Plug Request For a Darling Little Project

Dear Dark Lord and Savior,
Been reading your stuff since you were in kindergarten. My friend and I are two ex indie workers and current comics who have a podcast that is dedicated to the worst moments, gimmicks and PPVs ever. Like the brilliant Wrestlecrap, but we spend more time dissecting them, and in podcast form. We were wondering if we could please get a plug in? You can even mention Kevin Owens in the response so you get more clicks. Thanks! https://m.soundcloud.com/obtuse-angles-1/the-obtuse-angles-podcast-episode-9-the-most-non-pc-wrestling-gimmicks-of-all-time

Kevin Owens isn't even that much of a ratings draw on the blog.  Roman Reigns is still the king of that, oddly enough.  

The Little Things in Wrestling

The little things?  Wait, are we talking about Seth Rollins here?  HIGH FIVE!  Anyone?  Good afternoon Mr. Keith.  Watching Kevin Owens do his thing, such as stomping a poor sap as he walks by him, had my thinking of other small things that I just don’t see much of in wrestling.  Then again, I’m not watching nearly as much as I used to.  Some of them are: Repeated pin attempts, one after another:  Usually a heel tactic, and I know you’re a fan of this one. Yup, love this one, especially if the heel keeps trying the same pin and gets frustrated and yells at the referee about it.  Being a dick/jerk to some kid as you walk down the aisle for a good second:  Seriously, who does this anymore Unfortunately you are no longer allowed to harass the stupid marks at ringside because then they’ll go on social media and whine about it.  The only people that Stephanie is allowed to demean on TV are her own employees.  As I’ve said before, part of the whole appeal of being at ringside is getting trash-talked by the heels.  As long as nothing physical is involved, everyone should know what they’re getting into.  Music Guitar solo for a big win:  I can’t explain it, But i always knew it was an important/big win when the face won, and the celebration goes extra long you notice the guitar solo as their music continues to play.  Hogan, Bret & Michaels were my faves. Yeah, but all the nu-mutal shit bands that they use for entrance music now don’t do solos.  They need to hire the Darkness or Airborne or someone like that for a theme song.  Trash-Talking/slapping the head during a submission move:  I see wrestlers trash talk sometimes, but it’s just not very funny/heelish what they’re are saying. Another quality heel mannerism.  I always love bad guys who took the time to really demotivate their opponents.  Kevin Owens is leading the charge on this one again, though, and I see good things in the future for the genre.  Simply stepping out of the way of an opponents high flying attack:  Extra points if they smirk afterwards That one is more “breaking the fourth wall” and specific to Samoa Joe, though.  Got any of your own? Using the ropes for a pin attempt, especially if it’s in full view of the referee, and then arguing about it afterwards while choking the guy out with your shin.  Doing a lame submission move like an abdominal stretch, but getting help from your partner from the apron.  Tons of tag team stuff, especially cutting off the ring to prevent the hot tag and build more heat. 

Rock/Big Trouble in Little China remake

Now I'm a reasonable guy, but this is a very unreasonable thing. I'm sure Punk is smashing his head into a wall as we speak.

http://www.superherohype.com/news/342573-dwayne-johnson-to-headline-big-trouble-in-little-china-remake

Surely you are a man of connections in the wrestling world. Can't you get a message to Rock that this is just plain WRONG. Sure, maybe he can pull off a semi-Jack Burton, but who the $%#& is going to play Lo Pan?!! WHO?

And did you know James Hong is 86 years old? Holy schnikies.

​I don't get why it has to be a remake instead of just a sequel.  BIGGER Trouble in Little China!  This stuff writes itself.  
The main problem is that Rock is 100% believable as an ass-kicking action hero, whereas the gag with Jack Burton was that he was being played by Kurt Russell.  He's SUPPOSED to be all talk.  And you just know some producer is gonna be like "You know, the problem with the original movie was that no one took Jack Burton seriously" and then it'll all get wrecked.  Between this, Robocop, and Total Recall, my childhood is yada yada yada.  ​

Little Help

Hey Mr. Keith, it is Chris Cucchiara, the humble writer of the book reviews your site used to feature. I know damned well I wore out my welcome towards the end, writing insipid review after insipid review…I was in a bad place life wise. For that, I am eternally regretful, and for you giving me a chance, eternally grateful. Anyway, the source of my consternation and distraction of the time (my pops declining health) is doing much better now. I was hoping you could plug my new site, titansinking.wordpress.com. Shitty name, but it was what WordPress allowed me. God Bless all of your members. I still follow intently and was shocked by Officer Farva's demise. Just looking for a little bump, and I am not above shameless pandering. I do not review books anymore, but shows themselves. Quickly. I would greatly appreciate a plug. titansinking.wordpress.com.

Total Divas Season 3 Recap: Episode 9 – “Daddy’s Little Girl”

We’re back and we’ve actually got to recap the last two episodes before the hiatus. 
In our last episode, “Cross Country Catastrophe”, the Divas learned more about themselves and different relationship types.

  • Brie Bella learned her husband thought her spending was so excessive that he put a tracker on their joint bank account. (MATT: Because it was.)
    Not only did he learn she spent $400 to take her Mom, sister and
    brother out on her Mom’s birthday and $22 on coffee for herself and
    Nikki, he caller her immediately asking for explanations. (MATT: Totally not excessive to spend $22 bucks on a cup of coffee.)
    Cue “Every Breath You Take,” by The Police (which despite being about
    stalking finds itself featured in the playlists of clueless brides and
    grooms to this day).(MATT: No…they were under financial stress.
    Both of them were out of work and Bryan was healing from expensive
    surgery. His wife, who only thinks of herself, went on a spending binge
    with her sister cheering her on the entire way.)
  • Eva Marie learned Jon was a stopwatch-loving, (MATT: jet-flyin’) itinerary-planning, (MATT: limousine-ridin’) fun-killing (MATT: kiss-stealin’)
    bore when tasked with helping them and Cameron and Vincent move cross
    country. The pairs also learned the fights of one couple would start the
    other fighting as well.
  • Rosa Mendes should have learned men don’t choose desperate women for
    girlfriends after going through two men who never wanted to see her
    again (bringing her total to three for this season). Instead she decided
    she should hit on women and decided to follow her heart and try to
    start a relationship with a woman she met a week ago because, hey, why
    not?

