Thursday Sports Entertainment News Report 11.15.12
Posted by Sean Kelly on 11.15.2012
Wherein we discuss Independent Contractors, Jack Thwagger, Heyman's heart attack, Miz's face turn and more! Plus, read CM Punk's Forward for Marvel's Avengers vs. X-Men!
Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Thursday Sports Entertainment! Well, it's official. Sean Kelly is going to WrestleMania! Despite getting to the pre-sale 10 minutes late, I was able to snag some pretty good (and really expensive) tickets. Section 2, 10th row. The funniest part is that I was originally planning to take my wife, but after she found out that she'll be outdoors in 40 degree weather for 4 hours, she didn't want to go. So now I have this extra WrestleMania ticket that I have to figure out what to do with. My first inclination is to take Awesome Ladybug Girl, but I don't think I'll get clearance because, well, she'll be outdoors in 40 degree weather for four hours on a school night. Maybe we'll see how she does at TLC.
Here's my thoughts on the ticket. It's a $900 ticket. While I could sell it, I don't want to go to WrestleMania by myself. I could ask someone in my family or a friend, but I wouldn't expect them to pay. In this case, money isn't the issue, it's that I would rather take someone who's passionate about wrestling, who'd really appreciate being there, and who wouldn't be asking a million questions. How would you approach such a situation, dear reader?
Let's see what you had to say last week:
You do know that's not actually the Iron Sheik right? Just because it's verified doesn't mean its him. The content is written by The Magen Boys who are trying to make capital out of a drug addicted old man. I found it funny as well until I read up on it.
Mike – Dudley
Noooooo! Don't ruin it for me!
Actually, I've always suspected that it wasn't Sheikie Baby himself tweeting. Do you really think the Iron Sheik knows how to work a computer or smartphone? I've always been optimistic and thought it was, at least, an assistant or relative that tweeted some of the crazy stuff he says, kind of akin to the "Shit my Dad Says" twitter feed.
I think if wrestlers had insurance(and a legit chance to get better), they might not get to the point wher they need some of the painkillers and/or rehab in the first place.
I dunno about that. Ever hear of the Freelancer's Union? I don't know anyone who's a part of it, but the concept is that freelancers/independent contractors band together to get insurance at a group rate. The idea sounds neat – anyone reading ever have experience with the Freelancer's Union? It's something that up-and-coming wrestlers should at least look into.
And yeah, it's total bullshit that WWE classifies their talent as independent contractors. I'm no lawyer, I'm no employment expert, all I am is an idiot who can look stuff up online. And that's exactly what I did. According to the IRS, independent contractors are:
"People such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, accountants, contractors, subcontractors, public stenographers, or auctioneers who are in an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the general public are generally independent contractors. However, whether these people are independent contractors or employees depends on the facts in each case. The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. The earnings of a person who is working as an independent contractor are subject to Self-Employment Tax."
The emphasis above was added by me. So your neighborhood plumber is an independent contractor. Let's say his name is Louie. You give Louie a call and ask him to come over and do a big job for you. You agree that he'll work 4 days a week over the course of 3 months to do a specific job with a specific result in mind. Let's say he's installing central air conditioning for you in a series of apartment buildings.
Okay, that's good. Now, since Louie is an independent contractor, do you feel you'd have the right to tell him to dress in business casual during the days he's working for you? What if you made Louie attend meetings where you strongly encouraged him to tweet statements supporting you, and gave him warning that if he tweeted something you didn't like he'd be punished? What if you told Louie he couldn't smoke a joint on his days off? Or that he couldn't work on other buildings while under your employ, even if it were on his days off?
You see where I am going with this. It certainly seems to me, by the "general rule" put forth by the IRS, that your favorite Sports Entertainers are employees, not general contractors. Granted, I'm sure there are a bunch of archaic loopholes and court cases that may prove otherwise, but on the surface, it sure seems like calling wrestlers independent contractors is a bunch of bullshit.
So what's Curt Hawkins to do? Forming a union could be an answer, but while that raises the floor in how wrestlers are treated, it would also probably lower the ceiling for the top guys. Do you think Punk, Orton, Big Show, etc. would be willing to give up their luxury tour buses in exchange for better treatment of the lower guys? Perhaps, but I doubt it. Besides, if Jesse Ventura couldn't get it done, no one can!
Okay, enough union talk. Onto the news!
WORLD (WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT) NEWS TONIGHT
Jack Swagger, who is currently off television, was sporting a new look over the weekend at his WWE house show appearances in Europe. Swagger now has long, slicked back hair. He's now expected to be repackaged and brought back later this year with a strong push. Swagger beat Ted DiBiase at the live event last night in Lisbon, Portugal.
I hope his gimmick is "The Thenthational thtatethman Jack Thwagger!" Why the WWE would give that man anything with an ‘s' in the name is beyond me. Cody Rhodes should have teamed up with Swagger instead of Sandow. They could have called themselves "Team Speech Therapy."
