Posts Tagged ‘WWF’

This is the first issue of WWF Magazine that I ever bought.  Actually, my Dad bought it for me.  It was 1988, I was 14 years old, and for the next ten years or so I would eagerly anticipate what I recall was the first Tuesday of every month so I could get my hands on the newest issue. 

Eventually I would add Pro Wrestling Illustrated to my “Must Buy” list.  In college, frequently my friend Alex and I would go to Shinder’s in Crystal, MN on New Wrestling Magazine Day.  We would buy our OWN copies of WWF, WWF RAW, PWI, and depending on what articles were featured we would also get The Wrestler, Inside Wrestling and any others that caught our eyes.  We would either go back to his house, Taco Bell, Arby’s or wherever and eat and read.

“Did you get to THIS article yet?”

“No.”

“It’s pretty good.”

“Nice.”

Now 38, I generally don’t buy wrestling magazines anymore.  I spend enough money (a couple of PPVs a year, the winged eagle championship, putting together a 1988 Randy Savage costume for Halloween and Comic Con) and time actually watching wrestling and perusing websites like Prowrestling.net, PWTorch.com and 411 Wrestling in addition to listening to the excellent podcasts by John Pollack and Wai Ting of REVIEW-A-WAI to get my fill.  I also spend plenty of time goofing around with my photoshop fun on CM Punk Is Not Impressed on FACEBOOK and TUMBLR.

(see https://kittridge.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/cm-punk-is-not-impressed/).

So the new edition of WWE Magazine (June 2012) has short article on “Four Must-See WWE Tumblrs” with a couple of sentences on each…CM Punk Is Not Impressed is number 3 (and Mike Frankito’s Where’s Randy Savage? – also on FACEBOOK  is number 1)!

I know a lot of people are probably thinking, “So what?  Your goofy little hobby page got two sentences in a wrestling magazine.”

To be honest, that’s probably the correct response.  But when you’re a passionate nerd and you get even the smallest recognition from the object of one of your obsessions…it’s pretty darn cool.  I think Mike put it best when he said, “Pretty awesome feeling when what you’re a fan of is a fan of you.”

Thanks again to Mr. Michael Frankito and Mr. Ralph Apel for helping make this happen.

So now that cool things are happening that I never really thought would, I guess it’s about time I met Bill Murray.

Kev

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…and I have since I’ve been 12 years old.  Admittedly, it was not the physical act of trying to pin another guy or make him submit that pulled me in, but PERSONALITY.  I channel surfed through WWF Superstars and WWF Wrestling Challenge, stopping on the show a bit longer every week, and when I heard Hulk Hogan was going to be on the following week I was sold.  Wrestling fan for life just based on the interviews and charisma that Hogan put forward.  And my FAVORITE wrestler growing up?  Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.

Now, Brutus wasn’t a very good wrestler.  It’s important to know that.  He was not very good at performing wrestling holds.  What he WAS good at doing, however, was putting his opponent to sleep and cutting their hair.

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I thought that shit was  H – I – L – A – R – I – O – U – S !!

And then I grew up.  As time went on I began to appreciate the actual art of what they do.  Exit Hogan, Brutus and the Ultimate Warrior – Enter Bret Hart, Curt Hennig, Davey Boy Smith and Shawn Michaels.  These guys would force me to suspend disbelief for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, Hell an hour at a time with the intensity and complexity of their moveset. Let’s face it… watching The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan in a match against each other… we were never asked to suspend our disbelief.  It was, “watch these big muscley guys punch and clothesline each other with big exaggerated movements for a while.”

Cut to modern day wrestling.  The World Wrestling Federation was sued by the World Wildlife Fund for rights to the initials WWF.  The WWF won (panda version).  So the World Wrestling Federation becomes World Wrestling Entertainment.  From WWF to WWE.  I’m fine with that.  In the last few years or so, the backstage folks would joke how Vince McMahon is trying to get rid of the word “Wrestling” altogether.  As it turns out… they weren’t really joking.  They don’t even want to be called World Wrestling Entertainment anymore.  They request…forcefully… to be referred to as WWE.

I understand that WWE has been expanding.  WWE Films puts out a couple films a year.  WWE is looking to start up a cable channel which would obviously have non-trying-to-pin-a-guy’s-shoulder-to-the-mat content.  That’s fine.  We fans have been trained that these men and women are not merely wrestlers, but SUPERSTARS!  You know what?  I’m even fine with that.

So there’s a show about young folks training to become wrestlers.  It is called “Tough Enough” and I like it a LOT!  Bret Hart came in this past Monday to talk to the kids.  The trainees are rightly in awe of this Legend of the Squared Circle.

