Posts Tagged ‘The Rock’

Media Update 7/18/19

July 18, 2019


Skyscraper

Unless he does something dastardly in real life, I will be a fan of The Rock for the rest of his career. I became a fan watching him act like a jerk in 1997 on WWF programming and he has only built his skill set ever since. What I went into this movie with was an expectation that it was a big dumb action movie. I received more than that. The movie is about a new, state of the art skyscraper built in China that is more than twice as tall as the Burj Khalifa. The Rock plays a security consultant brought in to sign off on the security system for insurance purposes. He gets caught up in the chaos of crime and flame. The movie is one part crime movie and one part disaster movie. While there is a lot of action, there is a lot of interesting mechanics having to do with building design, infrastructure, and computer science. This leads to a lot of action sequences for The Rock which also includes great fight scenes. There is also great drama in the movie, allowing the Rock to show off his acting chops which just get better. Neve Campbell plays his wife and gets to be a bit of action star herself with plenty of neat sequences (with two small children too). Chin Han is good as the enigmatic building owner. Roland Moller plays the perfect mercenary asshole villain. I went in knowing I would like this movie and ended up liking it even more. I definitely recommend it.


The Meg

I also really like Jason Statham. He has that rugged charisma that is hard to ignore even when he is being a jerk or a sadistic villain. This movie has been in development since the publishing of the book in 1997 and I had heard about many different treatments. Statham plays a deep-sea rescue expert who comes to the rescue at an oceanography station. What he and the cast of scientists must confront is the legendary Megalodon, a shark big enough to take down a T Rex and bite blue whales clean in half. Once again, this movie exceeded my expectations. The cast is so good. Statham is tough but a lot of fun, playing it a little looser and nicer than he usually does. Bingbing Li plays a marine biologist who gives Statham a run for his money as an action star. There is a great smaller role for Ruby Rose as a punk rock vehicles expert. Cliff Curtis, Masi Oka, Page Kennedy, Robert Taylor, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jessica McNamee, and little Sophia Cal all have their moment to shine. Rainn Wilson shows up as the main comic relief as the rich boy backer who gets mixed up in all of the chaos. There is plenty of shark action and plenty of good character moments and I liked the twists the plot took. I recommend it.


The Art of the Steal (2013)

This is the only movie this week that was not a big-budget blockbuster. This one is definitely more of a heist movie in the style of a low budget Oceans 11. This is not meant as an insult. The movie stars Kurt Russell who is always fun as the laid back dude who just wants to have a good time. He plays a former getaway driver/conman who has now become a motorcycle daredevil. He gets summoned back into the game by his old crew and must unite his new crew with his old crew for the heist of his life. Jay Baruchel plays his plucky comic relief sidekick, an old school street thief. Matt Dillon plays his brother, the ‘face’ of the old crew who burned things to the ground and now is trying to make amends. Jason Jones plays the Interpol agent trying to track them down, an inept mess of a man who is almost a cop. He is joined by an art theft informant played brilliantly by Terrance Stamp all world-weary and snarky. The rest of the group are not as known but all three are fun character actors who add to the plan in their own way. The movie is not perfect but it has a lot of fun elements and dialogue and I liked the weird philosophical groove to the movie. I recommend it as well.

Music of the Week:
Fredo Bang – Dawg Gone

JINJER – Pisces

Kane Roberts – Beginning Of The End

Colleen Green – Maybe I’ll Get Hit By A Car Tonight

Jay Bovino & Hannah Sands – Hideaway

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Fast and Furious Franchise Alumni”
– I watched more Game of Thrones Season 3
– I watched more How to Get Away With Murder Season 1
– I watched more Losers Season 1
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I watched more Star Trek: Voyager Season 3
– I watched more Designated Survivor Season 3
– I watched more Defunctland

