Hustle Is Posting Right Now - My Wrestling Bucket List
Feb 15, 2014 - 2:06:52 PM
You rock, Maricel.
"Got a lot of things I wanna do.."
Whenever I'm set to attend any sort of WWE show live and in person, I always think about my own personal Wrestling Bucket List, and which things I'll be able to check off for that show.
If you're unaware, a Bucket List is a list of things you want to accomplish before you die. Maybe it's something like a vacation overseas, to write a screenplay, to date a model, and so on and so forth. Some people have large, extravagant things on their lists, while other people have smaller, more easily obtainable things on their lists. That's the beauty of a bucket list. It's your list, so there is no right or wrong answers.
As you should all be able to figure out by now, a Wrestling Bucket List is a list of wrestling-related things you want to accomplish before you die. I've been lucky enough to have many of my previous WBL items checked off, but there are still plenty of things I need to experience before I die. Let's take a look at the remaining items on my list, in no real particular order..
See Daniel Bryan wrestle in person: When I was in Orlando, Florida for the week of WrestleMania 24, I got to attend my very first Ring Of Honor shows, and I was really looking forward to seeing Bryan Danielson, but shortly before the show, it was announced that Danielson would be on a tour of Japan for Pro Wrestling NOAH that week.
Two years later, when WWE ran a house show in Hawaii (less than a week after Daniel Bryan returned to the company at SummerSlam after being fired for choking Justin Roberts with a tie on-air, yadda yadda yadda), but Bryan was nowhere to be found on the card.
I've been able to see the best of the best and the biggest of names in person. Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, The Rock, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero, Ric Flair, Triple H, John Cena, Randy Orton, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Andre The Giant, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Mr Perfect, Batista, Ultimate Warrior, Trish Stratus.. the list goes on and on. Not counting WCW guys, because they never came to Hawaii, Daniel Bryan is pretty much right up there at the top of my list, with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, of wrestlers I have not been able to see perform in person.
That brings us to today.. Saturday, February 15th. WWE will be running a house show (I'm old school, so I will continue to refer to them as "house shows", not "live events" like the company does these days) in Phoenix, and I will be there. On the card? A certain Daniel Bryan, taking on Bray Wyatt. I'm not going to cross this off the list until I actually get to see him wrestle, but it looks good so far.
See a Royal Rumble in person: As I've mentioned on numerous occasions, I was in attendance for WrestleMania 24. If you call yourself a fan of pro wrestling and have not attended a WrestleMania, put that at the top of your WBL. I don't care if you aren't even a huge fan of WWE. You could be the biggest TNA mark, or one of those indy wrestling hipsters, but you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't see WrestleMania live and in person at least once in your life.
Anyway, with Mania down, the Royal Rumble is the next pay-per-view event that I have to travel to at some point. Phoenix got the Rumble in 2013, and considering the fact that the quickest a city ever got their second Rumble is eight years (New York in 2000 and 2008, Atlanta in 2002 and 2010, and Boston in 2003 and 2011), I think it will be quite the wait until Phoenix gets it again. Chances are, that means I'll have to make a special trip to attend a Rumble in the future. I'm not at all against that idea, but because of the time of year that the Rumble takes place, it would have to be a special city for me to even think about going to see. Most of America is ice cold in mid-to-late January, and I don't have any plans on going to a city in mid-to-late January for a "vacation" that involves me dealing with sub-zero temperatures, snow and ice everywhere, and generally miserable people. On top of that, like the many LoP Mania vacations that have been planned in the past, the city has to capture my attention, as well. When I do these vacations, they'll be for a week, so I can take in the sights and sounds of the city, as well as get my wrestling fix. I don't exactly want to spend a week in a city like Cleveland (no offense, Cleveland), good weather or not. Maybe a city like Miami, who hasn't hosted a Royal Rumble since 2006? WWE seems to love Florida these days. Miami is a relatively regular pay-per-view host, having hosted four pay-per-views since that 2006 Rumble, and they aren't currently on the announced schedule for 2014 pay-per-views. Make it happen, WWE. I need to be in the crowd for those "ten, nine, eight.." countdowns that are so fun to follow along with on television.
Discuss wrestling with Vince McMahon: This is a weird one. It's something that should be on every wrestling fan's Bucket List, but let's be real here.. how many people actually get to experience this? Millions of people get to attend WrestleMania or a Royal Rumble, but can millions say that they've had a chance to talk the business with Vince McMahon? If you don't work for WWE in some sort of creative capacity, or if you aren't a member of the McMahon family (either by blood or by marriage), this is a rare event. By all accounts, Vince is a very busy man, and even when he does find some free time for himself, he's spending it privately with his family. It's not like you can just go to a mall in Connecticut and see Vince sitting by himself at the food court, having a Cinnabon and relaxing for a moment before he heads off to finish his shopping at Macy's. I have no idea how I would even go about accomplishing this, but damn, it would be incredible.
