Place to Be Nation Holiday Weekend Update

Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend here in the states…and a great generic two day weekend everywhere else. Here are some written pieces and podcasts we thought you may enjoy!


If you enjoy wrestling podcasts and are not listening to Kris Zellner’s Exile to Badstreet show you are doing it all wrong…Kris has done shows on the Fall of UWF and JCP, the vibrant independent scene of the 2000s, the lives and careers of Dusty Rhodes and Buddy Landell and much, much more. His shows always include great panels, including Court Bauer, Wes Hatch. David Bixenspan and others. Absolute must listens! Exile on Badstreet


Our yearly tribute to Americana in wrestling history: A Tribute to America (As Told Through the World of Wrestling)

We reposted JT’s look at Brutus Beefcake’s parasailing injury, which occurred 25 years ago this July 4: Summer-Slammed: Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and the Summer of 1990

Roger, Andrew & JT looked back at cable TV and MTV’s heyday in We Miss the 90s: Cable Television, Part One – The Early Days & MTV

Scott & JT revisited Royal Rumble 1995: Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Royal Rumble 1995

We have weekly recaps of Raw, Impact, ROH and Tough Enough!

The Kevin Kelly Show tackled the GWF & TNA partnership, WWE Network’s Japan show and was visited by Todd Sinclair: The Kevin Kelly Show Episode 38 – Todd Sinclair

Over the past two years, JT has recapped the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, which will continue this weekend: JR’s Treasure Trove #5: 2014 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

Fwd: Jon Jones’ Bad Weekend

Read more @FOXSports- UFC champion Jon Jones in custody, bond set at $2,500-http://www.foxsports.com/ufc/story/jon-jones-in-custody-bond-set-at-2500-ufc-champion-arrested-042715


Tiiiiiiimbeeeerrr!

So, think the fight will still happen?

Enough is enough with this guy.  At the very least they should strip him of the title before he self-destructs completely.  I do think if nothing else they should delay the fight for a while and see how it shakes down for him from a legal standpoint.  Apparently his magical 24 hours in rehab didn't work after all.  

WrestleMania Weekend 2015 – Day 4: WrestleMania 31

(Photos by myself and Danielle Stolman)
It’s still
not real to me, this whole thing. It’s weird to think that I actually
went to Axxess, attended the Hall of Fame ceremony, went to WrestleMania
and got to see a RAW show live the next day.
This
experience has left us exhausted but incredibly happy. I never thought
I’d ever get to see a wrestling show, let alone WrestleMania.
In any case, I’m late with the show recap, so this will be a report/recap with photos.

Waking
up WrestleMania Sunday doesn’t carry the same post-Saturday feeling one
would usually have. As all wrestling fans know, WWE pay-per-views
always fall on a Sunday, which sucks because you know that, tomorrow,
you have to go back to your 9 to 5, so that’s always in the back of your
mind, no matter what you do. For WrestleMania, it’s a bit different.
It’s like a holiday. It’s like the Super Bowl. It’s like Opening Day for
baseball. It’s you, sitting with your favorite food and drink and
watching something you really like so that you have a bit of a nice
feeling going into Monday.
That’s about the best way I can describe it.
We
had done Axxess and The Hall of Fame, two things that I looked forward
to and enjoyed. You’d think that I couldn’t be more excited for an
event…but when I woke up the morning of WrestleMania, my brain was
practically already getting our stadium bags ready before my body was
doing it.
The
first thing we did was park. Since I’m an employee of a certain
networking company near Levi’s, we were able to park in the lot where I
work each day…so, that was nice. The main issue is that it was about
85 degrees outside (the initial weather reports said it would be cool
and cloudy) and even the closest work lot is about a mile from Levi’s,
so we had a hike ahead of us.
When
we got there, it was an absolute party. People outside, listening to
music, eating food, buying merch, discussing the matches…really great.

At
this point, we were about 2 hours from the pre-show and about 4 hours
from the actual show. Our ticket package included a nice pre-game
tailgate, so we had to go there first for some food…the problem was
that we both mis-read the ticket and thought the party was in a lot next
to the stadium.
As
it turns out, our party was in “Green Lot 4”, which is located across
the street and about another mile north of the stadium. It took talking
with six different Levi’s Stadium attendants to find this out.
You’d think these guys would know their own stadium. Ugh…so we walked
with bags in our hands and found our way to Green Lot, which is located
at Mission College near the Mercado entertainment plaza.
It was worth it.
Our party was hosted by former WWE wrestler, Matt Striker and catered by The Bad Boyz of BBQ.

They
also had a DJ pumping music while we ate and drank, which was a plus.
The whole affair was laid back. Striker was incredibly nice, made the
rounds to make sure we were okay, and we had some laughs. I nearly
won a signed photo of Hulk Hogan but lost on a technicality because I
didn’t say “Pontiac” before “Silverdome” when I answered a WrestleMania
III venue question. I was kinda bummed about that.
When
I went back to our table to eat, Striker came over and laughed and
shook my hand and said, “Man, you almost had it.” Prior to that, I
couldn’t name all 9 inductees at the WWE Hall of Fame this year. I got 7
of them but forgot Alundra Blayze and Connor Michalek. I told Striker
that I thought I had it twice and that it was like “wrestling the
Undertaker because he just keeps kicking out.” Striker laughed and said,
“Yes, wrestling The Undertaker might actually be easier.”
In any case, we had a lot of fun.

It
was about 3 PM by the time we left. As we were trying to get to the
stadium on-time, we elected to take a nearby “Pedi-Cab” which got us
there in about a fraction of the time it would normally take by foot and
that was a good thing because we heard Cesaro’s music booming from
inside the stadium. We hurried to the front gates.
Let
me tell you something: that new “NFL Clear Bag Rule” is an absolute
joke. The whole point of this new rule was to make lines more efficient
because gate attendants can see right through them and determine if a
bag check is necessary. 
It only makes the entire process slower.
I’m not kidding. When Danielle got there before me, they looked at the
bag, told her to remove her little WrestleMania rally towel, her water
bottle, her sunscreen, her jacket, her camera, her batteries and nearly
everything else. It took them 2 minutes to get through her, then another
2 because she kept setting off the metal detector despite the fact that
she had no metal on her. 
The same thing happened to me.
Oh,
then our tickets wouldn’t scan. The Levi’s attendant looked at us like
we were up to no good and handed us off to their manager. The manager
said, “Usually, counterfeit tickets are the main issue and give us these
kind of scanner errors…” We were horrified and couldn’t tell if the
attendant said we were faking the tickets or if somebody else
did. In any case, it so happened that the Levi’s scanners were the
issue. They hadn’t been coded to accept “certain tickets”, as it was
later explained to us. 
Because
of the bag check thing and the ticket issue, we missed both of the
pre-show matches and got into the stadium as Aloe Blacc sang America,
the Beautiful.
I might add that Levi’s comped us new seats…right next to the entrance ramp and only a few rows from the ring!
Oh…I forgot the recap portion…let’s get going on that!
Aloe Blacc sang a nice rendition of “America, the Beautiful”, followed by fireworks.
We
get a WrestleMania lead-in, narrated by LL Cool J which, for a change,
isn’t awful or pretentious and talks about how we all watch WrestleMania
together since we’re all connected via the Internet.
We are LIVE(!!!) from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California!!!
JBL, Michael Cole, and Jerry “The King” Lawler are your hosts…
(By the way…here were our seats…Danielle and I are circled and dotted:
We are off and running as ladders surround the ring…
MATCH
#1: Daniel Bryan (challenger) vs. Bad News Barrett (champion) vs. Dolph
Ziggler (challenger) vs. Stardust (challenger) vs. Luke Harper
(challenger) vs. R-Truth (challenger) vs. Dean Ambrose (challenger) in a
Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Cole
states that Truth has a “fear of heights”, alienating any fans Truth
may have had left. Immediate brawling to begin and Harper and Bryan end
up outside. Ambrose hits the Flying Psycho on Harper. Ziggler gets
tossed out as well. Barrett, too. Truth flies at everyone outside.
Stardust hits the Falling Star. Ziggler tries to dive at Harper, in
ring, but Harper tosses him at everyone. Harper dives at everyone as
well. Ambrose escapes the pile of bodies, climbs a ladder outside and
dives at everyone, too. So, now that’s done, Truth is the only one free
and in the ring. He sets up a ladder and climbs. Bryan gets in with
Barrett and clocks him with a ladder. Then he tosses a ladder at him in
the corner and adds Stardust to that pile. He dropkicks the hell out of
everything he piled up. Harper gets in, nails Bryan, then sets up a
ladder. Bryan pulls him down and hits YES Kicks. He climbs but Ziggler
pulls him off. 
Ziggler
and Ambrose fight over the climb. Barrett interferes but he gets
dumped. Truth and Stardust enter and Stardust knocks everyone off the
ladder. The fans chant for “Cody” and this pisses Star off. He goes
under the mat and pulls out his own ladder which is all friggin’
bedazzled. Barrett stops him and clocks him with a piece of broken
ladder or something. Ambrose attacks Barrett and gets back in the ring.
Ziggler and Harper stop him and Harper uses a ladder to beat up Ziggler.
He sets a ladder up on the turnbuckle. Ambrose comes into the ring only
to get tossed into it. Harper puts the ladder around his own neck and
uses it to nail every single guy that comes into the ring. Truth finally
stops him and hits his Truth finisher. 
Barrett
comes into the ring and attacks him. Star enters as well and sets up a
ladder, climbing it. Barrett climbs the ladder and suplexes him from the
top of the ladder. Ziggler and Bryan enter the ring and climb. They
fight at the top. In comes Ambrose. He fights with both Bryan and
Ziggler. Ziggler kicks him off and Ambrose does an incredibly lame
“rebound” spot where he ends up pushing them off the ladder when the
ropes kick him back. He climbs the ladder but Harper grabs him and
POWERBOMBS HIM INTO A LADDER OUTSIDE THE ROPES…holy shit. Ziggler puts
a Sleeper on Harper — but Harper climbs the ladder with Ziggler on
him. Harper drops down and Ziggler is thrown off. Ziggler climbs but
Barrett nails Ziggler with a Bullhammer. Stardust comes in and gets the
same. Truth climbs the ladder but Barrett hits the Bullhammer as well.
He climbs the ladder and gets to the belt — but here comes Bryan,
climbing like a squirrel on speed and stops Barrett, knocking him off.
Bryan nears the belt but Ziggler pulls him off. Barrett pushes the
ladder away — but Bryan hits a Flying Knee out of nowhere. He sets up
the ladder and climbs! Ziggler gets in and he climbs! The two trade
shots back and forth on top of the ladder! They resort to headbutts and
trade those over and over. Finally, Bryan knocks Ziggler off the ladder
and pulls the belt off to win it!
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Daniel Bryan at 13:49
RATING: ***. Not a bad start. COULD have been a bit longer with more danger spots, but what the hell, I’ll take it.
Post-match, Bryan celebrates.
PICTURES

