getting one of the biggest matches at Wrestlemania.

3.       Let’s be honest. Morrison & Ziggler are going to get the lion’s share of the actual in-ring work. So, in a sense, we’ll be seeing Morrison-Ziggler. Now somebody tell me if ANYBODY has a problem with Morrison-Ziggler.

4.       There are going to be some very emotional matches at Wrestlemania. Triple H-Undertaker is going to be a very emotional match, as will Edge-Del Rio and whatever else they come across. There needs to be a moment the crowd gets to unwind from the tension and emotion. Whether we like it or not, this is going to be one of those matches.

5.       There’s going to be a lot of buzz around this Wrestlemania, and yes, a lot of it is going to be Snooki. A buddy of mine at work that would never watch wrestling told me about Snooki being at Raw. A buddy on Twitter told me about Snooki hosting Raw. The WWE is creating a lot of buzz for themselves. Snooki will get them exposure on TMZ, Extra and Entertainment Tonight. They will reach a demographic they usually might not.

6.       What if a big fan of Snooki’s turns in to see Wrestlemania and then discovers Justin Gabriel or Heath Slater or Randy Orton? There might be some wives that might watch Wrestlemania with their husbands that normally wouldn’t. Do I think she’s going to help the buy-rate? Maybe. Do I think she’s going to hurt the buy-rate? Absolutely not. If you’re on the fence about buying Wrestlemania, you’re not going to not watch it because Snooki is on it.

7.       This isn’t Ring of Honor. They’ll be the two nights before. Not every match is going to be the Smark’s Paradise 5-Star Match. This is the WWE. They are about entertainment first. I’m sure they will find a way to craft an entertaining match and will figure out the best way to utilize Snooki. For us “Smarks,” we get Undertaker-Triple H, I’m sure Bryan Daniel will be somewhere and Edge-Del Rio. That’s our match. Let the WWE do their thing. One of my all time favorite Wrestlemania matches is X-7 when Vince fought Shane. It wasn't Savage-Steamboat, but it was a real fun match to watch.

8.       We get Trish. Now a brunette, not quite as fake-looking (My wife made me rewind the DVR so we could look at Trish’s breast size. Yes, please?), but still just as perfect as ever. This is the exact role she should be playing. At least with the ladies, she’ll be the work horse for this match. She may prove to be a little rusty, but she is still the most iconic Diva of her era, and she doesn’t look like she’s lost a step. I get Morrison-Ziggler, plus I get Trish-LayCool. Not to mention the addition of a Vickie Guerrero promo somewhere there.

9.       Vickie has given everything for the WWE. What started as a desperate attempt to play off her dead husband’s name has turned into lightning in a bottle. In her short time, she has established herself as one of the greatest heels of her era (if not the top heel in wrestling right now). She’s earned her place. She’s also the perfect person to play off Snooki, as, really, how are you going to hurt Vickie?

10.   Do I think another Diva would wrestle a better match? Of course (except for maybe Carmella from the first Divas search). But I don’t really think that WWE is going to change it. So rather than complain because I’m not getting Flair-Steamboat, maybe I can reserve judgment to see what they do. This could be a really fun match to watch.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bellator 36 Preview

I'm trying to do this Bellator preview thing. I'm no expert, but if you're a fan of MMA, go out to Shreveport or try to watch on TV. These should be some great fights and a reason to watch.

Rob McCullough (19-6) vs. Patricky Freire (7-1)

We've got the well-traveled McCullough taking on up-and-comer Freire. McCullough, after being done in the WEC, is making his Bellator debut. From his experience, he brings a good name to Bellator. Freire is taking his first fight outside Brazil. McCullough has the experience edge, home nation edge and name edge. Freire has the momentum, winning 4 of his last 5. Also, he needs this more. I think Razor Rob takes this one.
Winner: McCullough
Carey Vanier (10-3) vs. Lloyd Woodard (10-0)
The ironic part is that Woodard's nickname is "Cupcake." Vanier has more experience on the bigger stage, 2-1 record in Bellator. Woodard has the momentum edge. Vanier has the experience stage. Both seem to have a nice combination of manners of victory. I'd love to see Woodard rise to the top, but I thin Vanier walks away with this one.
Winner: Vanier
Marcin Held (10-1) vs. Michael Chandler (5-0)
This looks like a pretty exciting fight. Only once has Held reached the third round. Chandler has never seen it. While Held has more fights, 4 of Chandler's 5 fights have been in Strikeforce or Bellator. I'm thinking Chandler continues his undefeated streak.
Winner: Chandler
Ferrid Kheder (18-5) vs. Toby Imada (28-15)
Kheder is on more of a momentum run, not losing 6 fights in a row. His manner of winning is a little more spread out. Imada is a submission machine, submitting more than two-thirds of his opponents. He has more experience fighting on the big American stage. Imada does have more experience. While this should be a really good fight, I'm going with Imada.
Winner: Imada

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Great Defense of Snooki

Yeah, that's right. While everybody else is claiming the end of the wrestling world as we know it, I'm going to point out why it may not be.  While everybody is calling for the Apocalypse, it just may not be.

I must begin this with a confession. I like Jersey Shore. [pausing for the jokes about losing my man card] It is an entertaining show. Yeah, make all your jokes, shout your snide remarks and giggle endlessly at my expense. But I'm not alone. Jersey Shore's rating this past week was 4.7. Jersey Shore was the highest-rated show on Cable. Yes, that is better than WWE's both hours of Raw. We won't be seeing that during the "Did You Know..." graphic this week. Right now, Jersey Shore is one of the hottest topics you will find on television. If it was more sought after, it would be winning on Adonis DNA and tiger blood.

