Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of #WWE #Raw

Asiana Flight Down Name Faux PauxIf for some reason you didn’t see this botched moment in TV history, head on over to Gawker. It’s too funny. Today has been a good day. No more Idiot Intern at the office. My life will be better. In celebration, I’m drinking a Founder’s Breakfast Stout. Sounds like a good Sippy Time Beer for a review. Let’s roll.

Brad Maddox gets to kick off the show. He announces Ziggler vs Del Rio. So we get the official break up tonight then between him & AJ Lee? John Cena interrupts him. Maddox’s facials kill me. Maddox gives Cena the choice of his opponent at Summerslam. Cena tries to talk him out of it. I wasn’t sure if I had read the end of the PPV results because of the hectic work day. Randy Orton gets the briefcase. They have been trying to re-establish him. A weird twist with Fandango coming to the ring. He tells Orton that he’ll be cashing in on him, not Cena. He then gives Cena a speech lesson. Orton attacks Fandango. Brad Maddox makes it a match. We get a commercial.

Fandango is a good chicken shit heel. JBL calling Fandango a cross of MC Hammer & GSP. The crowd is getting around to chanting random stuff. Orton loves to slow it down. Fandango goes slow into another break. The announcers are really selling Fandango. He’s not going to win. They are really selling a Fandango win except for the camera angle when he gets crotched.  Hanging DDT then an RKO for the win. Dolph Ziggler is walking down a hallway when AJ Lee starts running after him. Dolph tells her it’s time to move. She hugs him. He drops her. Awesome.

We get Mark Henry in a suit again. He is interrupted by The Shield. They circle the ring. I like the slow stalk. Triple power bomb. First significant attack as a trio in a while. That’s another way to keep them fresh as much as they need to be apart.

Brad Maddox gets run down by Chris Jericho. Maddox wants him to impress Cena by taking on RVD. It is official. Alberto Del Rio comes out first. Dolph Ziggler is getting quite the reception. They mention Damien Sandow winning the other MITB match. Kind of a good point since Del Rio is a heel and I don’t feel like they’ve had too many same side attacks. Ziggler is on the outside when we get a break. I’m just enjoying a good match when AJ Lee rings the bell. Ziggler gets kicked in the back of the head for the Del Rio win. AJ slaps Ziggler around until Big E Langston takes him out. I knew that was coming but still well done.

R Truth is showing looks of fore head for some reason. Bray Wyatt lights the lamp. I may have lobbied for Kane to join their group but I’m sure as hell not going to do the same for Truth. I love their entrance music. Piper & Rowan is what I think Mitchell Cool said. Bray grabs a mic and walks into the ring. Bray gets a laugh out of me when he calls himself the “Eater of Worlds”. He faces down R Truth one on one with a chair. Piper & Rowan distract Truth long enough for another beat down. Wyatt finishes him with a Downward Spiral. I’m a little lost after those words. It’s interesting but doesn’t make much sense to me. I’ll let them explain his character more.

The WWE Performance Center opened. It does look pretty cool. The Real Americans come out for their fan vote match. Zeb Colter gets to run his mouth. The Usos get a call from the fans. People seemed impressed by their pre-MITB match with the Shield. The crowd likes chanting “We The People” but not much else for these chumps. Cheap roll up win on Cesaro. I’m not sure why you match those two teams up.

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Thoughts from 2013 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions

Edge_Crew

Edge and the crew. Men, whether from a warehouse or not.

We’ll have an accompanying podcast with Eric and Dan, as soon as we figure out the Bossjock app. Great app, great sound, bad user. In the meantime, here are some quick thoughts on the weekend in Waterloo, Iowa, attending the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions.

DoughyJoeys

Arrival: I lived and worked in Waterloo, Iowa, for three years, so I’m familiar with the town, and I’m glad the events take place within walking distance of the Doughy Joey’s pizza restaurant when I’m feeling fat, and a Subway when I feel like Doughy Joey’s made me too fat. The Quality Inn across the street from the convention center is sleepable, and usually bookable when the neighboring Ramada is at full capacity with wrestlers and legends.

TrainingSession

Training session: Three years ago, the public was able to attend not just the abbreviated wrestling matches among the tryout squad but also Mick Foley and Terry Funk offering their critique. We haven’t been as lucky in years past with Jim Ross and Gerald Brisco at the helm – which stinks because who better to offer advice – but my two new thoughts are, one, maybe it’s none of my business how well “Mean” Mike took an armdrag, and two, I have all weekend to talk to J.R. and Gerry direct.

MattyStar_JakeMilliman

Impact Pro Wrestling: Promoter Troy Peterson and trainer Travis Shillington run a top-shelf independent promotion. From starting the show right on time, to striking a good balance between local and known wrestlers, to booking the right number and types of matches, to drawing lines between heat-seeking heels and sympathetic babyfaces, IPW is a gimme on a weekend full of various pro wrestling activities. http://www.impactprowrestling.com (P.S. The card featured local indy Matty Star vs. local former AWA enhancement talent Jake “The Milkman” Milliman. All the more reason for Wade Keller to start driving down here in July.)

