Believe The HIPE - The New 30 Day Challenge (Day 10)
Aug 10, 2012 - 10:38:43 PM
1. Day 1 - Favorite Wrestler Growing Up
2. Day 2 - Favorite Female Wrestler
3. Day 3 - Favorite Male Wrestler
4. Day 4 - Least Favorite Male Wrestler
5. Day 5 - Least Favorite Female Wrestler
6. Day 6 - Wrestling Character You Feel You Are Most Like
7. Day 7 - Favorite Tag Team
8. Day 8 - Favorite Championship Belt
9. Day 9 - Favorite Entrance Theme
10. Day 10 - Saddest Moment
A little over a year ago, I decided to take the "30 Day Challenges" that were all the craze on Facebook and blogging sites, and turn them into a set of daily columns. I was already in the middle of my Hustle Is Posting Everyday series, but the 30 Day Challenge allowed me to push things to a new level. I was posting two columns a day during that stretch. It was insane.
In an attempt to get my writing mojo back, I want to push myself again. People have been asking me if I ever plan to go back and write daily columns again, and my answer is always the same.. I'd like to at some point, but I just don't know if I can do it anymore. It's been so long, and wrestling just hasn't been the same for me in the last few months. I've discovered a new urge to write again recently, though, as you can tell by the return of my Raw Running Diaries, as well as more frequent "regular" columns. What better time to keep pushing myself than now?
What better time for the return of the 30 Day Challenge?
I found a different challenge, and now, every single day for the next 30 days, you'll be seeing something from me. Each day has a specific topic/question, and I'll be covering it in a column. Some of these will seem familiar, because I may have already mentioned my answers in previous columns, but others will be brand new. As another throwback, I'm even going to bust out a playlist at the end of each day. For those wondering, this will not interfere with my other columns, which means that you will have some days in the month of August where you see me posting two columns.
I just want to see if I can do this again. A test. Pushing my limits. Let's get on with the first day, though. No more wasting time. Let's get this challenge started.
Day 1 - Favorite Wrestler Growing Up
This one could have multiple answers, really, because it isn't entirely specific. "Growing up" covers a very long stretch of time. Hell, I'm 30, and I still haven't fully grown up yet. Just for the sake of not dragging this on too much, I'll view the "growing up" years as the time I started watching wrestling until the time I graduated high school. That covers 13-14 years, which is plenty of time to discuss things.
I've said this on several occasions, so you already know this if you've been a reader of mine for a while, but "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair was not only my first favorite wrestler, but he was the very first wrestler I ever saw, period. I don't remember the exact date, unfortunately, but I remember being in the vicinity of four years old. I had yet to start Kindergarten. I was flipping through the channels on television, and I just so happened to see a Ric Flair promo that was just starting. I was mesmerized. He just looked so cool, with his designer clothes, his shades, his title belt, and so on. I sat through the entire promo, and because I was really entertained, I didn't change the channel, and I actually watched the wrestling portion of the show. I was hooked. I fell in love with pro wrestling on that day, and I have loved it ever since.
Looking at the time frame, I see that Ric Flair won the NWA World Title on August 9th, 1986. He held the title until September 25th, 1987. I don't know the exact date, but I started Kindergarten in early-September 1987, so the exact time of this promo was after August 9th, 1986 but before September 25th, 1987. That fits perfectly.
At that young age, Ric Flair was everything I wanted to be. Even as a little, brown, mixed-race child, I wanted to have Flair's blonde hair. I wanted to be able to walk around in public and yell "WHOOOOO!", and have total strangers yell "WHOOOOO!" right back at me. I wanted to be able to yell and scream, cutting "promos" all day long, without getting in trouble for it. I wanted to be able to walk around with a championship belt. All of it was just so fucking cool. On top of all that, he won a lot. Never underestimate how important that is for a child when it comes to these types of things. It's how I came to be a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, San Francisco 49ers and Miami Hurricanes (football). Yes, the Lakers and 49ers are close to being "home teams" for Hawaii since we don't have pro teams here, but they were on television all the time when I was a little kid because they were winning all the time. I gravitated towards that. Same thing goes for Flair. He won his matches. He got his ass kicked in a lot of those matches, but no matter what.. and no matter who he was facing.. he'd come out of the match victorious.
As I got a little older, and could better appreciate the in-ring aspect of things, I liked Flair even more. It is argued that 1989 NWA was the single greatest year any wrestling promotion has ever had, as far as match quality is concerned. I turned seven in 1989, but even then, I knew how special the Ric Flair VS Ricky Steamboat trilogy was. I knew how special Flair's "I Quit" match with Terry Funk was. I knew how special all of the interaction in the NWA was, throwing in names like Sting, The Great Muta, Barry Windham, the loaded tag team division, etc.
When I discovered the World Wrestling Federation, I enjoyed the product because it was wrestling, and was a fan of many of the wrestlers there, but nobody could match up to Ric Flair in my eyes. That is, until I got to high school. In 1997, there were some major players on the WWF roster, but it was really all about two people. My entire school seemed to be infatuated with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. His t-shirts were everywhere. People were even starting to talk like him, ending sentences with "..and that's the bottom line..". Flipping the bird became extra popular again. I had no problems with Austin. In fact, I was a fan. I liked him in WCW, and seeing his meteoric rise to superstardom in the WWF was a lot of fun.
Then, one day, The Rock came along, and things changed. Rock became my new favorite wrestler. Finally, someone had come along and surpassed Ric Flair. It was fun having arguments with my friends and classmates that were Austin fans.
"Stone Cold is the best!"
"No way. The Rock is better! Know your role, jabroni!"
"EH EH! Austin is better, and that's the bottom line.."
"It doesn't matter what the bottom line is!"
Alright, so perhaps that wasn't a verbatim argument that was had, but you get the point.
I don't know if it was more because of the shared Polynesian bloodlines, or because I was generally more cocky and brash than most of my friends, but I just liked The Rock from the very beginning. When he was Rocky Maivia, it wasn't quite the same, sure, but I did enjoy seeing another Samoan in the wrestling business. When he went from Rocky Maivia to The Rock, though, it was a wrap. I was a fan. I even had quite the impression of the guy that I had perfected, to the point that people used to call me "The Rock" in high school, and would always ask me to do the impression in class, in the halls, and whenever they would see me. Ahh, good times.
That's it. In the 13-14 years from the time I first started watching wrestling until the time I graduated high school, I only had two favorite wrestlers.. Ric Flair and The Rock. While there are some big similarities between the two, they're also near polar opposites when you think about them and their characters. Now it's your turn, ReaderLand. Who were your favorite wrestlers growing up? You can use the same time frame (when you started watching until the time you graduated high school), but of course, you can alter that a bit for your own personal preferences if you're still in high school, or if you didn't start watching wrestling until high school, etc. I just want to know who you grew up watching.
