Posts Tagged ‘wrestling’

Interview Questions 12

March 26, 2018

If you could be a cartoon character for a week, who would you be?

I grew up on cartoons and I still watch cartoons on a weekly basis because animation is such a fun genre of television and film and the stories it is able to tell are so interesting. I immediately wondered what the question means by cartoon character. Does it just mean a character who is animated or an actual, original cartoon character? For the purposes of my answer, they are the same thing. My first inclination was to pick Bugs Bunny because he is so confident, funny, and he always succeeds somehow. However, he also is constantly getting into trouble that he has to get himself out of. That sounds like a hassle. Off the top of my head, I think I would pick Maui from Moana. With the aid of a magical artifact, I could change into different animals at will. I would also have super strength and speed. I would spend the week seeking out adventure and helping people out. That would not only be rewarding but it would also make me feel even more powerful. I assume I would be spending that week here in modern times which seems like it would be a lot of fun. Being extraordinary seems like it would be fun for a while but being able to go back to normal after a week sounds like the ideal opportunity to have my cake and eat it too.


If you could be an Olympic athlete, in what sport would you compete?

There are a ton of Olympic sports between the Summer and Winter Olympics. The Olympics are all anybody can talk about for a week or two every two years. Some of the most memorable televised moments in the world are from the Olympic Games. That right there does not appeal to me. I have never been the guy who grabs the spotlight and I do not really like performing in front of huge crowds. So, competing in a sport like ice skating, gymnastics, or any other fan favorite would be absolutely nerve-racking. Besides, a lot of those sports rely on judges who hold subjective opinions as illustrated by stuff like I, Tonya. Instead, if I had any athletic prowess, I would love to compete in one of the lesser televised sports. Judo comes to mind. Judo is a fascinating martial art that deals heavily with momentum to throw one’s opponent rather than punching and kicking. Similarly, competing in Wrestling would be fitting. I wrestled for two years back in grade school and it is a sport that requires brains, brawn, and reflexes. Both of these sports do not get as much publicized attention but both are also very prestigious sports to compete in. I think that would take a bit of the pressure away while still providing the thrill of intense competition. Proving myself in a sport like that would be amazing.


When you’re having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?

My answer for this used to be that I would eat. I remember many times where I would make up for depression with a snack or a fast food or take out meal. It really was not healthy and I am glad to have kicked the habit, especially when it comes to sugar. Anyway, now I try to pour that same emotion back into writing. Getting a lot of writing done makes me feel like I accomplished something and makes me more confident about myself even if I do not always feel like I have written well. One shot short stories often allow me to get some of the anxious emotions out of my system. I also have a long history of watching something fun to lift my spirits. I used to have go to depression movies to try and shake myself loose from my funk. Tangled, Enchanted, Ghostbusters, Twister, and many more were movies that I watched to try and get happier. Now I am more interested in watching something new but I often search out something I feel will be lighthearted and cathartic. Often, I will have it on in the background as I write. If I do not have time for either of those two things, I really like to listen to music. On the really bad days, it is great to put on hard rock or heavy metal that I know the words to and just sing my heart out. This is done in private since my singing is not so great.


What 3 famous people, living or dead, would you want at your fantasy dinner party?

This is always such an interesting question because when I think of actually meeting famous people, I get intimidated. Will they like me? Will I say something stupid? However, I have met and gotten along with plenty of people. I know how to talk to people. I should not allow myself to have that frozen feeling inside. I think the first person that I would love to have over would be Mick Foley. Foley is a former professional wrestler who moved on to become a New York Times Bestselling author and stand up comedian. The guy is highly intelligent for somebody with so many head injuries and I would love to talk pro-wrestling, writing, or whatever with him. Another fun person to have around would be Justin Roiland, one of the creators of Rick and Morty. Justin just seems so energetic and, if Rick and Morty and his other works are any indications, he is a pretty smart and funny guy. He seems like an interesting guy to joke around with or talk about science-fiction with. The final one has to be Arthur Marx aka Adolph Marx aka Harpo Marx. Harpo had a reputation for being a fascinating guy. While he never finished third grade, he was still intelligent in a lot of ways and he gained a unique perspective during his life. He was part of the Algonquin Round Table which was one of the most famous groups of talkers in history. Famously, he was the best listener in that group. I would love to talk about whatever with him and feel like we are both truly listening to each other.

