Thursday Sports Entertainment News Report 02.07.13
Posted by Sean Kelly on 02.07.2013
Wherein we discuss Money in the Bank alternatives, Bruno in the Hall of Fame, Bret Hart's comments on Triple H, and more! Plus, the Alike app returns to show you the celebrity doppelgangers of your favorite WWE Superstars!
Greetings, folks, and welcome to another edition of Thursday Sports Entertainment!
Awesome Ladybug Girl better be back for WrestleMania!
Sorry Mr. Dee, but probably not. I'll be there in person so there's no need to record it at home. Between the Hall of Fame and WrestleMania, I've spent more than enough money on WWE, thankyouverymuch. As much as I would like Awesome Ladybug Girl to see her first WrestleMania, I can't justify spending the dough on a PPV that I'll be attending live as well.
Perhaps if they book Elimination Chamber in an intriguing manner I'll watch that with her, but WrestleMania doesn't seem to be in the cards. Maybe next year.
Even if you're right about Orton and Mysterio, it is still baseless speculation. If you were a real journalist you would have just lost all credibility. Of course, this is the IWC and baseless speculation is all we have to go on most of the time so nobody cares.
Still, as two guys who have worked their asses off to perform they might deserve a little better from the fans.
But I'm not a real journalist. I'm in idiot with a forum. Same thing, actually, but the key difference is that I've never claimed to be a journalist. And hey, you know what they say - today's gossip is tomorrow's news!
But I want to take a moment to give my opinion (see? OPINION) on an overused platitude that you've alluded to, Mr. Capt Sassypants. There exists a tired fanboy defense of wrestlers that irritates me to no end, and it goes something like "show some respect for the hard working men and women who bust their asses JUST TO PUT ON A GREAT SHOW FOR UNAPPRECIATIVE JERKS LIKE YOU!" They act like pro wrestlers are these travelling saints whose only dream in life is to make me happy. Please.
Pro wrestlers get into the wacky world of Sports Entertainment for a variety of reasons. For some, maybe it's about the money. For example, there's an old saying in wrestling, attributed to Chief Jay Strongbow, that goes: "you can either make friends or make money." This is the mentality of many, many wrestlers. They don't want to be your friends. They want your money. Remember, in wrestling, when someone is referred to as a "draw" they are called that because they draw MONEY!
For other wrestlers, perhaps they crave fame. And I'm sure there are a few that just can't bear the thought of a traditional 9-to-5 job. But let's be clear - not ONE of them becomes a pro wrestler for the sole purpose of entertaining schmucks like me!
AS you know, this is an industry that refers to its paying customers as "marks." For those of you unfamiliar with the carny origins of this term, here's a definition from goodmagic.com:
Mark - A townsperson you focus on as a victim. When a carny spotted a towny with a big bankroll, he would give him a friendly slap on the back leaving a chalk mark so other carnies would know that this customer had lots of money. Often the ticket seller would mark the 'mark.' The booth would have a high counter, above the average person's eyesight, and the ticket seller would short-change the customer, leaving the change on the counter. If the customer didn't notice or didn't count his change, the ticket seller would lean over to give him some "friendly" advice about the best attractions, putting his hand on the customer's shoulder to point him toward the show he simply must see, simultaneously dusting his back with chalk from a hidden supply. If the customer instead complained about the wrong change, the ticket seller could always push the remaining change to him and say "I told you to take it." And what do you do when you spot a mark? You "play" him - that's right, just like you play a fish. But a carny truism is, "Always leave the mark a dollar for gas." With gas money he can go home (you don't want him stuck there growing angrier with you every minute).
So yeah, we're not these vaunted, special people that everyone works so hard to entertain - we're a bunch of suckers that are easily separated from their cash. We're marks, people! Stupid, slobbering marks and these "hard working athletes" are here just to take our cash! They don't give a crap about you and me. Sure, the babyfaces point to the crowd and say "I owe everything to each…and every…one of you!" while the heels say "shut up! You people aren't smart enough to recognize how great I am!" We're all being played, and we can't wait to pay for the privilege.