The HiPE Playlist: "3 Kings" by Rick Ross, Dr Dre & Jay-Z.. "Sixteen" by Rick Ross & Andre 3000.. "Triple Beam Dreams" by Rick Ross & Nas.. "Honor Roll" by Cyhi The Prynce.. "They Don't Know" by Masspike Miles.. "Time Of Your Life" by Kid Ink.. "Let Dem Guns Blam" by Waka Flocka Flame & Meek Mill.. "Believe" by David Banner & Big K.R.I.T. .. "Nightmares & Migraines" by Jadakiss.. "Black Faces" by Childish Gambino & Nipsey Hu$$le
Day 2 - Favorite Female Wrestler
I had to set a few ground rules for this entry.
First, I'll be including my current favorite, as well as my all-time favorite, just to beef it up a bit. Second, I'm only going to deal with women that actually made their living as wrestlers, and not women that had the occasional match here and there. Because of that, women such as Sunny and Stephanie McMahon are ineligible for this. I had to think about that for a while because Steph is a former WWF Women's Champion, holding the belt for nearly five months. However, Steph has only wrestled in a total of 22 matches during her career, and less than half of them were singles matches, as she found herself teaming with Triple H and/or Kurt Angle a lot. In the end, I couldn't quite justify placing her in the "wrestler" category.
Let's get things started, first with my favorite of all-time..
The woman I've chosen as my favorite of all-time probably wouldn't be considered the best at any one thing. She isn't the best technical wrestler. She isn't the best high-flier. She doesn't have the best mic skills or the most charisma. She doesn't necessarily stand out in any aspect, but at the same time, she isn't exactly bad at anything, either. The reason she gets the nod here is because she was able to really make me care about women's wrestling, to the point that her match at a WrestleMania was something I was really looking forward to, and I feel that it lived up to every bit of the hype.
Most of you have probably figured it out by now, but I'm talking about none other than Mickie James. Before Mickie came along, I could appreciate the women's wrestlers for what they did. I was a fan of watching Bull Nakano. I enjoyed Madusa's work. Things were fine. Mickie's Single White Female stalker storyline with Trish Stratus, though.. man, that was some amazing television, period, not just for women's wrestling. Both women played their roles to perfection, but Mickie was the quintessential "crazy chick", starting off as an overzealous fan of Trish, and then turning into a psychopath after Trish continued to push her away. Trish Stratus is, arguably, the most beloved female wrestler of all-time, but Mickie did such a great job in her role that she got fans to turn on her. Listen to the crowd responses during their match at WrestleMania 22. That crowd was almost 100% behind Mickie, booing Trish with every chance they got. I understand that the show was in Chicago that night, and the Chicago crowd has become world-famous for being incredibly smarky, but the crowds leading into WrestleMania and coming out of WrestleMania were starting to cheer Mickie, as well.
That entire storyline just piqued my interest like nothing that women's wrestling had ever done before. I thank Mickie James, and even Trish Stratus, for the work that was put in to make me care so much. I still go back and watch that WrestleMania match from time-to-time, six-plus years later. I don't think I've ever seen a women's match that unfolded that way before, and to be honest, I don't know if I ever will again.
Of course, Mickie is also the reason I can't eat at Arby's anymore, but that's a different story for a different day.
The next part of my column is going to be pretty obvious for those of you that have paid any attention to my columns in the last few months. The woman who is my current favorite female wrestler is the current Women's Superstars Uncensored Champion, a member of the Midwest Militia (only the most dominant stable in wrestling today), and a lover of watermelon knives everywhere.. Jessicka Havok.
As the independent women's wrestling scene continues to grow, the "movement" is led by Havok. She continues to be the most talked-about woman on the scene, and is still improving by leaps and bounds with each passing month. With SHINE just starting up, and with Havok set to make her SHINE debut at their second iPPV on August 17th, her "name" is only going to keep growing.
I love the intensity and passion that she brings to the business. Not that she's the only woman on the indy scene that loves wrestling, but when you're used to the mainstream women.. the models that weren't even fans of the business when they were signed to contracts, and are using wrestling to advance their careers elsewhere.. seeing a woman that not only loves wrestling, but is proud of wrestling and is proud of being a wrestler, is refreshing. She wants to be the best. She wants to go out and have the Match Of The Night, every single time she steps into the ring. I can't help but admire that quality. She loves wrestling, and it shows.
As I've said before, I really dig that her character is something you usually see with male wrestlers. When you have a male wrestler that is the crazy, psychotic animal that is out to destroy all of his opponents, it can often be entertaining, but there's not a lot of originality with it. We've seen it before. We've seen it on numerous occasions. Again, it's entertaining, but it's nothing unique. We've seen crazy women gimmicks before. We've seen psychotic women gimmicks before. Even recently, we've seen Kharma/Awesome Kong/Amazing Kong do something along those lines with TNA and WWE. The main difference between what we saw with Kharma and we're seeing with Havok is that Havok can get on the mic and enhance the gimmick even more. She can tell her opponents exactly what she plans to do to them, and then she can get into the ring and do what she said she would do. If you ask me, women's wrestling, independent or mainstream, needs more of that. Something different. Something for women (and especially for younger girls) to look at and admire.
Maybe that's just me. Maybe that's just my house.
The HiPE Playlist: "Haven't Had Enough" by Marianas Trench.. "Good To You" by Marianas Trench & Kate Voegele.. "Fallout" by Marianas Trench.. "Ever After" by Marianas Trench.. "Desperate Measures" by Marianas Trench.. "Cough Syrup" by Young The Giant.. "Hunger Strike" by Temple Of The Dog.. "The Freshman" by The Verve Pipe.. "Only One" by Yellowcard.. "When I Come Around" by Green Day
Day 3 - Favorite Male Wrestler
Like yesterday's entry, I had to set some different ground rules. Ric Flair is my all-time favorite wrestler, but because I've already done an entry on him, as well as The Rock, I'm going to avoid writing about them here. I'll be doing the "Current" and "All-Time" listings again, but for "All-Time", I'll just move down the list and discuss someone I haven't mentioned yet, just to keep things as fresh as I possibly can. It's a 30-Day Challenge, after all. It's not very challenging if the same person is mentioned in entry after entry.
While Ric Flair is my all-time favorite, the person I'm about to mention comes in right behind Flair on the list. It's someone I enjoyed watching while I was in high school, but it wasn't until after high school that I really got to enjoy his work and become a huge fan. I don't care how old you are.. I don't care when you started watching wrestling.. I don't care what promotions you were a fan of.. you respected Eddie Guerrero, and chances are, you loved watching him perform.
In all the years of experience I've had with watching wrestling, I've never seen anyone make everything look as easy as Eddie Guerrero did. Everything he did in the ring looked so smooth. So crisp. So precise. It didn't matter who his opponent was for that particular match, because he could make it work with anyone. Even if you didn't know his family history, you could watch his matches and know that he had been doing this for his entire life.
When I was first introduced to Eddie, he was in WCW. At the time, he wasn't given too many opportunities to show his personality. If you remember the WCW product from back then, they had a fantastic Cruiserweight division, but the company viewed them as completely interchangeable. Just throw some random Cruiserweights in the ring, let them wrestle, and save the storyline build for the main event players. He got the occasional chance to shine (especially as the leader of the Latino World Order), but for the most part, his talent was wasted in WCW. Shocking, I know.