In this situation, many people would probably want to ask him "shoot" questions of some sort. What really happened to his relationship with Randy Savage? What are his true thoughts on people like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk? Things like that. I know this is a Bucket List, and him answering those types of questions would be magical, there's just no way that happens. He's not going to answer those kinds of questions for random Joe Schmoes, so I wouldn't even bother. I'd try to get more inside of his mind from a creative standpoint. I'd ask what a normal Monday is like for him, from the moment he wakes up until the moment Raw is over. I'd ask what goes on in a typical creative meeting, and how ideas are pitched to him. You know.. that old chestnut. Even if it was only for a few minutes.. even if it was while he was sitting at a food court, having a Cinnabon.. I think this is the type of experience that would be as epic as it gets.
Sit in the front row at a pay-per-view or televised event: Being in attendance for WrestleMania was great, and while I had a good seat ($250 ticket at the time, which was the highest price for floor seats behind the first few rows), I wasn't able to get on camera. It would be great to have the chance to be on television, either at Raw or Smackdown (preferably Raw, of course), or at a pay-per-view of some sort. I've had a bunch of friends get on television this way, and now that I actually live in a state that gets television and pay-per-view on an annual basis, I'm looking forward to my opportunity to make it happen for myself. Let's just say a dry-erase board will be brought to the show by yours truly, and there will be different "signs" all night long. Before anyone says anything, I've seen people have dry-erase boards on WWE and TNA television on several occasions, so it is apparently allowed. Hooray.
See Kazuchika Okada sign a WWE contract: I suppose I wouldn't need to physically see him sign a WWE contract, but I'd sure like to have his WWE signing become an actual thing.
At worst, I have Okada as the third-best wrestler on the planet today, and he damn sure has a strong case that can be made for him being the best. If you pay any attention to Dave Meltzer and his match ratings, Okada has not participated in a singles match below 3.25 stars in over two years. Think about that very carefully. In that same stretch of two years, he has wrestled in two matches that Meltzer gave a full 5-star rating to, as well as two that were given 4.75 stars, three that were given 4.5 stars, four that were given 4.25 stars, and another three that were given 4 stars. Again, think about that very carefully.
He just turned 26 years old back in November. He's 6'3" and weighs 230-235 pounds. By every account I've seen, he speaks very good English (not perfect, but far more than enough that he would need to communicate with opponents in the ring, unlike Sin Cara), and has spent a lot of time studying tapes of American wrestling, so his style isn't 100% Puroresu like a lot of Japanese stars happen to have. He even has the kind of silent charisma that allows for him to tell stories by simply making facial expressions, which is a key component to being a WWE Superstar. If his English isn't quite good enough to have him cutting promos on his own, give him some extra time in NXT to learn more of the language, or give him someone like Paul Heyman (who has posted about Okada on his website before, so it's not like he doesn't know who the guy is) as a mouthpiece, and just let his in-ring work shine. It's simple, really. Okada can be a big star with WWE. Of that, I have zero doubt. He just needs to be given the right chance. Yes, WWE's track record with Asian wrestlers isn't exactly stellar, but there's always an exception to every rule, and Okada could be that exception, especially if he can help to corner a bit of the market in Asia, and specifically Japan, like the company always wants their Mexican wrestlers to help them achieve in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries. Don't underestimate what WWE would do if something can help to expand their "brand" and make even more money.
John Cena heel turn: Obviously, this one is a little different, as it's something I don't have direct control over (I can buy a ticket to the Royal Rumble, etc), but come on.. how long have I been promoting this idea, ladies and gentlemen?!? If you've been reading my columns since the beginning, I was on the "John Cena needs to turn heel" bandwagon before it was cool.[/WrestlingHipster] At this point, I'm not even sure it matters when it happens, just that it does happen. Whether it's at WrestleMania this year, or whether it's towards the end of his career, a heel turn needs to happen, just for the sake of entertainment.
If you want a good reference point, Hulk Hogan was a couple months shy of his 43rd birthday when he became "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, turning on WCW to form the nWo with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. John Cena will be a couple months shy of his 43rd birthday in the beginning of 2020, leading up to WrestleMania 37. For further reference, and to flip things around again.. when Hulk Hogan was the age John Cena is right now, he was preparing to face Earthquake in the co-main event of SummerSlam 1990. Hogan had a lot he could still milk out of the "red and yellow" gimmick, and remained incredibly over for a couple years until some of the more vocal WWF fans begin to tire of him, and then he was really over as a face in WCW for a while, until those fans, too, begin to tire of the gimmick. Cena, for as much vitriol as he receives, remains perhaps the most over person in the business when you combine the face pops he gets with the anger and fury that his detractors reign upon him at every event. Can WWE make some great business by turning him heel soon? Of course they could. Is there some gas still left in the tank for him as a face, though? Absolutely.