The stadium popped BIG-TIME for Bryan here. Both before and after the match. Ziggler and Ambrose got similar pops. Great stuff.
We get an ad for TAPOUT gear, starring WWE superstars.
MATCH #2: Seth Rollins (w/ Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) vs. Randy Orton
There’s
some quick initial running back and forth and Orton dropkicks the hell
out of Rollins, who leaves the ring. Orton chases him back in and
Rollins kicks and stomps at him. Orton comes back by tossing Rollins to
the mat and chopping at him in the corner. He punches at Rollins’ head
but Rollins counters with a Buckle Bomb. Orton counters that by running
out of the corner and hitting a clothesline. He goes for an RKO but
J&J involve themselves. Orton knocks them down, then walks outside
and hits the Elevated DDT on both guys. Rollins flies at Orton from
inside the ring, knocking him into the announce table. He pushes Orton
back in and gets a two count. Rollins hits a quick suplex and gets two,
then puts on a headlock. Orton escapes, but gets put in a corner.
Rollins hits a running forearm, then tries again but Orton tosses him
over the top rope. Rollins lands on his feet, then tries to Springboard
at Orton. He misses. Orton hits clotheslines and tries a powerslam,
hitting it on the second try. He tries the Elevated DDT, but Rollins
counters and hits and Enzuguri. Orton falls out of the ring. Rollins
hits a Springboard Moonsault on Orton, then tosses him back into the
ring. Rollins goes top rope but Orton knocks him off and goes for a
Superplex. Rollins blocks it, so Orton hits a big backdrop. Orton hits a
Flying Crossbody but Rollins reverses the pinfall, getting two. Rollins
runs at Orton but Orton grabs him and hits the Elevated DDT. He goes
for an RKO but Rollins counters. A series of counters later and Orton
hits an RKOOUTOFNOWHERE, but only gets two. Orton sets up for The Punt
but Noble runs in to save Rollins — then eats an RKO. Mercury gets one,
too, after he leaps off the ropes. Rollins kicks Orton and hits a Curb
Stomp and NEARLY gets a fall. Rollins goes to rope and tries a Flipping
Splash. Orton moves. Rollins lands on his feet, then kicks Orton in the
stomach to set up for another Curb Stomp. He does it, but Orton’s head
won’t hit the pavement…instead, Rollins flies high into the air AND
ORTON CATCHES HIM WITH AN RKO ON THE WAY DOWN! Orton wins!
WINNER: Randy Orton via RKO at 13:15
RATING:
****. Fantastic match between two of WWE’s most reliable performers and
a great ending. This match had Levi’s on the edge of their seats. It
was, at this point, where Danielle said to me, “See? Now he’s gonna cash
in later. They had him lose here so he’ll win during the main event.”
PICTURES

UFC’s Ronda Rousey is at ringside tonight. She was diagonally to our right.
We get the build-up for Sting and Triple H.
Sting
gets a weird Japanese Kabuki Samurai drum entrance whereas Triple H
gets Arnold Schwarzenegger narrating his entrance and, oh look: Triple H
is a Terminator who kills other Terminators. And the crowd pops for
Triple H. Oh boy. (At this point, I didn’t have a good feeling about this. Especially since Bryan and Orton had already won their matches…)
MATCH #3: Sting vs. Triple H
Cole: “And WrestleMania is brought to you by Terminator: Genesys!”
NO SHIT, COLE. Oh, and the match is “No-DQ” all of the sudden. Triple H
and Sting circle each other to start. Triple H gets shoulder tackled by
Sting, then he pounds his chest and yells “WOO!” at the crowd. HHH
comes back with a snap mare and side headlock, then hits a
shouldertackle and does the Crotch Chop. Sting immediately hits high
dropkicks and Triple H takes a seat in the corner, then bails from the
ring. Another lock-up and Triple H hits punches. He tries an Irish Whip
but Sting reverses and tosses Triple H out of the ring. Sting goes for
the Scorpion Deathlock but Triple H kicks out and goes outside. Sting
chases and tries a Stinger Splash but Triple H moves out of the way.
Back in the ring, Triple H hits a delayed vertical suplex, followed by a
knee drop for two. Triple H tosses Sting into the corner hard and Sting
goes down. Triple H does another Crotch Taunt and drops another knee
for two. Triple H puts on a head lock. Sting breaks but flies into a
Spinebuster for two. Sting comes back with some corner punches and
tosses Triple H into the corner. He goes for a splash but Triple H kicks
him. Triple H tries to go for a kick off the ropes but Sting catches
his legs and puts on the Scorpion Deathlock…
…and
here comes Degeneration X in the form of Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and
X-Pac. Sting fights them all off, then turns to Triple H. Sting dumps
Triple H on top of all of them, then goes off the top rope and splashes
all four guys. Crowd chants, “THIS IS AWESOME”. Sting gets back up and
into the ring. Gunn attacks him and Sting knocks him off. Triple H hits
the Pedigree and NEARLY gets a pin. Frustrated, Triple H goes under the
ring to get the sledge…and the nWo shows up in the form of Hulk Hogan,
Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall and they take, like, eight days to get
there. D-X runs at them to attack but the nWo knocks them all down.
Sting grabs Triple H and hits the pin for…TWO?! Are you fucking
kidding me? Wow. (DANIELLE: This match should be over.) Sting
hits the Scorpion Deathlock but can’t even sit down on it. Triple H
crawls and reaches for the sledge…but Hogan grabs it and pulls it
away. X-Pac attacks Hogan. Nash attacks X-Pac. Gunn takes out Nash. Hall
goes for the Outsider Edge on Road Dogg but Dogg counters it and tosses
Hall to the ground. Meanwhile, Triple H gets to the ropes as the crowd
chants “TAP” over and over. Sting goes for the Deathlock again. Shawn
Michaels appears out of nowhere and hits Sweet Chin Music on Sting. Ugh.
Triple H covers…and gets two. Michaels is pissed. D-X hands Triple H
the sledge. He backs Sting into a corner…but Hall gets Sting’s
baseball bat and hands it to Sting. The two men brandish their weapons
and circle each other. Triple H attacks but Sting hits him in the
stomach, then uses the bat to chop the sledge handle in
half…just…wow. Sting drops the bat and punches Triple H in the
corner, then hits the Stinger Splash. He tries again — but, Triple H
picks up part of the sledge and nails Sting with it — and then pins
Sting to win it. Jesus fucking christ…
WINNER: Triple H at 18:34
RATING: ***1/2…if you’re going for spectacle, but the booking was absolute bullshit. Sting should
have gone over. I give it *3/4. I’m sorry. D-X and nWo? I’m not
impressed. I’ve seen the nWo AND D-X (the Outlaws) on RAW. And wasn’t
X-Pac part of the nWo back in January? Wasn’t Hogan predominantly red
and yellow for the better part of the last few years? And wasn’t the nWo
(black and white, not Wolfpac) enemies with Sting? This whole thing was
just a giant Triple H stroke-fest. And, if it’s no-DQ, why can’t the
nWo run in to save their “best buddy”, Sting, from getting pinned? Just
complete hot bullshit.
Post-match,
D-X pulls Triple H off of Triple H and the nWo helps Sting up. Triple H
approaches Sting…and offers his hand. They shake? Oh, PUH-LEEZE. Wow.
None of this makes any sense. 
PICTURES

