Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday Night Raw Three Counts

So of all the ways that Monday Night Raw could have started off last night, they kick it off with an 18-diva tag team match! Huh? What? That took the air out of the show for me and it never recovered. The lone bright spot was the Shawn Michaels-The Undertaker promo.

Oh yeah, and memo to the W.W.E. you are wasting Chris Jericho in this program with “the legends.” I expected something to happen at the conclusion of his match with Jerry Lawler, but it never came.

If the W.W.E. was looking to change minds last night about Wrestlemania, they may have changed people’s minds about getting the show. Last night was bad.

Of course, Rey Mysterio was going to beat JBL in a non-title match, that just guarantees me that John Bradshaw Layfield is winning on Sunday.

Vince and Shane McMahon showed up at the end to confront "legacy," but the thing is that during the last few months "legacy" has never really been developed. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase have been squashed so much, they're just not believable. But why wasn't this the opening to the show? It would have given it a "better feel" than Santino and his mankini! Ugh!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wrestlemania XXV: The Week Ahead

So here we are once again, just a few days away until Wrestlemania XXV on Sunday night! The W.W.E. is in the home stretch to get people to buy their pay-per-view as they try to reach one million buys which seems to be a layup for U.F.C. these days, but is still the number necessary for Wrestlemania to be considered a success. I’m not sure in this economy (and with W.W.E. jacking up the price to $55) if that will be possible, but I do think that this is a very solid card. All week on this blog I’ll take a look at the big show on Sunday; the W.W.E. Hall of Fame inductions on Saturday night; and I’ll post some thoughts on past Wrestlemanias, as well.

The W.W.E. needs a solid Monday Night Raw tonight, I think, to give a little extra pop going into Sunday’s show. Tonight is what is called a “supershow” with all three brands being part of the card in Dallas. I was just over at WWE.com and they announced that the show will start at 6:30 in the arena, which is a half hour earlier than normal. That doesn’t impact the usual t.v. start time of 9 p.m. here on the east coast, but it is one indicator that the W.W.E. recognizes they need to go all out this week.

The last few weeks the rating has declined for Monday Night Raw, which is a bad sign going into the biggest wrestling and one of the biggest non-wrestling pay-per-views of the year. I’m not sure of the reasoning for the decline, perhaps the disappointment with the direction of the Chris Jericho storyline in which he won’t be facing Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin on Sunday, but rather he will be taking on the over-the-hill trio: Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper and Rick Steamboat. Right now you could also take the W.W.E. to task for including Kane, Mark Henry and Finlay in the "money in the bank ladder" match. What about Evan Bourne or John Morrison or R-Truth? Speaking of Morrison, I am very much looking to the winner-take-all unification tag team title match between Morrison/The Miz and Carlito & Primo Colon.

Nonetheless, I’m excited for Raw tonight and am very much looking forward to this weekend’s festivities. There’s a ton of pressure on the W.W.E. right now and with the draft coming up on April 13, you can bet some jobs are on the line.

Stay tuned…

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One More Mania Match?

E.C.W. had a very good tag team match last night between Jack Swagger/Tyson Kidd against Evan Bourne and Tommy Dreamer. All but dreamer, are going to be top stars in the W.W.E.

Dreamer says that if he doesn’t win the E.C.W. Title by June he will retire. Unfortunately, Dreamer continuously loses except for last night’s match when Bourne got the pin over Kidd. I think a four-way match at Wrestlemania would be the perfect and most believable way to give Dreamer the E.C.W. Championship. I’m not eager for Dreamer’s career to continue past June, but I like a good story and would like to see Dreamer (a Yonkers native) win at Wrestlemania. The other three looked strong in last night’s bout; particularly Bourne. The W.W.E. is foolish if they keep him off of ‘Mania.

One more for the W.W.E. Hall of Fame: Before Michael Buffer there was Howard Finkel. When I think of ring announcers “The Fink” is the guy. He also coined “Wrestlemania.” But I wonder why the W.W.E. is putting so many guys into the Hall of Fame this year. I would have preferred them to have stuck with a Texas-only theme, which means no Finkel, Koko B. Ware or Rick Steamboat. I’m also still wondering why Bill Watts is being inducted.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Keith Moon Honored With Plaque

The above video is of the recent ceremony in which the late drummer of The Who, Keith Moon, gets honored by the Heritage Foundation with a blue plaque at the site of the original Marquee Club in London.

The Who Maximum R&B Live

Coming soon!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Will The Ring Collapse At Wrestlemania?

I'm not sure why the 400+ pound Mark Henry is in the "Money in the Bank" ladder match at Wrestlemania XXV, but I am curious to see if Henry goes crashing through a ladder. Let's hope not. We should also hope there is some kind of swerve so that Evan Bourne gets into this match in place of Henry.