WINTER PARK, FL

B Cupcakes
Rosa
and Nattie pick up cupcakes. They get into Rosa’s car and she confesses
she is a bad driver who lost one of her rear-view mirrors. Then she
proceeds to back out of her parking space and can’t because the lot is
the size of a toaster and she drives a gigantic gas-guzzling truck. (MATT:
She lightly dings one car and nearly backs into another and the only
thing that saves her is the proximity alarm on the car. And the whole
time, Nattie just sits there and laughs like she’s on a fucking
tilt-a-whirl.)
They eventually escape their blacktop prison and…that’s that.

TITLES.

(MATT: YAY! We’re back in “Concord” with Eva’s family!)

CONCORD, CA

Eva Marie’s Dad’s House
Eva
doesn’t know if her flower girls should wear red, or maybe white. Her
family teases her about if she will wear white. As a woman I’ve always
thought the women should only wear a white wedding dress as a sign of
purity/virginity thing was stupid. It’s 2014, let’s admit it, most
brides are not virgins on their wedding day. (MATT: Wait…you’re not?!)
Further, this isn’t even Eva’s true wedding, it’s a reenactment to keep
her family happy, grab gifts and boost ratings. Her wedding dress
color, therefore, should be irrelevant. She tells the camera she is so
happy her dad gets to give her away. To turn up the creepy quotient
early, Eva sits on her Dad’s lap while holding the family dog. Her Dad
cackles and says, “My two girls”. (MATT: On the bright side, he could
have made a “doggy style” joke, so I guess we lucked out and this isn’t
as creepy as we think it is…)

TAMPA, FL

John and Nicole’s House
The twins are relaxing at the pool in bikinis and drinking. Nikki says she has the Ultimate Brie Mode cup: a red Solo cup with a glass stem. (MATT: Boy, Brie’s sobriety vow last episode really meant something, didn’t it?)
Nikki has invited all her Diva friends over while John is away,
shooting a movie. Cameron shows up with a new car. She says she is a car
person and would have a Ferrari if she could but, when pressed by
Nikki, says she’d rather have a house than a sports car. (MATT: She can’t have both?!)
Nikki says she will start looking for listings for her immediately.
Nikki gives them a tour of their place, which includes a viewing of one
of her luxury bags. Natalya remarks that she liked the one she got for
her birthday and that they “put Gizmo’s ashes in it”. (MATT: “We need a receptacle for our dead cat’s ashes…let’s just shove them in this Gucci thing Nikki gave us.”) Cameron
tells the camera she would love a place like Cena’s but, realistically,
she has to “bring it down a bit” and that would entail having “four
bedrooms and three baths, a pool, a patio, and a nice fireplace.” (MATT: Is that all?) Here’s hoping she’s saved a lot of cash.

Kim Kaszuba, Divorce Attorney
Nattie
is dressed like she’s going clubbing, the lace and nude look, and with
her is a sullen TJ. They fight on their way to the office. The attorney
says they probably didn’t want to be in a divorce office early in the
morning. TJ tries to make light of things and quips that they probably
don’t see a lot of happy people. Kim tells them divorce litigation can
cost thousands of dollars. The other attorney tells them animals are
treated like property to be divided up at the time of divorce. Nattie
wants to know how to divide the cats up. TJ: “Chop one up, obviously.” (MATT: Oh…no…) The thought of them having to divide their three cats may be what it takes to convince them to stay together. (MATT: What about Gizmo’s Gucci-wrapped ashes?)

SAN ANTONIO, TX

Citrus – Restaurant
Bella twins are eating with Eva and Nattie. Eva laments that she can’t pull off a tan with a white dress. (MATT: But did it anyhow. Silly Eva.)
She tells them about her dad’s recurrent cancer and how she wants him
at the wedding. Brie recounts how special it was to have her father (the
deadbeat, you’ll remember, who walked out on them when she was 15.).
She relates how Bryan regrets spending so much time with WWE and so
little with his Dad who recently passed away. Eva Marie excuses herself,
probably to deal with the heavy emotions.

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW – AUSTIN, TX

Backstage
The twins pass randomly pass JoJo and call out to her, then fake like they miss her. (MATT: An odd scene. Like watching a Bigfoot sighting where Bigfoot is cool with the people walking by.) The twins come to see Eva Marie. The Bellas say they just happened to wear the same color pink dress – it’s a twin thing. (MATT: This, despite the fact that they’ve hardly done this throughout the series.)
Brie comes to commiserate with her over her dad but Eva thinks she
doesn’t need to deal with it and that it’s weird and inappropriate for
her to bring it up there. (MATT: Yeah, inappropriately bring it up at an arbitrary restaurant instead.)
She walks off and they call her Jessica Rabbit. Brie’s, like,
toooootally confused as to what just happened. Nikki says that Eva needs
to deal with her Dad’s issues in her own fashion. Anyhow, whatever.
Nikki wants a cookie. Brie says that they’re on a diet (MATT: AGAIN?! WHY?) and that they can only look at the cookies. We get Nikki’s “Look But Can’t Touch” theme music to play out the segment.


Ringside
The Bellas come to the ring for the Stephanie
McMahon vs. Brie Bella contract signing for the match at SummerSlam. To
recap, HHH and Stephanie attack the Bellas. Steph hits a Pedigree on
Brie.

TAMPA, FL

Nattie and TJ’s House
Nattie
calls the cats and say they want to be with her. She tells the camera
they are sleeping in separate bedrooms and pretty much living as
roommates. She says it is the best and cheapest thing to do. They fight
over who will get what things in the divorce and she asks why he thinks
he can just demand to have everything. He says, “Because you’re doing
the same.” He says during the weeks she spent in a hotel she didn’t care
about them (him and the cats). He teases her, and tells her to relax
and she breaks down in tears.