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Awards

January 15, 2018

Awards are a funny thing. I am (barely) a millennial so I grew up in a generation that received participation awards. I received several of these awards for soccer and baseball leagues. They all had flimsy plastic tops and heavy marble bases. These awards are much derided these days as having made millennials weak as the opinion is that they celebrate mediocrity. Awards should be for winners, not for also-rans or so they say. I can only speak for myself but I am completely aware what those trophies meant. They were meant “thank you for not quitting and going off to do something else” because for me that was not only a possibility but it was a desire of mine. I knew I was never going to win an actual trophy for those sports because I did not want to. I did not want to play but I appreciate my parents guiding me into it because I felt the achievement when a season was over.

I never had any delusions of grandeur caused by getting a little plastic trophy. I do not think that any of my friends did either. I knew when I had performed well at something back then and I still do. I knew when I whiffed another at-bat that I was not an athlete. When I actually caught a ball at third base, I knew that I had achieved a miracle. I have humility when it comes to life. I know my limitations and I know when I am not interested in something enough to even try to excel at it. Sports was never part of the plan like it was for some of the friends that I grew apart from over the years in school. I was a nerd and an artist and I lived the life of the mind not the body. Still, I admired the people who did well in sports because they were truly succeeding at something. Of course, that did not stop me from deriding people who were so interested in sportsball.

In Middle School and High School, I wrestled. It was the first sport (other than archery) that I remember really enjoying. It was a solo sport where it is just you against your opponent like a high impact game of chess. I also liked it because with a little bit of practice, I was actually winning quite a few of my matches. Winning at sports without being carried made me feel good but, as with most sports, I eventually lost interest. When I eventually started losing more and more, I lost interest. I was facing guys who probably got up in the morning and trained before school while I could barely be bothered to attend practice after school.

I vividly remember what I call my retirement match. I went to a tournament (the name of which I forget) where there were only three people in my weight class. Because of this, I was guaranteed a third-place medal. I could practically feel my interest fading away as I was guaranteed an award. When it came time for my first round match, I walked out to the middle of the ring and faced somebody obviously in better shape. The guy looked at me and actually growled, an obvious intimidation tactic. Instead of being intimidated, I literally laughed in his face with glee. The match began and he and I struggled against each other. I did not just throw the match but the guy was obviously better than me and, in the end, he handed me my ass. He earned it and he deserved it because he was taking it seriously. Maybe too seriously but it is not my place to judge that.

In High School, I spent most of my time working in theater. I joined the Stage Crew in my Freshman year and I had a lot of fun and I worked my butt off. I volunteered to run the lights and then I started to learn how to actually hang and design lights. I started working in community theater in the Fells Point area, an experience which taught me a lot about theater design and production. I brought that knowledge back with me when I eventually became the co-head and then the head of Stage Crew at school. I started to design lights and I eventually volunteered to set up the audio for events in the auditorium. I spent a lot of time building sets and making sure that everything came together for various productions. When I received an award at graduation, I knew that I deserved it for all of the sacrifices behind the scenes. I worked hard but I still tried to say that the award was no big deal even though I was privately thrilled.

The same thing happened early in 2017 when I graduated from CCBC with a paralegal certificate. I had dabbled in paralegal work and it was clear that it was both fun and it came easily to me. I had found something that I was good at and enjoyed so it was back to school to learn about my newly chosen field. I worked my butt off at school. I took classes seriously and I turned everything in on time or early. I attended every class and I absorbed everything thrown at me. So, when I graduated with a high GPA, I felt satisfied and excited to get out in the field I am currently enjoying. When I received an e-mail that the school wanted to give me a Lamda Epsilon Chi award, I initially dismissed it. I thought that it was something everybody got like a participation trophy. When I arrived at the ceremony, there were only five or six people there getting the award. I was honored because I know when an award is sincere.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: AJ Styles

February 29, 2016

WILPW

I knew I wanted to write another one of these but I was suffering from too many ideas. I thought about doing a post on Daniel Bryan since it would be kind of timely. However, I am still a little too emotional to cover Daniel Bryan at the moment. I have a lot of other ideas but let’s go with a bright and shining star that is just now getting noticed by a lot of people but who I have known for quite some time now. Let’s talk about “The Phenomenal One” AJ Styles.

On January 24, 2016 the WWE held their annual Royal Rumble event. The Royal Rumble is a payperview where big event matches that often starts or furthers some of the biggest storylines of the year. The event is the official start to the Road to Wrestlemania as it starts a countdown to the biggest show of the year (in the WWE Universe). The crown jewel of this event is the Royal Rumble match itself which involved 30 performers competing in one match. This year the match stipulations were announced that the winner would immediately become the Heavyweight Champion of the WWE. Every year in the match there are surprise entrants but this year was the biggest surprise of them all. Entrant number three: AJ Styles.