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Media Update 9/27/18

September 27, 2018


Rampage

I hung out in quite a few arcades in my youth and, frankly, I would visit one if they still existed in Baltimore. One of the cabinets that first drew my attention was Rampage, a game where you play as giant monsters and you just wreck everything. When we got the game on NES, my brothers and I played it a lot more. It became one of those iconic games that were just fun to zone out and play. Only once did we “win” the game. When I heard that the Rock was making a live-action movie based on the game, I was surprisingly all in. The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson, makes everything better and there looked like there was a lot of big monster action. There was plenty of great fun as a giant gorilla, a giant crocodile, and a giant wolf literally rampaged across the USA. The Rock was great as usual and carried the movie on his back as usual. I especially really believed his relationship with George the gorilla. What I had not expected was that there would be other fun performances in the movie. Joe Manganiello has a small part but it is always good to see him. Jeffrey Dean Morgan played a charismatic yet complex character who always kept me guessing. Naomie Harris proved herself to be a good partner for The Rock, balancing out some of his sillier moments. On the other end of the spectrum, Malin Akerman was a delightfully over the top villain who stole every scene she was in. This movie was not anything to write home about but I had a lot of fun watching it and they left it open for a sequel that I would be open to. As of today, it is the highest reviewed video game movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes (at 51%). I definitely recommend it but sit back and watch the silliness.


The Dragon Prince

When I first saw the artwork for this series, I immediately liked what I saw but I was not sure if it was a video game or a show. Thankfully, it is a show. I immediately felt an Avatar: The Last Airbender feel to the show from the first few minutes. This makes sense as the head writer and director from that show, Aaron Ehasz, created this show. Like that show, drama and humor are carefully mixed together in a very natural but entertaining way. The world building really impressed me as the show went on and more details were revealed. It felt like a blend of a good video game and a good fantasy novel series. Each new detail was really cool to learn and figure out how it fits into the narrative. The art direction is really exciting and I was pretty inspired by a lot of the choices. The gist of the series is that it mostly involves a conflict between humans and elves. The humans have been confined to their part of the continent because they invented dark magic. I really liked the magic system they laid out and I am excited to see more of the system and its implications revealed. I also really liked the characters as none of them are perfect paragons and I am excited to see them attempt character arcs. I definitely recommend this one as well.


Tremors: Cold Day in Hell

I have been with the Tremors franchise since the beginning. The first movie was a fresh look at monster movies and kind of reinvented characterization usually used in that subgenre. This is now the sixth movie and I have certainly enjoyed the ride. Kevin Bacon dropped off after the first film but all of the movies have the fun Michael Gross as hunter/prepper Burt Gummer. The character has so much momentum six movies in. He feels like the Tremors franchise version of Fin Shepard in that he is a somewhat ordinary guy who is really good at killing the monster in the title. Last time he hunted graboids in Africa but this time he is summoned to the Canadian Arctic to deal with them. As with the previous movie, he brings along Jamie Kennedy as his sidekick/son. Normally, Jamie Kennedy is too annoying but he is alright in this. Jamie-Lee Money is introduced as the daughter of Kevin Bacon’s character from the first movie and she becomes part of the next generation of monster hunters. Tanya Van Graan plays a female scientist who starts out skeptical but quickly helps lead the crew in their adventure. The rest of the cast is filled with quirky character actors who have their charm. The action scenes live up to the craziness that the franchise has always held. I recommend it as it felt better than the last one.