At 1:48 into the video below, Bret mentions:

“I take a lot of pride in being a serious professional wrestler”

Now the kicker is… WWE fucking CENSORED the word “wrestler”.  I am not fine with that.

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My jaw dropped.

First of all, there’s the terrible irony of a legend in this business telling us how PROUD he was to be a wrestler, only to have the show he is on be ashamed that he is referring to himself as such.  But second, who in their right mind censored it?  Who thought, “Did Bret Hart just call himself a WRESTLER?  No.  No, we can’t have that.”

Because somebody did.  And sadly, I think his name rhymes with Shmince ShmcMahon.

It’s just fucking ridiculous.

And FYI, I would rather watch CM Punk wrestle Daniel Bryan for an hour than listen to five seconds of John Cena making a “poopy” joke about his opponent of the month.

I Don’t Doubt El Dandy,

Kev

So earlier this past week I got a message from my friend, former coworker (still very weird to have “former” attached to that) and stand up comedian Keith Ernst – or as he was known as at Riot:  ERNST!!!!! 

Me and Keith belt out "Glory Days", celebrating Riot

He obviously knows how much of a wrestling dork I am and wanted to inform me that his brother Bret was headlining a stand up comedy show at the Improv in Hollywood… and the host of the evening was WWE Legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper!  He thought that he might be able to get me and a buddy in for free, but if not the tickets were 20 bucks and there was a good chance we’d be able to hang out with Hot Rod at the bar afterwards.

Hot Rod after winning the Intercontinental championship!

HANG OUT WITH PIPER?!  Uh, yeah – sign me up!  Ray and I popped down and got there at about 20 minutes to 8 and called Ernst who was on his way and would be there about a quarter after.  So for over a half an hour Ray and I waited outside the Improv.  What would happen?  Would we have to pay?  I’m broke as hell right now but if it came down to it I would simply have to of put down my twenty.  We saw Bret show up and Keith wasn’t far behind.  After Keith got there, Ray and I were WELL taken care of.  Bret told the doorman that Keith was his brother, Keith told the doorman that Ray and I were with him, and we were IN.  A hostess found us a spot to sit together and we began enjoying the show already in progress.

Steve Simeone - old school Hulkamaniac!

Chris Porter - should have won Last Comic Standing in 2006

Bret Ernst - The Headliner!

Piper was having fun introducing the guys.  He told a story about when he wrestled a bear when he was just starting out (which I had heard before) and how one of the guys in the back covered his ass with honey before he went out to the match.  As you may expect, the bear went for the honey.  First up was a guy named Steve Simeone, whose passion for wrestling was quite evident.  His set was made up of stories watching wrestling as a kid with his brother and my life parallells his so much it is ridiculous.  At the end of his time he took his shirt of to reveal an Old School “Hot Rod” shirt which of course Piper loved.  Chris Porter (from Last Comic Standing which he didn’t win because his arms and legs all worked just fine) was freakin’ HILARIOUS.  And of course Bret Ernst made it clear why he was the  headliner with a set that had everybody rolling.

So it’s the end of the show.  This place is pretty packed – are we really going to be able to meet Pipes?

Quick note:  at work we do a bunch of stuff on the show Cold Case.  I get the call sheet every day and attach it to the night’s work orders.  As I perused the call sheet for Friday I saw a name:  Roddy Piper.  I think it may have been fate.

Bret and Keith brought us upstairs.  Off to the left was a curtained off area that Roddy was in but we kept off to the main other side to wait for the timing to be right.  Again – the place was PACKED with people.  It began to appear that it just wouldn’t happen.  Eventually Bret made his way to the curtained off area.  Keith followed and told Ray and I to follow.  Piper had a camera following him around constantly, btw.  After Piper finished chatting with some dude Bret made his way up to him and Hot Rod welcomed him with open arms.  They talked happily with each other for a minute and Bret introduced him to Keith.  Keith talked and shook his hand and it looked like our time was up.  More people had moved in on Piper and Ray and I would have to be fine with the fact that we were in his VIP room just five feet away from him – which would have been pretty cool.

Bret had followed the natural flow of the room and we started to exit… but he popped back in and asked Roddy if he could introduce us to him.

Fuckin’ right Bret.  You went above and beyond.

Piper excitedly and happily shook my hand and asked my name.  I told him, then told him that I worked in Post Production and the bit about the call sheet.  He thought it was pretty funny and commented how Cold Case made him dye his hair blonde for the part (I forgot to mention – he was blonde tonight).  He (not-so) jokingly mentioned how we need to tell Cold Case that we need to get him in more episodes.  I explained that I was merely a peon in the world of post production but definitely agreed and we laughed.  He also greeted and shook hands with Ray.  Piper was super nice and friendly the whole time.  Thanks guys, ’twas a night to remember!