LOS ANGELES, CA

Nikki’s Car
Nikki is taking Cameron house-hunting. Nikki offers Cameron Vodka to calm her before they look at houses. (MATT: What kind of real estate business is she running?)
She tells the camera she thinks her price range is $1 million. Nikki
tells her that Mulholland Drive is the hot ticket section of L.A. and
that Cameron will look good driving through the hills in her Ferrari. (MATT: When she isn’t screaming in total frustration at the Los Angeles traffic, that is.) They
get to the first house to see, it is amazing with lots of huge windows.
The asking price, however, is $3 million dollars. Nikki says it’s a
great deal for the area. She tells the camera that this is her strategy,
next she will show Cameron a house that may not have everything she
wanted in it, but the price will be right. (MATT: So the strategy is to taunt your client with an arbitrary house way out of their price range, then show them something else?)

PHOENIX, AZ

Brie and Bryan’s House
Brie
tells Bryan how Eva’s dad has been battling cancer for 16 years. She
recounts how she pulled Eva aside to try to offer a listening ear and
Eva declined. He wisely tells her that everyone handles everything in
their own way. Brie asks if she should throw a bridal shower for her.
She asks for theme ideas and he facetiously suggests The Transformers. (MATT: Hahahahahahaha! Let’s go look at cookies we can’t have…)
She said that is a better bachelor party theme. He claims Dean Ambrose
wanted to throw him a bachelor party and she said no. Brie says it’s
because Dean wanted to take him to a strip club to get motorboarded. (MATT: That isn’t possible. That is just not possible for a stripper to motorboat Daniel Bryan. I don’t want to think about this anymore, actually.) Was this plot contrivance? (MATT: This might be a weak shout-out to a meme that originated when a fan snapped a pic of Dean’s wristband at a house show. The tape on his wrists said, “Titty Master”. Also, that “party” could have been an awesome episode.) 

SHERMAN OAKS, CA

Second House
Cameron
asks right off what the price is and it’s closer to her budget, but
still over a million by about $400K. Still, they go see the house. She
says it is perfect and wants Vincent to come see it. 

TAMPA, FL

Nattie and TJ’s House
Naomi is over for dinner and Nattie can’t wait for her to meet one of her cats. (MATT: Oh, great, Naomi’s mediating now?)
They toast to “struggling” with champagne. They compare notes on how
much they hate chores. Nattie complains that TJ didn’t do laundry, brush
out the cat’s tail, etc. TJ enters and Nattie immediately pounces on
him about forgetting the laundry. (MATT: I wonder what they made for dinner…)
Nattie puts TJ’s laundry out on the lawn. Naomi’s stunned and picks up
the laundry, bringing it back inside. TJ and Naomi talk. Naomi admits
when she was in developmental and her husband was on the road, they
would fight a lot. TJ says they’ve been on different schedules before.
Nattie tells him they were having a girl’s night, so he should just get
his ass back in his room. (MATT: Imagine a guy saying this to a woman.) Tyson does it without question. He should have left for a hotel this time. (MATT: He should be packing and leaving, period.)

SHERMAN OAKS, CA

Second House – Second Visit w/ Vincent
Cameron
says there are 6 bedrooms and Vincent says that’ s a lot for him to
clean when she’s gone. He says it’s like buying a car that’s
fully-loaded. Vincent says he’s in love with the house (as he sits fully
clothed in the empty bathroom jacuzzi) but the asking price scares him.
He says they need to talk about things.

OAKLAND, CA

Oakland International Airport
Eva
Marie picks up Jon who will be coming with her on the road for a
change. Eva tells Jon about the Bellas approaching her about her Dad. He thinks maybe she should assess the situation with her Dad.
In keeping with the tradition of this show’s abusive relationships, she
tells him to fuck off because the situation isn’t that bad. What is it
with this show? just a few episodes before she wanted a Catholic wedding
because her dad was practically ready to climb into his own coffin and
now, since non-family members are discussing it, she’s confident he’s
going to have a miraculous and full recovery?


LOS ANGELES, CA

Restaurant
Cameron and Vincent meet with Nikki to put in a good offer for the house. Cameron has (MATT: …sucked Vinnie off…) convinced Vinnie that the house is a good idea. (MATT: Same thing.) Nikki
says there are many offers so she thinks she should put in a full $1.4
million. Vinnie and Cameron go off to talk, Cameron is bummed as Vinnie
thought she would bring them a deal closer to $1.1 Million. Vincent
comes up with the brilliant idea of asking Nikki to give up her entire
commission so they can afford it. (MATT: Awesome idea. And when that falls through, I’m sure you could ask Nikki to lend you the $1.4 million.)
Cameron says as she would be their first buyer would she be willing to
take half or no commission. She says its business and not personal and
Nikki said she thought that, with Vincent’s job, they could afford this
home. Right on cue: champagne, a major plot point in this episode, it
seems, is brought to the table. But Cameron’s not happy with the deal
and they storm off, leaving champagne on the table. (MATT: Man! They didn’t even get to toast to their “struggles”!)
They should at least have downed the champagne first. Nikki follows
them out asking if everything is OK. Cameron says she will find another
relator. Nikki says they wasted her time. (MATT: Agent, bye!)

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW – RICHMOND, VA

Backstage
Brie
approaches Jon about her throwing Eva a bridal shower.  Jon thinks that
is a wonderful idea as Eva’s stressed over her Dad. He says he will do
whatever he needs to, to help.

Ringside
Eva
Marie takes on AJ (Divas Champion at the time). Eva seems to be holding
her own and manages to put AJ in a backbreaker, Still, the editors are
bored with the match and we cut backstage.

Backstage
Nikki
goes to talk to Cameron. She apologizes for showing them such expensive
houses. Cameron says if Nikki wasn’t dating Cena, she wouldn’t have
such nice things. She says she can’t afford a house right now. They make
up and their friendship seems back on track. (MATT: What the fuck was the point of the whole “house-hunting” plotline then?! Did Cameron think she’d get a house for free?