Weekly Music:
The Stunners – We Got It

Judas Priest – No Surrender

The Breeders – Cannonball

Christine and the Queens – Girlfriend

Kumiho – Loverman

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Giant Monsters”
– I kept watching The Blacklist Season 5
– I kept watching Iron Fist Season 2
– I kept watching Bojack Horseman Season 5
– I kept watching Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I am caught up on Critical Role again

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: WWE 30 Day Challenge Pt. 3

September 1, 2018

WILPW

9 – Favorite Entrance

It might be cheesy and it might sound a little like a cop out but I have to choose the entrance for “Dashing” Cody Rhodes from years ago. Until he was Dashing, Cody had not shown much of the spark he would show later (and currently). He was like a Create A Wrestler in one of WWE’s video games but everything set on “default”. As he evolved, he started to develop more character and sure the character has been done before and since. He was the arrogant pretty boy who went berzerk when somebody so much as brushed up against his face. It eventually led to one of his best gimmicks in the WWE. First, the song “Smoke and Mirrors” was about how he was the real deal and his opponents were nothing but an illusion. The song is catchy as heck but it also kind of annoyed me at the time because it was just infused with his as yet undeserved arrogance. However, the reason why this entrance leaped to mind as my favorite entrance is that it used the screens at the top of the ramp in ways that few other performers have been able to do. He pauses next to one of the lower panels and a mirror appears and his face is projected live to the crowd as he admires himself. The crowd hated him for it (but a lot of us secretly loved it). There have been so many opportunities to use those lower panels to greater effect but they constantly pass it up. I would love to have that explained to me.

Runner-up: It has to be The Undertaker. Granted, this is only probably the runner-up only because I have been exposed to him for so long and the edge has worn off a bit. However, when that gong hits and he walks out slow and methodical, I still get chills. His music has always been a perfect reflection of his character. He also consistently had the best special effects for his entrances because he is a legend. It is hard to pick just which entrance of his is my favorite. I have a special place in my heart for his entrance at the 1998 King of the Ring. (Which, I could not find on YouTube unfortunately but the one above is from the same time period.)

10 – Favorite Entrance Music

Again, as a matter of personal preference, I am going to pick probably an unpopular choice. I pick Dolph Ziggler’s “Here to Show the World” entrance music. I was recently watching a pay per view from eight years ago and Dolph had not settled on his current music. However, eventually, he picked the current song by Downstait (the same band that did the Miz’ theme). The music is so high energy and, whether he is a babyface or a heel, it always fits his particular brand of arrogance. I have been listening to it lately to fire myself up for the gym and tabletop sessions and I have absolutely fallen in love with the lyrics. “If you ever doubted me, you don’t have a clue.” “Go check the scores again, I come out a perfect 10” And then there is the messy breakdown two-thirds in. It may sound ridiculous but I never seem to get tired of this song. It does not hurt that I have often been on the Dolph Ziggler bandwagon as he is a great worker and a great character. Currently, the WWE is adding a record scratch sound to the beginning of it and each time I hear it I cannot decide if I love it or hate it but it definitely is getting a reaction from me.

Runner-up: I have to go with Shawn Michaels theme “Sexy Boy”. This was a song that at one point I listened to on loop but with headphones on. I did not want anybody at school or my family to know how much I liked a song called “Sexy Boy”. However, now that I have grown and evolved a bit, I will freely admit that I still love this song. While the lyrics are not all that clever, they tell the exact story that the Heartbreak Kid always wanted to tell since he first became a singles star. It was absolutely an excellent choice to have Shawn himself sing the song. It is definitely touched off by an awesome beat and dynamite cheesy guitar riffs (and screaming girl sounds). Unfortunately, it was things like these that drove the homophobic crowds of 1996 – 1998 crazy.

11 – Favorite Match of All Time

Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H vs. Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Booker T vs. Kane
Ellimination Chamber match at Survivor Series 2002.