And no figure on Jersey Shore is more iconic than Snooki. Towering over none at 4'9", she is a bubbly, charismatic, polarizing figure. You wanna get a group of people going? Bring up the subject of Snooki, and ask people what they think of her. Regardless of what this says about our society, Snooki is one of the hottest commodities on television today.

Yes, the wrestling world has had plenty of celebrity appearances go bad: RoboCop, the cast of Jackass, Pacman Jones. But there have been some really successful ones: The War to Settle the Score, Lawrence Taylor-Bam Bam Bigelow, Mike Tyson & that encounter with Stone Cold (How many times did we see that on ESPN?). Wrestlemania was built around the appearance of Mr. T, who was one of the hottest commodities of his time.

So here is an opportunity to get an actual star from Jersey Shore (and not some joke who hasn't lasted either season and is now doing TNA) and capitalize on her star power. This CAN work. They will most likely have a broader audience than usual, because there will be some people who will tune in to see Snooki. As much of an indictment that is on our culture, it'll create some buzz. When the people tune in, the key is to get them a reason to watch again.

WWE, this part is for you. You might have people who have never tuned in before. You need to make sure you give an exciting product that makes people tune in again. Also, your biggest show of the year is a matter of weeks away. Make sure you find a way to pimp out Wrestlemania like it's never been pimped before. Also, I know that you've always been a sucker for your "Sportscenter" moment. Make sure you parlay this into an effort to sell the biggest show of the year.

With this in the right hands, this just might work.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

10 Reasons to Watch Ring of Honor

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to witness a new experience for me. It couldn't have been any better. Ring of Honor had a live Internet Pay Per View (iPPV) on It was a wonderful experience. I got to sit on the computer for a little bit and watch some really good wrestling. My wife got the tv and watched so many JFK documentaries, she calls Oliver Stone a poser. It was a nice experience, and we didn't fight over the remote and both actually enjoyed our evening.
I fell in love with Ring of Honor all over again. I watched it when it was first created, but I had not really kept up with it. As a wrestling fan who despises the very thought of TNA existing, is tentatively getting back into the WWE's product, can only watch AAA on Galavision for so long before my mind gets tired of listening to Spanish and can only go to so many live wrestling shows per month because I'm a husband and father before I'm a wrestling fan, Ring of Honor (ROH) fills a lot of holes for me. For those of you who haven't discovered it, here are 10 Reasons to Watch ROH.
1. The price. WWE's PPV's are a whopping $44.95, $10 more for HD. Ring of Honor was $14.95. And they didn't have some length promo bringing out Trish Stratus. I love Trish more than anything, but did she really belong being reintroduced on a PPV? I don't think there was a single ROH fan tweeting that night that didn't feel they got their money's worth several times over.
2. Steve Corino storyline. I think that we can admit that Steve Corino has been one of the best heels of the past decade. The storyline now is that Steve Corino is trying to atone for his many sins. He's trying to be a good guy. He still feels that urge to be bad. So now there is a kind of Incredible Hulk vs. Bruce Banner struggle.
3. Grizzly Redwood. My theater teacher in high school would always make us come up with verbs for our characters' motivation. And she said to always go with the most interesting choice. Grizzly Redwood is a little guy. He plays the big burly lumberjack, which is ironic and a fun choice. He's a great, scrappy babyface.
4. Kyle O'Reilly. The ironic thing is that I was not looking for O'Reilly's matches. I was searching for Adam Cole, and I found a match where he was wrestling Kyle O'Reilly. And all respect to Adam Cole, but I was blown away by O'Reilly's work. He's sensational and worth watching.
5. El Generico. When it comes to chants, El Generico's makes me happy. I even tried doing it for my local indy and their wrestler Lucha Lucha. The crowd did not appreciate the "Ole!" chant. However the Texas Rangers do "O'Day" for reliever Darren O'Day. He's a great gimmick and a great reason to watch.
6. Sara del Ray. Most women on TNA & WWE look like they came off the page of a porn magazine. They teach women that they are never anything unless their cup size is double letters or look like the page of a porn magazine. Not that del Ray isn't pretty or isn't attractive, but she's a strong female athletic wrestler. Plus, she's a great heel and the woman you love to hate.
7. Kings of Wrestling. Kings of Wrestling are a Tag Team that seems like they could be very successful singles wrestlers, yet they are a tag team. They have an amazing swagger and work incredibly well as a team. They own the ring, and they own the Tag Team Division. And with respect to Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns, they are the best Tag Team in wrestling.
8. TV Title. Most fans probably hate this, but I'll admit it. I like the title. I'm ok with a DQ or countout. I'm ok with time limit draws. Matter of fact, I wish there were more time limit draws. I used to love the TV title, because Lord Steven Regal always found a way to last long enough. If you wanted that title, you had to win and you had to win in 10 minutes.
9. The Briscoes.I remember watching some early Briscoes matches, CZW, ROH, etc. I'm going to be honest. They didn't show me anything. They were just two brothers who looked alike and were ugly as sin. This match they had against Haas & Benjamin was the real first time they had ever shown me anything. I think I finally "get it." They showed me something for the first time. They still aren't any prettier, but I finally "saw something."
10. Shelton Benjamin done right. I could write a whole blog of how the WWE dropped the ball on Shelton Benjamin. With respect to John Morrison, he is perhaps the most athletically-gifted wrestler I've ever seen. Do you remember that match he had against Triple-H in a time when The Game DID NOT LOSE? How about his match against Shawn Michaels (That one was for bragging rights between me and my then-fiance)? And then they brought in his mother, failed sitcom veteran Thea Vidale. And I saw a great athlete ruined because of poor booking. Ring of Honor understands how to do Shelton Benjamin right. No stupid gold hair. No failed sitcom actress. No reference to his criminal past. Just a great athlete being a great athlete.
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