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The Savage Animal 12.25.13 R/P/S #3: X-Mas Crap
Posted by Mikey MiGo on 12.25.2013

"Wrestling Retirement Wish List 2014": This idea has been copied a few times. Last year around the same time I wrote a column discussing who I wished would retire in 2013. Of course, this is professional wrestling. Most wrestlers have to die or get critically injured to step away from the ring. So that said NO ONE on my list retired. No one! It's not like I listed a ton of young people or just listed wrestlers I don't like. Look for yourself!

I wanted to do the same thing this year. I'm sure you'll see this topic pop up again, but this is my take on it. I've been watching professional wrestling my entire life. My very first memory in life involves being 2 or 3 and watching Hulk Hogan on WWF Saturday Night Main Event, I was IN the wrestling business from 2000ish to 2004ish, I will be back in the wrestling business before too long (sorta), and it's a HUGE passion. It's not a hobby or something I started watching in 2002 because someone at school said the Hardys were cool. This shit is in my blood.

I mean no harm by any my picks. I want people to wrestle for as long as they feel they can and want to, but some people feel a little redundant or they're slipping in their old age. I want everyone to make their money and live long happy lives…. Just not on my TV or in a ring nearby at a local show.

Just Missing The Cut] The Rock, R-Truth, Marty Jannetty, The Honky Tonk Man
The Rock should retire. If he can't stick around then he shouldn't keep popping back up and distrupting things. I'd love for him to have ONE MORE MATCH, but it would have to be against someone younger and fresher in order to really pass the torch and give someone the rub. R-Truth seems to be redundant these days. His wrestling style is boring and he hasn't done anything cool since smoking cigarettes on RAW a few years back. Then Marty Jannetty and Honky Tonk Man should just retire. I know there are other old guys still working the independent circuit, but these two stand out as two that should retire. I've heard nothing but good things about Jannetty as a person, but he has to be getting up there. Honky Tonk is even older. I can't imagine him being all that great in the ring these days. He'd be a good manager for someone in WWE or TNA, but he just seems like a dick. I hope I'm wrong, but the evidence seems unlikely.

10.] Kane
Kane probably has some life left in him, but he shouldn't stick around too long. I think most people respect the man and appreciate what he has done. I don't want to be watching him and have to think "oh that was a nice spot for an old guy!" I'd like to see him get out before he gets too slow. One final monster heel run against a Daniel Bryan would be cool with me though.

9.] The Hardys
I don't think I need to get into this one. These two are just dysfunctional. Jeff has his drug issues, Matt had his and they just seem to consistently disappoint people. Jeff got his shit together a bit for TNA in recent months, but it's only a matter of time. I'd like to see these two dudes have a good ending to their runs than a tragic one.

8.] Kurt Angle
Kurt has been in and out of rehab and his problems are apparent. If you look at a match of his from like 2000 and compare it to 2005 the difference is crazy. The difference between 2005 and 2012 is depressing. He looks so depleted and weird. I don't want to see that.

7.] Christian
I don't get this one. Christian was AWESOME when he was doing "The Peeps" thing. He was so over as Captain Charisma, but then he went to TNA and everything that was good about him disappeared. His matches started to become blurs of boredom. He just lost all of his mojo. He keeps getting hurt. It might be best for him to retire or at least consider doing a lighter indie run. He'd be perfect for ROH.

6.] The Kliq
Shawn Michaels retired and I'm SO happy that he has stuck to it. If he ever came back and wrestled I think I'd be a little heart broken. He's my favorite of all time so I'd like to remember him as the best ever than an old guy getting pity bumps from guys half his age. Then Kevin Nash and Scott Hall should retire. Both are awesome and charismatic. They'd easily find work as actors. Hall could even train or something else. I just don't want to hear about him going back on the road and getting back into his old habits. The same can be said for Sean Waltman. He is a legit great dude, but I'd rather see him do something safe and not have a tragic finish. All of these guys should hang it up. Then there's Triple H. Triple H should not wrestle anymore. In fact, I'd be happy if he wasn't on TV at all. He has been overvalued for years. He ruins my wrestling experience more consistently than anyone else. Not even in a "boo! He's bad!" way. In a "I'm not going to buy this PPV or watch RAW anymore" kind of way.

