Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Free Agents For The Rangers?

I have nothing against free agency, per se. It’s just that it doesn’t seem to work very often for the teams I root for. If I was a general manager of a sports team I would pay my own guys whatever they were worth, but I would have a real tough time bringing in someone that achieved success elsewhere and paying them to be a mercenary. The draft is the way to go and especially in the N.H.L. when the best players don’t necessarily come out of the first round only. Just go see the Detroit Red Wings and some of their outstanding later round picks for evidence. Still, tomorrow at noon is when unrestricted free agents can start signing on the bottom line, so who do I think the Rangers should get or could get. Let’s have a look:

N/A. They are all set with Lundqvist and Valiquette.

The Rangers have a great crop of young defenseman both on the roster (Dan Girardi, Marc Staal) and even younger d-men ready to make the jump to the N.H.L. (New Jersey native Bobby Sanguinetti, Michael Del Zotto and last year’s Hobey Baker award winner, Matt Gilroy). I am slightly intrigued about bringing in Chris Chelios for a year as a mentor for the young blueliners.

The Rangers need scoring and more scoring, but who is out there and worth signing? Injury prone Wild forward Marian Gaborik is too risky; Alex Kovalev = been there, done that, don’t get fooled again; I suppose that 37-year-old Mike Knuble seems like the most likely addition. Brian Gionta's goal scoring has dropped every year since he scored 48 in 2005-2006. Gionta would eat up way too much salary for a team that can ill afford to make their cap situation worse than it already is.

What about just standing pat? Who says the Rangers should do anything? For me, Chelios is intriguing but I wouldn’t go out of my way to sign him. As far as Knuble, he’s a big guy that gives them a solid physical presence on the power play, but I’m not sure that he makes a huge difference in the standings.

Trade Winds Blow On Monday Night Raw

Vince McMahon announced last night on Monday Night Raw that before he purchased Raw from Donald Trump and “fired” him, Trump orchestrated a 15-superstar deal. That means that all three brands have some new additions. Here they are with some comments about each one:

Moving to the Raw roster:
Gail Kim - She's now where she belongs: on the flagship show and hopefully she will be pushed to the top.

Alicia Fox - I've only read that she is horrible in the ring. She seemed to have a good thing going as Michelle McCool's sidekick. I have no idea what role she has now.

Jack Swagger - I wrote on this blog many times that I think Swagger is the real thing and hoped that W.W.E. would bring him along slowly. I hope they aren't rushing him.

Evan Bourne - He would be better suited on Smackdown, where there are more guys he would match up better with.

Mark Henry - Appears to be getting pushed as a babyface.

Moving to the Smackdown roster:
Matt Hardy - He never seemed to fit on Raw.

Finlay - I liked him better on E.C.W.

David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd & Natalya - I suppose they will be facing more competition. All the more reason to split up the tag titles again.

Moving to the E.C.W. roster:
Shelton Benjamin - Is this the last step before Benjamin is out the door?

Goldust - I'll bet you that he is "future endeavored" before Labor Day.

William Regal - E.C.W. may be the place for Regal to rebuild himself.

Brie & Nikki Bella - N/A

I'm surprised that Kozlov was not moved to Monday Night Raw. Reportedly, the are very happy with his progress after they initially rushed him.

Tony Atlas did not accompany Mark Henry on Raw last night, so perhaps he will be in the corner of Ezekiel on E.C.W.

Christian is rumored to be headed to Smackdown in the fall.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Awesome Rey Mysterio Moves

The match at Wrestlemania XXV between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker is the 2009 “match of the year” and everything else is second, in my opinion. However, last night at The Bash Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho put on an outstanding bout that easily would be the best match of 2009 had it not been for the performance by Michaels-'Taker. The above YouTube video shows the last few minutes of the Jericho-Mysterio match, but you'll especially want to fast forward to the 2:29 mark to watch Rey execute a double springboard moonsault. Just brilliant!

Rey Mysterio is one of the most exciting wrestlers in the business and this feud with Jericho has helped bring out the best in Rey. Everything that Jericho has touched over the last 18 months has been gold! I can't wait to see what Edge and Jericho will do as a tag team against Mysterio and Dos Caras Jr.

Major Sean Birchall Killed In Afghanistan

The brother of W.W.E. wrestler, Paul Burchill, was killed in action in Afghanistan. Major Sean Birchall, a 33-year-old British soldier, has died as a result of a roadside bomb explosion on June 19. Click this to read the story from The Mail.

Also, William Snip, better known to wrestling fans as Billy Red Lyons passed away on June 22 at the age of 77. Lyons was most well-known for his work as a broadcaster in the American Wrestling Association (A.W.A.) and later the W.W.E. His catchphrase was "Don'tcha dare miss it!" which I always wondered how he could say with a straight face when he was promoting some of those A.W.A. shows when the promotion was in its final days in the late 1980s.

Knicks Disappoint Fans Again

Essentially, everything is riding on next summer for the New York Knicks and their fans, which in my eyes is dangerous. Ever heard the expression 'don't put all your eggs in one basket?'

Next summer is of course, when LeBron James will become a free agent and that’s when the Knicks will grab him - or so that's what most pundits believe. However, the Knicks have been so poorly managed over the last few years that I am skeptical that things will work out in the Summer of 2010. Donnie Walsh, though, has done a fine job with cleaning up the stench in the Knicks locker room and I give kudos to Mike D’Antoni for his coaching ability.

But most fans of the Knickerbockers were disappointed when New York chose Arizona forward Jordan Hill with the eighth pick in the N.B.A. Draft on Thursday night. The fans at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden booed the pick, while Walsh countered by saying that fans in Indiana booed when he drafted Chuck Person and Reggie Miller.