Now let’s take it back a bit and explain just who AJ Styles is. At least, let me explain my experiences with him. Back in 2005 I was getting a little bored with WWE’s product, not knowing that business was about to pick up again. For the first time in my life I started to cast about for some other pro-wrestling product to watch. I knew that WCW was dead but was there something else out there? There was. Total Nonstop Action had started up and I found it on Spike TV pretty easily. Thankfully I had missed their darkest days but I was just in time for some of their best years. Part of the best part of those years was AJ Styles.

The X-Division of TNA Impact was amazing. It was full of high-flying, technically proficient and innovative performers who were all pretty young. Up until then I was used to the WWE style which had a lot of drama and tension but less flash or variation. AJ Stlyes knew the limitations of his body and seemed to somehow exceed them. The arms race within TNA forced him to innovate his style and moveset at an alarming pace to keep his spot. He was super over (popular) on TNA television and payperviews and was almost immediately one of their top stars.

Styles then worked with Total Nonstop Action through some great years and then some really bad years. Unfortunately, the company continued to hemorhage money, fans and good will. For whatever reason (and I refuse to speculate or spread rumors), Styles left what was now known as Impact Wrestling, ending a 12 year relationship. At that point he became one of the hottest free agents in pro-wrestling. The WWE would have been smart to snap him up right there and maybe they tried. Styles immediately hit the indy scene and kind of settled in at New Japan Pro Wrestling where he joined The Bullet Club, a hugely popular faction in Japan and among knowledgeable fans throughout the rest of the world.

He put on high quality matches with all sorts of people in Japan and he also came back and put on five star matches with organizations like Ring of Honor here in the United States. Unfortunately, to many fans he simply fell off the face of the Earth because it’s not exactly easy to watch Japanese matches at a whim. Also, if somebody disappears off of cable television wrestling shows they are just gone to most people. I saw a little bit but unfortunately he mostly disappeared for me. I saw him a bit on Ring of Honor television but that was it. Then the rumormills began saying that he and the Bullet Club were coming to the WWE. (Although one of them was already there)

So now he has signed a WWE contract and has already competed in a whole bunch of matches. In fact, he competed against “Y2J” Chris Jericho and beat him in two out of three high profile matches. Now he and Jericho (a WWE and WCW veteran) have formed a tag team and are competing on television in the lead up to Wrestlemania. Now here’s where I get real. While AJ Styles is a great performer in a tag team, his shining moments have come from being a singles wrestler. My hope now is that the WWE will trust his eighteen year career and let him show the world while he still can. Daniel Bryan just ended a sixteen year career because of injury and he barely got a chance to succeed. Don’t do the same with AJ.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: I Love it in Spite of Myself

June 19, 2014

WILPW

Stuff I Loved In Spite of Myself

No company in the history of man has ever done everything right all the time.   Sports entertainment companies are no different and I’ll definitely be posting on the truly terrible mistakes in a future episode.  Sometimes though, a company comes up with an idea so weird that I can only shake my head and go “Alright, let’s see where this goes.”  Sometimes I’m disappointed and sometimes I’m rewarded for my patience but these moments never fail to entertain.

Doink the Clown

Yes. You read that right.  Doink is a wrestling clown.  Doink was originally portrayed by Matt Osborne in 1992 but was also played by eight other men.  When Doink debuted I was definitely intrigued and I have continued to be interested in the following 22 years that “he” has appeared.  Even though one of Doink’s strength’s are his facial expressions, his make up allowed for pretty much anybody to play him.   I preferred Osborne’s Doink who was a villainous clown when he first showed up.  He was dressed so festive but looked so unhappy and would often play cruel pranks on babyfaces (good guys).  Later he even briefly added a “twin” and did the mirror gag that Lucille Ball and the Marx Brothers made famous.  He lost some of his shine when he became a good guy, largely due to Osborne getting fired.

The Spirit Squad

So in 2006, five young wrestlers were brought up from Ohio Valley Wrestling which at the time acted as the WWE’s developmental promotion.  All five guys were pretty much novices in the business but thrown together, they could possibly cover each other’s weaknesses.  What gimmick were they given?  They were a male cheerleader squad.  You would think they would give this gimmick to a group of female wrestlers but no.  I rolled my eyes but they kind of grew on me.  They were committed to their gimmick and they were all pretty athletic.  For some reason, the evil Vince McMahon decided to use them to enforce his despotic ways.   He would pit all five of them against one of his enemies.  The five to one advantage would pretty much always win out until they faced the reformed DX.  After that, it was fun to watch them get their asses kicked.  The only one left with the company is Nicky who became Dolph Ziggler.