Damn cool night.

I’m all out of bubble-gum,

Kev

So I’m about a third of the way through watching RAW last night when it hits me that I’m actually ENJOYING at and looking forward to the rest of the show!  So far we had Jesse Ventura come out as the night’s Host.  He was doing a fine job and told us that we’ve been seeing too many of the same faces in the Championship scene.  He set up a battle royal filled with wrestlers that have never had a title shot.  The winner of the battle royal will receive a shot at his brand’s championship at the next Pay Per View, “TLC” (Tables, Ladders and Chairs).

SWEET!  Somebody gets a chance to break through to the top of the scene!  As much as I love Shawn Michaels and Triple H, there’s only so many times I can get excited about seeing one of them fight in the main event, and goodness knows the world doesn’t need another Cena/Orton match.

Side note about Orton:  I’m really liking him!  I disliked him personally for a few years because he’s been pretty immature behind the scenes, but getting married and having a kid has done him good.  I can feel good about liking him again.

We got a pretty good Cena / CM Punk match.  My favorite part was before the match when Punk told Cena, “Through these sober eyes, I can see you.”  I’ve mentioned before how awesome I think Punk is, but I don’t think I’ve brought up how bored I am of Cena.  BORED.  Turn him bad and I’ll like him again, but I was pissed off when he pinned Punk.

CM Punk is Straight Edge. That means he's better than you.

I think the thing I was most excited about was the DX vs. Hart Dynasty match.  Here we have TJ Wilson and David Hart Smith (the son of the legendary British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith).  The Hart Foundation in the past had huge issues with DX (Shawn Michaels and Triple H) and this would be the first time in over TEN YEARS that DX would face members of the Hart Family.  There was so much history between the two factions and I couldn’t wait to see this explored!  You’ve got the legitimate screwing over of Bret Hart for the WWE title at the Survivor Series in 1997, you’ve got Shawn beating the British Bulldog for the European title in the UK after Bulldog dedicated the match to his dying sister, and so much more!

The Hart Foundation... coolest group ever (provided you disregard Davy Boy's fanny pack)

We get to the match.  NOT ONE WORD of the history between the two groups is mentioned.  You could have had TJ and Smith do an interview before the match and really tear into DX vowing revenge for all sorts of deeds.  Nothing.  DX wins a five minute match after a superkick from Shawn and a pedigree from Trips.

Fuck you guys.  Seriously.  Fuck you guys.

Then Chris Jericho came out and talked smack to DX.  Jericho is exactly what he says he is: the best in the world at what he does.

Jericho!

It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and thankfully we all got to relive the Survivor Series moment from 1990 when the Gobblygooker was unleashed!  Back in ’90 they had a big egg that Mean Gene promised us would hatch at the pay per view and every week speculated as to what could be in it.  I speculated as well!  I was sure that Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake was ready to return and would POUNCE out of that egg ready for action!  Some people thought that Ric Flair was coming in.  Instead we got this:

Yup.  This friggin’ turkey-or-what-have-you popped out of the egg, danced around the ring, did some gymnastics, then clucked off, not to be seen or heard from for many years until the fine folks at WWE realized it could be brought out as a joke to remind us of how goofy things were at one point.

SPEAKING OF GOOFY: there was a six woman tag match featuring the Pilgrims (the bad team) vs. the Indians (the good team).  Normally I fast forward through woman wrestling matches because it’s pretty much tna but I was watching the show live and didn’t have the option.  And it’s a good thing, because the entrance music used for the Indians was TATANKA’s old entrance music!!:

Oh, the hilarity!

So speaking of hilarity and golden moments from the past, it was decided that Jesse Ventura and Vince McMahon would do commentary on the main event – just like they did in the ’80s!  Vince even put on his tuxedo with the red tie!  It was amazing and … well, just all sorts of amazing!

Now the main event itself?  The next challenger to John Cena’s championship is this guy:

If he wins the title at the ppv I’ll eat my hat.

I’ll purchase a hat, then eat it.  But best of luck to you, Sheamus.  Hopefully this gives you some credibility and is a jump start to a big career.  You’ve been handed the ball – how far can you run with it?  Personally I’m skeptical but keeping an open mind.

I had texted my friend Ray who was still at work and told him, “best RAW in years”.  I was clearly wrong, but was going off the potential of the night.  A fresh contender for the title?  A DX/Hart match?  Jesse and Vince on commentary (granted, that did pay off). 

This night should have ruled.  When the part of the night that got me most excited was a tie hearing Tatanka’s old music and seeing the Gobbledygooker… there’s trouble a’brewin’.

Well Enough is Enough, and it’s Time for a Change!

Kev