But we know we're being played. That's part of the fun. You get played no matter what form of entertainment you partake in. At the end of the day, you're a person buying a ticket because some group of people was out there hustling to promote their show. Whether it's a local guy handing out flyers to a multi-national marketing campaign, you're someone who is a walking dollar sign. Paul Heyman said it himself two weeks ago - a promoter will lie, steal, do anything necessary to sell tickets.
So there it is. The cold, hard truth of Sports Entertainment. No one looks to become a professional wrestler for the sole purpose of pleasing the crowd. It's all about making the next buck - and there's nothing wrong with that! Just don't pretend they care so much about us that we need to praise them and give thanks. That's a load of crap. Sure, there are wrestlers who enjoy interacting with fans more than others, but that doesn't mean the fans are their number one priority. We don't owe them anything and they don't owe us anything (including an autograph at the airport) - except for perhaps some basic human decency. So let's tone down the fanboy praise of the "sacrifices" a wrestler makes. Every sacrifice they made was for the betterment of themselves, not for you and me. And let's please tone down the praise for someone like Randy Orton - a military reject that had nothing else going for him but his daddy's legacy, and who is, by all accounts, an enormous jerk.
I think that's enough ranting, don't you? How about we get on with the news?
WORLD (WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT) NEWS TONIGHT
Reportedly WWE was debating internally on bringing back the Money in the Bank ladder match back to Wrestlemania for Wrestlemania 29. However, WWE has now come to the conclusion, that MITB will stay its own PPV and the match will not be featured at Wrestlemania.
The feeling is that reportedly Wrestlemania doesn't need the match on the card, and the PPV in July does well being centered around the match. Ryback was being tossed around as the name to go over in the match if it was held at Wrestlemania this year.
So…what's stopping them from having a big ladder match with a different stipulation? That way, the money in the bank concept is kept to its namesake PPV but we still get a big spotfest with 6 to 8 guys at WrestleMania. Here's a few ideas on what can be suspended from the ceiling:
1) A briefcase full of cash. Wouldn't you beat the crap out of 7 other guys to get your hands on, oh, say, $100,000 cash in a briefcase? Sometimes a simple stipulation works.
2) Managerial services from Paul Heyman. Remember the ladder match that put the Hardys and Edge & Christian in the spotlight? They were participants in the Terri Invitational Tournament, fighting to get management representation from Terri Runnels. While her services didn't really do anything for their careers, the match itself did wonders. Now imagine if Paul Heyman allowed 8 young Superstars to fight for the honor of competing under his tutelage. This is the man that founded ECW and currently represents two of the most dominant forces in WWE - Brock Lesnar and CM Punk. Wouldn't you want someone like that at your back? And it's a deliciously Heyman-esque thing to do - put yourself as the prize and have everyone fight over you.
3) Blank pink slip. Imagine being able to hold a blank pink slip that could be given to anyone at any time over the next year. That's an enormous amount of power that one man would hold, and it could play out in any number of ways. It could be given out as revenge, to cover up a real-life injury, as an impromptu heel/face turn, or used as leverage in numerous circumstances. The winner of this match would instantly become the most feared and most kissed-up-to person in the locker room. The winner could either be used for comedy (imagine Heath Slater with this kind of power), for intrigue (Dean Ambrose) or for both (Daniel Bryan). The possibilities are endless!
4) General Manager Spot - right now Vicki Guerrero is the "managing supervisor" of RAW. What if the General Manager's contract were put up for grabs in a ladder match? Another stipulation that would have long lasting ramifications. Bonus points if they include William Regal.
5) A date with a Diva - with Valentine's day around the corner, why not make a stipulation where the winner gets a date with the diva of his choice? Imagine how Dolph Ziggler would feel if Kofi Kingston, Ryback or ex-boyfriend Daniel Bryan won a date with AJ Lee? Or even better, if one of them won the date and she started to develop feelings for the other guy? Kinda hokey, but it introduces some interesting possibilities, and what's a better motivator for men to fight than LOOOOOOOVE?
6) Intercontinental Cup/Ladder match. Take your top 8 contenders from the never-was Intercontinental Cup and put them in a ladder match for the IC title. Because sometimes it's just about a bunch of dudes fighting for a championship.