It wasn't until his time with the WWF that I was truly introduced to his personality and more of the "entertainment" side of his sports entertainment life. Even with as over-the-top as the gimmick was, as far as his accent goes, I was constantly entertained by "Latino Heat" Eddie Guerrero. His "I Lie, I Cheat, I Steal" catchphrase was great, especially when he incorporated it into his matches. It still makes me smile when I think about Eddie hitting the mat with a steel chair behind a referee's back, and then dropping to the mat as he tossed the chair to his opponent, so the referee would turn around and assume Eddie was just taken out with the chair. Then we'd get that mischievous grin on Eddie's face when he realized that his plan worked. Those little things.. the bits of charisma that can't be taught.. really helped to push Eddie to legendary status.
Watching Eddie rise through the ranks was an exciting time for me. February 15th, 2004 is a date that I'll never forget. That was the night Eddie defeated Brock Lesnar to become the WWE Champion. Easily one of my biggest mark-out moments in all my years of being a fan of the business. The match played out perfectly, with Eddie playing the scrappy underdog against the unstoppable monster that was Brock Lesnar. Brock dominated large chunks of the match, and rightfully so, but Eddie kept fighting, and it helped to move things along nicely. When Eddie won the match, it was a very emotional moment, watching him celebrate with his mother and other members of his family.
It has been nearly seven years since Eddie passed away, and I don't know about all of you, but I still miss him. Every single day, I miss him.
If we're talking about my current favorite wrestler, it has to be the man that is the best overall performer on the entire WWE roster right now. That's something I never thought I'd say about the man. I've been a fan of his for nearly eight years, and have, on several occasions, called him the best wrestler on the planet, but now, not only is he impressing people with his in-ring skills, he's impressing with his character, his charisma, and even his mic skills. I'm talking about Goatface himself, Daniel Bryan.
That may come as a surprise to some of you, as I've been the top John Cena fan in the IWC for years now, but in recent months, Cena and Bryan have traded places on my favorites list. It's all about change. While Cena's character continues to stay the same, Bryan has seen so much change over the last several months. As I said, he's now impressing with his promos and his various segments. Even his biggest supporters didn't expect that to happen when he first signed with WWE. Even on the independent scene, he wasn't exactly known for having an abundance of charisma. He had more than a lot of people gave him credit for, sure, but he was still all about what he could do once he stepped in between those ropes. Upon arriving in WWE, I figured he had a chance to become a respectable midcard talent. Maybe win the United States and/or Intercontinental Titles on a few occasions. Maybe team up with people and pull in a Tag Team Title reign or two. I just figured that his lack of charisma in comparison to what almost always gets pushed to the top of the WWF/WWE would work against him.
At first, it seemed like I would be right. He wasn't really given much to work with on the mic, but he was allowed to get in the ring and have lengthy matches. He even won the United States Title. Things were looking good for him. Good, but not great. Obviously, that has changed in the last year or so, and now, as I said, he is the best all-around performer on the WWE roster. I don't think that can be argued at this point. When you look at in-ring abilities, mic skills, overall charisma, and what a person does with the opportunities that they're given, Daniel Bryan is in a class all by himself right now. Nobody can top him. Not even fellow IWC darling CM Punk. What makes it even better is that things are still looking up for the guy. There are still some major feuds he could have that would be fresh.. *cough* John Cena *cough*.. and only help to expand his overall profile. It really is an amazing story when you stop and think about it. The man who can do anything in the ring.. mat wrestling, high-flying, brawling, submissions.. developing an entertaining personality that helps him to succeed beyond the wildest imaginations of anyone coming into his WWE career. Incredible.
The HiPE Playlist: "Live From The Underground" by Big K.R.I.T. .. "Money On The Floor" by Big K.R.I.T., 2 Chainz, Eightball & MJG.. "What U Mean" by Big K.R.I.T. & Ludacris.. "Pull Up" by Big K.R.I.T., Bun B & Big Sant.. "Hydroplaning" by Big K.R.I.T. & Devin The Dude.. "Grippin On The Wood" by Pimp C, Big K.R.I.T. & Bun B.. "On The Corner" by Smoke DZA, Big K.R.I.T. & Bun B.. "The Life Of Kings" by Phonte, Big K.R.I.T. & Evidence.. "Play The Game" by Statik Selektah, Big K.R.I.T. & Freddie Gibbs.. "Make My" by The Roots, Big K.R.I.T. & Dice Raw
Day 4 - Least Favorite Male Wrestler
Once again, we're going to go with an "all-time" theme, as well as a "current" theme, for today's entry.
My all-time least favorite male wrestler. I'm going to confess to something right here, right now. While I dislike this wrestler, and have never been a fan of him, a large portion of my hate has to do with his fans. Some of you have already figured out who I'm referring to, but I'll reveal it to everyone else.. Mr Kennedy/Anderson is my choice here.
I've told this story before, but think back to Kennedy's arrival in WWE. Think back to when people first saw the gimmick with the old-school microphone dropping from the rafters, and Kennedy introducing himself before his matches, complete with repeating his last name. Think back to the reaction that people on the IWC had about him and what he was saying.
- He had the best promo skills in the business.
- He should be pushed to the main event.
- He's a WrestleMania main event waiting to happen.
Ladies and gentlemen, none of those statements were exaggeration or hyperbole on the part of yours truly. Those were all things that were said, pretty much everywhere you went. It was sheer insanity. Best promo skills in the business? Even if you're a fan of the guy, how can you possibly say that about someone who had yet to really cut a true promo in his career? All we saw was the "He hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin.." schtick and him repeating his own name every time he had a microphone in his hands. That's it.
At the time, he was still a green worker, obviously learning more as he went along. He wasn't an awful worker or anything. He was just average at everything he did, and didn't stand out at all. I'm sure the company saw bigger and better things in his future, and that's why they placed him in matches and feuds with the likes of Eddie Guerrero, Batista, and Degeneration X, but he was still struggling. He injured Hardcore Holly legit in his first big match with the company, and that should have been a sign of things to come, as injuries (both to himself and his opponents) seemed to be a bit of theme for his career.
He was always overrated by the IWC, and it only seemed to get worse as time went on. When WWE released him, I distinctly remember seeing people claim that he would help TNA become the top wrestling promotion if they signed him. Yeah.. about that.. how has it worked out? He's been with TNA for two-and-a-half years now, even winning the TNA World Title twice, and it hasn't done any good. TNA is in the same spot as they were pre-Kennedy/Anderson, and it stuns me to say that Kennedy/Anderson has gotten even worse with time. Since arriving in TNA, all his promos are now are him obnoxiously yelling every word he says, and throwing the word "asshole" in every four seconds. It's like he doesn't even care anymore. His in-ring abilities haven't really improved too much, either, even with the added years of experience. He seems to be an example of someone merely showing up to work and collecting his check. Nothing more, nothing less. I know I'm not the only person who feels that way, either. In fact, a lot of those folks that were calling for him to be fitted for a Hall Of Fame ring in 2005 are either nowhere to be found these days, or merely aren't fans anymore. People are just giving up on the guy.
I started disliking the guy for getting way too overhyped by his fans, but the dislike grew when it started to become obvious that the man simply doesn't care about getting better. He doesn't seem to care about much of anything.