I am a big fan of elimination-style matches mostly because it allows performers to get plenty of finishers in without ending the match right away. The tension of a match is seeing the drama and the damage unfold while waiting to see what the finish is going to be. In the Elimination Chamber match, there are five finishes so it’s a bit like Christmas for me. For those that do not know, the rules of the match are this: Two people start in the ring, surrounded by a metal cage. Built into that cage are four pods into which four other competitors go in. Periodically, those pods are opened and a new person enters the match. If somebody gets pinned or submits, they are eliminated from the match. This keeps going until there is only one person left. Anyway, this match blew my mind when it happened. The match just flows so well. The match has both Shawn Michaels and Triple H who had such great chemistry whether they were teaming up or fighting each other. Jericho always made anybody look good. Kane may have never been the greatest wrestler but he definitely always knew how to tell a story. This is probably my favorite Booker T match of all time. Finally, Rob Van Dam provides the crazy, extreme moments which are just great seasoning on an already great meal. There are so many false finishes and fun story elements that I was on the edge of my seat until the end.

Runner-up:

Mankind vs. the Rock
Raw – January 4, 1999

I have posted about this match before as it was filmed on my birthday the year before and it is a very famous match. As I have written about on multiple occasions, I am a big Mick Foley fan. At this point in his career, the character of Mankind had kind of morphed into a tough but lovable muppet. Meanwhile, the Rock was at the height of his powers as an arrogant but entertaining heel. The story of the match was that The Rock and the McMahon family had screwed Mankind out of winning his first heavyweight title. So Mankind forced The Rock into an impromptu title match in the main event of Monday Night Raw. The match was no technical masterpiece but it was definitely enjoyable to watch. First, the chemistry between Foley and The Rock was always hard to beat. Second, at ringside was D-Generation X 2.0 and The Corporation, two of the most fun factions of that time period. Also, there’s probably the biggest cheer that Steve Austin ever got in his career. It has a feel of something that should not have happened but it does and it felt so good.

Media Update 1/25/18

January 25, 2018


Baywatch

I never really watched Baywatch when it first aired or since. I was aware of the show, though, and all of its quirks and weirdness. It was an odd show that only got odder as the seasons went by. I know all about the slow-mo, lifeguards pursuing criminals, Hollywood good looks, and cheesy lines and plots. This movie knew exactly what it was. It was part-parody, part-tribute to a show from the nineties. I would compare it to The Brady Bunch Movie. There were a lot of callbacks to the show but there was a lot of self-referential/meta-humor. The movie had its cake and ate it too by pointing out the flaws in the show and then embracing them. The Rock was great as usual. He has a magnetic charisma that is impossible to ignore. Zac Efron is funny as the douchebag who learns some humility and redeems himself. Alexandria Daddario ends up being the smartest character in the movie which is not saying much but still. Ilfenesh Hadera was just as badass as the Rock, basically a highly-capable, female version of his character. Finally, Priyanka Chopra was a great card-carrying villain who had Hanibal Burress as her henchman. I understand why people dismissed this movie or did not like it but if you saw the trailers, you knew exactly what you were getting. It is a strange movie. However, I still recommend it if you can go in with few expectations and a good mood.


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

I was a big fan of the original Jumanji film. It was during the heyday of Robin Williams and it had a great big budget for both CGI and practical effects. Also, the concept of a board game coming to life and threatening the players was a fun idea. The movie had comedy and adventure. This movie was an attempt at an update with a sort of sequel. Instead of a board game, the four kids find a video game that transports them into Jumanji, a setting previously unexplored. Not only does it transport them into the game, it transports their minds into video game avatars. The Rock (yep again) is a nerdy scaredy cat who transforms into a musclebound hero. Kevin Hart is a football star who transforms into a short sidekick. Karen Gillan is a brainy geek who transforms into a brutal fighter. Jack Black is a self-obsessed teen girl who transforms into a bookish professor. The point of the movie is to watch these actors play against type and slowly try to adjust to their new roles. The movie is not a reboot but an unconnected sequel. It was oddly charming to me. Sure, there were some bits that were a little overdone to me but overall it was a fun movie. I recommend it if you like a fun actiony movie with cute humor and a very fluffy plot.


