Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Inside The Squared Circle: The Passing of Steve Williams, Tommy Dreamer Leaves ECW, Bryan Danielson? Mystico Confusion

Wrestling has lost another...."Dr. Death" Steve Williams has died of throat cancer at the age of 49. I remember Williams very well from his days with the Mid-South/U.W.F. territory and later the N.W.A. Williams was an all-american wrestler and football player at the University of Oklahoma where he played under Barry Switzer.

Nice job by Tommy Dreamer last night giving a farewell speech to the crowd at the Meadowlands after losing to Zack Ryder. Although I have never really been a big fan of Dreamer, he has always been a professional as he showed by giving a boost to Ryder's career. Ryder now can brag that he drove Tommy out of E.C.W. Dreamer is reportedly headed for T.N.A.

Where is Bryan Danielson? He signed a deal with the W.W.E. but apparently is in Arizona training and waiting for the company to call him when they have something for him. Must be nice. My bet is that if he doesn't show up on this Monday's Raw, he will figure in on the "E.C.W. homecoming" angle and will get a shot at Christian and the E.C.W. title.

The W.W.E. last week signed Mexican star Mystico, who also goes under the name Incognito. There was a bit of confusion as some reported that the W.W.E. signed Mistico - a legit legend in Mexican wrestling. Mistico and W.W.E. had tried to negotiate a deal last year, but reportedly talks broke down after the W.W.E. wanted to change his entire gimmick around.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

John Cena to Flip Coin at Fiesta Bowl

Vince McMahon did the obvious last night by confirming Bret Hart for next Monday’s Raw. However, one top W.W.E. star won’t be at the show and that is John Cena. He’ll be at the Fiesta Bowl game next Monday night in Arizona to do the opening coin toss. Monday Night Raw takes place in Dayton, Ohio so Cena obviously would not be able to do both. The Fiesta Bowl should deliver strong ratings with #4 TCU (12-0) playing #6 Boise State (13-0).

I Wish I Were This Irrelevant

Quite often I hear the classic rock bands labeled "irrelevant." Hmmm, the Rolling Stones were the most successful live band over the past 10 years taking in over $869 million, according to Billboard’s Top Touring Acts of the 2000s list.

Other things that stood out for me...

U2 had 288 shows in the decade and sold out all of them.

Rod Stewart has been labeled a "sell-out" by some, but I'm sure he's laughing all the way to the bank with the $233 million he earned through his concerts.

Meanwhile, Britney Spears may sing about being a slave for you, however, I guess it's too bad slavery isn't actually so lucrative. She took in over $216 million through touring!

The full list is here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bret Hart Returning

Vince McMahon will appear on Monday Night Raw this evening to address the rumors of Bret Hart's return to the W.W.E. Of course, McMahon is going to confirm those reports otherwise why would he be there (that and he signed Bret to a contract). Some people are scoffing at Hart's return, but I think it will definitely help the W.W.E. and give it a good shot in the arm.

So that will set Monday night January 4 as W.W.E./Monday Night Raw/Bret Hart vs. T.N.A./Impact/Hulk Hogan.

Just to illustrate how far T.N.A. has to go to compete with W.W.E; apparently they are worried that they won't fill up the Universal Studios in Orlando that night for the T.N.A. Impact show. Here's the rub, those tickets are free and capacity is 850!!!!

Odds & Sods

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is now saying that the system failed miserably in the attempted bombing plot of the Northwest Airlines flight headed for Detroit. No kidding.

Glad that's cleared up.

I wonder who is watching the watchers. The people that hold themselves up so high and mighty like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann and those of that ilk. The news coverage of certain items recently is disgusting and reckless. There is one item that has my interest, I'm not going to give it any oxygen unless necessary, but the coverage so far is just really pitiful.

So who is watching the watchers? I know I am. There are plenty of news outlets that I am cutting out....

Chris Jericho will be hosting "100 Most Shocking Music Moments" beginning tonight at 8 on VH1. The show is on all week, but I have no idea if Jericho is hosting every night.

Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella loves to jostle with the media, but seems to shrink when it comes to benching players. Tortorella will be fired if not after this season, but midway through next year. Mark - no pun intended - my words.

Yeah I suppose Mark Messier could be the next coach.

If the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight doesn't come off, then what is really the point of boxing even continuing?

UFC 111 is being held Saturday March 27 which is the night before Wrestlemania. UFC said they scheduled the event that night because they did not want to go head-to-head with Pac-Mayweather which was tentatively booked for March 13.

Who uses Yahoo! search anyway? They rank the top searches to appear important but I don't know of anyone that has ever used Yahoo! over Google.