5.] Rey Mysterio
Rey-Rey gets hurt too much. He's still popular and will be a Hall of Famer for sure, but I don't know what more he can contribute to the WWE outside of maybe being a Tag Team wrestler or something. No one wants that.

4.] The Great Khali
The man can barely walk. When he comes to the ring I cringe. His matches are the worst matches of all time. I'm serious. I can't think of any full-time long-time wrestler to have matches as painfully bad as him. He's way too limited as it is, but then his lack of mobility only makes it worse.

3.] Sting
Sting being in TNA is sad. He's better than that. At his age, he should be getting bigger reactions from bigger crowds. He should have gone to the WWE when they wanted him. Now he should just retire. I'd like to see him have one big match in the WWE, but at this point I don't think it would even matter. It would just be a slow and boring match with an old man with too much make up and a tee shirt. That is NOT the man I met in 1989 at the Omni in Atlanta.

2.] Undertaker
The fact that he shows up just for one match a year is crap. I don't give a shit what anyone says. I want the Undertaker to retire and I want him to LOSE AT WRESTLEMANIA! Records are made to be broken. Going undefeated will do nothing for wrestling's future. They'll be able to bring it up when he makes his legend appearances. They'll bring it up for the Hall of Fame stuff. They'll put out some merch and memorabilia with it listed on it… but then what? Why not give someone the ultimate "rub" and help carry the legacy forward. Think about the guy who beats Taker at Mania. They'll get YEARS of bragging rights out of being the person to beat Taker, plus their credibility rises to a crazy level. If Taker doesn't retire at WrestleMania 30, I might have to start disliking him.

1.] Jerry Lawler
Jerry Lawler should have been a commissioner or a GM from the start. He is one of the most engaging performers in wrestling history. He knows the business, he has a great personality, and he can get the fans to react however he wants. For some reason he was stuck behind the commentators table though. I've never liked his commentary work. It's too lame, too perverse, too cheesy, and pretty lame… even for wrestling standards! I'd like to see him take on the GM role or something like that, but no more commentary. Enough is enough. With Ross officially retiring it's time for Jerry to head out too. I'm not even going to talk about his wrestling. He should have stopped that years ago. Regardless of what he does, he's still "The King".

Who do YOU think should retire in 2014?

R/P/S #3: X-Mas Crap
Rock, Paper Scissors…
There have been tons of great stories in the history of music. There are facts that we've all seen and experienced, but there's also the folklore. Those are the fun stories. The stories about Zeppelin, a mother and a daughter… and a fish are out there. People have heard the party stories of Motely Crue on Sunset. The old Van Halen "no green M&M" rider demands is out there. There are literally an infinite amount of these little stories, some are crazy, some are depressing, and some are just silly.

Are they true? Does it matter? Who really knows besides the people who lived through it. That's not the point. The point today is to take a look at some of the more recent-ish myths of music. While the days of crazy groupies, drunken rages, and screaming "I'm a golden God" from a roof-top might be dwindling down thanks to social media, TMZ, and loose lips…. The legends are still out there.

Today I'm going to put the modern myths of music to the test by using my own patented "Rock, Paper, Scissors" grading system! It's easy. It's "this rocks", "it looks good on paper!", and of course everyone's favorite, "it makes me want to stab my ear holes with scissors!" It's all subjective and my personal opinion. Please feel free to share your own thoughts using my awesome "Rock", "Paper", "Scissors" grading scale where we don't grade on a curve, we grade on an urge!