CHIPS

I really do not know much about CHIPS beyond seeing it parodied and listening to an episode of TV Crimes about it. It seemed like a weird show that I would not like. This is, of course, from the perspective of somebody on the outside looking in. Anyway, the movie tried to do the same thing that Baywatch did. It was both a parody and a tribute. However, it did not quite work for me. Dax Shepard plays Jon, an ex-stunt biker who wants to be a cop to impress his wife (Kristen Bell! What a waste!). Michael Pena plays Ponch, his partner who is trying to investigate a crime covertly. Vincent D’Onofrio plays the villain and he is usually a great villain but he had very few scenes to strut his stuff in. Most of the movie is spent on the interplay between Pena and Shepard who are an odd couple. Shepard’s character is touchy-feely and psychoanalyzes everything and Pena is crass and rude. In the end, I guess I just did not really like their characters. Also, I feel like the movie was oddly sexual with at least half of the jokes being about sex or nudity in some way. That was not really necessary or desired. The movie ended up being alright but not the fun romp that I wanted it to be. I do not recommend it but use your own judgment since it is not that bad.

Music of the Week:
Miike Snow – Genghis Khan

Von Iva – Not Hot To Trot

J Balvin – Safari

She Wants Revenge – Tear You Apart

Big Data – Get Some Freedom

 

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Action Comedies from the Past”
– I finished watching Longmire
– I finished Season 2 of The Magicians
– I started watching Glitter Force Doki Doki
– I continued watching Gurren Lagann
– I continued watching Little Witch Academia Season 2
– I continued watching DuckTales
– I am almost done Schitt’s Creek Season 2
– I finished Puella Magi Madoka Magica
– I have been hitting the gym lately and watching anime there

Media Update 6/15/17

June 15, 2017


John Wick 2

One of my favorite parts of John Wick was the occasional glimpse at the life John had left behind. There was this whole soldier of fortune/assassin culture that was brutal but also dignified on its surface. There were rules and there was structure in a mysterious world just beyond our own. I wanted more. I got it in the sequel. In John Wick 2, John is forced to go back into that world he retired from and he must go deep. The fight scenes are just a good as the first movie and just as relentlessly pulse-pounding. Keanu Reeves’ quiet intensity is so much fun to watch. The world building was everything I wanted it to be. Even after all the new information is revealed, there are so much more mysteries and corners of that world to explore. I hope there will be a third movie in the series. I definitely recommend this.


Hercules (2014)

Live-action, hard-hitting Greek legend adaptations have been a big thing lately probably since Zack Snyder put out the pretty OK movie 300. This movie is also action-packed but I felt that it is a more nuanced take on the legends than the testosterone-driven 300 or the Clash of Titans remake. Greek legends are not just about what the characters did but also the personalities involved. I have been a huge fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for almost twenty years now so I will pretty much see anything that he is in. This was a neat adaptation of Greek legends. It feels much more down to Earth mostly because not a single god shows up in the story. Instead, we get Hercules (who is unsure of his parentage) leading a squad of mercenaries in the years after the Trojan War. The combat is excellent with great combat strategy and beautifully filmed. Where the movie really shines is the charisma of The Rock mixed with the awesome supporting cast. It is exciting, funny, and a great popcorn flick. I recommend it.


Manhunter

I have read Red Dragon (and all of the Hannibal Lecter books) and I watched all of the movies with Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. I have also watched the first season of Hannibal, the deeply disturbing television show. This was really the only part of the franchise that I had not seen. When I learned about it, I dismissed it because I was afraid that Lecter without Hopkins would not be any good. This week, I was suddenly curious what the movie was like. I was right, the movie is very different without Anthony Hopkins’ magnetic performance. That is not actually a bad thing. By the time Red Dragon rolled around, Lecter was drawing too much attention in a story that is not really about him. This version is allowed to focus more on Will Graham, the deeply troubled hero. I loved William Petersen’s performance and the muted but powerful way he interacted with the world. Graham as the deeply troubled detective who is just barely keeping on the rails is so interesting to watch. Cox as Lecter is more driven and direct. It’s not better or worse, just different. Dino De Laurentiss shot the movie beautifully but I can definitely see the effect that David Lynch left behind when he quit the project. I recommend it if you can sit through a slow-paced murder mystery/thriller.