 

Maria
Menounos is backstage with the new IC Champ, Daniel Bryan. He says it’s
incredible to be champ. Pat Patterson shows up and congratulates him.
Then Rowdy Roddy Piper. He looks menacing, then kisses Bryan on the head
and congratulates him. Steamboat shows up and actually says, “That
match ranks right up with the one Randy Savage and I had!” No,
Steamboat…it wasn’t. Steamboat says, if Savage were here, “he’d
say…WHOA YEAH!” No…no, Steamboat…he wouldn’t say “‘Whoa’, yeah.”
Then, Ric Flair shows up because, apparently, Daniel Bryan needs help
from a bunch of ancient superstars to get over. Flair shows up and does
the “WOOOO” thing. He chops Steamboat lightly, then yells “WOO” at
Maria. Oh, look. Bret Hart’s here, too, because WWE has to overbook everything
right now. Everyone starts yelling “YES”…and, of course, we get a
WrestleMania “DAMN” from Ron Simmons. Everyone continues yelling “YES”
and, mercifully, we walk away from whatever the hell that was.
Skylar
Grey, Travis Barker and Kid Ink perform that one song we’ve been
hearing for two months during every single WrestleMania commercial. (And half our crowd section hit the bathrooms/concession stands.)
MATCH #4: Paige & AJ Lee vs. The Bella Twins (WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella & Brie Bella)
Nikki
and Paige start off with Paige immediately tackling Nikki and punching
her. Nikki reverses it and punches. Nikki headbutts AJ, then hits an
Alabama Slam on Paige, getting two. She slams Paige’s head against the
mat, then puts Paige in the corner, tagging Brie who hits a beautiful
missile dropkick for two. Brie pounds on the back of Paige’s head, then
puts her into a Chinlock/Surfboard combo. Brie goes for the running
knee. AJ gets up on the mat — so, naturally, Brie knocks her off the
ring mat again. She hits the knee on Paige and tags Nikki. They hit a
double suplex. Nikki tosses Paige into the ropes but Paige reverses —
and knocks AJ off the damn mat for the third time. Nikki hits the Rack
Attack, but only gets two. Nikki puts Nikki in the corner again — and
Paige elbows Brie off the mat on the way there. Paige elbows Nikki and
Nikki runs at Paige. Paige dumps Nikki out of the ring and then dives at
both women. Paige gets back into the ring and, FINALLY, AJ is up on the
mat. Paige makes the hot tag. AJ hits a press on Nikki and punches at
her, then hits a clothesline. Nikki puts AJ in the corner and lunges but
AJ kicks her and goes for a Tornado DDT. Nikki counters it. AJ gets
back on the top buckle and hits a Crossbody. Nikki catches her. Paige
dropkicks AJ on top of Nikki. Brie saves the pin and both Paige and Brie
roll out of the ring. AJ locks in the Black Widow but Brie kicks AJ.
Paige hits a nice high kick on Brie. AJ goes for a roundhouse but Brie
grabs AJ’s leg and Nikki just hits a vicious forearm. AJ kicks out of
the pin as Brie and Paige fight outside. Paige tosses Brie into the
steel steps and AJ hits the Black Widow on Nikki to get the win.
WINNERS: Paige and AJ at 6:36.
RATING: **3/4. Not terrible but fairly pedestrian — and what was with AJ taking a nap for over half the match?
PICTURES

 

 
 

We get an ad for WWE “heroes”.
We
get a “Tale of the Tape” for Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Cole
pretends Google and the Internet don’t exist and tells us that they got
this information when they “put stats into a computer” and says “the
computer gave us this”.
Cole gives us a look back on this year’s Hall of Famers.
Then we get introduced to them.
PICTURES

We get the build-up between Rusev and Cena…
Rusev
enters with a full Russian colorguard and rides on top of a tank. Your
argument is invalid. Cena’s answer is a video package with a bunch of
shit America’s done. Each time a President pops up, they got either a
huge pop (Reagan, for some reason) or big time heat (Obama, for some
reason). Bush got nothing (for some reason).
MATCH #5: Rusev (champion) (w/ Lana) vs. John Cena (challenger) for the WWE United States Championship
They
cheer “U.S.A.”, but they boo Rusev. They boo the whole Russian gimmick,
but cheer for Rusev. I just don’t know anymore. Cena knocks Rusev down
with a clothesline. Rusev comes back with a high spinning kick and gets
two. Rusev hits a headbutt and an Arm Hook Suplex for two. Cena tries a
back drop but Rusev kicks him, then tosses him into a corner and
splashes him. He hits a nice Rolling Kick and gets two. Rusev picks up
the Russian flag and celebrates for absolutely no reason whatsoever as
Cena just lays there. Rusev does the “U CAN’T SEE ME” taunt to Cena so
Cena kicks him and hits Moves 1 through 3. He goes for the 5KS and hits
that. He goes for the AA but Rusev falls off Cena and lands on his feet,
then counters with a side suplex. Rusev goes for a high kick but Cena
ducks and goes for the STF. Rusev kicks out. Cena flies at Rusev who
catches him and hits a Spinebuster. Two count. He puts Cena on the
turnbuckle and goes for a Superplex. Cena blocks it and headbutts Rusev,
knocking him to the mat. Cena hits a Flying Legdrop and gets a close
fall.
Cena
goes for another AA but Rusev kicks out and hits the Flying Superkick.
Rusev misses the Accolade set-up, but manages to hit a low kick to
Cena’s head, getting two. He tosses Cena into the corner and misses a
kick. Cena hits a Tornado DDT. Cena gets to his feet and so does Rusev.
The two exchange blows with the crowd clearly behind Rusev. Rusev yells
“YOU CAN’T BEAT ME, JOHN CENA!” into Cena’s face, then hits an Alabama
Slam following a Tiger Knee to Cena’s head. Two count. He sets up for
the Accolade but Cena counters and locks in the STF. Lana takes off one
of her heels and throws it at Cena (The crowd laughed at this) so
the ref warns Lana to knock it off. Rusev breaks and hits a Fallaway
Slam. Rusev goes to the top rope and hits a Flying Headbutt! 
Two
count and Rusev cannot believe that. Rusev sets up the Accolade…but
Cena struggles and counters it, kicking out. Cena runs to the ropes and
hits a Springboard Stunner! Holy shit. Two count. Cena gets up and goes
for an AA. Rusev breaks it and catches Cena. He tries a Spinebuster but
Cena counters and rolls Rusev up for two. Rusev gets up and slams Cena
to the mat and finally locks in the Accolade and Cole says, “Nobody’s
ever broke The Accolade!” You know, except for Cena and Swagger who both
broke it. Cena gets to his feet and backs Rusev into the corner, then
locks in the STF. Rusev gets to the ropes but Cena gets up and drags
Rusev to the center of the ring. Lana gets up on the mat so Cena walks
over to her. Rusev runs at Cena but Lana takes the bump and eats an AA.
Cena win the U.S. Title as Rusev fails America and her fans.
WINNER: John Cena via AA at 14:31
RATING: ***. Nice match but, honestly, I don’t know why Cena had to win here.
PICTURES

 

WrestleMania 32 is coming to AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas next year!
Renee
Young, Booker T, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton are at the talking desk.
We recap the Fatal Four-Way Tag Match where Cesaro and Tyson retained
the titles. They also recap that Big Show won the Battle Royal.
Steph
and Triple H are in the ring. She tells us that Levi’s has 76,000-plus
people. She tells us that, back in the day, WrestleMania was on
closed-circuit TV and she got to watch Andre slam Big John Studd. (DANIELLE: And she used Cole’s IBM tape computer to spit out stats.)
She says that the success of WrestleMania is all because of HER. Triple
H says the truth hurts. He brags about beating Sting (which draws
massive heat) and says that he pretty much beat everyone against him,
including the 76,000 people in Levi’s and the millions on WWE Network.
Then he says he owns Sting as well as all the talent backstage. So much
for that handshake, huh? He says The Authority always wins…
The
Rock’s music hits. This got the biggest pop of the night. He takes
forever to talk because the fans are not going quiet. Steph: “Okay! We
get it! You’re happy to see him! Can you be quiet now?” The Rock says
that The Authority doesn’t own the fans…or The Rock. He says The
Authority likes to run their mouths. But what they don’t get is that The
Rock is an East Bay Area Boy. So, The Rock says Triple H has two
choices: 1) Triple H goes backstage and dresses up as The Terminator
again…or 2) They can have a “WrestleMania Moment” right here, right
now. The Rock and Triple H go nose to nose.
Triple
H says that him and The Rock have a great rivalry that goes back years
— and Triple H kicked his ass for most of it. He says he has nothing
more to prove. The Rock says, just like he left his heart in San
Francisco, that Triple H left his balls in Stamford, Connecticut. Triple
H isn’t happy and takes off his coat. Steph steps between them and says
The Rock just likes to rile him and the fans up. He says that there
would be no Rock without the fans. She says that even his relatives
wouldn’t be anything without the McMahons. The Rock says that Steph
likes to talk about the Johnsons and McMahons…but that she wouldn’t be
here without Vince’s “johnson”. She slaps his face all the way into
next week and asks what he’s gonna do about that. She says that these
are her fans, her ring, and her stadium and orders him to leave.
Rock
leaves with Steph riding his ass on the mic as he does. The Rock stops
just outside the ring…then walks to his left…and visits with Ronda
Rousey. He invites her to jump the barrier and get into the ring with
him. She obliges. The Rock tells Steph that he’d never hit a woman…but
he has a good friend who’d be happy to. Steph shrugs it off and says
that her and Steph are friends. She begs Ronda to tell Rock that they’re
friends. Ronda doesn’t respond. Steph says that Ronda’s probably the
most dangerous unarmed woman on the planet. She says that Ronda doesn’t
realize that this is her ring and that she needs to enjoy WrestleMania
like a good little fan. Ronda says that Steph doesn’t get it: any ring she steps into is hers. She says if Steph wants her to leave, Steph should make
her leave. Steph growls for her to get out of the ring. Rock looks at
Rousey and tells Steph that the look on Rousey’s face means that she’s
about to reach down Steph’s throat, pull out her uterus and play jump
rope with her fallopian tubes. 
Triple
H says he’s tired of all this shit and wants Rock to stop talking. Rock
agrees to do so and says this is the last thing they’ll hear from him.
He attacks Triple H and beats on him in the corner. Triple H lunges at
Rousey but Rousey hits a hip toss and out of the ring goes Triple H.
Steph attacks her but Rousey locks Steph’s arm. Finally, she lets Steph
go and this comes to an end. Rock tells the McMahons that they’re
“owned”. 
PICTURES