Randomness #1: "The Band: Sleigh Bells"

This is a newish noise pop band out of New York. They're still a bit fresh on "the scene", but have made a name for themselves pretty quickly. You can hear their music in random places like television, commercials, and movies but if you've been anywhere close to a radio tuned into coolness then you've heard this duo and all of their glory. While a lot of people and bands have a certain hipster friendly look and sound, Sleigh Bells seems to be doing their own thing on all accounts. Their music is definitely an interesting sound and easy to appreciate. I'm going to do you a favor now and if you haven't heard of this band, go listen to them right now. Then you can proceed to tell people that you were into the band Sleigh Bells BEFORE they got all crazy popular. It's only a matter of time. This kind of talent and energy can't be contained by any "underground" or "scene".
1…2…3: ROCK

Randomness #2: "UK Christmas Singles"

This is a big reason why America fled Europe and had to start America the country. I read this in a book so it's 100% accurate truth. In the UK they have a long running tradition going back to one of the Henry kings where it's a big deal to be the number one song at Christmas. In reality, it seems to go back to the 50's. The idea being that since the record sales peak at Christmas it's a big deal to be the number one album at the time. Sometimes it's a charity single, sometimes a novelty song, and often it's a popular musician throwing a Christmas single out there for the fans to eat up. The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Queen, Michael Jackson, Spice Girls, and Rage Against The Machine are just a few of the many names I don't recognize on the list. There are a lot of pop stars in the UK that just never crossed over. Yet… they're a big deal enough to be the number one on the UK Christmas chart? That doesn't do much for anyone's credibility. Yeeesh. Way to ruin it.

Randomness #3: "Christmas Songs Are Kinda Creepy"

I'm glad Christmas music is only legal during the holidays. By that I don't mean it's illegal by law to listen to this music during "off months", but it's socially illegal for sure. No one should ever be listening to Christmas music all year long. I'm not a Grinch or anything. Far from it. The reason I want Christmas music banned is because it's just flat out creepy. It's not creepy in the fun pulpy kind of Alice Cooper – Marilyn Manson kind of way. I'm talking unsettling, goose bumps, and uncomfortable moments. Christmas music is creepy. The creepy and overly dramatic choirs singing about babies, twelve days of very specific shopping, and whatever the hell those songs in "Nutcracker" are about. It's creepy Church-like music that would fit into any scary vampire movie. "Away in the manger"? "Silent Night"? "The Little Drummer Boy"? "O Holy Night"? "O Come, All Ye Faithful"? Tell me those songs aren't a bit haunting and creepy when you get the right person being all emotional to one of these snow and methodical ear murderers.

Randomness #4: "Bowie and Bing"

When I think about Christmas music, I'd like for this to be the first thing to come to mind. Sadly, creepy Christmas music haunts me. I am a HUGE fan of David Bowie. His musical influence on modern rock is apparent and will always have an impact. Bowie is just timeless art that you absorb and reabsorb taking something new and meaningful every listen in every era of your life. The song "Changes" has had so many different meanings to be over the years that I'm sure I could listen to it right now and get a whole new vibe from it. To me, that is what makes great art. It's not just some kind of artistic medium you appreciate, but you keep re-appreciating it. This Christmas song with Bing Crosby is another example of that. Bing is one of the most wholesome and nicest figures of all time. He is responsible for some of the best, non-creepy, Christmas music ever released. On this 1977 Christmas special, the theme was Bing visiting England during the holidays. One of the segments included the 70-something Bing hanging out with 30 year old Bowie. They wanted Bowie to just show up and sing "Little Drummer Boy" with Bing. Bowie wasn't too into the idea so at the last minute the extra mini-song one-verse portion "Peace on Earth" was written. Bowie liked it and sung it with Bing with less than one hour of rehearsal. This still has to go down as one of the most surreal moments in music history.
1…2…3: ROCK

Randomness #5: "Overly Emotional Sitcom Moments"
Not all televised holiday programming is bad, but it's the sitcoms that cross the line the most. I am a sitcom nerd. I've seen a lot of bad TV in my life and I pretty much embrace it. They say that it'll "rot your brain", but there are much more unpleasant ways to rot your brain than bad jokes and a laugh track. You just get sucked in and it becomes part of the TV part of your brain. We all know Cosby, The Simpsons, Cheers, Fresh Prince, etc. The thing about sitcoms is when they get EXTRA cheesy it's really painful. This normally happens around the Christmas episode. They go for the awe-shucks-twinkle-eyed moment of the quiet girl singing "Hark the Angel" to an amazingly heart-warming reception. How many sitcoms ripped off and go with the ol' "Scrooge" three ghosts storyline? How many meet a poor family they can learn a lesson from and give charity to? These are all fine examples, but it's just out of the element of these shows. Sitcoms really build expectations for holidays to people who most likely shouldn't have those expectations built up. My main issue is the "rerun-ablity" of these shows. When a random marathon of Fresh Prince is on, the stupid Christmas stuff will pop up in there. When watching Saved by the Bell, the weird poor mall family episode will pop up. Same with Boy Meets World and Full House.