TAMPA, FL

TJ and Nattie’s House
Nattie’s doing dishes. TJ won’t help with the laundry. (MATT: How is this still an issue?)
She says she will do both. He says he’s surprised she didn’t throw the
dishes on the lawn. She says that she’s had enough. TJ: “YOU’VE had enough?!”
Defeated he goes to his room to pack. He’s finally leaving so they will
stop fighting. She tells the camera she is relieved. What? She travels
all the time, his career is DOA and he’s moving out (albeit
temporarily)? (MATT: Would you wanna live in that house like that?)

LOS ANGELES, CA

Biltmore Hotel  
Eva
comes to the hotel under the pretense that she’s meeting with Brie
about planning her wedding. She’s shocked to be at her surprise tea
bridal shower. (MATT: TEA MODE!!!) Ironically, she is wearing a
white dress. Even her mom, Josie, Summer Rae and Jon are there. Jon
shows up with an Esther Gallant ring for her upgrade, to which Eva reacts with a tepid, “My heart is, like…beating.(MATT: That’s our Eva!) Brie and Eva make up. Eva
tells her Mom that she doesn’t want to be in the dark about her Dad’s
condition. Josie says Eva should call her dad every day, even if it’s
just five minutes. She decides her Dad needs to level with her. She
calls and tells him she is there for him for moral support. She hopes he
can open up to her more. At one point, she says she doesn’t want to
have to hop on a plane and go and spank him. What? I cannot wait to hear
Matt’s (and our reader’s reactions) to this. He says he likes spankings
and her Mom will tell her so. Way TMI. He laughs sounding like the combination of a person using an electronic voice box and The Penguin. (MATT: I’m not sure what was creepier: the suggestion of the spanking or her Dad’s weird maniacal laughter.)

MONDAY NIGHT RAW – HONDA CENTER IN ANAHEIM, CA

Backstage
Nattie
finds TJ joking with some staff backstage. She tells him he’s been off
main roster for over a year and now he’s here at work embarrassing her.
Is she going to put him out on the lawn? (MATT: Maybe toast to his struggles with champagne?)
She asks why he is there. He says he’s under contract and he didn’t
plan on seeing her backstage. Nikki tries to coax Nattie to walk away
but she won’t go. They keep fighting and finally Nattie and Nikki walk
away.

Weekly Wrap-Up


DANIELLE

This week’s hug goes to – Brie. She
meant well when trying to get Eva Marie to talk about her Dad and while
their own situation was very different, she did show empathy in how the
father-daughter dynamic gets magnified on your wedding day. Then,
without Eva Marie even saying she was sorry for the attitude she gave
Brie (who did mean well), she organized a touching and beautiful bridal
shower.

This week’s punch goes to – Cameron and Nattie (tie). Both
of these Divas were total brats this week. Cameron wanted her boyfriend
to fall in love with the house before he knew how much it cost. Then
she wanted Nikki to take half or better yet no commission so they could
save six months in payments, screwing her out of her first real estate
commission. Nattie argued with TJ about everything told him to go to his
room like he was 6 and yelled at him for being backstage at RAW. They
should divorce, now. Perhaps with next week being the season finale,
they will announce that they are divorcing.

MATT

This week’s hug goes to – Tyson. Ho.
Lee. Shit. This is either a spectacular editing job or Natalya is a
complete and total head case. This was the first time I’ve seen Tyson in
a sympathetic light and, wow. His current character on TV is almost
justified. Almost.

Annoying Diva of the Week – Natalya. See
above. The nagging, the childish tantrums, the incessant yelling for no
reason, the hypocrisy, the demanding behavior…she made Nikki Bella
look like a princess in comparison.

Er…that’s it.

Big Man vs. Little Man Clinic

Night 4 of the G1 tonight with Ishii/Honma, Styles/Naito, Okada/Anderson
and Tanahashi/Shibata as the big matches to look for. Pretty standard
affair for their third show last night with a good Tanahashi/Kojima
match, and a great Okada/Makabe main event. We finished the night with
Tanahashi, Okada, Goto & Shelton X Benjamin all going 3-0 so far.
However the match getting buzz from the WON today is the BJW
Sekimoto/Shinobu main event from 6/30 that I was pimpin’ in the comments
here a couple weeks ago.

This is the BEST Big Man vs. Little
Man dichotomy I may have ever seen, because goddamn Shinobu’s offense is
so friggin’ believable here. And Sekimoto is in his usual
award-winning, mid-season form. This is in ever way possible a classic.
No back story needed, you either root for the little dude or the big
dude, because they represent your position in life and what you believe
in. That’s what’s great about wrestling when it’s done right, you can
see the story telling itself.

Little video you could use for the Blog of Doom possibly?

What's up Scott? Congrats on the Sporting News gig. I always love reading your work as you helped me learn what really goes on in the wrestling business with the insider terms and all. Always love the rants! 

I was at the House of Hardcore event this past Saturday, and it was a fun show to be at! Bad Influence vs Young Bucks was a MOTYC I thought. There was also a convention before that where I met legends like Flair, Funk, Piper, and more! Here's a little video I made of it. Maybe the Blog of Doomers would get a kick out of it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSi-i51t6DY

Thanks a lot!

QOTD 16: I’d go a little later, I’d go a little later, and when I got there, he was gone.

Mornin’ Blog Otters, today’s question is actually about wrestling! I know, I’m shocked too. In fact, not only is it about wrestling, it’s about wrestlers! And seeing them in person with your own eyeballs! The question comes from Mr. McLoone, who asks:

What was your best experience meeting a wrestler? If you’ve never met a
wrestler, what was your best experience at a live event?

I love indie gigs but never get to go because none of my buddies are wrestling fans – and the video production on most of them tend to be icky – I’ll have to see if I can bug my videographer friend for an interview to explain what makes good wrestling TV. That said, I went to the Smackdown where they “Got the old Stone Cold” back years ago, and attended two indie wrestling shows in Fall River, Ma.- both of which were totally wild, and I wrote about on this very blog.