 
We
go to Undertaker and Bray Wyatt…Undertaker has his usual entrance,
but Bray’s entrance is a mix of theatrical and goofy. He has a “valley”
of scarecrows on the entrance ramp that he “brings to life” and they
follow him down the ramp. The electric signage around the stadium,
during The Undertaker’s entrance read, “NEVER SUMMON THE DEAD”, which I
thought was pretty sweet. The Undertaker also grew his hair back. It’s
still short but it’s not a mohawk anymore. The entire entrance is gold
for so many reasons. JBL, Cole and King wonder if The Undertaker is the
same guy we used to see — yet, he still looks that way. Bray just stares the entire time, in awe.
Bray says this is “his yard”, then runs at ‘Taker, who boots him right in the face.
MATCH #6: Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
The
bell rings and ‘Taker is all over Bray in the corner. He beats on him,
knocks him to the mat, then does Old School. ‘Taker goes off the ropes
but Bray knocks him down with a clothesline. Bray clotheslines him out
of the ring — but The Undertaker lands on his feet and glares at Bray.
Crowd loves it. Bray grabs him by the legs and drags him outside. He
sets Bray up on the mat and drops the leg across Bray’s throat. Bray
rolls into the ring and ‘Taker clotheslines him, then hits Snake Eyes.
‘Taker goes for a big boot but Bray knocks ‘Taker down with a drive-by
lariat. Wyatt beats on ‘Taker in the corner and then puts him into the
adjacent corner. Bray hits a running corner clothesline and can’t get
two. He puts a clutch on ‘Taker but ‘Taker fights out. Bray drops
punches on ‘Taker. Bray stares at him as he struggles to get up. He
crawls to Bray. Bray leaves the ring, then smashes ‘Taker’s head into
the ringpost. Wyatt gets into the ring and boots ‘Taker in the face. He
goes to pick up ‘Taker but ‘Taker locks in Hell’s Gate. Wyatt quickly
realizes he’s in trouble and punches ‘Taker in the head until he lets
go. ‘Taker gets to his feet and lunges at Bray only to find himself in a
Spinebuster, followed by the Reverse Senton. Bray does the Hanging
Spider, then goes for Sister Abigail. Bray does the “thumb across the
throat”, but ‘Taker grabs him by the throat and hits the Chokeslam.
‘Taker calls for The Tombstone and hits it…but only gets two as the
announce team pretends like nobody’s ever kicked out of it. ‘Taker calls
for another Tombstone but Bray counters and hits Sister Abigail! Bray
covers — and gets two. Bray gets up, doing the Spider Walk, walking
over to ‘Taker, who is still on his back. When he gets close, The
Undertaker sits up and glares at Bray in one of the coolest
moments of the night. Bray just melts out of the Spider Walk. The both
get up and start trading shots. Bray gets the best of it and knocks
‘Taker all the way down. Bray goes for Sister Abigail again — but
‘Taker breaks it and shoves Bray. Bray runs at ‘Taker and ‘Taker picks
him and Tombstones the hell out of him for the win.
WINNER: The Undertaker via Tombstone at 15:13
RATING: **3/4. This had some great moments…I really don’t know, however, how long ‘Taker can continue to do this.
Post-match, ‘Taker does the “tribute” spot with the purple lighting and fireworks.
PICTURES

We get the build-up to Reigns/Lesnar…
MATCH #7: Roman Reigns (challenger) vs. Brock Lesnar (champion) (w/ Paul Heyman) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
The
bell rings and it’s a goddamn brawl to start. Both men all over each
other. Lesnar hits a German Suplex and an F5…but doesn’t cover Reigns.
Lesnar is cut open. He walks over to Reigns and his some shots to the
gut with his knee. Lesnar hits a Fallway Fisherman’s Suplex. Lesnar goes
for another German. Reigns fights back and tries clotheslines but can’t
knock Reigns down. Lesnar counters with German #2. Reigns gets to his
knees…and smiles. Lesnar hits a Side Suplex, then yells, “SUPLEX CITY,
BITCH!” Reigns comes back with punches but Lesnar hits German #3.
Reigns gets up, grinning. Lesnar kicks him in the ribs, then hits German
#4. Reigns tries to get up but Lesnar just knees him in the stomach.
Brock drops Roman on the top rope and knees Reigns in the face
repeatedly. Lesnar hits a running forearm on a run and knocks Reigns out
of the ring. 
Lesnar
beckons Reigns to get back in the ring and Reigns does. Lesnar runs at
him and Reigns knees Lesnar in the face. He hits kicks to the face. But
Lesnar just grabs his leg after a few of them and clotheslines Reigns
from the ring. Lesnar goes outside and beats on Reigns. He rolls Reigns
back in and then hits a suplex throw. Reigns is tossed from the ring and
crawls back in again. Lesnar hits a belly to belly suplex, the 8th one
overall. Lesnar hits F5 #2. Reigns kicks out. Lesnar smacks the shit out
of Reigns but Reigns doesn’t care. He just laughs. Lesnar hits German
#4 and #5. He hits F5 #3…but only gets two again. Lesnar tosses Reigns
out of the ring. He goes outside and picks up Reigns and tries to toss
Reigns into the ringpost but Reigns reverses the attempt and Lesnar eats
the post instead.
Lesnar
is bleeding as Reigns gets back into the ring. Reigns looks determined
and gets to his feet. He hits a Superman Punch but Lesnar hangs onto the
ropes. Reigns hits another and Lesnar is rocking on the ropes. Reigns
goes for another. Lesnar catches him for a German but Reigns elbows out.
Reigns hits Superman Punch #3 and knocks him down. He hits a Spear!
Lesnar gets up and rocks towards the ropes. Reigns hits another and
NEARLY gets the fall. Reigns goes for another — but Lesnar catches him
and hits F5 #4! Lesnar can’t cover…both men are down. Seth Rollins’
music hits. (DANIELLE: Told ya’!) He cashes in the MITB contract. This is now a Triple Threat Match. O…K.
MATCH
#7: Roman Reigns (challenger) vs. Brock Lesnar (champion) (w/ Paul
Heyman) vs. Seth Rollins (challenger) in a Triple Threat Match for the
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Rollins
boots Reigns from the ring and hits a quick Curb Stomp on Lesnar. He
checks on Reigns to make sure he can’t interfere…and goes for another
Curb Stomp…but Lesnar catches him for an F5! But here comes Reigns who
Spears Lesnar! Reigns tries to get up but Rollins hits a Curb Stomp and
wins the title.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Seth Rollins via Curb Stomp at 16:44
RATING:
***1/2. Not a bad finish to the thing. I’d hesitate to call it
“ingenious” since they all but telegraphed the cash-in. Nobody liked
Reigns and nobody wanted to see Lesnar go home with the title. The only
reason WrestleMania ended on a “high note” was because Rollins was the
lesser of three evils. Yay?

Rollins celebrates as Levi’s Stadium shoots its fireworks load and we go off the air.
PICTURES

OVERALL:
***1/2. Better than I expected but nowhere near as good as last year’s
‘Mania. I don’t understand the high praise this show is getting. For the
live experience? Add another two stars. There’s nothing like being
there.

Er…that’s it.

WrestleMania Weekend 2015 – Day 2: WWE Axxess

(Apologies for not getting the remaining days of WM weekend out sooner. We’ve both been engulfed in work and life and attending this stuff, adding in the aforementioned, has left us a bit fatigued…more to come!)
Friday was a little different.
We
left work and came rushing over, only to find that the gates hadn’t
opened yet…and there was a line, about a mile long, to get in, with
that classic “zig-zag” format you see in a line at Disneyland.