Randomness #6: "What Would Santa Listen To? Discuss."

What would Santa Claus listen to? I'm not saying to list what your parents listen to, but the actual mythical man that is Santa Claus. That dude cannot seriously being listening to Christmas music all year long. That's a ridiculous thing to even consider. Even if he loves the music, I'd like to assume he's a fan of more than the one genre. The elves would be dropping from suicide faster than the Apple product factory workers. So in my perfect world, Santa Claus listens to classic rock. In my brain he's a more productive and cheerful version of "The Dude". This means he hates The Eagles and cranks C.C.R. while smoking a candy cane in his sleigh. This discussion seems interesting until you realize that Santa would most likely listen to crap like Jimmy Buffet. It's just as easy to imagine Mr. Claus sitting back and drinking a margarita and being one of those old creepy people who snark out "It's five o'clock somewhere" as they drink their old people drink from some kind of fruit. I'm not a jerk though. These people have most likely worked hard and didn't get a chance to experience enough fun in their youth to know how to have un-lame fun as older people. Maybe they didn't have anyone cool in their lives to influence them into liking good stuff. It's almost like a learning disability, but rather a "listening disability". Sorry, I didn't mean to get on that rant there. But yeah, this discussion topic is good in theory, but accepting the results isn't fun.
1…2…3: PAPER

What is music related randomness is on YOUR Christmas brain?

"Mike Goodpaster's Unpaid Programming"

"The Iceman"

I didn't know what I was getting into when I started this movie. I just knew the cast was cool so I figured it was worth a shot. It paid off big time! Michael Shannon was a bad ass. I've become a fan of his over the years. He was awesome in Bug and he is amazing in Boardwalk Empire. Like those roles, he brought the A-game to this movie. He plays Richard Kuklinski, a man who made his living as a henchman for the mafia. He kept it from his wife, played by Winona Ryder, and his kids. The kids were great and Ryder was stunning. She doesn't get the credit she deserves. She's always in interesting roles and does her part well. She could very well be my all-time favorite actress now that I think about it. The rest of the cast kicked ass too. There were a lot of awesome people in this with odd appearances like Stephen Dorff, James Franco, and David Schwimmer. Franco had a small, but crazy part and Schwimmer in this role is just bonkers. I'd have never imagined him in a role like that. He stepped in and rocked though. I'd like to see him do more characters like this. Then we had the awesome Ray Liotta. The man is just made for movies like this and this movie is an example why it's so easy to say that. Then there was Captain America… Chris Evans!Chris Evans was great as Robert 'Mr. Freezy' Pronge! I'm a big fan of his as well. He's one of the most underrated actors out there. It was great to see him in a crazier and grittier role like this. Overall the cast was just stellar, but Michael Shannon was ridiculous. He just played the perfect thug. He was genuinely intimidating and was just batshit crazy. Come award season he should be nominated for best actor. He was that good. The movie has good pacing, looks dauntingly old school, and a damn good cast. This movie needs to be seen by everyone. Michael Shannon's performance is must see. A

"Worst Case Scenario" is a new take on the concept of "fantasy booking". For years professional wrestling fans would spend endless hours of thinking up the coolest things that could happen. Why waste the energy? This only leads to high expectations. "Worst Case Scenario" flips that. Instead of looking through rose colored glasses, let's take a bi-weekly look at the worst possible scenarios in professional wrestling. I'm not going to be malicious or anything too mean, but I will not refrain from letting my brain come up with the worst possible shit I can. Sadly, it seems the writers and producers of mainstream TV wrestling and the mainstream iPPV level indies are doing the same thing but charging us for it. And now…

"The 4 Horsemen Return!"

The Four Horsemen is one of the best and most respected wrestling stables of all time. We can't deny this. The lineage is as impressive as any group of all time. People will often cite the nWo, DX, or even the Hart Foundation as their favorite stable of all time. You can have your favorites all day, but when we talk about the BEST there is no other.