So right there are six Ladder Match stipulations off the top of my head. WWE, if you are reading this, you have my full permission to use any of them. I just want to see a ladder match at MetLife Stadium!
What about you, dear readers? Do you have any creative stipulations that can be used in a WrestleMania Ladder Match? The more original, the better!
WWE has made the official announcement that Bruno Sammartino will be a member of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013. You can see the announcement here.
Sammartino is quoted in the announcement as saying, "Triple H contacted me and started telling me all the things that had changed and everything that was going on with WWE. I started watching it after talking to him and when I saw it, I was very, very impressed."
Triple H added, "I love the history of this business. Without the history, there is no tomorrow. To look back on the history of WWE, one of the most important figures in the long story of where this all came from wasn't recognized. And that was Bruno."
Well, color me surprised. I thought for sure that Bruno would be stubborn enough to resist HHH's overtures. I'm glad Bruno was open to reason and decided to come around. There are only a few glaring omissions from the WWE Hall of Fame at this point, and Bruno is arguably the biggest one (only after Ultimate Warrior).
As for HHH, this is a big win for him. This was basically a no-fail mission for Hunter. If he failed to talk Bruno into joining the HoF, then we're just maintaining the status quo and nothing changes. If The Game gets Bruno to accept, then he's done the impossible and gets a huge feather in his cap. Great job, Triple H!
I'd like to share with you a Bruno Sammartino/Roddy Piper story that Roddy recently recounted on his podcast, the Rod Pod. (Highly recommended). It gives great insight into Bruno's mindset:
Back in the mid-80's, Roddy had Bruno in Piper's Pit at Madison Square Garden. As you may know, Mr. Sammartino takes great pride in his Italian heritage, and takes any slight against his ethnicity very seriously. So Piper has Bruno in the Pit, and, according to Piper, Bruno wasn't made aware of what the Hot Rod was going to say. So picture Bruno standing in front of 20,000 fans only to hear Piper say (and I'm paraphrasing) "You know Bruno, it's great to be with you here tonight. More so because I almost didn't make it to the Garden. You see, on the way over I got a flat tire and all I kept hearing was Wop. Wop. Wop."
According to Piper, "Bruno's combover stood straight up" and he was furious. (For you innocent readers, "wop" is a derogatory reference to Italians.) They feuded after that as planned, but Piper's ethnic insult always stuck in Bruno's craw.
Fast forward, like, 20 years. Colt Toombs (Roddy's son) meets Bruno at an event, and he respectfully introduces himself to the WWF legend as Roddy's son. Does Bruno answer with a "nice to meet you!" or "how's your dad doing?" Nope. The first thing Sammartino says is "your father called me a wop once!" It still bothered him decades later! Hilarious.
That kind of proud mentality made me believe that Bruno was never going to join the WWE Hall of Fame. I'm so glad I was wrong. That leaves at least one celebrity induction and one dead mid-carder induction left. My choices are as follows:
Celebrity: Mr. T, inducted by Roddy Piper
Dead Mid-Carder: Ravishing Rick Rude, inducted by Bobby Heenan (if he's up for it)
Who are your celebrity & dead mid-carder candidates, and who would induct them?
Bret Hart was recently interviewed and shared his candid feelings on Triple H. Here is what he had to say...
"You look at someone like Hunter and you wonder, what has he really done? One move that he ever created that nobody ever saw before or some highspots or an idea for a match... He's mostly a guy that just showed up and they made him. He's always been a decent wrestler -- I would consider him a good wrestler and pretty talented. But great? I don't know, I don't think so.
"What has he ever done that's great? He's never had a great match, I don't think ever. Whenever I look at Triple H's matches, including the last one he had with Undertaker -- and I don't really mean it as a knock -- but I told myself before I watched it because I'm trying to like Paul now these days, that I want to see him do something to make me think he's got greatness in him."