Music of the Week:
Katy Perry – Bon Appétit

The Afghan Whigs – Oriole

Anthrax & Public Enemy – Bring The Noise

Knower – Time Traveler

Teamheadkick – Deadpool Rap

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “A Name With Instant Recognition”
– I continued Season 3 of The Flash
– I continued Season 5 of The Arrow
– I continued Season 12 of Supernatural
– I continued Season 2 of Supergirl
– Lucha Underground is back
– I might see Wonder Woman this weekend. Maybe.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: John Cena

December 31, 2016

WILPW

John Cena has been in the WWE for fourteen years now. Before that, he wrestled for Ultimate Pro Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling. When he was starting out, he created a robot wrestler character called The Prototype. While I never saw this side of Cena, it makes sense. The man is a machine and has been since he debuted over a decade ago. He works harder than just about anybody in the company and it shows in his success.

When I first saw Cena, it was when he debuted against the now legendary Kurt Angle. Kurt was always an impressive physical specimen but suddenly this young punk came out of nowhere and challenged him. His battle cry was “Ruthless Aggression” and he certainly showed he had it. He was far from the wordsmith he would turn out to be but physically he was fast and everything he did looked good. It really was like the second coming of The Rock as he was pushed toward greatness from the moment he first appeared. Not only did he beat up Kurt, he was given kudos by a lot of veterans on camera and was even congratulated by The Undertaker. He had the charisma and he had the moves and he had the respect, he just needed a little more to truly get over.

Later that year he found that special something that would help boost him a little more into the spotlight. Taking a cue from his real life rapping skills and the popularity of hip-hop and white performers in the genre, he adopted the persona of John Cena, Doctor of Thuganomics. He leaned in hard to the gimmick and turned heel in the process. All of the kayfabe respect he had before, he threw back in the faces of those backstage as he feuded with the Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit. He had rap battles with other superstars and proved that his gimmick was no lie. He was very good at getting people to boo him but I always loved to watch him. It was during this time that he developed the finisher that he uses today. It was called the FU to mock Brock Lesnar since it started like his F5.

In 2005, Cena won hist first heavyweight championship against John Bradshaw Layfield. It was a good choice because Cena was still technically a heel heading into the feud. Having him take down a heel faction that was a symbol of authority and politics was a good way to show that he was a good guy. I felt he also stepped up his game, broadening his character and showing that he could definitely play with the big boys. Not long after this, though, fans started to boo Cena probably because they felt he was being pushed too hard and too fast. It did not help that he was feuding with Chris Jericho who is so good that fans cheer him whether he is a babyface or a heel. The booing gained momentum and fans pretty much turned on him. I have to admit that I loved seeing Cena throw his shirt out into the audience and seeing the audience throw it back at him. I bought into the hate and booed right along with everybody else.

Cena won my respect, though. He did not let the booing faze him and instead worked harder. In one of the great modern storylines, he feuded with the Nexus. Cena often fought by himself against ten men and never gave up. Finally, this led into one of my favorite Cena feuds. He faced off against CM Punk. Cena was practically manufactured by the WWE as he never really wrestled anywhere else. Punk was an indy darling. Cena had a small move set while Punk had a huge arsenal to draw from. Cena and Punk burned the house down and had some of the most memorable matches of both Punk and Cena’s WWE careers. During this time he also feuded with the Miz in a feud that, over time, helped pull Miz into a whole new stratosphere. The two seemed to almost be made for each other at times.