But I’m actually going to make this about a wrestler I’ve *avoided* meeting, for kind of silly reasons. To explain I think I need to write at length at about something I’ve been meaning to for awhile now, so bear with me.

My dream in life is to make my way as a writer, or some other creative-y person. While I always was a creative kid, playing with Legos, using my imagination, and so on, It wasn’t until Christmas of 99′, at the age of 12, that I realized how much I loved it, and 7 years later until I acted on it.

This is entirely the fault of Mrs. Foley’s baby boy.


1999 was a time of increasing vulgarity in pop culture. 1999 brought kids Eminem, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, The South Park Movie, Britney Spears, Sable, and a whole bunch of other material that probably wasn’t appropriate for young eyes, but we ate up anyway – though the most objectionable content sailed right over our heads. Couple that with the emergence of the Internet, and, well, it was real easy for a kid to feel ‘mature’ and needlessly angsty beyond their years. But it thankfully was lost on me. Marilyn Manson scared the fuck out of me, I thought Korn was noise, Limp Bizkit was cool when not screaming, Eminem was brilliant but kind of embarrassed me, and I thought it was abhorrent that Britney Spears had to get breast implants to be ‘popular’.

Perhaps to be ‘popular’ themselves, some kids I grew up with started wearing black clothing, spiking their
hair, sporting chains and leather jackets, calling their parents by
their first names and referring to them via 4 letter colorful metaphors. I didn’t think these kids were assholes, or dicks, or ‘populars’, just different and kind of weird. I didn’t feel like an outcast, but I didn’t feel particularly ‘accepted’, either, just that there weren’t a lot of kids my age I could relate too. I was into Tom Clancy and John Grisham. Anything targeted toward kids, even discreetly, I tended to avoid simply because I figured it would be watered down or inadvertently condescending – So I guess I was rebelling in my own little way. But still, a part of me wondered why I wasn’t into same culture as my friends. Was there something wrong with me? Was I the immature one? Uncool? Weird? It wasn’t a big deal, but it needled at me.

All the stuff that my friends and peers liked seemed so abrasive. I was happy watching Star Trek reruns, Roseanne, playing
video-games, discovering the incredible world of PC abandonware,
drawing badly, and being nice to my parents because I thought that’s sort of
what you’re supposed to do. It didn’t make sense to be angry all the time, especially if I wasn’t, so there was a lack of common ground.

The common ground we all seemed to have in common though was wrestling – caught up in the attitude era like millions of other kids in thousands of other schools, in hundreds of other places. Some bought into Kayfabe, thinking everything but the finish of a match was staged, or saying that the Stone Cold v. Vinny Mac stuff was obviously real. Kids wore DX shirts with the the S*ck It covered in black tape, and others were simply obsessed with the Nitro Girls. I was ravenous for insider info on my new found passion, learned as much about ‘the business’ as I could, yahoo searching (no Google) everything I could find, reading columns on wrestlezone.com by guys like Tom Zenk, and stumbling across Extreme Warfare 9000 – which is a story for another day, and became a guru as quickly as I could. I introduced terms like “Face” and “Heel” to my friends who didn’t know what they were. 

The memories of the wrestling I watched during this time is foggy. Crystal Clear images exist, but their timeline is jumbled up in the nebulous cloud of nostalgia. I remember Lions Den matches. I remember Mick Foley winning the World Title. I remember Sting’s habit of being ‘woozy’ then dropping a head-butt to the nads of an opponent in one of the funniest spots I can remember.

But I don’t remember if Mick Foley was my favorite wrestler at the time. I do remember that when he won his first World Championship one fateful night in Boston, all my friends were talking about how cool DX was, while I was joyful that the kind of scruffy, uncool, underdog, was on top of the proverbial heap – even if needed help from a ‘cool’ kid to do it. From that point forward, I was hooked.

My parents must have seen that proverbial hook jutting out of my cheek, and I received Mr. Foley’s “Have a Nice Day” that Christmas, probably figuring if I’m going to like this crap, I might as well get a hint of scholastic merit out of the endeavor. At the risk of sound melodramatic, I was never the same again.

This tome was so up my alley it could balance bowling pins on my nose. It was accessible but smart. Sophomoric but sweet. Honest but humble. Unabashedly dorky, and it was living proof that if you work hard enough, and apply yourself, regardless of what people tell you, or what you tell yourself on nights when you question your place in the world, you can absolutely do anything you set your mind too – and most importantly you can be polite and nice to people while doing it. So much of my sense of humor, writing style, delivery, and world view came from it.

I read it fully by the time Christmas Vacation was over – choosing it over the smattering of video-games and other toys I received. God, I’ve probably read it more than a dozen times in 15 years since it was given to me, and skimmed through it dozens more, and it holds a place of honor in my bathroom reading rotation to this very day.  When I moved to Chicago I refused to take it with me because I couldn’t risk losing it. I’m not a nostalgic guy, but if my house caught on fire I know what I’d save first.

“Have a Nice Day” was inspirational during a time where inspiration wasn’t a thing you actively sought out. As I waddled awkwardly into adult hood, every time I’ve thought about blowing up this whole ‘being creative for a living’ thing, I think back to how Mr. Foley slept in his fucking car, and ate peanut butter sandwiches for his dreams. Every time I lament the fact I’m not paid for writing, I think about how Mr. Foley would happily fall on his head over and over and over again for something like 15 dollars a night. Every time I’m rejected by a pretty girl, or told I’m soooo sweet but not their type, I think about how Mr. Foley landed a ‘smoking hot wife’ with his dorky charm, a Neil Diamond song (“Forever in Blue Jeans”), and not much else – which is actually the line from the book if I recall correctly. When something goes wrong for me, I remember Mick Foley broke Johnny Ace’s arm, got an ear chopped off, lost two teeth, and broke bones on his way to becoming a legend.