Santina Marella

I realize that this choice might be controversial.  Now, I have been a fan of Santino Marella for some time ever since he changed from a generic hero to the people to a comical immigrant character that reminds me of Chico Marx.  He is definitely a performer who quickly embraced his role as the company’s comic relief.  He kind of went off the deep end when he decided he wanted to compete against women a la Andy Kauffman.  When that didn’t work, he cross-dressed and spoke in a comically high-pitched voice and claimed to be his twin sister Santina.  The wrestling was admittedly not very good but the backstage comedy bits could be priceless.  He wore revealing dresses and did not bother to cover up his distinctive tattoos or shave body hair.  You never saw Santino and Santina in the same place at the same time although he did pretape an interview with himself.  It was all ended by Donald Trump of all people and everybody shrugged and carried on.

Damien Sandow: Master of Magnetism

Damien Sandow has been a bright spot ever since I became aware of him.  He is a pretty good physical performer but his skills on the mic are great.  I consider myself to be pretty smart and well read.  Sandow’s character takes that several steps farther and names himself the intellectual savior of the masses (his actual words) and combines that with a brutal offensive style.  When Hugh Jackman showed up on WWE programming the first time I was wary but he pulled it off nicely.  Prior to his recent appearance I heard that he was a really big fan of the product so when he appeared again, I looked forward to it.  Damien Sandow stepped out in a certain costume that looked handmade and pathetic while being simultaneously pretty accurate.  I urge you to watch the above video.  It ended up being just perfect.

Brodus Clay: Funkasaurus

Brodus Clay originally debuted as a monster.  He was a wall of a man who stood in the way when Edge was facing the villainous Alberto Del Rio.  He brutalized Edge’s “brother” Christian over and over just by being difficult to knock down.  He went away for a while after that feud was over and when he came back things were really, really different.  Suddenly he had back up dancers and lights and catchy, poppy music.   It was a huge change and I was very confused especially since Clay could never actually dance well.  He was supposed to be chock full of funk but could only do the T-Rex arms bit from Thriller, the electric slide and the Gangnam Style dance.  He later added other lame moves.  Still, he kind of grew on me.  It didn’t hurt that he continued to tear his opponents apart.

The StarDust Debut

There is not much to say on this one yet as the character just debuted on Monday.  Cody Rhodes might just warrant a whole episode of his own in the future.  Cody is the real life  younger brother of Dustin Runnels aka Goldust.  In order to continue their tag team, Cody has now adopted his brother’s bizarre gimmick.  Time will tell on this one but I’m willing to ride it out.

Heavyweight Title Pt. 1

May 22, 2009

<This is the first part in an attempt to write a wrestling match for my fake wrestling company High Power Wrestling.  A classic battle between rich arrogance and middle class heart.   If you care to read more of my Pro-wrestling ramblings you’ll learn more about the feud between these two in the next segment.  Enjoy>

The crowd cheered as a loud wolf’s howl filled the arena followed by the familiar strains of Ozzy Ozborne’s “Never Gonna Stop” sounding through the speakers throughout the building. Mike and Fairy burst through the curtain and paused at the top of the ramp to look out over the crowd in attendance. The crowd started to chant “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!” in unison and Mike saluted the crowd, raising his fist in the air as he and Fairy smiled big at their fans in gratitude.

Then Mike looked determinedly at the ring and they started down the ramp. Usually they would both be high fiving their fans and smiling but the atmosphere was too tense. Sarah “Fairy” Wolfe had the HPW women’s title hung over her shoulder as she walked next to her husband, showing their earlier success when she retained the title. She had been through a hell of a battle but now the pressure was on Mike in this main event.

He helped his wife up the stairs and through the ropes and into the ring. They each climbed up a turnbuckle and posed for the audience, the crowd’s volume rising back to that initial roar. They switched turnbuckles, shooting each other a smile as they passed midway between them. Up on his turnbuckle, Mike made the sign of the belt to the audience and they cheered hard again at the prospect of Mike winning the heavyweight title.

The two of them were that way when “Money” by Pink Floyd hit the speakers and Miller Sinclair showed up at the top of the ramp with his assistant Diane Covington in tow. He wore a huge confident grin as he slapped the face of the championship belt he wore around his waist. He and Diana gave the crowd and the ring the same contemptuous smirk as they walked down the ramp towards the ring. Mike and Fairy hopped down from their turnbuckles and turned to face Mike’s opponent together. Fairy turned to say a few words to her husband but Mike’s eyes remained locked on Miller.