VH1 Honors will return next summer and this time The Doors will be receiving their moment in the sun. Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters are scheduled to perform.

I heard this version of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" on 107.1 The Peak Friday night. Great acoustic version! The band played it at the Bridge School Benefit charity show which takes place every year in California. Just another charity effort that The Who and Pete Townshend have been involved with.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Inside The Squared Circle: Johnny Damon, Jericho on VH1, Comings and Goings

Johnny Damon did a nice job as guest host of Monday Night Raw. He knew the product; was involved enough without being the focal point; and genuinely seemed to enjoy himself. Oh yeah, and he took a kiss from 86-year-old Mae Young. Still, I wish the “guest host” thing would end.

Next week is Timbaland and then January 4 is Bret “Hitman” Hart, who is making his return to the W.W.E. as an on-air character. Hart signed a short-term deal which runs for about four months. Word is that he will wrestle one match, probably against Vince McMahon.

Hart has not been in a W.W.E ring since the infamous "Montreal Screwjob." He also has not talked with Triple H or Shawn Michaels since that night in November 1997 and said in his autobiography that he could never forgive either one. Supposedly he is coming back to help push family members; David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd and Nattie Neidhart. I guess hell has frozen over.

Now if only Vince’s archnemesis Bruno Sammartino agrees to be inducted into the W.W.E. Hall of Fame then I will know that 2012 has arrived.

Chris Jericho will be hosting the "100 Most Shocking Music Moments on VH1" this coming Monday from 8-9 P.M.

High-flying Ring of Honor tag team Jay and Mark Briscoe are said to be close to a deal with the W.W.E.

Tommy Dreamer has reportedly asked for his release.

Monday, December 14, 2009

W.W.E. Forgets Umaga

The W.W.E. has been completely classless in not acknowledging Eddie "Umaga" Fatu’s death on any of their t.v. programming. Many fans – including myself – have sent emails to the W.W.E. complaining. A U.K. Sun story here quoted a W.W.E. spokesperson who said he could not comment on the complaints. The W.W.E. is just being completely gutless on this issue.

Fatu passed away on December 4. He was 36. Umaga was a superheavyweight that had unbelievable speed and agility for a man his size; weighing in excess of 300 pounds. Fatu comes from a Samoan family that has produced such greats as the Wild Samoans and The Rock. He had just finished up the Hulkamania tour of Australia where his final match was against Ken “Mr. Kennedy” Anderson. Reportedly, he was supposed to return to the W.W.E. next month.

The day after Fatu died, Ring of Honor (R.O.H.) remembered Umaga with a 10-bell salute before a show. This is amazing to me, because Fatu never wrestled for R.O.H. but did spend a considerable amount of time working for the W.W.E. and his death only got a very cold corporate-type mention on their Website.

Who Cares

The Who and Teenage Cancert Trust (TCT) have teamed up to launch Who Cares, which is designed to raise money for TCT. The news is here. Basically, it's a new way for the fans to get involved in raising money for the charity.

Incidentally, a fan has an authentic Pete Townshend shirt up for auction on eBay, which comes with an autographed photo of PT wearing a similar shirt. The auctioneer says that all proceeds will go to TCT. The link is here.

Roger Daltrey and Eric Clapton Hitting The Road

Roger Daltrey will be teaming up with Eric Clapton in February/March of 2010 for a few shows together. Meanwhile, Clapton and Steve Winwood will continue touring into the early part of next year. More on the news can be found here. I couldn't find any video of Roger and Eric performing - unless you count Clapton in the movie, Tommy - so I have posted Clapton with Pete Townshend.

Slammy Awards Predictions

It's that time of year again that everyone looks forward to. Well, perhaps not, but the Slammy's could produce some interesting moments tonight on Monday Night Raw which will be hosted by Dennis Miller. Here are the nominees and who I think will take home each award:

Superstar of the Year Nominees:
John Cena
Randy Orton
CM Punk

Although, there is no standout, somehow I think it will be Randy Orton.

Diva of the Year
Nominees: All are eligible.

I'm going to go with Maryse.

Extreme Moment of the Year Nominees:
Kofi Kingston lands a Boom Drop on Randy Orton at MSG.
Big Show chokeslams John Cena into arena spotlight at Backlash.
Jeff Hardy jumps from ladder onto CM Punk at SummerSlam.
Triple H invades Randy Orton's home.

The Kofi Kingston move was even more special because it happened at Madison Square Garden, so that's the moment I'm going with.

Breakout Star of the Year Nominees:
Yoshi Tatsu
Drew McIntyre
Abraham Washington

New W.W.E. Champ Sheamus takes this one.