Luckily, we got in fairly quickly…and immediately got in the first signing line we saw.
It
was rumored that Dolph Ziggler was signing at the station we stopped
at. There was another rumor going around that Paige was supposed to be
here again tonight and that she’d be at the station next door…Danielle
really wanted to get her Paige T-shirt signed.
We
waited for a few minutes to see who would end up where. When the first
Superstars appeared, the crowd cheered…and they were headed for a
booth across from us. It was Erick Rowan and Sin Cara.
 
 
Ok…we
got Sin Cara yesterday. Rowan isn’t totally somebody we want to
meet…we decided to stay in our line. Then, more cheers next to us —
and out came Natalya. I was a bit bummed. Then her Dad, Jim, showed up.
Man…
I asked Danielle if she wanted to move. She said, “No. Let’s see who we get.”
Suddenly, our line began to cheer…and out popped…
Dolph Ziggler.
Let
me tell you something about Ziggler. The dude was performing for the
entire line. Just like Paige, he played to the crowd and toed the line
between cocky and incredibly charming. He gets up from his seat and
says, “Sorry…I’m done. I have no time for ANY of you. See ya’.” He was
only kidding: he left to go sign for the disabled guest line. 
At
one point, he came back from the empty disabled guest line, stopped to
take pictures with the couple of people near the immediate area, signed
their stuff real quick, then rolled his eyes at everyone else as they begged him to sign their stuff, too. With a hair flip, he went back to tend to the regular line. 
When we got there, I asked if he would sign for our mutual friend, Tania, who couldn’t make it out.

I don’t know if it was the volume in the place or if Friday fatigue was
hitting me…I spelled her name wrong. Ziggler could have just signed
her name, as was spelled to him…but he notices and says, “Wait…T, A,
N, A, I?! That’s ‘Tawn-ay’, bro! That’s not how you spell that. I don’t
even know your friend and I know how she spells her name!”

So, we had some laughs and Ziggler says, “Let me spell it again…” So, he writes over
the original spelling, then realizes that you can see a “T”, followed
by some scribbling. He puzzles over it and asks, “I think that looks
like ‘TANIA’…you think she’d be able to tell? I mean, maybe if I
scribble all fancy and professional-looking, she’ll think it says, ‘TANIA’…right?” And we just laughed. He was just a great guy.
He shook our hands and we got our photo with him.
After this, we grabbed some quick food and drink and headed out to see what else we could see.
Turns out, some pretty good Superstars were signing that night.
Kane…who
didn’t look happy to be there at all. Kinda strange. Maybe he was
trying to be the “Corporate” character…but I took quite a few photos
from a few rounds of fans and he didn’t smile once.

A strange choice to sign: The Bogeyman…

And he’d actually sign with Hornswoggle:
After
that, I checked my WrestleMania App (an attendant told me it would give
me signing schedules…huzzah!) and found out that JBL and Jerry Lawler
were signing…so we went to take a pic with them.

Danielle
and I stopped by the Elimination Chamber to take a couple pictures of
Stardust and Miz-dow. One of the funniest things was watching Stardust
freak out and shriek before he would hug the person getting into the
ring with them.
 
We
were just in time to watch a Q&A session with Howard Finkel and
Booker T in the NXT ring. NXT was hosting some “house shows” all Axxess
weekend, so things like this were awesome to watch.
In
the Q&A, Booker praised former manager, Sherri Martel, and said
that he misses her each and every day. When a fan asked if Harlem Heat
would ever get back together, Booker’s response was, “In this business, I
always have one response: never say never.”
 
We stayed around a bit to do the Gratuitous WrestleMania Sign Point…
We made one last trip to the museum as we’d heard that they had added the Andre trophy…
We visited a couple of our favorite wrestlers…
We invaded a Triple H signing and took some pics of him…
And
we closed the night out by watching a really fun match between Heath
Slater and Curtis Axel, in which Axel took bump after bump and sold
everything Slater had — then came back like Hulk Hogan. It was truly
great, crowd-pleasing stuff that the crowd around us loved.

 

Last, but not least, caught this excellent shot of Goldust being interviewed by our local media…

Stay tuned for Part 3…

Er…that’s it.

WrestleMania Weekend 2015 – Day 3: 2015 WWE Hall of Fame

This one’s a bit hard to report.
There’s
not a whole slew of unique photos we can produce or interesting stuff
to do. So, I think we’ll report on each of the inductees and their best
moments and give our opinions on the live experience.

We
took our good ol’ San Jose VTA Lightrail system to SAP Center.
Beautiful day, as always, in downtown San Jose. Part of a beautiful
weekend.

LOTS
of Macho Man shirts. I wore mine. Macho Man Randy Savage means a lot to
me. I grew up watching him and loved his wrestling style and he (along
with Jake Roberts) are the constant my Mom and I share with
pro-wrestling. 
In any case, here’s a shot of SAP.
I
don’t know if this was a new rule that was added since the New Orleans
crowd at last year’s event were shouting things at the inductees, but
these signs were posted all over the place.
The
tickets we got for this event weren’t great. We were in the 4th row of
the upper deck, so we don’t have incredible pictures. We came for the
speeches.
Seriously.
This is how I watched the Red Carpet: on my phone, using The WWE
Network (FOR ONLY $9.99!!!). Because it’s much better than giving you
photos, using the digital zoom lens and high ISO on my camera in low
light:

I
was a bit confused as to why WWE doesn’t do the Red Carpet show from
another room and broadcast it on the Jumbotron for the guests to see
but, oh well.
It was kinda surreal, at one point…some guy showed up dressed just like Randy Savage…and I mean just like…he
had the build, the perfect beard, the grin…everything. Even the
lighting made it look like Savage was visiting his own tribute from
beyond the grave.