Meanwhile, Head Coach D’Antoni was quoted in the Daily News saying, "Our scouts have (Hill) rated as the second-best player in the draft."

Hmmm, if he is the second best player wouldn't logic dictate that he would be taken second? But we all know that D'Antoni has to build up his players in order to make them more attractive in case they are to become trade bait.

I won’t go so far as to say that Hill is Channing Frye reincarnated, but this summer and the draft feels like an afterthought for the Knicks. I don’t see the team doing anything to move forward or backward.

We’ll all just wait to see if this master plan will work to bring in LeBron James.

But what if the plan doesn’t work, then what?

N.H.L. Draft and Other Hockey Thoughts

The New York Islanders did the sensible thing and picked John Tavares with the number one pick on Friday night at the N.H.L. Draft. Although there is no guarantee that Tavares is going to become a superstar, the Isles could not afford to be cute with their fanbase by choosing someone else.

The New York Rangers chose Chris Kreider at No. 19 in the first round. The Rangers also took diminutive center Ryan Bourque, son of Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, at No. 80.

The New Jersey Devils packaged their third round pick along with their 23rd overall pick in the first round to Calgary in exchange for Calgary's 20th overall pick. The Devils then chose the third ranked European skater, Jacob Josefson, a Swede.

In other news, Rangers coach John Tortorella was named as an assistant to Team USA coach Ron Wilson for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, along with Islanders coach Scott Gordon.

Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer will both be returning for another season with the Anaheim Ducks. Meanwhile, 47-year-old Chris Chelios will be playing one more season in the N.H.L.

I suppose the big news is that N.Y. Rangers GM Glen Sather couldn't swing a deal for Ottawa's Dany Heatley. In news that won't grab headlines but will hurt the Blueshirts on the ice, the Rangers extended a qualifying offer to Nik Zherdev which means he won't be going anywhere, but they didn't qualify the speedy Freddie Sjostrom, which means he will be gone. Blair Betts, a superb penalty killer, is an unrestricted free agent and should garner plenty of interest around the league. Thus, his days as a Ranger have also ended.

Perhaps the most interesting pick for the Broadway Blues was Russian defenseman, Mikhail Pashnin. The 20-year-old was the top pick in the the Kontinental Hockey League draft earlier this month. He'll spend two years in that league before coming to North America.

The Rangers start their week-long prospects camp tomorrow.

Mayweather, Pacquiao On Collision Course?

With a November fight between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto currently in the works and the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez fight now rescheduled for September 19, does that mean that we can now speculate on the inevitable bout between Pacquiao and Mayweather?

Why not?

Mayweather was originally scheduled to fight Marquez, the three-weight world champion, on July 18 until Floyd injured cartilage in his rib and so the match had to be postponed. There had been some talk after the postponement that Mayweather would fight Pacquiao once doctors cleared him to fight after his rib injury healed.

Still, Mayweather, making a comeback, I believe, needs that one win in order to further sell an epic match with the Pac Man. So, I think the right thing was done which was to go back to the original plan.

The Mayweather-Marquez fight will take place on the weekend of Mexico's Independence Day. Mayweather will invite President Obama to the fight, while Marquez, from Mexico, will invite President Felipe Calderon.

Of course, Mayweather and Pacquiao will have to win their respective fights otherwise the conversation will be rendered moot.

W.W.E. The Bash Results

The W.W.E. presented The Bash last night and overall I would say it was a solid pay-per-view. Although we have seen Triple H and Randy Orton numerous times, I thought they put on a very good match. Be forewarned, this feud is definitely not over. I will restate that I believe it will culminate in a "Hell in a Cell" match at SummerSlam in August.

CM Punk appears to be a full-fledged heel after getting himself disqualified against Jeff Hardy. Meanwhile, it seemed to me that last night may have been Hardy’s swan song on pay-per-view for a while as he takes a sabbatical from pro wrestling.

I was surprised that Edge was not booked on this show, but was happy to see that Smackdown GM Teddy Long inserted Edge and Chris Jericho into the tag team championship match and thus we now have new tag champs in Edge/Jericho – two of my favorites.

Speaking of Jericho, he and Rey Mysterio put on a tremendous match! Mysterio saved his mask and took Jericho’s Intercontinental Championship. This feud, I believe, is now going to be escalated and I predict that Mysterio and W.W.E. newcomer Dos Caras Jr. will team up against Edge and Chris Jericho.

I was glad to see Tommy Dreamer hold onto the E.C.W. Championship if only because I don’t like to see titles change hands as if they are a hot potato.

Randy Orton defeated Triple H to retain W.W.E. Championship.

CM Punk retains the World Championship despite being disqualified against Jeff Hardy.

Edge/Chris Jericho defeat The Colons (Carlito and Primo) and Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase) to win the unified W.W.E. Tag Team Championship.

Tommy Dreamer retained the E.C.W. Championship in a "scramble match,"which included Jack Swagger, Christian, Mark Henry and Finlay.

Melina lost the W.W.E. Women's Championship to Michelle McCool.

Chris Jericho dropped the W.W.E. Intercontinental Championship to Rey Mysterio.

John Cena beat The Miz.

Dolph Ziggler defeated The Great Khali after Kane interfered.

Dark Match: R-Truth defeated Shelton Benjamin in under three minutes.

Bobby Lashley Defeats Bob Sapp

Bobby Lashley improved his mixed martial arts (M.M.A.) record to 4-0 after he defeated Bob Sapp via submission on Saturday night after pounding on the big guy in the first round. Immediately after the match, Lashley said he wishes to fight two more times this year, with one bout in late September.