One way or another, though, it needs to happen. Needs. To. Happen.
Take a strike from one of the business' most notorious strikers: This is something I've wanted for a while, and the more I think about it, the more I realize just how off in the head I really am.
I feel that I need to clarify a bit, though. I'm not asking for Big Show to legit punch me in the face as hard as he can, knocking me smooth the fuck out and probably breaking numerous bones in the process. I'm not that crazy. I'd be willing to take the following strikes..
- Big Show's open hand slap to the chest that he does (the "shhh" strike in the corner)
- Sheamus' set of forearm clubs to the chest (maybe only three or five instead of ten)
- Cesaro's European Uppercut (to the chest, properly, not to the bottom of the chin)
- Roderick Strong's knife-edge chop to the chest
Off the top of my head, I believe that's it. Now, I'm not saying I'd take these strikes as a form of disrespect to the wrestlers performing them. No way, no how. I'm not stupid enough to think I could take the strikes and come out unscathed. It's going to hurt. I'll probably end up crying like a bitch, and there's a 77.4% chance that I would shit myself, either before, during, or after the strike. Perhaps even all three times. No, I'd want to take the strikes as a form of respect, allowing me to appreciate what these people do to entertain us even more than I already do. Of course, if I ever got the chance, you'd best believe that the experience would be documented on film for the world to see, so now you can all hope for it to happen.
Attend a show at Madison Square Garden: MSG isn't exactly the newest, nicest, or most advanced building to watch a wrestling event in, but when it comes to history, you'd be hard pressed to beat it. We don't see MSG hosting non-house show events very often (Survivor Series in 2011, a Raw in November 2009, a Smackdown in April 2009, and the 2008 Royal Rumble are the only ones in the last six years), but it wouldn't matter. I'd gladly attend one of the special MSG house shows, just to say I attended a show in that building. Maybe WWE can return to MSG for something other than a house show, so I can try to knock a couple items off my list in one shot.
It's the Final Countdown!: If you call yourself a Bryan Danielson fan (Daniel Bryan, too, I suppose, but more so Bryan Danielson), then you probably have this on your WBL, as well. All I want is for Daniel Bryan to make his ring entrance to "The Final Countdown" by Europe, just like he used to do as Bryan Danielson. I just want it to happen one time, preferably at WrestleMania. If you're not hip to the entire thing, just watch this clip of a Danielson entrance from Ring Of Honor, right up to the point where the entire crowd sings "IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN" along with the song, and then picture many, many, many, many, many more people doing it at Mania..
I get goosebumps watching that, just like I often did watching all of Danielson's ring entrances back in those days. If we were to get something like that extrapolated for a much larger WWE crowd.. even one in a "normal" sized building for Raw or a non-Mania pay-per-view.. it may go down as one of the coolest things I've ever seen in all my years of watching wrestling. Like I said, I would only need it to happen one time. I wouldn't need it to become his permanent entrance, like CM Punk got with "Cult Of Personality". Just one special occasion, just like we often see at WrestleMania, with people getting a new song for just that one night or a special entrance they've never had before. That isn't asking for too much, is it? Is it?!?
Try daily columns again at some point: Maybe not for about two years straight like I did when I first began doing the Believe The HIPE series, but I would like to get back to it. I've done daily columns on, I believe, two different occasions since the 700-plus day HIPE streak came to an end, but neither one lasted very long (albeit one was supposed to only last 30 days, which it did). Perhaps the third time's the charm?
When I first started tackling daily columns, I did it to push myself. I was young and crazy, and I wanted to see if I could rise to the levels of pressure that writing every single day would create for myself. I did, and I'm very proud of the effort I put forth for those two years. Now, I'm a little older, but still crazy, and I want to push myself again. I've all but reached the "been there, done that" phase of my column writing "career", like only a tiny select few in LoP history have done. I have recently found myself stuck in a bit of a creative rut, with my current schedule of posting something whenever I feel like it not really pushing me the way I want to be pushed. Writing daily forces me to stay on top of all the happenings in the wrestling world, and it forces my mind to stay sharp, always looking for motivation and column ideas, even if that motivation and those ideas comes from outside the wrestling world. I want to get back to that.
I'm not announcing that I will go back to writing daily columns. I'm merely saying that I want to go back to writing daily columns. I'm going to do everything I can to get back to doing that, though. For all of the people that continue to tell me they miss my daily work. For myself. So, I guess I'm trying to say.. keep your peepers peepin. I won't be giving any notice in advance. If and when I go back to daily columns, I'll just start posting them.
That about does it for my own personal WBL. Now, I turn the tables over to you folks out there in ReaderLand. What's on your WBL? It doesn't matter if it's things you can have happen, or more pipe dream material. I just want to hear from all of you on this topic, so holla at ya boy and tell me what's on your mind.
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