As far as the speeches, my thoughts are these…
RIKISHI
Along
with The Bushwhackers, I really didn’t think Rikishi was “of note”.
He’s more known for the idiotic “Stinkface” (which I’ve never liked;
it’s unwatchable and disgusting — even though WWE portrays it as a
major milestone in his career) than he is for winning titles.
Ironically, his induction was a pleasant surprise.
His
sons, The Usos, were selected to introduce and induct him, recalling
how their Dad evolved from a broke father who would breakdance in front
of the Cow Palace in Daly City for cash, into the guy he is today.
Rikishi’s speech was from the heart: genuine, full of love for his
family and the fans. He spoke of sacrifice, of not being home to raise
his sons and missing birthdays and other events — but that it paid off.
Earlier, The Usos mentioned that the Stinkface “put them through
college”. Rikishi would mention Umaga and salute the sky in a tribute to
him. He’d also pay tribute to his father and his late mother. Strangely
absent in his speech was Too Cool, who are, at least, partly
responsible for his big push in WWE.
All
in all, this was a beautiful speech capped off with Rikishi dancing
with his sons at the end. SAP Center clapped along and fun was had by
all.
LARRY ZBYSZKO
This
is more like it. Zbyszko was brought into the Hall of Fame by WWE
Legend Bruno Sammartino who recalled the first time he had ever met
Zbyszko: some teenager who wrestled for his high school and wanted to go
Pro like Sammartino.
Zbyszko
went into more detail: he described driving his car through Bruno’s
neighborhood and “felt compelled to stop” when he saw Sammartino tanning
out near his backyard swimming pool. He was blocked by a “wall of
hedges” — and proceeded to blast through them anyhow, scraping up his
face and body. He described it as a “rabbit hole” of sorts and said that
“Bruno was on the other side”. Instead of escorting the young kid out
the door, Bruno took him under his wing and the rest was history.
Zbyszko’s speech meanders a bit here and there and he loses his train of
thought more than once, stating that it’s ironic since he’s “known for
having a big mouth”. Ultimately, Zbyszko goes poetic with his speech,
saying he went through another rabbit hole tonight — through the
backstage curtain — and that, once again, Sammartino was waiting on the
other side. This time, Sammartino was ready “to show him the door” as
it was finally time to go. He talked of dreams and how his came true and
he finished by wishing for fans to never give up on theirs. A nice
speech, though it felt overlong.
ALUNDRA BLAYZE (AKA “Madusa”)
Inducted
by WWE Diva Natalya, Blayze’s speech was an absolute showstopper. She
credited Wahoo McDaniel, Sherri Martel, and Greg Valentine for her start
— but insists that she really wanted to be — and still could be — a
stuntwoman. In an emotional moment, she thanked her husband who, through
special circumstances, was able to get time off from his military
deployment. This lead to Blayze urging all fans in the SAP Center who
served their country, city or town as a solider, paramedic, police
officer, firefighter, and the like to rise so they could get recognized.
From my vantage point, there were about a dozen around our side of the
second deck but I know more were there.
Blayze
also got very playful, talking about the time she tossed the WWE Womens
Championship in the trash on WCW television — and subsequently
removing it from a trash can supplied by Nattie later in the speech. She
admitted having a crush on Steve Austin, warned Arn Anderson that she
would beat his ass — after thanking him, of course, and praised Paul
Heyman for being able to “rock a mullet, carry a huge phone and have a
mouth only a mother could love.” Then, she said she was the first “Paul
Heyman Girl”.
Blayze
also sung her own praises, bragging about winning the title and still
being champion, as well as being a champion monster truck racer. She
ended the speech by blowing a kiss and telling everyone “good night”. An
excellent speech that got the crowd at SAP extremely pumped. People
flew out of their seats for the standing ovation rather than reluctantly
getting up — and, believe me, that’s telling. 
CONNOR “THE CRUSHER” MICHALEK
This one was a mixed bag for me. 
It
started strange when Dana Warrior (wife of the late Warrior) started
the induction — then, for the next ten minutes, decided to thank the
list of people who helped her after Warrior passed away. Don’t get me
wrong, that’s nice and all…but this award was for Connor and this
speech should have been given when Dana was presented with her husband’s
statue at the first night at Axxess. It got to the point that some in
our section were starting to grumble and a couple said, “This belongs to
Connor, not Dana…”
Ultimately, Dana finally got around to speaking about Connor but, for me, the opening came across as largely self-serving.
Daniel
Bryan came out next and, in another odd moment, decided to declare that
“wrestling is all fake”, drawing a very visceral reaction from the
crowd who nearly booed him out of the building. The reason for the
phrasing was because every fan in the building was doing they “YES”
cheer upon Bryan’s arrival on-stage and he really was attempting to
avoid that since it wasn’t his moment — perhaps a slight jab at Dana. I
have no idea. His ultimate point was that Connor, and kids who suffer
like he does, have very real struggles, but the second false start made
things kinda awkward, since WWE’s big on the illusion of reality and
theatricality. In any case, Bryan turned things around and got the fans
behind (and chanting for) Connor, spinning stories about his time spent
with Connor. He said that, for a little boy under the threat of death,
Connor was so full of life.
Finally,
we got Connor’s father, Steve, to accept the honor. Steve looked
incredibly stressed out and sounded on the verge of tears the entire
speech and who could blame him? Who would want to be in his shoes,
giving a speech like that in front of thousands of people? He was brave
and powered through. But, I truly lost my shit when Connor’s little
brother came out to the stage with his Dad and said, “I love you,
Connor” into the mic.
THE BUSHWHACKERS
John
Laurinaitis inducted the two loveable goofballs from New Zealand,
telling stories of younger training days at the hands of Luke and Butch
— and ended up keeping them in check along the way.
This
was the surprise speech of the night — and very much needed after the
Warrior Award drained all the momentum and energy from the building.
Luke (left) and Butch (right) are very much like their characters: wild
and unhinged, but also good-natured and a riot. For the small block of
time, Luke and Butch recalled their early days, wrestling the likes of
Peter Maivia and hordes of Samoan wrestlers in their homeland of New
Zealand in some of the roughest, meanest, bloodiest matches in
pro-wrestling history. “We were doing ‘Hardcore’ before people knew what
‘Hardcore’ was!” proclaimed Butch, who was both confused and upset when
WWE brought them into the company — and wanted them to be “faces”
rather than heels. “I got on their desk on my hands and knees,” Butch
yelled. “[I made a face at them], and said, ‘How are you gonna make good
guys out of THESE heads?!” I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard
during a speech in my life. The whole thing made you smile from
beginning to end and made you realize that they belonged here.
TATSUMI FUJINAMI
Fujinami
was inducted by the great Ric Flair who talked up Fujinami’s legendary
toughness and inventiveness, saying that Japan pushes their athletes to
excel during their training regimens.
“I
fight because it is my mission,” Fujinami would say. “And, today, I
join the WWE Hall of Fame. It has been a challenge and an adventure.”
Fujinami thanked his wife and left the stage. Fujinami’s speech was
everything a speech should be: eloquent, humble, gracious and succinct. 
“MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE
Hulk
Hogan (who proclaimed himself “Randy’s good friend” about a half dozen
times) actually gave a pretty good lead-in here, telling stories of how
Savage used to push the people he worked with to be better. Hogan also
said that his father, Angelo, is the reason he wears Canary Yellow
tights in the ring: it makes him stand out among others. 
As
expected, Savage’s brother, Lanny Poffo, accepted the award on Savage’s
behalf, giving the best speech of the night. He was eloquent, charming
and perfect with no schmaltz. Lanny wrote two poems for this occasion
and had one of the best lines of night to finish off the first poem:
“With triumphant jubilation, we celebrate his name. Finally, the Macho
Man is IN THE HALL OF FAME!” He got serious and talked about the Macho
Man’s philanthropy with the Special Olympics and how he’d give away
personally-signed WWE merch to those athletes. He even cracked a few
jokes: “Randy loved the athletes of the Special Olympics like Mr. T
loves his mother!” Lanny delivered on a speech that, in my opinion, had
high expectations. He gave us the man that we all knew and loved.
There was only one thing that bugged me…
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
Savage needed to be last…and he wasn’t even second to last, which is insulting.
Anyhow, I’m
not impressed with Schwarzenegger. Triple H gave a nice lead-in induction…but who the
fuck cares about Schwarzenegger outside his movies? He didn’t make a difference or any real “contribution” to pro-wrestling except to use the audience to plug his movies. The dude was also a lousy
governor and I’m not the only one who thought so. The dude was booed
out of the building when mentioning his political career during his speech and a LOT of
people remained in their seats amongst the standing ovation he got. Even
his speech felt like a recycled political campaign speech, laced with
lines from his films, and completely unmemorable.
That’s really all I’ve got to say.
KEVIN NASH
The
last hour of this show was just Triple H giving his friends the stage.
Shawn Michaels did the induction, which was a treat and as eloquent and
as humorous as speeches come. 
Nash’s
speech was honest, dry and self-deprecating as he thanked other people
for booting him in the ass to get him to work and also admitted doing
all of this just for the money. Despite what I say, you can’t really
dislike Nash. He’s been in the business for over 25 years and he’s paid
his dues. I still wouldn’t have had him headline the Hall of Fame
this year as Savage is a hell of a lot more memorable than Nash ever
could be — but that’s my opinion.

If you wanna challenge that in the chat below, be my guest. I’ll just say this…I didn’t see anyone at the arena imitating Diesel.

Just sayin’…

Part 4 is coming…and that will cover WrestleMania 31…

WrestleMania Weekend 2015 – Day 1: WWE WrestleMania Axxess

There are some who would say that WWE is wrestling company in flux.
That,
despite the fact WWE has the support of the majority of wrestling fans,
there’s something relatively off about their biggest event of the year.

Brandon Stroud of Uproxx said it best:

“Remember last year with the whole “yes yes yes” thing? And the sick kid
in the front row, and all the confetti, and the … no? Aw okay.”
Yep. That’s where I think most people are, collectively.
Things
like this weekend, like Axxess, like events such as The WWE Hall of
Fame and the overall big event at Levi’s Stadium, they make you
momentarily forget about the fact that Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns
haven’t had any real chemistry leading up to the big show.
It
makes you forget that the annual, all-important-sounding Andre the
Giant Memorial Battle Royal has now been reduced to a pre-show throwaway
match — as if it matters anyhow. After being completely misused for
nearly a year, Cesaro is a co-champion, teaming with Tyson Kidd and his
wife who only seems to be relevant when she’s on NXT.
They make you forget that the two most interesting matches on the card feature three guys who are way beyond their prime.
They
make you forget that, after making a great, big deal out of Daniel
Bryan — only to see him vying for a title that’s become a punchline.
There’s a lot wrong with WWE right now. Nobody can deny that.
Events like the one tonight allow one’s inner mark come out to play. It’s an expo for wrestling nerds such as myself and others.
Let’s get to Day One of WrestleMania Weekend!
First,
I must say that, as a resident (and native) of the good ol’ Silicon
Valley, I was blown away at how easily the city has handled this event.
The event was scheduled to begin at 5 PM (PST) which, let’s face it,
means you usually need to get off of work early or else you’re sitting
in traffic thick as mud. However, imagine my surprise when I discovered
that getting in was fairly easy. Getting near the Convention Center,
surprisingly routine and simple. Parking only took a few minutes as
well.
Even
though I’ve followed wrestling since the mid-80’s, I’ve never been to a
single WWE event or pay-per-view. I was kinda nerve-wracked because
part of me was here for the pleasure of being here and the other part of
me knew this was “work”.
It’s
been really cool to witness the buzz around the area in the last week.
You see the ads for this thing all over the place. Our bus and lightrail
system is plastered with the event poster stuff, you can see the little
pole flags all over the downtown area, our local radio and TV personalities have been interviewing various WWE Superstars…it’s been exciting.

Once Danielle and I got into the San Jose Convention Center lobby, it felt like home.