Elsewhere on the pay-per-view which was called, PFP: Ultimate Chaos, in Biloxi, Mississippi:

James Orso defeated Danny Abbadi via unanimous decision.
Brandon Harder beat John Harris.
Tom Atencio defeated Randy Hedderick.
Waachiim Spirit Wolf beat Brett Cooper.
Chris Horodecki beat William Sriyapal.
Javier Vasquez over Mark Kergosian via first-round submission.
Colin McKee beat Lance Thompson via submission in round one.
Gilbert Yvel beat Pedro Rizzo via first-round knockout.

Rachel Alexandra Crushes Slim Competition At Belmont

As shown by the above YouTube video, Rachel Alexandra easily won the Mother Goose at Belmont Saturday afternoon, winning by 19 1/4-lengths in the $300,000, Grade I race.

Two horses were scratched Saturday morning, thus Rachel faced off against Malibu Prayer and Flashing. After the race, Alexandra's jockey, Calvin Borel, compared the horse to Secretariat and Seattle Slew.

About 13,000 showed up to the racetrack in Elmont, Long Island. Jess Jackson, a part-owner of Rachel Alexandra, is giving a percentage of the filly’s future winnings to the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Race for the Cure for breast cancer. Women were admitted free to Belmont and pink rubber Rachel Alexandra bracelets were handed out at the gates.

Alexandra travelled Sunday to Saratoga to train, possibly for the Travers held in Saratoga at the end of August. For more click this.

Friday, June 26, 2009

M.M.A. and W.W.E. This Weekend

Undefeated Bobby Lashley will be fighting tomorrow night against Bob Sapp, who supposedly has dropped a ton of weight after breaking his toilet bowl! Sapp, though, has a Mixed Martial Arts (M.M.A.) record of 10-4-1, incredibly.

The fight will take place at the pay-per-view, PFP: Ultimate Chaos, in Biloxi, Mississippi which is being promoted by Prize Fight M.M.A. and Fight Force International. The co-main event will have Gilbert Yvel fighting Pedro Rizzo, with the winner likely facing Paul Buentello at Affliction: Trilogy.

Meanwhile, the W.W.E. has yet another pay-per-view on Sunday night, The Bash. Here are some thoughts and predictions:

Randy Orton defends the W.W.E. Championship vs. Triple H in a "Three Stages of Hell" match.
I expect this feud to conclude at SummerSlam in late August in a "Hell in a Cell" match, thus Orton will retain somehow.

CM Punk defends the World Championship vs. Jeff Hardy
Punk retains and goes full-fledged heel.

The Colons (Carlito and Primo) vs. Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase)
The unified W.W.E. Tag Team Championship is at stake and I am hopeful that the Colons will retain. As I have said before, although there is a dearth of tag team competition in the W.W.E. right now, I would like to see the belts split again - with the Colons holding one set and defending on Raw and the Harts with the other tag belts and defending on E.C.W./Smackdown.

Tommy Dreamer vs. Jack Swagger vs. Christian vs. Mark Henry vs. Finlay in a Championship Scramble for the E.C.W. Championship
This is the right match to do a "scramble" and I think that Dreamer will hang on to the belt. Yes, I am a Swagger fan but it would be nice for the Yonkers native to get a run with the gold for a while. I'm not a fan of changing champions too frequently, so that is really the main reason I am hopeful that the champ retains.

Melina vs. Michelle McCool
McCool is not very impressive in my eyes and I have no idea why Gail Kim is not being used more, perhaps she is getting the same treatment as Christian and is being punished for her sin of jumping to T.N.A. Still, Melina has held the W.W.E. Women's title since January so it's probably time for her to drop the gold.

Chris Jericho (c) vs. Rey Mysterio in a Mask vs. Title match for the W.W.E. Intercontinental Championship
I don't know how they will do it, but I expect some kind of "smoke and mirrors" action with Rey purportedly losing his mask. I fully expect Dos Caras Jr. to get involved in this bout. Jericho retains.

John Cena vs. The Miz in a Joke of a match.
Cena wins with Miz getting in plenty of offense. What a waste of John Cena. Say what you want about him, but he should be headlining the show or give the guy the night off. Just a matter of time before The Miz is "future endeavored."

Dolph Ziggler vs. The Great Khali in a No Count-Out, No Disqualification Match.
This is on pay-per-view because? Ok, I'll pick Khali.

Candice Michelle got fired reportedly because she had put on weight. Huh?

Why is Edge not on this show? Or will he interfere on behalf of CM Punk?

N.H.L. Draft

Well, the N.B.A. Draft has come and gone and now the N.H.L. begins their proceedings tonight. The New York Islanders have the top pick and have not revealed who they will select, although anyone but John Tavares is a joke.

Meanwhile, the Rangers will have quite a busy week ahead. The draft tonight and then free agency begins July 1. I doubt the Blueshirts will end up with disgrunteld Ottawa forward Dany Heatly via trade, but do expect the team to make a run at free agent, Marian Hossa. The Rangers pick 19th in the first round, while the New Jersey Devils are slotted 23rd.

Interesting that Brent Sutter was named the new Head Coach of the Calgary Flames. I wonder how it will feel for Darryl Sutter (current Calgary GM) when he has to fire his brother, because all coaches get fired at some point - even the best of the best.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Rise of CM Punk, Jericho Calls Out The Undertaker

Very interesting story in The Sun in which Paul Heyman writes about the rise of CM Punk. Right now, the W.W.E. is doing a great job in promoting Punk as an opportunistic good guy. Essentially, he is playing the role of neither a face or a heel. Heyman, states in the article that when he was tasked in 2005 with putting together the new E.C.W. he had no difficulty in deciding to bring Punk up from developmental. Punk, of course, had some legendary matches prior to the W.W.E. when he was in Ring of Honor against Samoa Joe. One of those matches you can watch here.