The lights came up in the ring as Miller stepped into the ring and called for a microphone. He smirked at Mike and then pointed at the belt around his waist.

“Get a good look at this belt, Wolf, get a really good look at it because this is the very last time that you’re going to see it.” Miller gloated.

Before he could say another word, Mike snatched the microphone out of Miller’s hand, causing that self-important smirk to fade into an icy glare.

“I didn’t come here to talk, Miller, I came to fight.” Mike said.  Mike then tossed the mic out of the ring.

The refferee got the ladies to exit the ring as Miller unhooked the championship belt and handed it off to a ringside official. The two opponents turned to face each other and the bell rang, signifying the start of the match.

Professional Wrestling

March 29, 2009

I am total geek. This is something I accepted as far back as high school. My interests fall largely on the uncool side of the cool/uncool divide. But what I end up liking I really, really do like a lot. Sometimes I don’t know why I like something but I find it affecting the way I think and sparking my imagination. And one thing that I’ve liked since somewhere around the mid-nineties is Professional Wrestling. My love for it has only grown over the years even as I’ve learned more and more about it.

Interestingly enough I was introduced to the world of wrestling in a more legitimate way. The memory of what age I was escapes me but when I was in elementary school I wrestled as a sport. I don’t remember actually competing but I remember rolling around and attempting various holds and pinning combinations. Nothing complicated, really, but I remember doing it. I don’t know if that imprinted on me much or what. The fact that I remember it at all speaks volumes, I guess.

I later tried my hand at so-called amateur wrestling during 8th and 9th grades because my brother had joined the team. I had mixed results during those two years but I came away with one third place medal in a competition because the bracket wasn’t crowded. My brother continued with wrestling long after I quit and was nearly unstoppable. He became a team captain and dominated his opponents sometimes outright embarassing them. I like that.

A friend introduced me to pro-wrestling in the mid-nineties and like most new fans I thought it was real. They acted so serious about the rules on screen even if some of the competitors were really weird personalities. I mean, seriously, I became a fan when Doink the Clown (1) was still around.

I almost instantly became a fan of Shawn Michaels (2). I was pretty small through my childhood (I’m still not very big) and Michaels has always been a little dog in a big dog’s fight. I was impressed with how much the announcers talked about his resiliency and his never-say-die spirit. I didn’t even care that he had been a bad guy in the past (or present) he was just too impressive to me. In a world where I never really cared much about sports, pro wrestling was my sports. Watching a wrestler hit their finishing move was like a home run to me.

Of course, finally someone let the cat out of the bag and I found out that the show wasn’t real. Of course, I was shellshocked. That meant that the announcers and wrestlers on the screen had been lying to my face the whole time. I felt like a fool. Pretty soon I got over it and soon enough the Monday Night Wars started up and I had more than one wrestling show to watch and then I had three (Thunder was crap).

There was a whole new world of storylines and characters that were opening up in front of me. I had developed something important that would serve me well: suspension of disbelief. I could sit there and watch the shows and enjoy it the same way you or I might watch Indiana Jones save the day while knowing that it’s Harrison Ford.

Eventually I came to peek more and more behind the curtains, looking at the insider info and appreciating the art of putting a match together. Wrestlers are an odd mix of athlete and performer. They go out in front of the crowds and the cameras and they have to entertain the folks out there. Also, watch this and tell me that pro wrestling doesn’t recquire athelticism (5).

I got to know the wrestlers as performers as well as their characters. I became a huge fan of Mick Foley, an everyman sort of guy who not only put on a great match but also was brilliant with a microphone. I’ve read all three of Foley’s autobiographies and I just admire him as a nice guy and a brilliant mind. Funny how that mind hasn’t been dulled by so many blows to the brain.

So, basically what I’m saying is that I’m not embarassed that I like wrestling because I know why I like it and I really do like it. Also, at least I don’t watch reality television. Here’s a few videos to show you just what I mean. Watch them or don’t.  I just wanted to say my piece. As Mick Foley says, “Have a Nice Day!”

(1) Doink the Clown vs. Mr. Perfect

(2) Shawn Michaels’ theme song.  I’m still amazed the guy could sing his own theme song and look so tough wearing those outfits. I’m not gay, I swear.

(3) Mick Foley getting nearly killed by the Undertaker.  This was actually scripted into the match and not an accident. And yes those are thumb tacks about two thirds through. (Graphic: Weak stomachs don’t watch)

(4) Mick Foley again this time it’s on the mic. It’s safe to watch this one.

(5) Here, here and here is some athleticism.


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