Probably the biggest feud of his career was a two-year feud with The Rock. As I alluded to before, the two were very similar. Both were charismatic youngsters who joined the WWE with huge momentum already on their side. Both were immediately crowned as legends and given kudos by their colleagues just after their first match. Both were pushed too hard and too fast, forcing the crowd to hate them. However, The Rock turned heel in response and eventually got the crowd to love him while Cena just persevered and stayed the honest yet aggressive character he had always been. It was around this time that the company started to have Cena win no matter what. It led to the meme of LOL Cena Wins because his victory was almost always a forgone conclusion. It was similar to Hulk Hogan’s career in that respect.

Cena has now won 16 heavyweight belts throughout his career, tying his record with that of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. He continues to work hard, still performing despite multiple injuries and setbacks. Along the way, he won back my respect but I still resented that he always won. Last year he won the US Championship and he started to turn his image around. He issued open challenges and he barely won them. He got injured again. He came back and he actually started losing for once in his career and I was overjoyed. Not because I still hated him but because LOL Cena Wins was actually being used for a great new purpose. All these new stars were beating the unstoppable Cena and it did not make him look weaker but it made a lot of them look stronger. He went toe to toe with indy darling AJ Styles and Styles won and has continued to win. They will go at it again next year and I will be glued to the screen when they do. In the meantime, he is making new forays into Hollywood and crushing it as one of the most charitable celebrities. Period. I still expect good things from Cena. In my opinion, he just gets better and better.

 

(HAPPY NEW YEAR = LAST POST OF 2016)

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: January 4 1999

June 25, 2016

WILPW

I want to talk about two events that are so important to me as part of the sports entertainment world. They have been talked about elsewhere but I wanted to put them on the record here because I am fascinated by them and one of them is burned into my memory forever. On January 4, 1999, the Monday Night Wars were going strong between the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. The WWF was now deep into the Attitude Era while WCW was in the middle of their New World Order Era. As I’ve stated before, I was a huge fan of the WWF and rarely watched WCW even if either was preempted. It was the days of brand loyalty before the existence of DVR or internet streaming. Still, I was kind of aware of what was going on over there.

The Attitude Era of the World Wrestling Federation was when I became a big fan of professional wrestling. I had been a fairly big fan during the mid-nineties but I mainly remember watching over at a friend’s house on Saturday mornings. When Raw premiered my interest heightened but I was still a bit young at age eleven to stay up and watch the show. When I got to middle school and high school, sports entertainment had become
extremely popular and fewer people sneered at it. It was during this period that I would stay up on Monday to make sure I watched Raw all the way through. It was worth it to be a little sleepier on Tuesday mornings in order to watch the twists and turns every Monday night.

Mick Foley had been one of my favorites since he popped up on my radar when he debuted on Raw. I heard about Mankind second hand but as I watched his career, I definitely got more and more interested. I was unaware of his earlier career but I knew how devoted he was when he was thrown twice off of the Hell in a Cell structure. Later that year, his character started to become more comedic and I loved him even more. Somehow it was easier to see the amount of thought he put into the character and I loved his feud with The Rock and the McMahons. In a lot of ways it complemented the story they were telling with Stone Cold and told it in a more humorous way.

Prior to the night in question, Mick Foley (as Mankind) had fought hard to face The Rock for the title and had knocked his opponent out. The title was not awarded to him because The Rock had never submitted and had simply passed out. On the January 4, Mankind used a real wrestling move to incapacitate Shane McMahon and ransomed the younger McMahon so that Vince would let Mankind have a rematch. They had their impromptu rematch and all Hell broke loose. While Rock and Mankind clashed in the ring, Degeneration X and The Corporation fought outside of it. The match was back and forth with The Rock doing everything in his power to keep his title belt and Foley refusing to give up. Finally, with an assist from Stone Cold, Mick Foley covered The Rock for the win. I had been laying on my belly as I watched by I jumped to my feet in quiet celebration since everybody else was asleep.