 
They even had an incredible red carpet entrance complete with booming wrestler theme songs and flashing lights.
The side walls were adorned with giant posters of various Superstars, so we each chose one to take a photo with.
Danielle got Daniel Bryan while I chose to pose in front of the Sting poster (you can click on each to enlarge them if need be):
The inside is a wrestling fan’s dream. Large event posters decorated the entire hall:

And, yes, that’s the Elimination Chamber in the corner:
One
of the highlights of Axxess is interacting with the actual Superstars
of WWE. Originally, Danielle and I were going to buy VIP tickets which
would have entitled us to get signatures from the top stars like Roman
Reigns, Triple H, Daniel Byran and vets like Hulk Hogan, Sting and Rowdy
Roddy Piper. 
Honestly, meeting some of the younger, lower-tier stars was an unexpected pleasure.
What’s
more, meeting them was almost like a great customer service experience.
They seemed interested to meet you, greeting you with a smile instead
of just signing your paper and taking a picture with a face made of
granite.
Take “Rusev” for example:
Ok, first, let’s get this out of the way: dude should be a freakin’ linebacker. Dude’s not “from Russia”…he is
Russia. He’s just big. Gigantic. Wide freakin’ shoulders and barrel
chest. He always looked small on TV to me. Real life, it’s a different
story. 
We
didn’t get to meet him because Danielle and I went to meet Paige and a
couple of others instead and we missed our shot with him, but we saw him
walking around and he’s somebody you don’t want to meet in a dark
alley. He’s huge and menacing in real life — and we actually caught him
genuinely smiling and laughing with people. It was so strange to me
because, when we see these guys, you always think part of their
“character” must be derived from some part of them that’s buried deep
down. 
There
were two lines at each signing booth: the one for the regular general
admission ticket holders and the line for the disabled fans who used
canes, walkers and wheelchairs. Watching Rusev getting up, shaking
hands, kneeling down near a fan who was physically unable to get out
their chair and grinning from ear to ear really warmed my heart.
These guys love what they do. They love to entertain and they truly love their fans.
Danielle
wore her Paige shirt to the event and stopped at her booth to get a
photo and her shirt signed. I told her I was gonna go get some pictures
and see if I could grab a few words from some of the stars.
First, I stopped off to see Konnor and Viktor of “The Ascension” and got some pretty good shots:
I ended up getting my picture with them, which I actually didn’t plan to do but, when in Rome…
When
I got up there, I told them, “I have nothing for you guys to sign…I
just realized that.” Konnor (at the table on the right — who also
reminds me a lot of a cousin of mine) gave me a grin and said, “Dude, we
you covered! No worries!” Viktor nodded and said, “Here you go, bro…”
while signing a piece of paper for me and passing it to Konnor. I took
my pic with them, shook their hands and said, “Hey…Tag champs in the
future?” Konnor smiled and said, “You know it, man! You’ll see!” 
After this, I texted Danielle that I’d join her in line for Paige but that I needed to get some photos of the place.
Just outside of the Ascension signing spot was Triple H’s throne from WrestleMania XXX:
Scoped out Renee Young and Byron Saxton at the Smackdown desk:
 
Here’s a bit of a close-up:
On
my way back, I bumped into “Macho Sam” who you’ll remember from our
WrestleMania Pre-Party report. If not, here’s the photo we took of him
at that event:
This time around, I got a picture with him:
His
name is Sam Schmucker and, as it turns out, he’s a very kind Hawaiian
native with an affinity for cosplay. That’s par for the course at an
event such as this. Many fans come dressed in WWE merch or hold genuine,
gold-plated title belts — but Sam strives for accuracy. “I love
dressing as the Macho Man,” he says “But, now, it’s really special and
fitting since he’s being honored at this year’s Hall of Fame ceremony.”
After
doing the first go-round, I rejoined Danielle who was waiting in a
long, long line for Paige. I have to say that Paige is an absolute
blast. She’s down to earth and loves to bullshit. She treats every
single fan like a friend. She hugs, she flirts, she fucking swears. If
you flip her shit, she’ll hit you with the shovel you used to sling it.
She’s the ultimate badass Diva — and she’s sweet and unpretentious. Which is more than what I can say for a certain Diva who shows up less than Brock Lesnar.

She’s just too awesome. I can’t say enough good things about her. She even stayed a whole hour after her scheduled signing time because so many people wanted to see her. And what happened when her stage manager finally convinced her that she had to leave? Did she up and leave like Rusev and Jack Swagger?

Hell no.

She turned to everyone and said, “I have no choice…I need to go. I do
realize that I didn’t get to everyone…so, here’s the thing: I don’t
want to leave you all so I will go backwards through the line and gladly take a picture which each and every one of you — but only pictures. I can’t sign anything. Have your camera ready to go, yell my name and I will stop and take a picture with you.”

And she did it — still smiling and laughing with fans as she went. I didn’t get one, but Danielle did.

We
did score a nice bonus with being sixth-to-next in line: Rosa Mendes
was the next Superstar to be assigned the booth, so we got a nice pic
with her as well:
After
a quick food break at the concession stand, Danielle and I ventured
over to the NXT show that was going on. Turns out NXT was having a short
tournament to determine who is going to the pre-show Andre battle
royal.
 
It
was nice to see JoJo doing the ring announcer thing. Glad that she
wasn’t completely destroyed by the hellish suckage that is Total Divas.

We
watched Tyler Breeze take on Finn Balor, which was a lot of fun. If I
were WWE, I’d pull all of the guys featured into the majors.

The
tourney would eventually come down to Balor vs. Hideo Itami with Itami
coming out the victor, a nice moment capped off by Itami being
congratulated by Japanese wrestling legend, Tatsumi Fujinami. So, we’ll
see Itami at the Andre Battle Royal.
After
this, Danielle and I went to visit Adam Rose and Sin Cara. When we got
there, Danielle told Adam Rose that The Bunny needs to be put under
control. Without missing a beat, Rose said, “I’m so glad you said that!
I’ve told him that a million times! This is MY SHOW!” 
The
moment of the night came shortly after Itami’s win over Balor. Michael
Cole came to the ring (to a loud chorus of boos, MIGGAL!) and introduced
Triple H. Behind him was an object with a long, dark cover over it.
Beforehand, Cole reminded us all of the Ultimate Warrior induction into
last year’s Hall of Fame, which was followed by inexplicable tragedy the
very next day when he passed away. Cole said that they were here to pay
tribute to Warrior.
To the surprise of many, Cole introduced Triple H.

 
Triple
H would spend about the next five minutes gushing about Warrior and how
he was an inspiration to everyone. He touched upon their differences,
stating that he was glad that, with age, came wisdom. He was happy that
the two of them were able to discover that wisdom and maturity to patch
up their differences. 
Then he introduced Dana Warrior and her daughters.

 
Dana
received “WARRIOR” chants and started to visibly break down. She would
nearly lose it when Michael Cole and Triple H unveiled WWE’s tribute…a
Warrior sculpture.

Afterward,
Dana gave a speech, commending WWE for their care after Warrior’s
passing and, praised Triple H, himself, calling him, “This bad guy right
here.” Warrior thanked all the fans for the years of support and
promised that Warrior would live forever no matter what.

After
that, the Warrior Family paid tribute to Warrior by grabbing the top
rope and shaking it wildly while Warrior’s music pumped over the
speakers.

 
It was an incredible, moving moment.
After
this, Danielle and I made a stop at the WWE WrestleMania Museum which
featured the wardrobe and props used by various WWE Superstars and
personnel as well as historical photos, magazines and video. The
wardrobe for Warrior and Randy Savage, alone, were worth the
walkthrough.
First, was Warrior:

 
 

Luckily, we got to see the statue as they had just rolled it in.
Next was Savage.

Two things Danielle said here:
1) “Hogan has gigantic feet”

2) “Oh, look: he gets the entire set-up and Sting gets a dinky little cameo…figures…”

Wardrobe for The Bushwhackers, Ric Flair and Larry Zbyszko.
Rikishi and Harley Race were also represented.
And various memorabilia and props from several different WrestleManias…

Danielle even posed with a life-size Andre the Giant statue…

Danielle took a pic of me with fellow Italian, Bruno Sammartino…
We decided to go home after this…but ran into a signature booth we couldn’t pass up…Jake “The Snake” Roberts was signing…
 
I
DID feel terrible: I gushed over Jake, telling him how I watched him
when I was a kid and that my favorite storyline was when he feuded with
Rick Martel…and I barely paid attention to Ivory who was
sitting next to him. Poor woman even injected herself into the
conversation by saying, “That’s why we’re here…we jog your memory.”
She smiled sweetly and I said, “Yeah, you all do. Thank you, Ivory.” 
Jake
shrugged and said to her, “Yeah…or we completely lose our memories
and struggle to remember this stuff because we’re ancient!” Both of them
laughed and asked if I wanted a photo…to which I said, “Hell, yes!”
I
have to say that both of them have aged well. Danielle got a photo,
too. She met Ivory and told her she was beautiful, then told Jake that
he was proud of him for everything he’s done in his career — especially
outside the ring. (A reference, of course, to overcoming his addiction
issues.) She said that he was an inspiration to so many people,
including herself. He thanked her and she got a photo.
And,
so, that was Day 1. Tonight, it’s back to Axxess for more fun, followed
by the Hall of Fame on Saturday, WrestleMania at Levi’s on Sunday and
RAW on Monday…
‘Til then…er…that’s it.