I thought about naming Kennedy/Anderson as my current most-hated, but I don't think I give a fuck enough anymore to really hate him. Besides, he doesn't even wrestle on a regular basis anymore. At one point, I might have named Abyss here, but he has saved himself with the entertaining Joseph Park lawyer gobbledygoo, so I'm giving him a pass. Everyone knows my dislike for Matt Hardy, but he seems to be in a better place in his life now, and I don't want to make things any worse, so he's off the hook. Jinder Mahal is another very strong contender here, and is someone I was really debating here, but he's just painfully boring. I don't look at that as being the worst thing in the world, so he's safe for now.
The more I think about it, the more I had to put not one, but two, names here. My least favorite wrestlers at the moment are definitely Davey Richards and Tony Kozina. Two of the biggest pieces of shit in the wrestling industry today. That goes a lot further than someone simply boring me with their matches.
I'm not going to discuss these two assholes any more than I have to, but let's go with the short version of things..
- Feeling "disrespected" by his opponent (who just so happened to be a 16-year-old kid), Kozina decided to work a "shoot" style, including some dangerously stiff piledrivers, finally ending the match by choking the kid unconscious. Legit unconscious, not just "selling" unconscious.
- Richards and Kozina (along with another one of their flunkies, Kyle O'Reilly) decided to bully an indy promoter (again with the bullshit "disrespect" card), and to put the bullying to an end, the promoter gave them their money up front. $350 was given to them, and what happened after that? They bailed on the show. Left the building, hopped into a car, and weren't seen again.
- A full two-plus days after the incident, after the internet had gone nuts about what Richards and his cronies did, Davey decides to PayPal $350 back to the promoter, saying that he wasn't going to spend it, and that the money was only taken on "principle".
First and foremost, I don't care what Kozina's opponent said or did. This isn't 19-fucking-74 anymore. That bullshit type of "justice" has no business in today's wrestling scene, especially when a 41-year-old with a fucking Napoleon complex is facing a 16-year-old. Wow. You choked out a kid that has no experience in any sort of trained fighting style. So impressive.
Richards and his "pro wrestling is just what I do on the side, when I'm not Jit-Jitsu training" bullshit has been pissing people off for a while now, and has always come across as a fucking douchebag on Twitter, so it surprised no one that he was involved in a stunt like this. Hmm.. let's see.. two jacked up midgets.. picking on people smaller than they are.. getting mad over the smallest of things.. yeah, it's pretty clear that both of these fucking idiots are steroid users. Someone get the testing kits.
People like that make me sick. Kozina tries to claim that he's "protecting the business", and that his incident was all about "respect". Who is going to respect you if you cripple a kid? Where's the respect there? Richards is a rare breed of asshole that would clearly rather be doing anything but wrestling. He treats it like a side hobby. I've told countless columnists that if they don't love wrestling, they have no business being involved with it, because it will show in their work. If that advice goes for someone who is merely writing about wrestling, it damn sure goes for someone who is actually wrestling. You can see in Davey's matches that he gives zero fucks about the wrestling business, and is only out for himself. No-selling just about everything your opponent throws at you in an hour-long match, just so you can win a match with "martial arts kicks" speaks volumes about that fucking clown.
I don't even want to talk about these two anymore. I hope they become wrestling's next statistics. Fuck em.
The HiPE Playlist: "(sic)" by Slipknot.. "More Human Than Human" by White Zombie.. "Blind" by Korn.. "Good God" by Korn.. "Breathe" by Prodigy.. "Down With The Sickness" by Disturbed.. "Stupify" by Disturbed.. "Last Resort" by Papa Roach.. "Between Angels & Insects" by Papa Roach.. "Sad But True" by Metallica
Day 5 - Least Favorite Female Wrestler
I'm going to warn everyone right off the bat.. I don't see today's entry being that long. I've disliked a few female wrestlers through the years, but nobody has received enough of my hatred to fuel an entire column. Because of that, I don't even think I'll be doing a "current" and "all-time" for today. Just one least favorite female wrestler. Period. End of story. Let's see what I can come up with.
I thought about it for a while, and went through a whole bunch of candidates for this entry, but one name kept coming up again and again.. Lita. I thought about including people like Sable, either of the Bella Twins, Eve Torres, or Ashley Massaro. I even thought about including part-timers like Jackie Gayda. I thought about including the person who would probably be the "popular" choice here, Kelly Kelly, but a lot of the reasons I dislike her have nothing to do with anything she can control, and instead, have to do with the way she was booked throughout her time with WWE. Hell, I even thought about going in a somewhat controversial direction by including The Fabulous Moolah, who was stinking up rings across the world decades after she should have retired. Like I said, Lita kept coming up again and again, no matter what direction I was thinking about going in.
I'll never take the fact that she was ridiculously popular during her time with the WWF away from Lita. In her prime years with the company, she was more over than most of the men on the roster. It's great that she was able to get over, especially without having the opportunity to cut promos and introduce people to her "story" like the male wrestlers get to do. However, she was the true definition of what I feel is wrong with wrestling sometimes.
Let's keep it real here, ladies and gentlemen.. Lita is, was, and always will be nothing more than a backyard wrestler with large breasts. Alright, let me narrow that down a bit more. Lita is, was, and always will be nothing more than a backyard wrestler who is supposed to have large breasts, unlike some of these other gargantuan fucks that make YouTube videos of them jumping through stacked tables from the roof of their house. She didn't seem to have a single idea about anything like pacing, psychology, or how to put moves together. She was sloppy in the ring, and only looked to hit big spots. Big spots that she botched, missed or nearly killed her opponents with over half the time, by the way.
She came along at the perfect time. She hit the scene in an era where wrestling was presented to people who had short attention spans. Wrestling fans then, for the most part, wanted the "Crash TV" style that we were given.. the equivalent of a Michael Bay movie, with no real plot whatsoever, but plenty of action, violence, gratuitous sexuality abound. That's what we got with Lita. No real "plot" to her matches, but damn if she wasn't jumping off of things, flying around the ring, and showing plenty of cleavage while she did it. That kind of stuff was fine when I was younger (even though I wasn't a fan of hers back then, either), but now, much like most of the Attitude Era and the things we saw back then, it certainly doesn't hold up today, and looks even worse. I just wasn't a fan of the way she went out there and seemed intent on injuring herself, her opponent, or both with everything she did.
Besides, she was never that attractive. From the neck down, sure, but that face? No, thanks. When she started talking, the level of horrendous nonsense reached epic levels, and she sounded like a tranny with a cold. Not good. Not good at all.
The HiPE Playlist: "Don't Be Cruel" by Bobby Brown.. "My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown.. "Every Little Step" by Bobby Brown.. "Rock Witcha" by Bobby Brown.. "On Our Own" by Bobby Brown.. "Good Enough" by Bobby Brown.. "If It Isn't Love" by New Edition.. "Can You Stand The Rain" by New Edition.. "I'm Still In Love With You" by New Edition.. "One More Day" by New Edition
Day 6 - Wrestling Character You Feel You Are Most Like
Now we're talking. Something a little more outside of the box that allows me to dig a little deeper, and post a longer column. Coming on the heels of yesterday's incredibly short entry, I think something like that is needed.