It grew with me, too. As I aged, some of the jokes made more sense, more of the themes came out, the struggles of purpose and self doubt became all the more relevent. The names grew more familiar, too. Johnny Ace, Ric Flair, Dennis Knight, Terry Gordy, Kevin Sullivan, Ole Anderson, and so many other people I barely knew when I was 12, suddenly became people I could seek out, and enjoy, and have reverence for.

But not as much reverence as I had for the book itself, which is seared into my psyche. The story of the time Mr.
Foley and Steve Austin putting cookies in DDP’s bed, how Mr. Foley found
himself a bit lost in the shuffle as audiences started to cheer the
‘cool’ bad guys and boo the guys who were ‘doing the right thing’, how it’s written in this stream-of-consciousness style that
was easy to read and hard to forget. How it ends in such a way
that the entire dang book is essentially a true-life fairytale.

Thanks in part to that fairytale inspiration “Have a Nice Day” gave me at a most impressionable age, I’ve been blessed to meet many of the people who have inspired me since: Roger Ebert, who was the first fat guy I ever saw on television being respected for his opinion, was my boss for awhile. Ed Ferrara who wrote Raw during the Attitude Era was a teacher. Aaron Sorkin whose words I listened to over and over and over so I could write snappy dialog, and whose West Wing taught me so much about the way our world works, was interviewed by me.The Barenaked Ladies signed a hat at a free show that I was literally front and center for. Morgan Spurlock, who makes documentaries that are about entertaining and informing, let me make a joke about his iconic facial hair. David Chappelle, who directed some of the best episodes of “The Wire” dropped in on a class I took with his wife.

But “Have A Nice Day” is more important to me than the lot of em’ combined. In a round-a-bout way it showed me that the man I wanted to be was a
viable option. I didn’t need to be angry, or brutal, or handsome, or disrespect
people in order to achieve my dreams and goals. It showed me please and
thank you are virtuous even if you’re a guy who hits other guys in the
head for a living. It showed me that being tough isn’t about muscle mass and tear away muscle shirts – it comes from the heart, and the only way to bulk up is to keep at your given dream forever.

Now it’s not like this book was the ONLY thing that inspired me to follow my dreams, I’ve had wonderful parents and mentors and friends that have encouraged me and let me march to the beat of my own song – even if they didn’t quite hear the rhythm themselves. But that damn book showed me it was possible for a guy like me to do it. If you want to be special, you can be – no matter who you are.

Even now, as I’m as far removed from my past creative glories as I ever have been, I take solace in the fact Foley, too, had this high points in WCW before having to go over to Japan and take barbed wire shots to the back and face to make a living. Hell, he was…31 before he truly hit the big-time in WWE. Being 27 now, it’s comforting to know there is hope yet.

I guess I feel like the I owe em’ something? I think for people to have…balance, or purpose, or drive they need to believe in something. Some have religion, have music, some have military service or a dedication to their career, whatever it is, you find your proverbial personal Jesus and you believe in it forever. I’m not saying this book is my Jesus.  My Jesus is the pride I take in optimism that this book validates. My optimism, my dedication to believing people are fundamentally…well meaning, and while there are bad apples and bad days and things that piss us off to no end and cause us to lash out in ways we shouldn’t, I try as hard as I can to see every side of the coin, and push forward in my own shoes completely aware everyone’s pair is different. “Have a Nice Day” validates my particular brand of loafers.

Most creatively minded people, as they grow older, become more cynical or weary for the world. Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut. Mick Foley, of whom I read far more pages then either of those two, is taking videos of his kids doing wrestling moves on trampolines, supporting RAINN, which is a charity probably NO one wants to talk about at parties, and is pushing to fund a documentary about Santa Claus.  I could hope to be so lucky.

I also understand I probably sound like a whack job, and it’s something I kind of think about whenever I skim through ‘Have a Nice Day’ for the umpteeth time, or cite his somewhat anecdotal research into steroids and PEPs, or post on this very blog singing the guy’s praises like he paid me. But I’m not obsessed as much as I am enthusiastic.

But getting back to the question, now that Mr. Foley is doing these nationwide comedy tours, and comes around my area pretty often, I’ve avoided going. First because I’d be going by myself and there’s nothing like buying a single ticket to a wrestling event to ding the ole self confidence, and two, I wouldn’t know what to say. I mean, I could easily say “Hey, thanks,” shake his hand, pay my money, get my battle worn first edition copy of “Have a Nice Day” – juice, coffee, smooshed bug stains and all, signed, and bounce, leaving the importance of the artist’s art between the art and myself, and that’s probably the most sane choice, and what I’d most likely do.

But I also never got the chance to tell Roger Ebert how big of an influence he was on me either, and it’s something I really regret. How do you articulate to a man with no voice how much his words meant to you? I do have an e-mail from him where he said I had a gift for editing, but I never communicated how many of his reviews I read, or how often I’d mine them for concepts, ideas, or quotes I could use to illustrate my own in countless essays, papers, or posts – and the opportunity was right there.

But at the same time – I’d rather wait. Wait for what? I don’t know. Greatness? Job Security? Self fulfillment? An Emmy? I have no clue. With wrestlers you never know how long they’ll be around, and what you’ll get when you meet them. My only other interactions with these guys have been getting a death stare from Spike Dudley when I tripped and almost pulled down a curtain – almost ruining a show, and saluting Sargent Slaughter at an indie gig.

Still, I think I’ll wait on meeting Mr. Foley, at least a little longer, reading “Have a Nice Day” every now and then when my soul needs a boost, making the occasional twitter quip, or Facebook comment in the guy’s direction, subtly letting on, but never properly communicating what his book and world-view meant to my development as a mostly well adjusted human being that’s completely aware he’s maybe just a bit too obsessed with a book about an awkward kid who chased after his dreams and caught them with both hands, for his own good.

Then again, the book has done quite a lot good for my own good, so who knows.