I kind of get where Bret Hart is coming from. Hunter Hearst Helmsley WAS someone who "basically showed up and they made him." I distinctly remember thinking to myself when HHH first became champion "why are they shoving this guy down our throats?" He never did anything to stand out until his matches with Mick Foley, and that was five months after winning his first WWE title. Up until that point, he was acting as a less-awesome replacement of Shawn Michaels as the leader of DX. Successful champions usually win their first title after standing out on their own, and the fans clamor for them to win. With HHH, it was the other way around. He became champ and then had to prove himself.
But in my opinion, he did. Triple H went on to have excellent feuds after that and made a big impact in the company. I think a lot of Bret's frustration with Hunter was from the days when there was ill will between Shawn and Bret, with Hunter being Shawn's sidekick. That kind of ill will can influence some clearly jaded opinions on The Game's match quality. As soon as I read Bret's statements, 5 or 6 excellent HHH matches immediately popped into my head:
HHH vs. Steve Austin (three stages of hell)
HHH vs. Undertaker x 3 (all three WrestleMania matches - WM 17, WM 27, WM 28)
HHH vs. Mick Foley at Royal Rumble 2000 (I was there live. Not sure how it came across on TV, but it was excellent live)
HHH vs. The Rock, SummerSlam 1998 (Ditto above - I was there live)
And those were just off the top of my head. I'm sure if I sat down and really thought about it, I could come up with a dozen more.
I have to give Bret credit, though. This is a time where we're seeing a lot of people praising HHH and saying how wonderful he is. People see the writing on the wall - HHH is the next Vince McMahon and wrestlers past, present and future are lining up to kiss his ring. Bret has the guts to speak negatively about HHH in a time where such statements are an unspoken taboo. So kudos to him for that.
And in a Thursday Sports Entertainment EXCLUSIVE, I have contacted Bret Hart and asked him to list the greatest matches of several notable Superstars. He was more than willing to oblige, and the fake results may SHOCK YOU!
Steve Austin's best match: Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart Shawn Michaels' best match: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart Jerry Lawler's best match: Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart Undertaker's best match: Undertaker vs. Bret Hart Vince McMahon's best match: Vince McMahon vs. Bret Hart Goldberg's best match: Goldberg vs. Bret Hart
Bah, you get the idea.
It's been a while, so I think it's time for another edition of Sports Entertainment ALIKE! For those of you not familiar with the concept, I use an iPhone app called "Alike" that compares your facial features to the facial features of Hollywood celebrities. I use this app on pictures of your favorite rasslers to see which REAL entertainment stars they resemble. I then post the results in this very column for your amusement. Since the app is so quirky, we'll often see hilarious results. However, it did correctly pair The Rock's face with Dwayne Johnson's face, so it must be doing something right.
So without further ado, here's the latest batch of WWE Alike comparisons, ranked in order from least alike to most alike!
So what would Dr. Evil's son look like if he swallowed Fat Bastard? Now we have our answer. Not sure how they even look remotely alike, maybe around the mouth? But you take what you can get.
According to the app, WWE's resident high flyer and Royal Rumble highlight bears a pretty decent resemblance to Beyonce. I have never seen Kofi without facial hair or Beyonce out of her human-skin costume (lizard person, definitely), so it's hard to tell how the app did here. Let's accept it and move on.
The Shield's mouthpiece bears a very strong resemblance to actress, model and idiot Lindsay Lohan. Well, they both have the crazy part down, but at least with Ambrose it's an act.
Resident psycho and village bicycle AJ Lee bears a perfect, 5-star match to House actress Amber Tamblyn. I can actually see the resemblance in these two pictures, so I think the app scored well on this one.
Wow! Another perfect, 5-star match to Amber Tamblyn! Maybe Slater and AJ are long lost siblings. I can see the storyline now…the One Man Band and the One Woman Orgy are the Luke and Leia of the WWE. But then who's the Darth Vader?
Amazing! Yet ANOTHER perfect, 5-star resemblance to Amber Tamblyn! Perhaps the Walrus has a secret he'd like to tell a certain red-headed wannabe singer and a certain brunette, bouncy Diva. Folks, these are actual results from the app, I kid you not. Someone needs to call Maury Povich, pronto!
I totally see it.
YOU'RE IN FOR A REAL TWEET
And of course, follow all the 411 stuff on Twitter! #spon
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