Shocker of the Year Nominees:
Batista turns against former friend Rey Mysterio.
Randy Orton DDTs Stephanie and forces Triple H to watch.
CM Punk forces Jeff Hardy to retire after Steel Cage Match victory.
Sheamus slams Raw host Mark Cuban through a table.

In order to spread the wealth among the three brands, I think they go with Batista turning on Mysterio.

Tag Team of the Year Nominees:
Jeri-Show (Chris Jericho Big Show)
D-Generation X (Triple H HBK)
The Legacy (Cody Rhodes Ted DiBiase)
The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith Tyson Kidd

Anything that will add to Chris Jericho's obnoxiousness is a good thing. So I think he and Big Show take home this award.

Match of the Year Nominees:
Jeff Hardy vs. Edge - Ladder Match at Extreme Rules.
Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton - "I Quit Match" at WWE Breaking Point.
Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown at WWE Bragging Rights.

Michaels vs. Undertaker may have been the best match ever, never mind 2009.

Raw Guest Host of the Year Nominees:
Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne
Bob Barker
Seth Green
Shaquille O'Neal

By a mile.....Bob Barker!!!

The "Oh My" Moment of the Year Nominees:
Chris Masters performs special "dancing pecs" routine for Osbournes.
Shawn Michaels superkicks little girl in cafeteria.
Michael Cole vomits on Chris Jericho at SmackDown's 10th Anniversary.
Santino Marella accidentally nails Vickie with a pie.

What would be an awards show without Santino Marella. I think he grabs this award.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The New York Sports Scene

Kind of lackluster if you ask me...

Jets - Funny that Mike Francesa spent an entire WEEK talking about the Jets head coach crying, but he doesn't want to talk about Tiger Woods. Hmmm, maybe Jesse Ventura has a new topic for his Conspiracy Theory show.
Giants - Incredibly, IF they beat Dallas this weekend they are right back in the playoff hunt.

Rangers - Are in trouble.
Devils - Rolling along, but don't get an ounce of coverage.
Islanders - Despite being 10-10-7, they are playing better than I would have expected. I have to give them credit for not tanking the season despite all of the off-ice ownership issues.

Nets - 0-17
Knicks - Waiting for their savior, Lebron James. But what if he doesn't come next year...

College Basketball
St. John's - 6-0, although that will change against Duke on Saturday.
Fordham - Chuck Costello's Rams are 1-4.
Iona - Is 4-2 overall and tied with the Fairfield Stags, but conference play has yet to begin.

Mets - Let's face facts: they are a joke of a franchise!
Yankees - Apologists think it's good for baseball if they land Roy Halladay.

Jesse Ventura Making The Rounds

Jesse Ventura hosted Monday Night Raw last week and then ripped Vince McMahon in an ESPN interview a few days later. Nice.

He walked out of the Opie and Anthony Show yesterday after getting into it with Jim Norton here over Ventura's 9/11 conspiracy garbage. But he had a more congenial interview with Kevin Eck of the Baltimore Sun here.

All in the name of promoting his Conspiracy Theory show which debuted last night on TruTv. I forgot it was on, oh well.

The End of E.C.W.

Old school E.C.W. fans can now celebrate as it has been reported that the W.W.E. will dispose of the E.C.W. brand next year, although nothing has been confirmed. What will come of the E.C.W. championship is anyone’s guess. But there will still be a wrestling show on Sy-Fy. The current E.C.W. brand never resembled the old version, but I think most people never believed that was a possibility. The W.W.E. is “corporate” and the original Extreme Championship Wrestling was anything but corporate. I do like the W.W.E. having a brand that is a step below Raw and Smackdown in order to rehabilitate talent, which is hopefully what is happening with Shelton Benjamin, or to bring in new stars. So we'll see what direction the company takes...

The Super Bowl Setlist

Twelve minutes is all the halftime act at the Super Bowl gets. “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is over eight minutes, so I wonder what direction the band will go. If Keith Moon and John Entwistle were still alive, I would suggest the same route they took with “My Generation” when they played Live at Leeds in 1970, which is above. Incidentally, the N.F.L. did a nice job on their promotion video for The Who performing at the SuperBowl, which you can watch by clicking this.

Townshend Wants His MTV

Speaking of MTV, the above video features Pete Townshend demanding his MTV and asking Americans to do the same. The promo, which aired in 1982 on MTV, also features Pat Benatar, Adam Ant, John Mellencamp, The Clash, Men At Work, Stray Cats, Joe Jackson, Hall & Oates and Billy Joel.

You Better You Bet

Just posting this because....