HotelBar

The hotel bar: If you’re going to the pro wrestling hall of fame, you ought to go where the pro wrestlers and hall of famers hang out after the show. The Red River Inn has your basic beer selection but some really good food – get a couple orders of the Italian nachos to last you and your table for a while – and a jukebox that’s quiet enough to still hear Baron Von Raschke tell stories. It’s also a great chance to BS with the guys from Impact Pro Wrestling – they’re all cool, even Tony Sly.

BrianShields

“History of WWE” presentation by Brian Shields: We weren’t sure what place a presentation on a highly political, often controversial entertainment company had at a museum dedicated to the century-long connection between the respected journeymen who made the transition from amateur to pro wrestling. What we saw was a polished presentation about a company we grew up on, with content that tied back to the weekend’s honorees, delivered by a great public speaker who is clearly a fan and a professional. The Q&A that followed gave good insight into the thought processes of a global company that has many audiences and stakeholders to answer to.

Brisco_JR

VIP Q&A: At the Impact Pro Wrestling Show, those of us who bought the ringside package received passes to a private Q&A at 12:30 p.m. the next day. Knowing the weekend included a 1 p.m. AWA legends roundtable, we didn’t know what the VIP Q&A would entail. It began with Jim Brunzell giving highly entertaining answers to our round of questions, followed by Jim Ross and Gerald Brisco answering 90 minutes worth of our questions. Never would I think I nor our group of friends would have a private audience with my favorite announcer of all time and one of his best friends and such an influential person in pro wrestling. These two are so passionate about wrestling and the museum, and it shows in all of their answers.

GeorgeNapolitano

Induction reception: When I was married, we booked the same venue for the ceremony and the reception, and we booked the place for an extra hour we called “cocktail hour,” meant for our guests to drink and mingle in a separate room while we signed our license and took a deep breath. What did our guests do? They went straight to the reception area and sat their asses down at a table so they could claim their spots for the night. Same thing happened here, eliminating what used to be the fun mingling aspect of the hour. No fault of anyone but the guests.

GeraldBrisco_Crew

Banquet: Great food, great service, mostly fully stocked bar. I thought Dan was going to throw a fit when he had to mix his Crown Royal with Pepsi instead of Coke. Rather than show anger over missing out on his favorite mix, Jim Ross instead ordered a cranberry vodka. Good call, as usual from J.R.

CharlieThesz

Induction ceremony: Two hours of classy speeches from grateful people who have excelled in their chosen professions, or the people who knew them best. Jim Brunzell’s thank-you to his wife was an emotional start to the evening; Chris Taylor’s widow Lynn was well-spoken and full of stories; Jim Ross and Gerald Brisco spoke highly of Bill Watts and Ric Flair, respectively; George Napolitano was engaging and played off our terrific emcee, Arda Ocal; Matt Hughes’ speech was short but nice; and Edge added a few laughs and a heartfelt note about Curt Hennig, whose parents were in attendance. Wonderful event, and the legends stayed after the event to snap pictures and chat with fans when they weren’t at all obligated to.

The hotel bar: It took me 15 minutes to bring your beer back, Dan, because I was chatting with Jim Brunzell’s wife, Mary. It was worth the wait. Dan and Troy Peterson, IPW promoter, exchanged information. I managed to snap one more picture with Edge, who was so accommodating all weekend. Chatted with Brian Shields at length, despite him needing rest for his 6:45 a.m. flight. Baron Von Raschke, aka Brad Pitt, thanked us for coming to town for the weekend. And we drank a lot of beer.

Overall: Having never been to the wrestling hall of fame in New York, nor the Cauliflower Alley Club in Las Vegas, I don’t know how accurate the following statement is, but I’ll still make it: You’ll never get an opportunity like this, to mix with the heroes of your childhood and, in some cases, adulthood, unless you plan to make the trip to Waterloo, Iowa. It’s worth the investment, if not only to see it for yourself, but also to support the history of professional wrestling, backed by the men who lived for it.

Ultimate Warrior returns to promote WWE 2K14, is not dead

If 20 years of anecdotal, empirical, and probably even DNA proof didn’t convince you that the original Ultimate Warrior did not die (during, as lore has it, a bench press workout where his intestines exploded), here’s the wonderfully non-sensical video that proves it. The Ultimate Warrior is back, and he’s promoting the next WWE video game, WWE 2K14. Terry Crews, Office Linebacker, beware, as Warrior beats up every nerd in the 2K headquarters. Assuredly, outtakes included Warrior calling the Hulk Hogan character a “queer” and Kevin Nash a “phony mother fucker.” CUT!

The only thing missing is a call-back to his first Slim Jim commercial. You boys a bit booorrrred? Snap into this! -Eric

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