I had a few names in mind for the wrestling character I feel I'm similar to, but let's be honest, there's only one obvious choice. There's only one choice that damn near all of you immediately thought of when you read what today's entry was all about. There's only one person that I could pick, and not regret it later after doing some serious thinking about it.
Some of you are already thinking about jokes to make, but you know what? That's fine with me. I've thought this through, and I knew, better than anyone, the type of ridicule that can potentially come with saying something along the lines of "I'm like John Cena". Some will wonder why I'm talking about me as a columnist, and not about me "in real life", but it's because I'm not playing a character. I'm not in a role. What you see from me online is exactly who I am. There's no difference between Hustle and Aaron, I assure you. Let's look at the similarities, shall we?
1. You're not going to find anyone that works harder. Cena's hard work has been discussed countless times. On top of all the matches he wrestles and the promos he cuts, he has all of his charity work, on top of the endless media appearances that he makes on behalf of the company. He works his ass off for his company, and whether you love him or you hate him, you can't take that away from him. As far as LoP is concerned, you're not going to find a columnist that works harder, or that does more, than me. That's not a knock on any of my fellow columnists at all. There's just no denying my track record. 1100+ columns written since February 2008. A couple dozen podcasts. Countless "side" shows with the Lords Of Podcast Roundtable on uStream, LiveStream, etc. I'm even in discussions to "take over" a popular series of columns in LoP history for future use. I'm always working. Even when I'm not writing or participating in a podcast for this site, I'm doing research for future columns. I even find time to post the occasional news story for the site. Again.. whether you love me or you hate me, you can't take that away from me.
2. You'll find people that are more technically sound, but nobody that "connects" better. We've all seen John Cena wrestle. We've all seen that he isn't exactly Daniel Bryan when it comes to smooth mat work and laying everything out perfectly, but every single thing Cena does once he steps into a wrestling ring resonates with live audiences, and above all else, that's what matters in wrestling. The WWE Universe eats everything up, playing perfectly into his hands. His fans go nuts for everything. His detractors love the opportunities they get to jeer him. When it comes to my columns, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the most technically sound writer there is. I try to put out good work, with my spelling, grammar and syntax being as close to perfect as possible, minus the things I do incorrectly on purpose such as making up my own words or the use of a two-dot ellipsis instead of the proper three-dots. Even with that said, I know that I'm not as good a writer, in a technical sense, as someone like Romeo, but I'm fine with that. However.. and this is something that I'd be willing to bet that the other columnists would admit.. nobody "connects" with their readers like I do. Again, I have to point out that it's not a knock on any of the other columnists at LoP. I've just built up a connection with my readership through the years, and when I post something, it gets a strong reaction from people. Those that like me really support what I do. Those that dislike me are always ready to chime in with their opinions, as well.
3. The "face" of the "company". The IWC has complained about this enough in recent months for everyone to know it's true.. John Cena is the "face" of WWE, no matter who he's feuding with, and no matter who the WWE & World Champions are. People can complain about it all they want, but it isn't going to change, at least not until someone else can come along and get the same reactions as Cena and can draw people in like Cena can. Sure, some of that has to do with how much of a leash WWE puts people like CM Punk, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, but Cena continues to be the company's top draw, and he'll continue to be presented as such. Right now, I feel confident enough to say that I'm the "face" of LoP. That isn't going to change. Not until someone else can come along and do what I've done and get the same reactions as I do. Maybe it won't happen until I stop writing columns, just like it might not happen until Cena retires from the business. Time will tell.
4. Corny jokes. Cena's sense of humor is something of an acquired taste. Actually, let me change that up a bit.. Cena's on-air, TV-PG sense of humor is something of an acquired taste. Sometimes he'll deliver a joke or a line in a promo that will make people laugh, but other times he'll deliver a joke or a line in a promo that will make everyone just cringe. He goes out there and does this on purpose, and he really doesn't seem to care about the opinions of others that might be telling him to change his ways. I'll be the first to admit that my sense of humor is also a bit of an acquired taste. Look, I realize that some of my jokes are corny. The "Sheamus rants"? Corny. Even making up words like "shenaniganery" is corny. I get that. Some people laugh and really enjoy when I do that, though. Others don't. The ones that don't tell me to stop, or to change things up a bit. What they fail to realize is that I'm not doing what I do for them. I'm doing what I do because it entertains me, and I've discovered that it also entertains a lot of you, as well. That means I'll stop the jokes and the "running gags" when I want to, not when you want me to.
5. We're both having sex with AJ Lee. This might be the most important reason of all. Even though a pair of great philosophers once said "it's not gay when it's in a threeway", John and I don't subscribe to that. We avoid those awkward moments by taking turns. Sharing is still caring, but you stay away from those weird times where you have to make eye contact with the other guy, and you don't know if you should smile or hit a fist bump, and then you don't know if you should say something, so you debate it for a few seconds, and then "nice dick" is the first thing you say, but then it's too late to take it back because you've already said it, so you have to laugh and hope the other guy thinks you're joking, but you also have to worry about him taking it as a compliment and having some secret feelings for you, so you worry that he's going to want to switch with the girl, and that just makes things extra strange because now you might have a friend that wants to be more than a friend even though you only want to be friends as you work together to plow this chick in harmony and unison. Don't want that.
The HiPE Playlist: "All The Shine" by Childish Gambino.. "Opposites Attract" by Kendrick Lamar & Javonte.. "Hard White (Remix)" by Yelawolf, T.I. & Slaughterhouse.. "Ill Mind Of Hopsin 5" by Hopsin.. "Independent Living" by Dizzy Wright, Hopsin & SwizZz.. "Wild Boy" by Machine Gun Kelly & Waka Flocka Flame.. "Sure Thing" by Miguel.. "All I Want Is You" by Miguel & J Cole.. "Power Circle" by Rick Ross, Wale, Meek Mill, Stalley, Gunplay & Kendrick Lamar.. "Mercy" by Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz.. "Lose My Mind" by Young Jeezy & Plies.. "Come On" by E-40 & B-Legit.. "Meal Ticket" by Master P, UGK, Eightball & MJG.. "No Hands" by Waka Flocka Flame, Wale & Roscoe Dash.. "Choppa Choppa Down (Remix)" by French Montana, Rick Ross & Wiz Khalifa
Day 7 - Favorite Tag Team
This is going to be yet another entry where I do a "current" and "all-time" section, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that could be a terrible idea on my part. We'll see how it works out.
If you're asking me about my favorite tag team of all-time, the answer is going to be different a lot, depending on when you ask me and what wrestling I've been watching recently. Chances are, if you asked me on January 1st, April 1st, August 1st and December 1st, I'd have a different answer each time. On one of those occasions, I'd probably pick Rick & Scott Steiner. On one occasion, I'd probably pick Harlem Heat. On another, I'd probably go with the original Hart Foundation. Today, though, I'm going to go with a team that didn't need any sort of fancy gimmicks to get the job done. They were both no-nonsense individuals in the ring, and it translated to success in the NWA, as well as the WWF. They were the definition of "no frills" in the ring. I can still remember them coming to the ring in matching black jackets with their logo on the chest, and matching red trunks with nothing but their initials on them. That's it. Nothing more, because nothing more was needed. Ladies and gentlemen, my favorite tag team of all-time (on August 7th, 2012) is Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard.