Meanwhile, Chris Jericho has begun laying the groundwork for a feud with The Undertaker. He stated in a recent newspaper interview that ‘Taker has been “coasting” the last few years and that they will undoubtedly be crossing paths once Undertaker is “off crutches.” Undertaker had knee surgery after his epic match at Wrestlemania against Shawn Michaels and is expected to return around the middle of next month.

Trump Comes To Raw

We now switch gears from a very sad story to the lighthearted. Donald Trump will be appearing on Raw tonight as the “owner” of the franchise. All three brands are going to be in the building for Monday Night Raw so we should see some good matches. The only match announced at this point is that Triple H will face Randy Orton for the W.W.E. Championship in a "last man standing" match.

It will also be interesting to see if Trump names a General Manager and if it will be Ric Flair. The only thing I foresee happening is Santina Marella getting fired in a parody of Trump’s real-life involvement with the Miss America contest. “Santina,” of course, was named Miss Wrestlemania after winning the 25-woman divas battle royale at the big show in April.

The Tragedy of Neda

This post takes a break from the usual frivolity of sports and other items along those lines which I usually post about. Additionally, the above YouTube video may be upsetting to some.

The verdict is still out on the usefulness of so-called social networking Websites. At this point in time I view it as a mixed bag. However, what has taken place in Iran over the last week or so has shown me that there is a meaningful purpose for Twitter and similar sites.

I have been glued to what is going on in Iran in the aftermath of the presidential election. The updates on Twitter and the inability of Iran to censor the “tweets” have fueled this uprising that has occurred.

Sadly, though, 26-year-old Neda Aghasoltan who was attending recent demonstrations with her Philosophy teacher and some classmates was brutally shot in the heart and murdered by Basij motor bikers, when she stopped for a minute to answer her cellphone.

The only information I could find was that her body was handed over to her family by the authorities on the condition that they would have a quick and private funeral in order to not attract attention. The funeral was held under the highest security surveillance and very quickly. Her memorial service was to be held in a famous mosque in Tehran, but the mosque has informed the family that it's been canceled. Furthermore all mosques in Tehran have been ordered not to hold any memorial services related to Neda.

R.I.P. Neda.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dusty Rhodes, The Baseball Player, Dead At 82

James Lamar "Dusty" Rhodes has passed away. He was 82.

There seems to be some people that get easily confused, because some have thought that former pro wrestler, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, was the one that died. Anyway, the baseball Dusty played for the New York Giants and helped the team win the first game of the 1954 World Series against the Cleveland Indians - a series the Giants would sweep.

After his seven-year career, in which Dusty also played for the Giants when they moved to San Francisco, Rhodes worked for 25 years on a friend's tug boat. When asked why his career was so short he said, "After (Leo) Durocher left the Giants, baseball wasn't fun anymore."

The Washington Post has more here.

Rachel Alexandra Finally Coming To Belmont

Rachel Alexandra, winner of the Preakness Stakes, will finally make her way to New York, albeit in a less visible race than what racing fans had hoped for back in May when Calvin Borel rode her to victory in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Alexandra will be running at Belmont Park for the Grade 1 Mother Goose race a week from Saturday.

Beyond the Mother Goose, any plans for the filly are pure speculation. The rest of the story is here at Horse Race Insider.

Rachel Alexandra was sired by big money winner Medaglia d'Oro and grandsired by Irish champion El Prado, the "sire of sires."

Colons/Christian vs. Swagger/The Hart Dynasty on Superstars

The W.W.E.’s Superstars show does not air in the New York area, however, matches like the one in the above video make me wish it did. Last night, the Colons (Carlito & Primo) along with Christian took on The Hart Dynasty and Jack Swagger. Unfortunately, Christian’s team was victorious, but the match was entertaining nonetheless. I’m glad to see the W.W.E. is giving the Harts a push, too bad they are not facing the Colons at next week’s Bash pay-per-view. They are much better heels than the unconvincing tandem of Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. Other matches on Superstars saw Santino Marella lose to Chavo Guerrero and also Eve defeated Layla with Maria as the special guest referee.

Incidentally, I know the W.W.E. loves to stay away from the whole 'rasslin 1980s thing, but changing the name to The Bash from The Great American Bash is weak.

S.E.C. Going After W.W.E.?

The Pro Wrestling Torch has a story here that the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) is looking into the W.W.E. over the "Donald Trump buys Raw" storyline. There was a tremendous amount of activity Tuesday in regards to the W.W.E.'s stock and so the S.E.C. is looking into if there was any funny business.

Also, this just in, the Department of Homeland Security is investigating Santa Claus!

Trade Winds Blowing For Knicks, Rangers

The N.B.A. will be holding its draft on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The New York Knicks will most likely be active in the hopes of moving up from the eighth position. Right now many mock drafts have the Knicks selecting U.C.L.A. point guard Jrue Holiday, however, they may hope to move up so that they can select either Stephen Curry or Ricky Rubio. New York is also said to like Arizona's Jordan Hill.

Meanwhile, next weekend the N.H.L. Draft takes place and it is being described as being very deep in terms of the number of talented players. The Rangers select 19th, while the New York Islanders have the number one pick which they will use to take super prospect, John Tavares. Could the Rangers be in the market for disgruntled Ottawa forward Dany Heatly? We'll see. Heatly is unhappy with what he perceives as his diminished role with the Senators, particularly on the power play where he is playing on the second unit.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Big Lawsuit Against Big Show = Big Joke

TMZ.com reports here that Big Show is being sued by SoBe Entertainment for misleading the company. According to the story, "the suit claims the 7' tall, 500 pound behemoth cut a deal with SoBe Entertainment in 2007 to become a boxer. SoBe claims they paid Mr. Show $84,000 a month and fronted him an extra $1 mil for a house."