Destination America Expands Weekend Wrestling Lineup With Addition of TNA WRESTLING’S GREATEST MATCHES

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    December 22, 2014  
DESTINATION AMERICA EXPANDS WEEKEND WRESTLING LINEUP WITH ADDITION OF TNA WRESTLING’S GREATEST MATCHES     (Silver Spring, Md.) – Destination America today announced it is adding TNA WRESTLING’S GREATEST MATCHES to its weekend lineup of wrestling programming. An hour-long show, GREATEST MATCHES presents the most remarkable and unforgettable contests of iconic TNA superstars such as Kurt Angle, Sting, Jeff Hardy, Mr. Anderson, Samoa Joe and AJ Styles. TNA Wrestling’s Greatest Matches debuts with a three episode mini-marathon on Saturday, January 10 beginning at 10 AM ET followed by two new additional premieres on Friday January 16 at 9AM. TNA WRESTLING’S GREATEST MATCHES will continue to premiere in its regular time slot starting January 17 on Saturdays at 12PM.   “We joined forces with TNA because of their rich history with wrestling and have compiled an incredible anthology of TNA WRESTLING’S GREATEST MATCHES to share with our audience,” said Marc Etkind, general manager of Destination America. “We’re bringing fans and viewers together as we celebrate the wildest, the most intense, and the most jaw-dropping moments in the careers of some of the best professional wrestlers in the world with TNA WRESTLING’S GREATEST MATCHES.”   “The legacy of TNA is best celebrated by looking at the amazing moments created by our iconic wrestlers in their finest matches,” said TNA president Dixie Carter. “It’s why we are so thrilled to bring TNA WRESTLING’S GREATEST MATCHES to the ever-growing lineup on Destination America, the new home for fans looking for professional wrestling at its best.”   With a special LIVE broadcast, IMPACT WRESTLING debuts on Destination America on Wednesday, January 7 from 9-11 PM ET, televised from New York City’s legendary Manhattan Center. IMPACT WRESTLING moves to its regular time slot on Fridays from 9-11 PM ET beginning January 16 on Destination America. IMPACT WRESTLING: UNLOCKED, with announcer Mike Tenay, will kick off Saturday wrestling with premieres in its permanent (again, regular) time slot on Saturdays from 10 AM-12 PM ET followed by brand-new episodes of TNA WRESTLING’S GREATEST MATCHES at 12PM.     January Airings of TNA Wrestling’s Greatest Matches include: Saturday, January 10 ·         10 AM ET: Best of Sting ·         11 AM ET: Best of Kurt Angle ·         12 PM ET: Best of Kurt Angle Part 2   Friday, January 16 ·         9 AM ET: Best of Ron Van Dam ·         10 AM ET: Best of Mr. Anderson Saturday, January 17 at 12 PM ET: Best of Jeff Hardy   Friday, January 23 at 1 PM ET: Best of The Knockouts   Saturday, January 24 at 12 PM ET: Best of Samoa Joe   Saturday, January 31 at 12 PM ET: Best of Bully Ray     About Destination America Destination America is the only network to celebrate the people, places, and stories of the United States. The inclusive network targeting Adults 25-54 is available in more than 57 million homes, emblazoning television screens with the grit and tenacity, honesty and work ethic, humor and adventurousness that characterize our nation. Destination America features travel, food, adventure, home, and natural history, with original series like BBQ Pitmasters; A Haunting; Mountain Monsters; Buying Alaska; Buying the Bayou; and Railroad Alaska. For more information, please visit DestinationAmerica.com, facebook.com/DestinationAmerica, or twitter.com/DestAmerica. Destination America is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s #1 pay-TV provider reaching nearly 3 billion cumulative subscribers in 220 countries and territories.   About TNA Entertainment, LLC TNA Entertainment, LLC, is a privately held sports entertainment company represented by United Talent Agency and based in Nashville, Tenn., specializing in events, products, numerous TV properties, merchandise and music, as well as the management and promotion of professional wrestlers.  The roster features such greats as Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, MVP, Lashley, Magnus, James Storm, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Gail Kim and the lovely and lethal Knockouts, through its highly successful flagship IMPACT WRESTLING weekly broadcast, which will begin airing on Discovery Communications’ Destination America in January 2015. The product is the world’s most innovative experience in professional wrestling and is broadcast in more than 120 countries.  For more information, please visit www.IMPACTWRESTLING.com.     # # #   Please visit the Press Website at press.discovery.com/us/da/programs/impact-wrestling for additional press materials Follow us on Twitter at @DestAmerica Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/DestinationAmerica Visit us online at DestinationAmerica.com   Follow TNA President Dixie Carter @TNADixie Follow IMPACT WRESTLING @IMPACTWRESTLING    

Daily Network Thread – Weekend Edition – 5/3/14

The Network live stream schedule for today:

12:00 PM ET – Wrestlemania Rewind – The Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather at Wrestlemania XXIV.

1:00 PM ET – Best of Smackdown – 4/27/00 – Steve Austin blows up the DX Express.

2:30 PM ET – This Week in WWE – Highlights of the past week.

3:00 PM ET – Best of Hall of Fame – 4/22/14 – Hulk Hogan/Bobby Heenan/Trish Stratus.

4:00 PM ET – Spring Stampede ’99 – 4/10/99 – Ric Flair vs. Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting vs. DDP for the WCW Championship.

7:00 PM ET – Legends of Wrestling – 11/30/06 – The careers of The Iron Sheik and Andre the Giant.

8:00 PM ET – Beyond the Ring – Batista: I Walk Alone.

9:30 PM ET – Legends’ House – 4/30/14 – “Striking Out” – A bowling competition; the Legends film a commercial.

10:30 PM ET – This Week in WWE – Highlights of the past week.

11:00 PM ET – Beyond the Ring – Batista: I Walk Alone.

Recommended viewing: I was going to suggest WCW’s Mayhem ’99, but thought better of it. Then I thought New Blood Rising, as I was really hoping to suggest something PASSABLE from the Vince Russo WCW era. Then I thought “What the hell, newer viewers NEED the history lesson.” So go watch WCW Mayhem ’99 and then New Blood Rising. It is required viewing for anyone who wants to witness desperation.

Also, I think there’s some sports today.

Daily Network Thread – Weekend Edition 4/26/14

The weekend edition means talk about what’s on the Network, talk about baseball, basketball, hockey, farming, scuba diving, gastronomy or the medical condition that’s slightly embarassing.

The Network highlights today are: Best of Smackdown from 2/1/01 at 1:00 PM ET which features a triple threat match between then WWF champ Kurt Angle, The Rock and Triple H; Best of Hall of Fame marathon beginning at 4:00 PM ET, and then Beyond the Ring at 8:00 PM ET which features You Think You Know Me: The Story of Edge.

Daily Network Thread – Weekend Edition – 4/19/14

The Network live stream schedule for today:

11:00 AM ET – Wrestlemania Rewind – Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania XIX.
12:00 PM ET – Warrior Week, Part 1 – Warrior’s Greatest Matches.
1:00 PM ET – Warrior Week, Part 2 – Wrestlemania Rewind: Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI.
2:00 PM ET – Warrior Week, Part 3 – Warrior: The Ultimate Legend.
3:00 PM ET – Warrior Week, Part 4 – Legends of Wrestlemania: Warrior.
4:00 PM ET – Wrestlemania XXX Fallout Part 1- Reliving John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt, followed by a press conference.
5:00 PM ET – Wrestlemania XXX Fallout Part 2 – Reliving The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, followed by an interview with Paul Heyman.
6:00 PM ET – Wrestlemania XXX Fallout Part 3 – Relive three more matches and then watch the press conference.
7:00 PM ET – Wrestlemania XXX Fallout Part 4 – You get the idea by now.
8:00 PM ET – Journey to Wrestlemania XXX: Daniel Bryan.
9:00 PM ET – Beyond the Ring – NWO: The Revolution.
10:00 PM ET – Legends’ House – Replay of the premiere episode.
11:00 PM ET – Journey to Wrestlemania XXX: Daniel Bryan.

The live stream usually has at least one or two interesting shows, but if you haven’t seen Warrior: The Ultimate Legend, then I recommend that you do. Meanwhile…..Baseball! NBA playoffs with daytime games like Brooklyn vs. Toronto and Golden State vs. the LA Clippers. The NHL playoffs continue with Chicago vs. St. Louis.

Hello! Wrestlemania weekend DVD plug!

Greetings Scott.

We're a Quebec-based indy wrestling group running for six years now, and we're trying to generate a little business with a Wrestlemania weekend sale and a plug sure would be appreciated if this reaches you in time. Thanks!
Some of our regulars have been Kevin Steen, Franky The Mobster (Maffew is a huge fan), Super Smash Bros and many from the Montreal area. Plus a lot of our Quebec talent is worth checking out! 
From April 4th to April 7th you will have the chance to buy 3 dvd and get 1 for free There will be a 5$ international shipping cost !!! Buy 3 DVD and get 1 free for 35$ !!! http://nspw-wrestling.com/html/boutique.html
All the info you need is up there.
Thanks!