First of all, you have to remember the time that I first began watching wrestling. Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen were the dominant force, and they could do no wrong in my eyes. Flair was, clearly, the star of the group, but Blanchard and (especially) Anderson were the heart and soul. Both men have never truly gotten the respect they deserve for everything they brought to the table, and for everything they have accomplished in the business. They could both talk the talk, but when they wrestled, they backed up every little bit of what they had to say beforehand.
I've seen Tully referred to as a "poor man's version of Ric Flair", but I don't think that's really a knock on Tully at all. There were a lot of similarities between Flair and Tully back then, with their "classy" look, their love for the finer things in life (the Horsemen lifestyle), and even the way they wrestled. I've said this before, but if you took Flair out of the equation for the Horsemen (a serious injury, for example), I think Tully could have taken the ball and been a main eventer in his absence with no problem. He was that good. He had the slickness of Flair, but with a rugged twist. He knew how to balance the two sides, which made him look great in every situation.
Arn Anderson.. what else is there to say about the guy? He was never the biggest, or the fastest, or even the strongest. He didn't look like a male model or a bodybuilder. What he was, though, is perhaps the toughest man, pound-for-pound, that wrestling has seen. Everything he did in the ring had a level of anger and brutality to it that made you never want to be in a dark alley with the guy. Hell, it made you never want to be out in the open during the day with him, either, because he'd still kick your ass and not think twice about it.
When you put both men together, what you got was a team that not only would be willing to do whatever it took to get the win, but a team that could do whatever it took to get the win. As I said, they had success in the NWA, with two Tag Team Title reigns, and even had a WWF Tag Title reign, even though they barely spent a year "up north". They could've/should've had a longer run together as a team, but Tully left the wrestling business to become a preacher soon after he and Arn left the WWF to return to the NWA. I have no doubt in my mind that these two would have gone on to win more titles had Tully remained in wrestling. Seriously, though, folks.. if you aren't familiar with the work of these two men, I highly recommend you go out and "acquire" (this is the internet, after all) as much NWA action as you can from 1986-1988, and then WWF shows from 1989. Watch it. Study it. Learn from it. You'll see exactly what I saw in their work. Trust me.
Current tag team wrestling.. man.. what a mess. We've seen what WWE has done to their tag division through the years. At one point, TNA had a phenomenal tag division, but those days are long gone. Ring Of Honor has seen their tag division take a hit, especially with the loss of the Kings Of Wrestling and part-timers like the Motor City Machine Guns. There are some good teams on the independent scene, but none of them jump out and demand my favorite spot.
I'm going to go with a team that has actually been quite stagnant for a while now, because they've already accomplished all there is to accomplish at the level they're at now. In America and Japan, they have won a total of 16 different Tag Title reigns for various companies, and are always competing to add to that number. Of course, I'm talking about The Briscoe Brothers, Jay & Mark.
They've been teaming together forever, but because they both got started at such a young age, they're still young (Jay is 28, while Mark is 27) and could stay around for a long time, barring injuries. They've just become stuck in Ring Of Honor, to the point where it's almost boring. They still have good matches, sure, but they're up to seven RoH Tag Title reigns, while no other team in company history has even had three reigns. Oh, and they're the favorites to win the titles for an eighth time in the tournament to crown new champions taking place after Kenny King left the company to go to TNA. What's the point now? They've done all they can do in RoH, and on the indy scene, as a whole. That doesn't mean they aren't fun to watch. They're brothers, so of course they have that built-in chemistry that can't be taught, no matter how much other teams get along or work together. They always move so fluidly, working as a machine, as if they know what the other is thinking at any given time. They can brawl, they can do the "flip, flop and fly" routine, and they can deliver that smash mouth Puro style. Very versatile workers, which is nice to see.
If TNA was smart (I know, I know..), they would do everything in their power to bring these guys on board when their current RoH contract expires. I would say the same about WWE, but if you know anything about "Dem Boys", you know that they would never, ever, ever fit into a TV-PG product. I don't think either of them knows how to cut a promo without inserting at least one curse word, and they sure don't seem like the type of guys that would do well with shaking hands and playing politics backstage. TNA would be a better fit for them, and it isn't even close. TNA has more of the indy talent that they'd be used to working with, and are friends with. TNA is a lot less strict when it comes to what you can say in your promos (look no further than Mr Anderson for proof of that). TNA also needs more star power, and more people that can capture attention, in their quest to become true competition for WWE. Signing the Briscoes would be a huge move for the company, but it remains to be seen if it will ever happen. For now, though, we sit back and watch as Jay and Mark get their 112th RoH Tag Title reign because the booking team in RoH doesn't have any other options but to keep giving the titles back to them again and again. Sad.
The HiPE Playlist: "Come Over Love" by Anuhea.. "Take Me Away" by Laga Savea & Fiji.. "I'm Too Shy" by Laga Savea.. "Alive" by The Green Band.. "Love I" by The Green Band.. "Darling Angel" by Rebel Souljahz.. "The One" by Rebel Souljahz.. "Nothing To Hide" by Rebel Souljahz.. "Is This Love" by Three Plus.. "Masese" by Kapena.. "Drop Baby Drop" by Mana'o Company.. "Let's Do It Again" by J Boog.. "Lifetime Lover" by J Boog.. "One On One" by Natural Vibrations.. "If It Ain't Real Love" by B.E.T.
Day 8 - Favorite Championship Belt
Right now, you could say I have two favorite title belts. One is very simple, but still beautiful to look at, while the other is one of the more unique title belts in wrestling history. The more I thought about it, the more I couldn't deny just how unique that second option is, so I'm going to go with that for my choice here.
My pick is the Open The Dream Gate Title from Dragon Gate. Let me give a brief explanation about what makes the title unique, as I'm sure a lot of you aren't familiar with it at all. On the face of the belt, there is a locked "gate" that opens up and displays the name of the champion. Whenever someone challenges for the title, they have a key that opens the "gate". If they are successful in winning the match and the title, they get to use their key to unlock the "gate", allowing for their name to be put on the plate as the rightful owner of the title. If they are not successful, then the champion gains possession of the key, and it is hung from the belt, kind of like a symbol of the defense. A less violent version of cutting your opponent's head off and placing the head on your fence, if you will.
Some of you are probably expecting a belt with a whole bunch of keys hanging from it, based on the amount of times, say, the WWE Title is defended, but you'd be incorrect in that assumption. Naruki Doi holds the record for the most successful defenses with eight. Eight successful defenses in 449 days of being the champion. All in all, there have been 47 successful defenses of the title, and it has been around for slightly over eight years now. As you can see, these title matches are special events in Dragon Gate, which only makes the entire thing more unique, in my opinion.
Here's what the older version of the title looked like..
You can see everything pretty clearly there. The "gate" right in the middle, with the lock beneath it, and the bar at the bottom to hang the keys from after every successful defense.
Here's what the newer version of the title looks like..
A newer, more modern design, but with all of the same features. Once again, there's the "gate" in the middle, with the lock being at the top this time around, and a bar at the bottom to hang the keys from.