First off Mr. Show's real name is Paul Wight. Second of all, the article also says the suit claims the Big Show-Floyd Mayweather bout at Wrestlemania 24 grossed $31,000,000!


What is SoBe Entertainment anyway and why would they pay that much money to someone that has never boxed professionally in the first place? SoBe, by the way, is an entertainment company that represents Brooke Hogan, amongst others, and provides their artists with free MySpace accounts. Once again let's refer back to what that great prophet Derrick Coleman once said, "Whoopdee damn do!"

Oh well, I wish them no ill will. Hopefully, Mr. Show and SoBe can reach an amicable resolution.

Things That Fool and Things That Don't

The W.W.E. fooled people several times with the storyline that Donald Trump purchased the Monday Night Raw franchise – so much so that the W.W.E.’s stock plummeted 6% on Tuesday. This led to the W.W.E. and the USA Network releasing statements that explained it was all part of the script.

The W.W.E. also got some people with a photshopped picture on WWE.com of Trump purportedly landing his helicopter on the company’s headquarters in Stamford, Conn.

Also, Ric Flair was backstage at the show on Monday night in order to act as a red herring. The W.W.E. has been doing everything possible to guard against leaks, so they had Flair in the building so that the leakers would think Flair was going to be named the new GM of Raw, which he was not and in all likelihood will not be in the foreseeable future.

Here’s some other ways you can be fooled by in this world: You get a “friend request” on Facebook only to discover that the person is more interested in hawking their product or products than actually ya know, being friends. Hmmm….

Yes, some people love to hawk their stuff on Facebook, which is fine, just as long as it isn’t overdone. Thankfully there is the "hide" button so I can just click that and no longer see repetitive “look at me” style posts.

Things that are not foolish are Rob Adams’ radio show, The Press Box, which by the way he doesn’t overly promote on Facebook so I’m giving him a plug. The show airs every weekday from 2-3.

Click me to check it out.

My friends over at BetweenTheRopes.com have a show that can be heard every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The show is archived and can be heard here.

Also, north of the border, Off The Record, hosted by Michael Landsberg is a tremendous sports show on TSN (the ESPN of Canada) in which he covers all sports and I do mean ALL sports. Much better than someone talking about the same topic for five and a half hours ever afternoon.

There is also no fooling with the above video, "Won't Get Fooled Again," from The Kids Are Alright!

Martha Wainwright, Pete Townshend and Rachel Fuller Sing "Factory"

Three of my favorite singers got together during Rachel Fuller’s In The Attic show a couple of years ago and produced this video. Pete Townshend, Rachel Fuller and Martha Wainwright sung Martha’s song, “Factory.” Although I have no idea what the song is about, it’s one of Martha’s better songs. Seems like there are many people out there that have these types of informal gatherings in which they play music. Fuller, though, put out a whole CD and DVD last month that was a compilation of her In The Attic gatherings. Some of the artists that appeared were Tenacious D, Lou Reed, Rachel Yamagata, Pete Townshend and others.

Dos Caras Jr. Signs With W.W.E.....Seriously!

Masked Mexican wrestler Dos Caras Jr. has reportedly signed with the W.W.E. and will head straight to the main roster. A Caras signing was reported last year, however, the deal fell through. Dos Caras even said himself that he had signed with the company and was debuting at the Royal Rumble in January. Caras and W.W.E. have reportedly been unable to come to terms on licensing and such. Supposedly this time, Caras will not be heading to F.C.W. and will also be keeping ownership of his likeness and name, but just loaning it out to W.W.E. I guess we will find out. The above is a tribute video to the masked luchador! If, in fact, the signing is true, it would be great to see Caras either team or feud with Rey Mysterio.

Speaking of which, I wonder who the genius was that decided last year to send Rey Mysterio to the Monday Night Raw roster. I read that Smackdown used to draw one million Hispanic viewers, but then lost virtually all of them when Rey was drafted to Raw. Now that Mysterio is back on Smackdown, Hispanic viewership is up to around 500,000.

Florida Championship Wrestling Celebrates Father's Day

The W.W.E.’s minor league, F.C.W., is holding an event tomorrow night in Kissimmee called “Salute to Fathers.” This makes perfect sense given the fact that there are so many second and third generation wrestlers that are either in developmental or on the main roster.

Appearing will be Ted DiBiase Sr. with Brett DiBiase; Mike Rotundo with Bo and Duke Rotundo; and Haku with Agent T. Gerry Brisco was scheduled to appear with his son Wes, however, that is no longer a possibility due to Gerry suffering not one but three strokes recently, according to Jim Ross’ blog.

On a separate note, I can understand why W.W.E. does not recognize a wrestler’s past when it comes to T.N.A., but I don’t understand why they don’t mention F.C.W. at all regarding the history of its wrestlers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some Music Thoughts: KISS Announces Fan Routed Tour, Roger Daltrey Solo In NY? Zeppelin Loves Joni

I heard an interview yesterday with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley on Q104.3 and they discussed something that I think is really cool: a fan routed tour. Basically, the fans votes determine where the band will play on their upcoming tour. Kiss also has a new album coming out. For more click this.

Meanwhile, rumors are going around that Roger Daltrey will play solo at the "Fillmore East" which is actually the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza.