And what the hell happened to Ted DiBiase Jr. anyway? He went from being the guy that could end Undertaker's streak to house show jobber. I know he was injured and had a kid recently, but what a huge fall from grace. Poor Ted. The million/billion dollar man gimmick is just gathering cobwebs while he struggles just to get by.
CM Punk continues to play off of the Raw angle where he mocked Jerry Lawler's heart attack by "saving" Paul Heyman. Here is what he posted on Twitter…
"You people are pigs. I saved a mans life tonight. This isn't something you joke about. PIGS. #learnCPR"
"@meNoorUllah: @cmpunk lost to @johncena that means cena is the real pure #BestintheWorld" I saved a mans life."
"@TomQWood: .@CMPunk saying Pink Floyd sucks breaks my heart."
I can save you. #CPR"
"Fact: @JohnCena is the doctor of thuganomics. I'm a real doctor, and I know CPR. @JCLayfield"
The Paul Heyman fake heart attack segment from RAW seems to be a divisive issue. Some felt that it was in poor taste to mock a man who almost died, while others saw it as just a storyline and it's no big deal.
Personally, I think that since it was done in such an over-the-top manner it wasn't too offensive. If they tried an angle where they made it seem like Heyman was ACTUALLY having a heart attack, with ambulances, doctors and everything, that would be crossing the line. But it was so corny and conveyed no immediate sense of danger that it was actually amusing.
Lawler is an old pro, and he was in on this from the beginning. Hell, it might even have been his idea. I think he'll probably look back on last Monday with pride. "Can you believe it? I almost died and used it to get Punk some real heel heat!"
Marty Jannetty revealed in a post on Facebook on Sunday that he is angry at Shawn Michaels for not showing sympathy toward his physical problems at a recent autograph signing. Jannetty posted a picture revealing the seriousness of his ankles, which you can see here, and said that he desperately needs surgery but can't afford it. Jannetty has previously criticized WWE for helping out talent with drug issues but not helping those who have debilitating injuries from their careers.
Jannetty notes that he was with Michaels at the autograph signing in California last month and when Jannetty comments that it was sad how eight of the sixteen people who competed at one of their old wrestling shows had died prematurely, Michaels said he didn't keep up with "that kind of stuff" and that he has other things to do. He added that when he showed his ankle to Michaels, his former best friend only said "Damn!" and left it at that while Bret Hart promised to help him out.
My first thought when reading this was "why is Shawn Michaels obligated to pay for anything Marty Jannetty needs?" Just because Jannetty tagged with Michaels for six years (a team which ended over 20 years ago), doesn't mean that Shawn is responsible for Marty's ongoing well-being. Sure, if Shawn decided to pony up the bucks for Jannetty's surgery, that would be a generous thing to do. But he doesn't HAVE to. I could see if Shawn was the direct cause of his former partner's health issues, but that isn't the case here.
But no worries, Barack Obama will rescue Marty and ensure that he gets full coverage, even with his pre-existing conditions. Word is that Marty is so grateful that he'll be teaming with the President in the future as the BaRockers.
Not my best, I know.
When we were kids, my brother and I used to pretend we were The Rockers. They were our favorite tag team, and their names were the same as ours – Martin & Sean. Martin used to brag about how Marty was so much better than Shawn and how he'd be the world champion one day. Shawn Michaels was just riding on Marty's coattails! Michaels would never amount to anything!
The word from backstage sources in WWE is that there are a lot of people in favor backstage of The Miz turning face. Part of this is because there is a feeling that he has done all that he can do as a heel. There is also the feeling that his character needs a change, and with the feeling that he's one of the better talkers in the company, many think he has the potential to be a top face for the company.
Miz had the starring role in The Marine: Homefront, and will be starring in a Christmas movie titled Christmas Bounty, which means that the company views him as a major name for them.
At this time, it has been reported that The Miz vs. Antonio Cesaro is a possible top feud for 2013.
I agree with the notion that Miz has done as much as he can as a heel, and that a run as a face is uncharted territory for him. My only hope is that they come up with a clear distinction between his old, heel persona and his new face character. There are certain guys that can start as a heel and turn face without changing their character one bit. However, in cases like that, it's because the character is such a cool heel that the crowd is desperate for him to turn face. Think Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock. If Miz continues to be the same old Miz, only he fights the bad guys, this will be a wasted opportunity.
Personally, I'd like to see the Miz in love. Show the world a side of him that no one's ever seen before. Give the women someone to go nuts for. ANYTHING different from boo-boo face "I'm awesome" Miz.
CM Punk teased on Twitter a few weeks ago that he would be making a guest appearance on a popular television show, but that he had to clear it with WWE before he could reveal what show that is. Word is that the show is The Walking Dead. Punk has repeatedly Tweeted that he's a big fan of the show.