I don't care what anyone says.. that's a badass idea behind the design of the belt, and both versions of it look really nice in their own way. Even with the more modern twist on the new design, I think I'm actually partial to the original design. The colors are simple, but with the black strap, everything just pops and jumps out at you, and again, it's just something unique that you don't see anywhere else in wrestling.. or any combat sport that has title belts, for that matter.
I'm sure most of you are wondering about the other belt I was debating on putting here. It will come as no surprise to those of you that have been reading me for a while, because I've mentioned that it's a beautiful looking belt on multiple occasions, but I'm talking about the new design of the TNA World Title. It's so simplistic, without the need for anything extravagant, but it takes people back to the days of the "Big Gold Belt", back when that meant something, and wasn't just WWE's second-biggest championship. I'm not sure if that was the intent with the new design, but that's certainly what it makes me think of whenever I see it. Even if you aren't a fan of it, one thing is certainly true.. it's better than Jeff Hardy's customized version of the title during his heel run in late-2010 and early-2011..
You know.. after a lot of internal debate, I think the Open The Dream Gate Title is also going to be my pick for my favorite of all-time. It's just something that stands out so much throughout the history of the business, and it's probably something we'll never see again. It has carved its own lane so much that other companies can't even come close to duplicating any of the ideas, because it will immediately be viewed as nothing more than "stealing" a concept. Kudos, Dragon Gate. Kudos.
I was this close to naming "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase's old Million Dollar Belt as the pick for my favorite of all-time. I've always loved the way it looked, but in the end, it was never looked at as a real title, and was more used as a prop (more so than the other title belts, anyway) to help sell his gimmick, as well as Ted Jr's "Fortunate Son" gimmick years later. I couldn't place that above Open The Dream Gate. I just couldn't.
While we're discussing title belt designs, I might as well answer a question I received the other day about the current WWE Title design. People assume that it would be one of my favorites because of my allegiance to John Cena, and how the current design was created as a custom design for him. To be honest, though, I'm pretty indifferent to it. When the center plate was actually a spinner, it fit his gimmick at the time, and that was cool, but in time, his gimmick changed a bit, and the plate stopped spinning. When it became the permanent design, and not just something that would be with Cena, it just started to blend into the background for me. I don't hate it, but I don't love it, either. It's just.. there. Yes, it "matches" certain people more than others (it just looked strange on Triple H, for example), but that can be said about any design of any title in the history of title belts, so I don't understand why people are bothering to bitch about it, other than it being yet another misguided anti-Cena rant of some sort. I will say this, though.. if there was ever going to be a time to change the design, it would be with CM Punk as champion. He's always demanding change, and wanting the spotlight to be on him. A brand new design for the WWE Title would be a good way to accomplish both of those things. Of course, if the design were going to be changed, wouldn't it have been changed last summer? Hell, Punk's had the title for almost nine months at this point. Why change it this far into his reign? Face it, folks.. it looks like the current design is here to stay, at least for a while.
The HiPE Playlist: "Sweet Life" by Frank Ocean.. "Pyramids" by Frank Ocean.. "No One Left" by Kid Ink.. "Terrorist Threats" by Ab-Soul, Danny Brown & Jhene Aiko.. "Illuminate" by Ab-Soul & Kendrick Lamar.. "Kill Shit" by Krizz Kaliko, Tech N9ne & Twista.. "Mayday" by Krizz Kaliko, Chamillionaire & Rittz.. "Here In My Arms" by Eric Benet.. "Miracle Worker" by SuperHeavy.. "Drum Murder" by Crooked I & Horseshoe G.A.N.G.
Day 9 - Favorite Entrance Theme
I'm still quite fond of Drew McIntyre's entrance theme, "Broken Dreams" by Shaman's Harvest. I still listen to my MP3 copy of the song from time-to-time, both because I really love the song and because I certainly won't be hearing it on WWE programming at any point in the near future. I wanted to include it here, but because it feels like years since we've heard the song on television, and not just the final seconds of it as Drew receives the "jobber entrance" out of a commercial break, I decided to go in a different direction and cheat a bit.
My favorite theme at the moment is a song I loved long before I heard it involved with wrestling. It's one of my favorite songs of all-time, period, wrestling or not. It's a song that really matched the person that came to the ring to it, then it didn't match at all, but now it matches again. As you've probably figured out by now, I'm going with Living Colour's "Cult Of Personality" here.
A cult of personality is defined as "an individual using mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise" and "similar to hero worship, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda".
That sounds a lot like CM Punk and what he has been trying to accomplish at various points in the last year of his career. He is trying to build his "Best In The World" persona, and is out to be praised and respected for what he does. If you listen to the lyrics of the song, it's basically Corey Glover (Living Colour's vocalist) throwing it in people's faces that they'll love him and follow him, no matter what ("I exploit you, still you love me.. I told you one and one makes three.."). That's why I said that the song didn't really fit Punk after he turned face. It made perfect sense during the "Summer Of Punk" last year, and again now that he is seemingly back to his heelish ways, but whether it truly fits him or not, I simply cannot deny how badass the song is. I became a fan of Vernon Reid's guitar work the day I heard that song for the first time.
Even with that said, I have to say that I would seriously mark the fuck out if Punk went back to yet another one of his old Ring Of Honor entrance songs.. AFI's "Miseria Cantare". I used to enjoy when he'd come out to the song more for the atmosphere in the building than anything else. First, the lights would go out. Then, there would be a strobe light effect, perfectly in time with the opening drums of the song, as the fans in the front row banged the metal guardrail cover along with it. Finally, Punk would make his entrance, but by then, everyone was already fully engrossed in the entire thing. While there certainly wouldn't be the front row fans banging on the guardrail cover, the mere thought of a similar entrance in an arena of 15,000 (instead of an arena of 500) excites me. The entire strobe light effect would be pretty sweet to see on WWE television. Maybe that's just me, though.
That's now, but what about my favorite entrance theme of all-time? Like I said in my Favorite Tag Team entry, that's actually something that has a different answer, depending on when you ask me and what I've been listening to at the time. Some choices that you might hear me mention at other times..
- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's famous glass-shattering entrance music
- "Mama Said Knock You Out" by LL Cool J, complete with the Godzilla opening (Samoa Joe in RoH)
- The Ultimate Warrior's music
- Brock Lesnar's music
- "Natural Born Killaz" by Dr Dre & Ice Cube (New Jack in ECW)
- "The Truth" by Beanie Sigel, complete with Kill Bill opening (Homicide in RoH)
- "The Time Is Now" by John Cena (shut up)
- The Brood/Gangrel's music
- "Enter Sandman" by Metallica (The Sandman in ECW)
- "Final Countdown" by Europe (Bryan Danielson in RoH)
Really, that list could go on and on, but there's one song that (right now) ranks ahead of them all. It's a song that has been around since I started watching wrestling, but to this day, if I hear it, I mark out and have to listen to the entire thing. It's a song that, if it was played in any arena across the globe, would garner an immediate reaction from the crowd. I'm talking about the one.. the only.. "Real American" by Rick Derringer.