Nonetheless, the above video is from an episode of Smackdown in 2003 when Brock Lesnar superplexed Big Show from the top rope, which caused the ring to fall apart. Yes, the ring was rigged, but it's funny regardless.

The Who News

I love YouTube and even more so when I find recordings like the one above: a very rare demo of the song "Who Are You" which someone made this video to accompany the song! Great work!

The Museum at Bethel Woods will feature some Pete Townshend memorabilia at an upcoming exhibit which celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Arts & Music Festival. More information is here.

Here is an interview with Rush's Geddy Lee in which he talks of how influential Pete Townshend was on his songwriting.

Big Who fans, Pearl Jam, explain their album, Ten, here.

The band, Mushroom, says here they are going to revive Pete Townshend's Lifehouse, which was a Townshend project that transmogrified itself into the album, Who's Next.

Meanwhile, The Who's rock opera Quadrophenia is being brought to the stage.

The band is currently on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. Click me to read an interview conducted with Pete Townshend by The Australian.

St. Patrick's Day and The Who

I'm a day late - and probably a dollar short - of posting this but I have some Irish-related songs from two of the principle members of The Who. Above is a YouTube video playing the song "Tipperary" from Pete Townshend's Scoop album. Scoop was an album of demos that Pete did while having some fun in the studio.

This is a link to Roger Daltrey joining up with The Chieftains and performing "Raglan Road" for The Chieftains 1992 album, An Irish Evening (Live). I have a handful of albums by The Chieftains, and they are probably my favorite of Irish songsmiths. "Raglan Road" is a poem by Patrick Kavanagh which has also gone under the name of "Dark Haired Miriam Ran Away."

Marty's Better!

I loved seeing the crowd chant "Marty's better!" at the end of the New Jersey Devils victory over Chicago last night, which put Martin Brodeur at the top of the heap of the winningest goalies ever!

Martin Brodeur - and the NJ Devils organization as a whole - has been someone I have always admired since I first saw him during his rookie season in 1993-1994. Watching Marty and then his teammates cutting out the net from the goal last night was really cool to see! Martin Brodeur has had opportunities over the years to leave New Jersey and go across the Hudson to New York and elsewhere for more money. But Brodeur loves being a Devil and the level of efficiency that the Devs are run. Doing more with less is what the New Jersey Devils are all about. They don't try to have an all-star at every position or buy, buy, buy up free agents. They do it the right way - by building through the draft, a key trade here or there and maybe an inexpensive free agent here or there.

Is Brodeur the greatest? He's got 552 wins (and counting) and the N.H.L. changed the rules a few years ago because of Brodeur's unprecedented puck-handling ability. For me, with the game on the line there's no one else I would rather have between the pipes than Martin Brodeur.

The reason is simple: Marty's better!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Painkillers and Steroids Found In Test's Home

The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that police have found painkillers and steroids in the apartment of the late Andrew "Test" Martin. This news is not surprising. What surprised me was that the W.W.E. made no mention of Martin's passing on last night's Raw. The Times' story is here.

Sadly, Test had a very stormy career. He was let go by W.W.E. in 2007 for failing a drug test. Previously, he was re-hired in 2006 after the company showed zero compassion when they let him go after he had spinal fusion surgery back in 2004 and was unable to work.

T.N.A. fired "Test" in 2007 because of his "juiced" look, while their drug policy was under investigation by the U.S. Congress.

According to Jim Ross, Martin took the W.W.E. up on their offer to former stars to go to rehab on their dime last year. Ross said that last he had heard Test was doing well and had been going to A.A. meetings.

Separated At Birth?

Is W.W.E. superstar Edge (real name Adam Copeland) and famed rocker Daryl Hall (real name Daryl Hohl) separated at birth?

W.W.E. Hall of Fame Class of 2009

With the announcement on WWE.com this morning that the Von Erichs are being inducted into the W.W.E. Hall of Fame on Saturday April 4, it seems likely that this year’s entire class is finalized. The Von Erichs join Koko B. Ware, Dory and Terry Funk, Bill Watts, Ricky Steamboat and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Some true legends in this year's class!
But the Von Erichs is the one that tugs at my heartstrings the most. Only Kevin (pictured) remains of the Von Erich boys; David died of a drug overdose while Mike, Chris and Kerry all took their own lives. The Von Erichs will be appropriately inducted into the HOF by Michael Hayes. One of the greatest rivalries in the history of wrestling was waged in Texas between the Von Erichs and the Fabulous Freebirds (Terry Gordy/Buddy Roberts/Michael Hayes).
For some inexplicable reason only one hour of the ceremonies will be aired on the USA Network. Yes, I want to see Vince McMahon induct his archnemesis Steve Austin, but I also hope, perhaps more so, that the induction of the Von Erich clan is part of the broadcast.