—————————————————————————————

Blog Otter Award: Mister_E_Mah for getting some quality post-slumber sex in the other day…picsorit didnthappen

1. Darn it, I went and over shared again. Ah well, honestly I always wanted to get ‘on record’ how much the thing had meant to me, and I figure the only place I could do it and not be laughed out of the state would be this here blog. Also, selfishly I’m in the whole “QOTD” thing to 1) interact with you cool cat-otters, and 2) force myself to write something every day. Hopefully you enjoyed, but if you skimmed, or ignored, that’s cool too.

2. PS if any New Englanders are up for hitting up some Beyond Wrestling shows or tackling the next Raw or Smackdown that comes through town, lemme know in the comments!

3. I would like to apologize again for the above post, in which I spent thousands of words setting up the answer to an opened ended question I managed to answered incorrectly.

A little house cleaning and big announcement…

Hey everyone, The Masked Reviewer here. I’ve been a bit busy with my job so that’s why no videos lately. I’m working on some exciting new ideas for The Piledriving Critique and plan on doing two more additional series.

I’ll be giving more info on those series later. One of those series will be debuting hopefully by the end of the week and I hope to be getting a new episode of The Piledriving Critique soon too.

But now I wanted to just share my big announcement that some of you may have seen on Twitter.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @maskedreviewer.

Hogan v. The Little Guy

Hi Scott,
Looking back at Hogan’s career, particularly in WWF he always seemed to refuse to work with guys significantly smaller than him. Henning, Hart, possibly Flair and god knows who else. When I’ve watched a few matches where he did face somebody smaller in him, you can see that people would actually start cheering for the heal. The main reason being was Hogan was so much bigger the heals became underdogs. Despite all the programming to make people love Hogan some fans would cheer the underdog, even accept them needing to cheat to win against him. Or at least some Hogan fans wouldn’t be that enthusiastic to see him beat up a not all that threatening smaller guy. I suspect he learned this when doing house shows with a then heal Jake the Snake.  

The main exception to this was Savage (or foreigners like the Iron Sheik). All Savage had to do was be a dick towards Elizabeth at the start and part way through the match everybody would want to see the much bigger Hogan beat the shit out of him. This worked for Roddy too when he “kicked” Cyndi Lauper.
I’m starting to think Hogan wasn’t always being an ass when refusing to work with smaller guys. He realized what didn’t work for him and stayed away from it, for which I can’t really blame him too much.

I would agree with that, to a certain point.  Bret Hart made the same point when talking about his match with Owen Hart at Wrestlemania, noting that he didn’t want to get too much offense on his smaller brother because he’d just come off as a bully then.  And in fact, you kind of made that point in your own e-mail:  Hogan’s biggest money programs in the 80s were with “smaller” guys.  Roddy Piper, Randy Savage and Paul Orndorff.  No one doubted for a second that Savage and Piper could kick the shit out of anyone they wanted, and Hogan put over Orndorff so strongly that they made $10,000 a night for a year and half off of it.  That’s the key.  Yeah, if Hogan is facing Mr. Perfect and takes all the offense until fans are giving the heel sympathy, it’s gonna backfire.  Just look at what happened with the infamous “flea market” program against Kidman in WCW.  But when Hogan was fighting Randy Savage, Savage would BRUTALIZE him, and Hogan was a master of the sympathetic beatdown selling, leading to the Popeye comeback and win.  The key was Hogan adjusting his formula to match the opponent’s strengths, not just ducking anyone who he didn’t consider in his league because of their size.  That being said, I absolutely do not blame Hogan in the 80s for having that mentality.  The guy drew millions of dollars so it’s hard to fault him for wanting to stick with doing an easy run against Killer Khan or Kamala and putting his kids through college off it.  My issue is that the business passed Hogan by in the early 90s and he was too stubborn to acknowledge it, basically brushing off guys like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels as “too small” when in fact the steroid trials meant that Hogan himself was in fact too big.  When he finally did adapt, as Hollywood Hogan the ultimate coward who would sell for a reflection in a mirror, he was able to draw millions of dollars again. 

Hogan v. The Little Guy

Hi Scott,
Looking back at Hogan’s career, particularly in WWF he always seemed to refuse to work with guys significantly smaller than him. Henning, Hart, possibly Flair and god knows who else. When I’ve watched a few matches where he did face somebody smaller in him, you can see that people would actually start cheering for the heal. The main reason being was Hogan was so much bigger the heals became underdogs. Despite all the programming to make people love Hogan some fans would cheer the underdog, even accept them needing to cheat to win against him. Or at least some Hogan fans wouldn’t be that enthusiastic to see him beat up a not all that threatening smaller guy. I suspect he learned this when doing house shows with a then heal Jake the Snake.  

The main exception to this was Savage (or foreigners like the Iron Sheik). All Savage had to do was be a dick towards Elizabeth at the start and part way through the match everybody would want to see the much bigger Hogan beat the shit out of him. This worked for Roddy too when he “kicked” Cyndi Lauper.
I’m starting to think Hogan wasn’t always being an ass when refusing to work with smaller guys. He realized what didn’t work for him and stayed away from it, for which I can’t really blame him too much.

I would agree with that, to a certain point.  Bret Hart made the same point when talking about his match with Owen Hart at Wrestlemania, noting that he didn’t want to get too much offense on his smaller brother because he’d just come off as a bully then.  And in fact, you kind of made that point in your own e-mail:  Hogan’s biggest money programs in the 80s were with “smaller” guys.  Roddy Piper, Randy Savage and Paul Orndorff.  No one doubted for a second that Savage and Piper could kick the shit out of anyone they wanted, and Hogan put over Orndorff so strongly that they made $10,000 a night for a year and half off of it.  That’s the key.  Yeah, if Hogan is facing Mr. Perfect and takes all the offense until fans are giving the heel sympathy, it’s gonna backfire.  Just look at what happened with the infamous “flea market” program against Kidman in WCW.  But when Hogan was fighting Randy Savage, Savage would BRUTALIZE him, and Hogan was a master of the sympathetic beatdown selling, leading to the Popeye comeback and win.  The key was Hogan adjusting his formula to match the opponent’s strengths, not just ducking anyone who he didn’t consider in his league because of their size.  That being said, I absolutely do not blame Hogan in the 80s for having that mentality.  The guy drew millions of dollars so it’s hard to fault him for wanting to stick with doing an easy run against Killer Khan or Kamala and putting his kids through college off it.  My issue is that the business passed Hogan by in the early 90s and he was too stubborn to acknowledge it, basically brushing off guys like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels as “too small” when in fact the steroid trials meant that Hogan himself was in fact too big.  When he finally did adapt, as Hollywood Hogan the ultimate coward who would sell for a reflection in a mirror, he was able to draw millions of dollars again. 