"Real American" is everything a good entrance song should be. It has something that catches your attention instantly (the opening guitar riff). It has a musical backdrop that is easy to remember (and easy to get stuck in your head). It has lyrics (especially the hook) that are easy to learn and easy to sing along with. On top of that, it tells a story that perfectly encapsulates the character of the person using the song. You can't read these lyrics and tell me that this isn't the perfect description of Hulk Hogan at the time..
"I am a Real American.. fight for the rights of every man..
I am a Real American.. fight for what's right.. fight for your life..
When it comes crashing down, and it hurts inside..
You gotta take a stand, it don't help to hide..
Well, you hurt my friends, and you hurt my pride..
I gotta be a man.. I can't let it slide..
I am a Real American.. fight for the rights of every man..
I am a Real American.. fight for what's right.. fight for your life..
I feel strong about right and wrong..
I don't take trouble for very long..
I got something deep inside of me.. courage is the thing that keeps us free..
I am a Real American.. fight for the rights of every man..
I am a Real American.. fight for what's right.. fight for your life..
Well, you hurt my friends, and you hurt my pride..
I gotta be a man.. I can't let it slide..
I am a Real American.. fight for the rights of every man..
I am a Real American.. fight for what's right.. fight for your life..
I am a Real American.. fight for the rights of every man..
I am a Real American.. fight for what's right.. fight for your life.."
Here's how I know I chose the right song.. I can just about guarantee that, while you were reading the lyrics, you were singing them in your head. Shit, for that matter, a lot of you were probably singing them out loud, making any friends or family in the vicinity look at you as if you had a horn growing from the middle of your forehead. The song is a timeless classic that just doesn't stop being awesome. It's a cheesy song, but it knows that it's a cheesy song, and it revels in that fact.
Thank you, Hulk Hogan. Thank you, Rick Derringer.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go salute the flag and sing the Star Spangled Banner. 'MERICA!
The HiPE Playlist: Every song I just listed in today's entry.
Day 10 - Saddest Moment
Right off the jump, I'm going to go ahead and disqualify some things..
- Owen Hart's tribute show on Raw
- Eddie Guerrero's tribute show on Raw & Smackdown
- Chris Benoit's tribute show on Raw
- Chris Benoit & Eddie Guerrero hugging at the end of WrestleMania 20
You know.. let's just disqualify anything directly involving a deceased wrestler, because that just isn't fair. Of course it's going to be natural for a real-life death to be sadder than something happening in the scripted world of wrestling. Those answers would be too easy. Even with removing those options, the answer (for me, of course) might still be too easy. I'm even going to cheat a bit, going with two moments, although the two moments are connected, so it isn't too bad.
My first choice here is going to be something near and dear to my heart because I got to witness it in person, instead of just on television. Ric Flair's retirement at WrestleMania 24 gets the nod here. Going into WrestleMania, every single person that had half a brain knew Flair was going to lose to Shawn Michaels. We all knew it. Sure, there were some of us that were still rooting for him, wanting to see him win and continue his career for another day, but deep down, nobody was surprised when he lost.
I don't know who came up with the idea for Michaels to say "I'm sorry, I love you" before hitting Sweet Chin Music to get the win, but that person deserves a raise. It was clearly something planned, since the camera knew the exact moment to shift from the wide shot to the close-up of HBK's face, but man, that little piece of the puzzle added so much drama to what was already a dramatic event. I've told the story already, but when the match ended, I looked around and saw crying faces everywhere. Men. Women. Children. White. Black. Young. Old. It didn't matter. People were caught up in the moment, thanks to the story that was being told.
Of course, I'd never say the match itself was fantastic. It wasn't bad, but with Flair being considerably past his prime, and with Michaels not exactly being 25 anymore, either, it wasn't going to be an all-time classic. Michaels did his best to help carry Flair (which is weird to even say, in and of itself), though, so I'll give him that. They both did just enough to get by and fill up 20 minutes without getting people to completely turn on the match and chant "boring". WrestleMania 24, as a whole, was a roller coaster of emotions, but that match, and the last few seconds of it, brought out more emotions than anything else all night long.
That brings us to the following night on Raw, with Ric Flair's official retirement ceremony. After two nights of watching Ring Of Honor shows (including Supercard Of Honor 3, which is still the best wrestling event I've ever seen, from top to bottom), an entire day of attending WrestleMania, and a week's worth of random shenaniganery with the LoP crew, I had no desire to attend Raw. My voice was completely shot. I was exhausted. A few of us decided they had to attend Raw, so they went, while the rest of us got together to watch Raw on television. To this day, over four years later, I still regret not going to Raw that night. The entire segment, from Flair's initial speech to Triple H coming out to each and every "special guest" coming out, all the way up to the post-Raw stuff with Vince McMahon and The Undertaker, was just 30+ minutes of a grown man making other grown men bawl like small children. At the time, most people had never seen The Undertaker (with the "Deadman" persona) out of character at all, so it was surreal to see him come to the ring, shake Flair's hand and hug him.
I probably should have said this earlier, but I'm a big softy when it comes to adult males crying. Unless it's super comical (Search for "Best Cry Ever" on YouTube for the very definition of "super comical"), watching a grown man cry is guaranteed to make me emotional. I might not cry myself, but I'll get emotional. I still cry when I watch the episode of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, when Will gives the passionate rant after his father leaves him for the second time, only to break down and ask Uncle Phil how come his father doesn't want him anymore. I also cry when I see Will Smith crying in The Pursuit Of Happyness, both when he and his son have to lock themselves in the subway restroom for a place to sleep, and at the end, when he gets the job at the stock brokerage. I get emotional when I watch shows like Coming Home or Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I don't care if you judge me. It's how I am, and I can't help it. When I watch Ric Flair cry, I can't help but get emotional, because when that man cries, he cries. He sweats like he was running a marathon. He turns red. He openly weeps and sobs. His cries are the type of cries where he probably burns calories as he does it, so of course I would get invested in watching his farewell ceremony.
Surprisingly enough, the last few years haven't done much to "ruin" those moments for me. I've seen some people that used to echo my thoughts about his match with Michaels, and the ceremony on Raw, but now that Flair returned to wrestling, went to TNA and wrestled on several occasions, they're almost upset about it. They think everything WWE did for him has been tarnished now that he didn't stay away from the business. While I would have preferred that his goodbye actually be a goodbye, I can't blame the guy for coming back. He loves the business, and he needed the money. On top of that, he had some very entertaining moments while with TNA. It was almost worth it just for his back-and-forth promos with Jay Lethal, while Lethal was doing his dead-on Flair impersonation. Those were hilarious promos, but really, that's a different story for a different column.
I apologize if I went with an "easy" choice tonight. Flair's WrestleMania 24 weekend will always be near and dear to me, and they're events that I will cherish for as long as I'm a wrestling fan, even with all of the tears I shed.
The HiPE Playlist: "dontchange" by Musiq Soulchild.. "Acura Integurl" by Frank Ocean.. "Lonny" by Frank Ocean.. "If I'm In Love" by Frank Ocean.. "Thinking About You" by Frank Ocean.. "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz.. "Forever" by Damage.. "My Love Is All I Have" by Heavy D.. "I Want You" by Cee-Lo Green.. "Here I Stand" by Usher
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