"You Better You Bet" was the fourth video to be played on the first ever all-music video channel, MTV, which was launched in the summer of 1981. The keyboardist is John "Rabbit" Bundrick and the drummer is Kenney Jones. The song is off of Face Dances, which is the ninth studio album by the band.

Roger Daltrey and His Fans

Someone made this video - and did a heck of a job by the way - of Roger Daltrey meeting his fans throughout his recent solo tour. The video is accompanied by “Without Your Love” off of Roger’s solo album and the soundtrack to the film, McVicar. Daltrey finished every concert with this song and dedicated it to the people that have followed him for so many years.

Daltrey Solo Tour Concludes

Roger Daltrey’s solo tour concluded Monday night in Florida. I saw Roger November 7 in Foxwoods and November 20 in New York. The latter was the better of the two shows because of the arena. Foxwoods is better suited to see a comedian than a rock star; New York City is New York City. Roger played around 30 shows between early October and late November.

The reviews have been good and it’s nice to see the positive press for Simon Townshend, Pete’s younger brother. Simon did a great job on "Going Mobile" (video above); which is off of the Who’s Next album. I always found that song to be an incredible testament to the band, because it only includes three members of The Who - minus Roger - and still produced an incredibly rich and full sound.

At the New York show, I actually met Roger Daltrey when he was leaving the building following the concert. Before the show while waiting to get into the Nokia Theater I ran into his guitarist for the tour, Frank Simes. Both seemingly were nice guys. The setlists from the two concerts are below.

Roger did quite a bit of storytelling at both shows and from the reviews I have read, he did the same at all of the venues he played. I liked that, some people in the crowd didn’t. There were some interesting stories he relayed before some of his songs such as that he recorded “Behind Blue Eyes” (also off of the Who's Next album) on the day that his beloved pinscher died. Daltrey also talked about working with Irish band, the Chieftains, in 1992 at the Grand Opera House in Belfast, which produced a Grammy-award winning album. Sadly, though, Daltrey said the Opera House - which already had been refurbished after sever damage from a bombing in 1991 - again was badly damaged by a bombing a week later. Undeterred, though, the Opera House has been rebuilt.

Here is a link to Roger performing the Johnny Cash medley (I Got Stripes/Folsom Prison Blues/There Ya Go/Train of Love/Ring of Fire) at the Nokia Theatre in NYC, while here is Daltrey singing "Blue Red and Grey."

So what’s next? Well, Pete Townshend has said he is at work on new music and Roger has said that upon concluding the tour he would be heading back to the U.K. to start recording with The Who. Then there is the Super Bowl in February; right now, the only reason I care about the “big game.”

MGM Grand Theatre, November 7, at Foxwoods, Mashantucket Conn.

Who Are You
Pictures of Lily
Behind Blue Eyes
Days of Light
Freedom Ride
Gimme a Stone
Going Mobile
I'm a Man/My Generation (blues version)
Walk on Water
I Can See For Miles
Young Man Blues
Baba O'Riley
Johnny Cash Medley
Naked Eye
Blue, Red and Grey
Without Your Love

November 20, Nokia Theatre, New York City

Who Are You
Pictures of Lily
Behind Blue Eyes
Days of Light
Freedom Ride
Gimme a Stone
Going Mobile
Naked Eye
I'm A Man/My Generation
I Can See For Miles
Born on the Bayou
Young Man Blues
The Real Me
Walk on Water
Baba O'Riley
Johnny Cash Medley
Blue, Red and Grey
Without Your Love

Tiger Woods Coverup?

I wonder what WFAN’s Mike Francesa has at stake with Tiger Woods. This is a man that has devoted entire shows to such "riveting" topics such as what theme song a relief pitcher is using, but all he wants to do with the Tiger Woods story is brush it under the carpet.

This reminds me of when a caller years ago asked why Francesa and his former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo weren’t talking about some unflattering stories regarding Ray Handley. The guys had the call disconnected immediately. In that case, Francesa’s cozy relationship with the New York Giants clearly was the reason as to why he would refrain from talking about the story. In the instance of Tiger Woods, I’m not sure yet. The fact is that every talk show has covered the issue: Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, I assume the folks at MSNBC, and ESPN Radio, but Mike doesn’t want to. I wonder why. There is definitely a reason the "pompous one" wants to dismiss this story so quickly.

Tiger Woods has made a bundle of money not only because of his greatness on the golf course, but because of his squeaky clean image. Undoubtedly, it now takes a hit - to what degree is anyone's guess. It's a story! For someone to wave their hand at the rest of us as if we are peons and act so dismissively shows a total disregard for your audience. But what else should I expect from the "almighty one?"