You know what's annoying? Pop-ups on YouTube! Still, it doesn't take away from this gem by Led Zeppelin, Going to California which Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote about Joni Mitchell, whom they were both infatuated with. Hence the following lines:

"To find a Queen without a King,
They say she plays guitar and cries, and sings."

After The Bell

Why do the E.C.W. announcers never refer to Davey Boy Smith as being deceased? There is no point in trying to fool the fans into thinking that David Hart Smith's father is still alive. One of the E.C.W. commentators - I think it was Josh Matthews - even said that David is better than his father ever will be? Huh? The man is dead.

The "SHS" on Mark Henry's ring attire stands for Silsbee High School which is located in Texas and is the Alma mater of the "world's strongest man."

Legendary amature and professional wrestler Gerald Brisco suffered a stroke recently. The 62-year-old has been working behind the scenes for the W.W.E. for years.

I had a whole post written about how Legacy's Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase are lacking quite a bit in their mic skills. That post was accidentally deleted, however, my point was that Cody and Ted are a far cry from how good their respective fathers were. They would do well to watch the above "Hard Times" promo by the "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.

Quote of the Week came on Tuesday from Chris Jericho (of course): Nice to see tht the Smackdown boys totally dominated Raw last night. Watch and learn kids.....

E.C.W. Puts On A Good Show

Another Tuesday night, another fantastic job out of the E.C.W. roster. I have no idea who is writing the show, but they are doing a real nice job. Three matches last night on Sci-Fi with a recap of Monday Night Raw and a couple of short interviews – that was it! Now, that’s how you write a show.

Anyway the opening contest saw Christian lose to David Hart Smith thanks to Hart Dynasty members Natalya and Tyson Kidd. I was surprised to see Christian lose only because he went down to Tommy Dreamer on Raw. Amazing that Christian was headlining pay-per-views in T.N.A. against Kurt Angle and now he is jobbing to Tommy Dreamer and an unproven rookie. Although, I’m not complaining. I guess that’s what happens when you cross Vince McMahon – you pay for it for a little while. I’m really on the Hart Dynasty bandwagon; they just know how to get it done and play the heel role to perfection.

The second match saw Mark Henry down Evan Bourne. Both guys put on a good show, despite the fact that they have contrasting styles.

Finally, E.C.W. Champion Tommy Dreamer lost in a non-title match to Jack Swagger. OH yes, I failed to mention that Finlay came out and nailed Christian with the shillelagh after his match with Smith. Finlay said it was revenge for when he injured his eye while breaking up a fight between Christian and Tommy Dreamer. Finlay came out and laid out both Dreamer and Swagger, after the Oklahoman scored the pinfall. So I guess that makes Finlay a heel now.

A little while ago the W.W.E. announced that at The Bash pay-per-view Tommy Dreamer will put the E.C.W. Championship on the line in a scramble match against Christian, Swagger, Henry and Finlay.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Who's Next For Manny? It Won't Be Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather Jr. injured his rib recently while training for his July 18 bout against Juan Manuel Marquez - that match has now been postponed indefinitely. The story is here. So where does that leave Manny Pacquiao?

"Pacman" crushed Ricky Hatton back on May 2 and boxing insiders have been speculating as to who Manny will face next time he steps through the ropes. Although it has at least been established that Pacquiao will fight on October 17 in Las Vegas.

I guess his opponent will be "Sugar" Shane Mosley, since "Pacman" has said he has no interest in fighting another name being bandied about, Miguel Cotto.

The End of 1940!

As I previously mentioned, Sunday was the 15th anniversary of the New York Rangers game seven Stanley Cup Finals victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

There have been some interesting stories about things that happened leading up to that night and the aftermath, as well. One of note came from John Davidson during the broadcast of the top five greatest moments in MSG history. JD said that after the Rangers lost game six in Vancouver, the Air Canada baggage handler put ‘1940’ tags on all of the New York players’ luggage. Davidson had a laugh about it although thought it was a bit much.

Thankfully, it had no impact on the outcome of the series.

Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral

The above video is of the historic 1938 race between west coast star, Seabiscuit, and Triple Crown winner, War Admiral. Author Lauren Hillenbrand did a phenomenal job in the book, Seabiscuit, describing this race and everything that went into getting these two great horses to go head to head.

Hillenbrand’s story is inspiring because she wrote the book - which was turned into a fantastic movie - while she suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome. In some ways, her trials and tribulations mirror that of the subject matter of the book.

Former W.W.E. Stars In Upcoming M.M.A. Bouts

With the announcement last night that Donald Trump has “purchased” Monday Night Raw from Vince McMahon, I thought of Bobby Lashley. Trump picked Lashley to represent him at Wrestlemania 23 in the battle of the billionaires. Lashley defeated McMahon’s pick, Umaga, which led to a haircut for Mr. McMahon. Nonetheless, I have always thought that Lashley is one that got away from the W.W.E.

Anyway, Lashley is currently 3-0 in mixed martial arts and will be taking on Bob Sapp, who boasts a record of 10-4-1, on June 27. That’s the first M.M.A. match I am looking forward to this summer. The second is on July 11 at U.F.C. 100 where U.F.C. Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar (3-1) will take on U.F.C. Interim Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir (12-3) in a unification bout.

Lesnar has tangled with Mir - I’ve heard it pronounced like it rhymes with fur and also beer -before, but after dominating the match had to tap out. Some say that since it was Lesnar’s second M.M.A. fight, inexperience cost him. We’ll see. Either way I’m very interested to see how both Lesnar and Lashley fair in their respective upcoming outings.