Monday Night Raw in San Antonio

The opening match of last night’s Monday Night Raw was an example of how good wrestling can be. The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels teamed up to defeat Kozlov and J.B.L. in the tried- and-true method of teaming up near future pay-per-view opponents.

The match concluded when Undertaker took umbrage (cool word) with Michaels stealing a tag and subsequently laying out J.B.L. for the pinfall; 'Taker then chased HBK out of the arena…or so we thought. While Undertaker took in the crowd’s approval, Shawn Michaels snuck up and knocked out ‘Taker with the “sweet chin music” kick.

They are doing a tremendous job in building Undertaker-Michaels, which I consider the main event at Wrestlemania.

Conversely, their has to be many disappointed wrestling fans this morning after Rick Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper were the men that Ric Flair introduced last night that could fight Chris Jericho. The good news is that Flair seems to really appreciate the great retirement sendoff he got last year, so we won’t be seeing him between the ropes anymore. The bad news is that we won’t see Austin-Jericho or Jericho-Hogan at Wrestlemania. I’m hoping there is a twist in this one.

Other thoughts…

I give Kelly Kelly all the credit in the world for coming out and wrestling last night just days after her boyfriend, Andrew “Test” Martin, was found dead. I guess the show must and does go on.

The build for the Triple H-Randy Orton ‘mania match has also been very good and I enjoyed the cage being lowered during the Cody Rhodes-HHH match. I found it interesting that they mentioned on t.v. recently that Hulk Hogan-King Kong Bundy at WM2 was the only cage match in the history of the annual show. Why not make Orton-Hunter the second cage match?

I went to sleep at 10:30 last night so I did not see Edge-Cena, but apparently Edge and Big Show beat up Cena and then Edge flattened Big Show with the spear as Raw went of the air. Edge and Cena have great chemistry and I always enjoy seeing them fight. I think that fans are going to be pleasantly surprised at how much Big Show will add to the match at ‘mania.

W.W.E. Signs "The Bambikiller"

I don't know anything about him, but reportedly the W.W.E. has signed European star, Chris "The Bambikiller" Raaber. If W.W.E. is indeed going more PG, I'm sure the first thing they will do is come up with a new name. Anyway, incredibly there is a tribute video on YouTube - which I have posted above - to Mr. Bambikiller.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Can't Watch Chris Benoit

The Bret Hart DVD is great from what I have watched so far and includes some of my favorite matches ever, such as Bret-Owen at Wrestlemania X and Bret-Davey Boy Smith at SummerSlam in front of 80,000+ at Wembley Stadium. But then came the match that Bret had with Chris Benoit in tribute to the late Owen Hart while Bret and Benoit were in W.C.W.; that was the part I had to fast forward through.

This just amplifies for me why it would be a really stupid decision if the W.W.E. ever decided to put Chris Benoit into their Hall of Fame. Hopefully, it never happens, but over the last year I have read more and more fans wanting Benoit to go in.

I’m a bit confused as to what are the deciding factors in putting a wrestler into the H.O.F. due to the recent news that Koko B. Ware will be part of the “Class of 2009.” But clearly, if you went off of accomplishments, Benoit would be a lock. The fact is, though, that Benoit committed a heinous crime. I just can’t see what reasoning there is from the fans that want a Benoit induction.

Wrestling definitely straddles and even crosses the line of bad taste, but Chris Benoit in the Hall of Fame would absolutely cause me to stop watching.

If you don’t know by now, Andrew “Test” Martin passed away last week just four days shy of his 34th birthday. There are those that have jumped on the “blame Vince McMahon” bandwagon and others that are taking the “personal responsibility” side. Regardless, people that age just aren’t supposed to die and it is very tragic.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lundqvist and Brodeur Making Records

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist entered the record books with last night's 4-2 win over Nashville. "The King" is the first goalie to ever win 30 games or more in each of his first four seasons in the N.H.L. Cool stuff. Lundqvist's resume is pretty impressive so far, though, a Stanley Cup would be nice to add.

Meanwhile, across the river Martin Brodeur could tie his idol, Patrick Roy, in Montreal tomorrow and then break the record on St. Patrick's Day as the winningest goalie in the history of the N.H.L. Brodeur (currently with 550 wins and 100 shutouts) is also closing in on Terry Sawchuk's shutout record of 103.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Book Review: The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci

Last night I finished the supposedly controversial Joe Torre book, The Yankee Years, which he and Tom Verducci teamed up for. I’m still kind of digesting this book but overall I would say it was an interesting read. I was amazed, however, at how poorly edited it was not just with typos and grammatical mistakes, but there were some parts that a story in the book just dropped off. Quite often, I found myself turning back some pages to see if I missed something.