Meanwhile, things on WCW Nitro were busy failing completely as the company did its best impression of the RMS Titanic. I have since read about and watched some of the footage from this era so I am more aware of what was going on. The New World Order was initially a fresh idea but it had become diluted and WCW was having trouble getting anything to catch fire. Hogan, Nash and their cronies put out progressively worse main events and killed off any promising talent as fast as it could be generated. While the ship sank, the cruiserweight division were the musicians playing on the deck and kept their ratings from becoming a mass exodus. One of their remaining draws was Bill Goldberg who was a decent performer who the crowd loved because he looked unstoppable and had a huge win streak. Of course, WCW’s job near the end was to make chicken shit out of chicken salad.

Hulk Hogan had seen the writing on the wall which said “Fans Are Sick of You” and left active duty. Eventually, he went on live television and, with a straight face, announced that he was running for President of the United States. This was a much more laughable prospect than it is today but Hogan had to get his spotlight from somewhere. Meanwhile, Kevin Nash (formerly Diesel) held the heavyweight title and destroyed all challengers by hook or by crook. Enter Goldberg who showed up as a legitimate and believable threat to Nash’s title reign. The match was set for January 4 and I am sure that a buzz went through the WCW fandom that perhaps a new era was on its way.

On January 4, Goldberg made it to the arena but there was a problem. A ring valet by the name of Miss Elizabeth made an accusation against Goldberg. She said that Goldberg had made inappropriate advances toward her and Goldberg was arrested for “aggravated stalking”. Keep in mind that this was the nineties so having Goldberg get fake arrested by fake cops on a fake almost rape charge was not viewed as politically incorrect. It did not stop it from being a bad storyline even back then. So would Goldberg be able to beat the charges and make it back in time for his title match? Well, Elizabeth changed her story and then eventually admitted she made the whole thing up. Somehow, Goldberg still did not make it back to the arena in time. I mean, an establishing shot showed that the police station was across the street but whatever.

Hulk Hogan, who had come to Nitro to talk about his totally for serious campaign, came out to the ring and accused Nash of orchestrating the whole thing. Nash came out and refuted the claim with extreme indignance. Hogan pushed the issue and somehow Nash agreed to a match for the title to settle the issue and prove something or other. The match began and after a moment, Hogan poked Nash in the chest and Nash sold it like he had been shot with a cannon. Hogan pinned Nash easily and then the two of them got up and celebrated together revealing that they had pulled the wool over our eyes the whole time. Hogan was back and was once again king of the mountain, solving nothing from a business or creative standpoint.

These two events aired the same night and they are like night and day to me. Foley winning his first Heavyweight Championship was an award for his long service in the business and his loyalty to the WWF and the fans. It was an extremely positive moment and not only because a babyface won a championship. Hogan winning his umpteenth title belt was more of the same stuff we had seen before. It was a negative moment because fans had been cheated out of a good, bad or mediocre title match in favor for stupid shenanigans. For better or worse, both companies have the word “Wrestling” in their name and that should be the first order of business. I have not even mentioned that the Raw that night was pre-recorded and WCW announcer Tony Schiavone spoiled the Foley moment for WCW viewers. He sarcastically said that it “should put butts in seats” and it ended up causing a huge amount of viewers to switch over to Raw to watch Foley win.

Why is this night personal to me? Well, I mentioned that Monday Night Raw was pre-recorded. It actually took place on my birthday December 29th. The memory of a guy who would become my hero achieving his dream on my birthday is a strong and positive thing for me. Not only that but there were a lot of great performers attached to that moment who worked together to make everything work. It was chaotic, it was messy but it ended up beautiful. On the other side of things, WCW was taking shots at their former employee (Foley) while putting out some of the worst written and performed non-wrestling in the history of the business. The juxtaposition of the events has burned them both into my brain and yet it is the Finger Poke of Doom that has become industry shorthand. Hell, I am wearing a Finger Poke of Doom t-shirt right now. It just shows how interesting Pro-Wrestling is and why I love it.


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