Tiger Mask II, a.k.a. Mitsuharu Misawa, Dead at 47

Some of you may know my affinity for wrestlers that don a mask. Going back to guys like the Masked Superstar, Mil Mascaras, The Spoiler and of course, current star Rey Mysterio, I have always though the mask added some intrigue and mystique to a character. Sadly, Tiger Mask II has passed away recently. His real name is Mitsuharu Misawa and he died after suffering a heart attack in the ring following a suplex during a tag team match in Japan. He was 47.

Above is a legendary match in which Misawa wrestled as Tiger Mask II and took on Bret Hart while “The Hitman” was touring Japan.

By the way, CM Punk wore wrist tape with the name "Misawa" written over the top during Monday's Raw in tribute to the legendary grappler.

Now This Is A Fight!

This past weekend featured one of the New York Yankees' relievers Brian Bruney squabbling with Mets counterpart Francisco Rodriguez and Yankees manager Joe Girardi going after Red Sox starter Brad Penny. No punches were thrown, just words. But I think they should take a lesson from Tie Domi and Bob Probert on how to really hook 'em up!

Tough Time For Public Access T.V. Host

I probably have posted this before, but this is one of the funniest videos on YouTube. Warning some language may offend.

The Who News

Click this to read about The Who's "My Generation" being inducted into the Library of Congress, along with Etta James' "At Last."

Pete Townshend's performance at the Secret Policeman's Ball inspired MTV's Unplugged. Now there is a Secret Policeman's Ball Film fest taking place in NYC and Los Angeles. You can read about it here.

Interesting interview with Rachel Fuller (pictured with Pete and Roger) about her music career and work she has done with Pete Townshend.

Also, George Thorogood talks about how his career evolved when realizing he couldn't copy Roger Daltrey, Mick Jagger and Robert Plant.

Finally, Quadrophenia continues to be hailed by the critics as it rolls along in Britain.

Odds & Sods

Some very quick and random thoughts....

Very volatile situation in Iran right now. I’m quite interested to see how this all plays out.

Fox News blogger Dr. Keith Ablow has an interesting take on the death of David Carradine.

The N.B.A. starts its season one month later than the N.H.L., however, their Finals ended just 48 hours after the N.H.L.’s.

What’s lamer than a baseball fight? You can’t think of anything either, huh!

Fifteen years ago this past Sunday the Rangers hoisted the Stanley Cup at Madison Square Garden.

Triple Cross by Peter Lance comes out in paperback today and one Federal prosecutor is none too happy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Martha Wainwright "Bleeding All Over You"

The above video, courtesy of Dailymotion, is one of the best performances I have heard by Martha Wainwright as she sings her song "Bleeding All Over You." Meanwhile, Wainwright visited Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which you can watch on NBC's Website.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Martha Wainwright On Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Martha Wainwright is scheduled to perform on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this Thursday night. Meanwhile, check out the above video of Martha teaming up with Adrian Belew to sing David Bowie's "Heroes" on an Australian rock quiz show.

R.O.H. Samoa Joe VS. CM Punk In A Five Star Match

The five-star match in pro wrestling is rare. Those matches deemed to be exceptional by columnist Dave Meltzer are given a five-star rating. Among the matches that have received such praise is the one posted above between CM Punk and Samoa Joe while the two worked for Ring of Honor (R.O.H.) Punk is the current World Heavyweight Champion in the W.W.E. while Samoa Joe is toiling in T.N.A., however, he was once that promotion’s top dog. This is a classic bout, which is broken up in to three parts.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

N.B.A. Finals: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic

I like the Los Angeles Lakers to beat the Orlando Magic in five games, so I suppose I disagree with the O-nointed one on another topic. This could be some really ugly basketball to watch, but I like the Lakers' depth in this series. Below is the schedule with the asterisk indicating if necessary, naturally.

Orlando at L.A. Lakers
Game 1

Sunday, June 7
Orlando at L.A. Lakers
Game 2

Tuesday, June 9
L.A. Lakers at Orlando
Game 3

Thursday, June 11
L.A. Lakers at Orlando
Game 4

Sunday, June 14
L.A. Lakers at Orlando
Game 5*

Tuesday, June 16
Orlando at L.A. Lakers
Game 6*

Thursday June 18
Orlando at L.A. Lakers
Game 7*

The Kennedy Conspiracy

The above YouTube video is a pretty funny silent exhibition of Mr. Kennedy saying that his wrist is just fine. The video was put on his Facebook page just days after he was let go by World Wrestling Entertainment. Kennedy cannot wrestle for "the competition" until September due to the 90-day no-compete clause W.W.E. puts in their wrestlers' contracts. Mr. Kennedy, though, is reportedly said to be very interested in going to T.N.A. and feels that he can become a top star for that company.

I'm glad to see that I am not the only one that recognizes Tyson Kidd's talent. Kevin Eck discusses Kidd's impressive outing against Christian here.

Meanwhile, W.W.E. has re-signed Chris Masters, whom you may recall was suspended several times - and has one strike remaining - due to steroid use. Masters had a cup of coffee with T.N.A. but they let him go because his unnatural look was so absurd and they were being investigated by the Feds at the time so they wanted to put forth a clean appearance.

Randy Orton Goes Off

A video has shown up on the Internet of W.W.E. Champion Randy Orton going off on a reporter during the W.W.E.'s recent tour of Mexico. My initial reaction is that this was staged - a la Eminem/Sacha Baron Cohen - as Orton is clearly in character. But who knows? Randy Orton has had a history of combative behavior in the past. Before he became a pro wrestler, Orton was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Marines for going AWOL and disobeying a commanding officer.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Mr. T Sings

I'm a couple of weeks behind on this one, however, Mr. T sung "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" recently during the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field. Well, at least he's better than Roseanne Barr. I wonder if this type of stuff brings bad karma; God knows the Chicago Cubs have had more than their share of hard luck.