The parts I loved about the book were the tales of the championship years. Forgive my pollyanna, but those stories were pure and what sports can be and should be all about. Reading about how David Cone used to get George Steinbrenner riled up and how he would tell George that Paul O’Neill wasn’t psyched up enough to play were laugh-out-loud funny parts.

Then there was the very interesting chapter on how steroid use became so prevalent and why guys like Barry Bonds found it almost a necessity to take steroids to keep up with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. The part that stood out to me is the prevalence of amphetamines or “greenies” in the game of baseball. Oh yeah, I’ve known some Met fans that used to say only Yankees were using steroids, well, not according to this book or The Mitchell Report for that matter.

At times the book did read like a manifesto defending Joe Torre’s legacy, which is sad if Torre feels the need to do that.

Yeah there are some shots taken at some ballplayers and even some things where you could read between the lines. But I don’t think it is dripping with the kind of dirt that would make The Real Housewives of NYC blush. No, it’s a good read and probably a must for Yankee fans. But the media hype that it was ripping everyone to shreds was just that, hype.

Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Jerry Lawler or Mickey Rourke?

As of right now, Wrestlemania looks like a very good card with the potential to be great depending on how the matches go. But it could be launched into the category of being special if the W.W.E. delivers something big in the Chris Jericho-legends-Mickey Rourke angle.

This Monday’s Raw will be in San Antonio and Jericho has invited Ric Flair to step back inside the ring and fight him. Now we all know that Flair retired at last year’s Wrestlemania, however, we also know that retirements are rarely final. I doubt Flair will fight Jericho at ‘mania and am absolutely certain that even if he does get back in the ring, it won’t be at Monday Night Raw.

So on Monday night will Flair introduce Jericho’s WM opponent? Who will it be? Here are the names being bandied about and my thoughts on each:

Wrestlemania is in Texas this year which also happens to be the birthplace of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Fans have clamored for Austin to have one more match. Jericho loves to brag about how he beat Austin and The Rock on the same night some years back and Austin was the special ref in a match a few months ago in which Chris dropped the World Title. But Austin retired more than five years ago due to neck and knee injuries and until recently said he would never step back into the ring. He hedged in one interview when Austin said that he probably has one more match in him. Steve Austin will go into the W.W.E. Hall of Fame the night before the big card, will he cap off his career with one final “stone cold stunner” on Jericho?

When you talk about Wrestlemania, you think of the early years with Hogan and his matches with Andre The Giant and The Ultimate Warrior. You get the feeling that Hogan wants that last great sendoff and word is that he could use the money to pay his legal team. But then recently there was a rumor that Hogan had undergone back surgery. However, let’s add to this mystery that Vince McMahon is allegedly planting false stories in the media to throw everyone off. Hogan's name has been mentioned a few times on W.W.E. television recently and his matches at past Wrestlemanias have been highlighted. Coincidence?

I’ve heard Jerry Lawler-Chris Jericho is a distinct possibility at Wrestlemania and Jim Ross even said that at some point Lawler will probably get in the ring with Jericho – let’s just hope it is not on a big night like Wrestlemania. If it is indeed Lawler, that tells me that all of the other angles blew up.

He and the movie, The Wrestler is the reason why this angle is being done. Jericho has been cutting down wrestling legends that still work indy shows in high school gymnasiums and even challenged Rourke on Larry King Live. Rourke said he would not wrestle Jericho, but he didn’t say anything about boxing or a street fight. We know Rourke will be at Wrestlemania in some capacity, but will he do battle with Jericho?

This Monday’s Raw is undoubtedly the most compelling show W.W.E. has had in a long time.

17-0 or 16-1?

The main event for Wrestlemania XXV is signed, sealed and will be delivered on the first Sunday in April. The Undertaker will put his undefeated Wrestlemania streak on the line against the man that retired Ric Flair last year, Shawn Michaels. In all probability one of the two championship matches will go on last, but from where I sit, this match makes me buy the show. Michaels-Undertaker will be an instant classic and will give the pay-per-view that extra umph!

There are very few “dream matches” out there – the ones that either have never been done or haven’t been done in a long time - Michaels-‘taker is one that has not been done in a decade and promises to be special. Michaels always delivers and especially so on big stages, while The Undertaker has put on some great performances at Wrestlemania, especially last year against Edge and the year before when he fought Batista.

There's been talk of ending The Undertaker's streak and for a while the word was that they wanted a younger star to do it, perhaps Ted DiBiase whose father originally brought The Undertaker to the W.W.E., but the better bet is to have a veteran like Michaels do it. That is, if they are going to end "the streak" at all.

I'm Back!

I have been on a blogging hiatus – in case you are scoring at home or if you happen to be by yourself – but I’m back. I decided to post a video to mark my return; Martha Wainwright “New York New York New York” from her import album, I Will Internalize. Well, it’s not really a video as there isn’t a ton of action to keep up with, but alas it is what it is.