We had Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, Tully, Lex, Mongo, Pillman, and pretty much an all-star lineup. Flair was one constant in the group and Arn was always around too. This crew would run shop on NWA and WCW for years. They were dominate, they were classy, and they were the cream of the crop coming together to join in beat downs, ladies, partying, and of course holding up those four magic fingers.
When you saw those four fingers raised in the air, you knew shit was about to get real. That bad ass horse grunt into one of the coolest theme songs ever… then bam! There they were.

Others have tried to recapture this kind of glory, but failed. The Evolution, The Millionaires Club, the Legacy, and others have tried to put together their own dominate classy heel group. They've all had their own successes, but no one came close to the impact of the Horsemen. Outside of DX and nWo, I'd have a hard time thinking of anyone who was even at their level.

The WWE owns everything. Even you! This means they most likely own the name and branding that goes a long with being a Horseman.
They're out of ideas and have a roster of people not being used. This is where it all comes back… but of course it'd suck.

The WWE seems to have issues with Ric Flair. So off the bat, we're going to use this whole situation to kind of stick it to the ol' Nature Boy and company. Hell, despite the fact Arn Anderson is in the back he too will not be involved. Instead, it goes like this.

On a random RAW, a man shows up in the front row. We don't focus on him, but he's obviously a presence. The camera scrolls by him and he raises the four fingers. Instantly the smarks realize it's JJ Dillon, the Horsemen's manager of old. He is pointed out and for some reason keeps showing up. It's obvious here's there for something. He has run-ins with talent where he holds up the four fingers and then turns them down and leaves.

Finally someone like CM Punk is beating a Health Slater in a squash match. Punk confronts Dillon. Dillon holds up the four, Punk smirks and holds it up too. The crowd goes nuts. Dillon turns it down and then out of nowhere Heath Slater hits Punk from behind with a kendo stick!

From there JJ Dillon manages Heath Slater, who starts to dress more glam rock. Noticeably, he wears a rock star robe of some sorts. He leaves the 3 Man Band. He talks about how he went from being a One Man Band to a 3 Man Band to the leader of the NEW 4 Horsemen. He's the best counter in the business!

He would eventually be joined by his own enforcer… BO DALLAS! Bo Dallas would take on the role of Arn Anderson in this crew. To fill it out, Tons of Funk get repackaged as evil heels. I imagine what it would be like to see Cedric the Entertainer as a heel, colorful suits and all…

So The NEW 4 Horsemen is "Nature Boy" Heath Slater, "The Enforcer" Bo Dallas, "King Reptar" Brodus Clay, and "Sweet T" Albert Tensi… managed by JJ Dillon.

Print the money!

"August: Osage County"

This movie seems like it HAS to be good. It might not being a movie that I'm going to rush out to see, but when you put Meryl Streep in front of a camera you should just about always expect magic. You can bet your ass this movie will be one of those Oscar movies come award season. The fact that Julie Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, and other awesome people are in this make it even more appealing. It's a drama. There's a drunk poet, a women addicted to drugs with cancer, and we come into their story just as everything is turned on its head. It sounds like a bouncy rich people drama that Streep racks up the awards by being in. It's not Woody Allen, but I'm sure it'll try to be. I'm sure it'll be good, but you can bet your ass it's going to be praised by critics. It has to be. Mark my words.

That's all for now! That's all for 2013. By the time the next Savage Animal drops it'll be 1/1/14. That's crazy to think about if you're somewhat old. When you're alive in the 1900's, it's crazy to think dates like 2014 will ever happen. It just always seemed so "futuristic" and "beyond". Turns out, it's not. It's just 2014. A simple number to measure and organize some time we pretend matters. It's not the years, days, or minutes. I guess in my lame way, I'm saying it's how you use them. Next week I start of the fresh year by looking back at 2013 one last time. I'm going to nit-pick some random shit and decide what would go in a time capsule for 2013 if in fact we were in 1994 when time capsules actually existed. The description makes just as much sense as my rambles. Have a safe, happy, and relaxing holiday. We got a lot to do in 2014. Until next time… Have a Great Week!


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