Why Mr. Kennedy Was Fired

The biggest news in wrestling over the last couple of weeks was the W.W.E. letting Ken “Mr. Kennedy” Anderson go. Well, the above YouTube video shows the poorly executed move by Kennedy on Randy Orton last week on Monday Night Raw in which Orton fell awkwardly on his surgically repaired shoulder. You can see Orton slap Kennedy in the back of the head after he lands and then slam his fists on the mat in frustration.

Orton wields a lot of power and reportedly expressed his displeasure with Kennedy backstage, albeit in a calm manner. Still, once Vince McMahon found out about the botched move, Kennedy was wished "well in his future endeavors."

Reportedly, some former World Champions expressed displeasure in working with Kennedy and charged that he was sloppy in the ring.

Mr. Kennedy has been injury prone over the last couple of years and hopefully for him, a change of scenery will be beneficial. Although, my money is on Kennedy going to Japan before W.C.W. lite (also known as T.N.A.).

E.C.W. Delivers With Christian-Tyson Kidd Match

Once again E.C.W. was better than Monday Night Raw!

I missed last night's opening bout between Evan Bourne and Mark Henry which the former won as a result of a disqualification. But the highlight of the show was a spectacular match between Tyson Kidd and E.C.W. Champion Christian. The seesaw matchup had me thinking that Kidd would score the upset at times, which makes a match great. The idea that the future star, Kidd, would defeat an established veteran, Christian, made for some interesting t.v. Christian would ultimately score the win, but Kidd looked real strong to me.

The Hart Trilogy needs some fine-tuning but the W.W.E. has some real potential on their hands with Kidd, David Hart Smith and Natalya.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

John Davidson Honored

Former broadcaster John Davidson is being honored! He will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster. Congrats JD!

John Davidson was a former goalie for the Rangers and for the St. Louis Blues – where he currently works as president – and formed one of my favorite broadcasting tandems along with Sam Rosen on the MSG Network for the New York Rangers. J.D. is a former player that was outstanding at explaining the game of hockey without coming across as condescending to the old or new fan. Just because one played a sport doesn’t mean they are going to be a good broadcaster.

I had a friend tell me once that he knew more "‘cause he played." Well as that great prophet Derrick Coleman once said, "Whoopdee damn do!" Articulating the game is a different story! J.D. was able to do just that.

First-year eligible players for the Hockey Hall of Fame were also announced today. Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Alexander Mogilny and Luc Robitaille are all up for induction.

Finally, Dave Molinari was announced as the winner of the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for print journalism. Molinari is the beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

By the way, I know the Wings are up 2-0 and some in Pittsburgh want to believe that there team has a shot of coming back, but I say Wings in 5. I'm disappointed that Chicago did not make more of a showing in the conference finals against Detroit, but experience was a big factor for the Red Wings. Meanwhile, Cam Ward and Carolina just wasn't ready for the onslaught of the Penguins and their incredible offense.

Monday Night Rawful

Last night is what those “in the know” call the go-home show, that is it is Raw’s last airing before a pay-per-view. In this instance, we have the “Extreme Rules” ppv coming up on Sunday.

The W.W.E.’s flagship show right now is in deep trouble. When you take your W.W.E. Champion and a guy that isn’t even 30 and make him look ridiculous in a parking lot brawl against Ric Flair, you are just asking for trouble. Randy Orton, thus far, as W.W.E. Champ, has been a failure in my opinion. Put the belt on John Cena or somebody to give the fans a little bit of excitement. Right now, Orton looks weak. So how will that make Batista look when he loses to Orton this Sunday in a cage? There’s just nothing worthwhile on Monday Night Raw these days.

The Big Show-John Cena feud doesn’t seem to be following any sort of script, which can be a good thing, but in this case it isn’t. Inserting The Miz into this feud in an attempt to put The Miz over is laughable.

The whole Santino Marella-Vickie thing is more overdone than a $2 steak and I’m not sure what the heck they are doing with Matt Hardy.

Meanwhile, M.V.P. acting happy after he dropped the U.S. Championship to Kofi Kingston is a bit of a stretch. But those two have a great deal of potential and I would like to see W.W.E. do more with both of them. I am hopeful that M.V.P. losing the belt means he goes up against Randy Orton next. With Mr. Kennedy getting fired last week, the W.W.E. will need to put someone in a program with Randy Orton.

Tonight, Christian faces Tyson Kidd on E.C.W. in a match that I am very much looking forward to. Right now, E.C.W. is much more compelling than Raw and doesn’t take up as much time.

Woodstock 2009 in Central Park?

I was up in Woodstock this weekend and had a great time! I even went to the site of Woodstock ’69 in Bethel (about 45 miles southwest of Woodstock) and visited the museum!

Anyway, the owner of the really cool t-shirt store, Legends, a curmudgeon if there ever was one, said that the deal was signed on Saturday to bring Woodstock 2009 to Central Park in September. We’ll see.

I did some "googling" and found that Central Park was being considered, as was Prospect Park in Brooklyn for the 40th anniversary of the concert. But those articles were written earlier this year and discussed the Red Hot Chili Peppers performing. As far as I see it, only the performers from the original show should be on the bill. Yes, many are sadly dead. But you can still put together a fantastic lineup: The Who; Crosby Stills & Nash; Joe Cocker; Carlos Santana; Richie Havens and many others.

Again, we’ll see.

One thing that is definitely worth seeing is the above video which features "frustrated drummer" Richie Havens opening up Woodstock '69 with "Freedom."