This explains why Punk called Jerry Lawler a zombie on Monday night. But Punk is an expert on things limping along, slowly falling apart while refusing to die. With Punk as champ, that's exactly what RAW's ratings are doing! ZING!
Nah, that's because of poor planning and the three hour experiment, not Punk. But speaking of Punk…
COMIC BOOK PUNK-TUATION
As you may already know, comic book aficionado CM Punk was commissioned to write the introduction to Marvel Comics' Avengers vs. X-Men collected edition. This is no small honor, as being asked to write the introduction to the biggest comic company's biggest event of 2012 is kind of a big deal. I recently received the A vs X hardcover as a gift, and I thought I would pass along this little bit of comic book/wrestling info to you, dear reader. So, without further ado, here's CM Punk's opening to Marvel's Avengers vs. X-Men!
A bit of a confession. Or a bit of full disclosure: I haven't the slightest idea what I'm doing. Not in the figurative sense, at least. In the literal sense, sure. I'm writing a forward for a comic-book crossover of gigantic proportions. But really, what the hell am I doing? I've never done this before (that's a total lie. I've written one previous forward for Ed Brubaker, he just doesn't know it yet, nor has he asked me to do so – but it's ready when you are, Ed!). So why me? What qualifies yours truly to write the lead-in to Marvel's biggest story of the year? For one, I think traveling the globe engaging in the age-old battle of good vs. evil while wearing what ultimately boils down to little underwear is a pretty big qualifier. And as long as we're being honest with each other, who else was going to write this, Kevin Smith?
Back before I stepping in the ring for a living, I would spend most of my time crank-calling my local comic shops and asking them who would win in a fight: the Hulk or the Thing? This would get the biggest reactions out of All American Comics store manager Kevin O'Brien – which is doubly hilarious since I worked there at the time – and it became a running gag. There was just something about the famous throwdown that drew me to the idea of two good guys slugging it out. Shades of gray are just that much more interesting. That's what makes this book for me. You have the two biggest and most powerful teams in the Marvel Universe going to war with each other. This isn't good guy vs. bad guy. This is shades of gray at its finest. What happens when two powerhouse teams believe so strongly in their cause? Who's in the right? They're all good guys, right? Is it possible for heroes to act like villains and vice versa?
This is fantasy warfare at its finest, but don't just take my word for it. The creative team assembled to handle the monumental task of taking you on this ride is chock-full of heavy hitters just like the two teams pitted against each other. Arguably, we have gathered the best writers in the current comic-cook landscape – Brian Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction – plus Ed Brubaker and Jason Aaron's beard. Writers who have time and again caused me to scream out loud on airplanes and in public places with their masterful storytelling. Artists – who frequently get me to do double and triple takes at breathtaking splash pages and beautifully drawn panels of characters I feel like I've known since childhood. Hell, we even have the best colorist – Laura Martin – and letterer – Chris Eliopoulos – for your reading enjoyment.
Something the masses never thought they would have seen lies within these pages. Marvel's biggest heroes at each other's throats brought to you by an assembly of Marvel's greatest creative team. This is Abe Lincoln vs. George Washington. Muhammad Ali in his prime vs. a young Mike Tyson. CM Punk vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (sorry, I had to). This is everything that's cool about comics. If you're a diehard fan, or you're reading for the first time: Get lost in this once-in-a-lifetime story, you won't be disappointed. Get to reading…
AKA CM Punk
It's not surprising that CM Punk cites the radical "Rowdy" Roddy Piper as a childhood influence. After all, Punk is the embodiment of the anti-establishment, whose skill at igniting verbal "pipe bombs" is rivaled only by Hot Rod himself.
Punk even looks the part of rebel with his too-numerous-to-count tattoos and body piercings. Yet he waxes way more philosophical than his exterior might suggest, and has shown a diverse set of interests that include ghost hunting, G.I. Joe and the "Straight Edge" movement – a subculture that rejects the use of drugs, alcohol and a dependency lifestyle. Punk's only bad habit: his addiction to competition.
His in-ring repertoire is an assimilation of fighting styles, all of which were put on full display during his debut in The Land of the Extreme in 2006. Since then, Punk has added many accomplishments to his considerable resume – including the ECW, WWE, World Heavyweight, World Tag Team and Intercontinental Championships.
Not a bad introduction, if you ask me. He conveys the importance of the story, gives kudos to the creative team (even the letterer), and sells himself to a potential new audience at the end. I guess the only thing I would criticize is his up-front admission that he's seemingly unqualified to write the introduction. I've always been a believer that if you start off apologizing, people are going to assume you suck. Punk doesn't get on the mic before a match and say "hey guys, sorry if this match sucks. I had a bad burrito for lunch." The work you produce determines your qualification. It's a small criticism, though. I think Punk did a fine job. What about you? Think Punk was a suitable choice to write the introduction? How do you think he did?
YOU'RE IN FOR A REAL TWEET
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