Hogan v. The Little Guy

Hi Scott,
Looking back at Hogan’s career, particularly in WWF he always seemed to refuse to work with guys significantly smaller than him. Henning, Hart, possibly Flair and god knows who else. When I’ve watched a few matches where he did face somebody smaller in him, you can see that people would actually start cheering for the heal. The main reason being was Hogan was so much bigger the heals became underdogs. Despite all the programming to make people love Hogan some fans would cheer the underdog, even accept them needing to cheat to win against him. Or at least some Hogan fans wouldn’t be that enthusiastic to see him beat up a not all that threatening smaller guy. I suspect he learned this when doing house shows with a then heal Jake the Snake.  

The main exception to this was Savage (or foreigners like the Iron Sheik). All Savage had to do was be a dick towards Elizabeth at the start and part way through the match everybody would want to see the much bigger Hogan beat the shit out of him. This worked for Roddy too when he “kicked” Cyndi Lauper.
I’m starting to think Hogan wasn’t always being an ass when refusing to work with smaller guys. He realized what didn’t work for him and stayed away from it, for which I can’t really blame him too much.

I would agree with that, to a certain point.  Bret Hart made the same point when talking about his match with Owen Hart at Wrestlemania, noting that he didn’t want to get too much offense on his smaller brother because he’d just come off as a bully then.  And in fact, you kind of made that point in your own e-mail:  Hogan’s biggest money programs in the 80s were with “smaller” guys.  Roddy Piper, Randy Savage and Paul Orndorff.  No one doubted for a second that Savage and Piper could kick the shit out of anyone they wanted, and Hogan put over Orndorff so strongly that they made $10,000 a night for a year and half off of it.  That’s the key.  Yeah, if Hogan is facing Mr. Perfect and takes all the offense until fans are giving the heel sympathy, it’s gonna backfire.  Just look at what happened with the infamous “flea market” program against Kidman in WCW.  But when Hogan was fighting Randy Savage, Savage would BRUTALIZE him, and Hogan was a master of the sympathetic beatdown selling, leading to the Popeye comeback and win.  The key was Hogan adjusting his formula to match the opponent’s strengths, not just ducking anyone who he didn’t consider in his league because of their size.  That being said, I absolutely do not blame Hogan in the 80s for having that mentality.  The guy drew millions of dollars so it’s hard to fault him for wanting to stick with doing an easy run against Killer Khan or Kamala and putting his kids through college off it.  My issue is that the business passed Hogan by in the early 90s and he was too stubborn to acknowledge it, basically brushing off guys like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels as “too small” when in fact the steroid trials meant that Hogan himself was in fact too big.  When he finally did adapt, as Hollywood Hogan the ultimate coward who would sell for a reflection in a mirror, he was able to draw millions of dollars again. 

Hogan v. The Little Guy

Hi Scott,
Looking back at Hogan’s career, particularly in WWF he always seemed to refuse to work with guys significantly smaller than him. Henning, Hart, possibly Flair and god knows who else. When I’ve watched a few matches where he did face somebody smaller in him, you can see that people would actually start cheering for the heal. The main reason being was Hogan was so much bigger the heals became underdogs. Despite all the programming to make people love Hogan some fans would cheer the underdog, even accept them needing to cheat to win against him. Or at least some Hogan fans wouldn’t be that enthusiastic to see him beat up a not all that threatening smaller guy. I suspect he learned this when doing house shows with a then heal Jake the Snake.  

The main exception to this was Savage (or foreigners like the Iron Sheik). All Savage had to do was be a dick towards Elizabeth at the start and part way through the match everybody would want to see the much bigger Hogan beat the shit out of him. This worked for Roddy too when he “kicked” Cyndi Lauper.
I’m starting to think Hogan wasn’t always being an ass when refusing to work with smaller guys. He realized what didn’t work for him and stayed away from it, for which I can’t really blame him too much.

I would agree with that, to a certain point.  Bret Hart made the same point when talking about his match with Owen Hart at Wrestlemania, noting that he didn’t want to get too much offense on his smaller brother because he’d just come off as a bully then.  And in fact, you kind of made that point in your own e-mail:  Hogan’s biggest money programs in the 80s were with “smaller” guys.  Roddy Piper, Randy Savage and Paul Orndorff.  No one doubted for a second that Savage and Piper could kick the shit out of anyone they wanted, and Hogan put over Orndorff so strongly that they made $10,000 a night for a year and half off of it.  That’s the key.  Yeah, if Hogan is facing Mr. Perfect and takes all the offense until fans are giving the heel sympathy, it’s gonna backfire.  Just look at what happened with the infamous “flea market” program against Kidman in WCW.  But when Hogan was fighting Randy Savage, Savage would BRUTALIZE him, and Hogan was a master of the sympathetic beatdown selling, leading to the Popeye comeback and win.  The key was Hogan adjusting his formula to match the opponent’s strengths, not just ducking anyone who he didn’t consider in his league because of their size.  That being said, I absolutely do not blame Hogan in the 80s for having that mentality.  The guy drew millions of dollars so it’s hard to fault him for wanting to stick with doing an easy run against Killer Khan or Kamala and putting his kids through college off it.  My issue is that the business passed Hogan by in the early 90s and he was too stubborn to acknowledge it, basically brushing off guys like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels as “too small” when in fact the steroid trials meant that Hogan himself was in fact too big.  When he finally did adapt, as Hollywood Hogan the ultimate coward who would sell for a reflection in a mirror, he was able to draw millions of dollars again.