Six days into the challenge, and it's time to get personal. I went back and forth on who to pick for this entry, as I could have went in several different directions. At first, I was going to pick Matt Striker because he spent his early WWE career wrestling with a teacher gimmick, and that's my ultimate career goal
(teaching, not wrestling). But I couldn't go with Striker because he's a nerd, and well, I'm not a nerd. My next pick was Zack Ryder, since I used to dress and look like him. It wasn't that long ago I spiked my hair on a daily basis, wore tight pants, and fist-pumped at clubs. However, I have recently toned down my "brodom" by shaving my head, wearing more comfortable jeans, and picking up girls with real dance skills.
After some reflection, it hit me - there is one wrestler on the WWE roster that resembles me in every aspect of my life. In fact, me and this wrestler have so much in common, I'm surprised he's not my current favourite wrestler (although he is in the top ten). Since I know the suspense is killing you, let me tell you that the wrestling character I feel I am the most like is a guy named Mike. Better known as,
Before you start saying "Really, Chrisss? REALLY?!", let me preface my explanation by saying that I do not think I am awesome in any way, nor do I have a huge ego. I don't think of myself as better than people I pass by in the street, or smarter than people I converse with the internet. However, I am very confident, and saying the same thing about The Miz would be putting it lightly, but an accurate observation nonetheless.
Like The Miz, I am not a spectacle of a human being. I'm 5'7 and I weigh in at around 160 pounds. I've got some muscle mass and can lift heavier things than other 22-year-old guys I know, but you'll never mistake me for a body-builder, that's for sure. Also, like Miz, I'm not Prince Charming or Brad Pitt. I don't have movie star good looks, but I'm not unattractive either. The same is true about Miz - most female wrestling fans would not name Miz as one of the hottest guys on the WWE roster. Yet, Miz was able to score a date with arguably the hottest diva in WWE history (Maryse), and believe it or not, the two remain a couple to this day.
Many people have often wondered how someone like Miz can score an 11/10 like Maryse. After all, the former diva could have became involved with plenty of guys stronger, better looking, and more successful than Mizanin. The secret? Charisma. Miz undoubtedly won Maryse over by the gift of the gab. He's confident, and for all we know, Miz had the balls to ask out Maryse while other guys with 'physiques from heaven' were too shy to even say "Bonjour" to Maryse. Miz knows the right balance between being confident and being cocky, and it's done wonders for him, bot inside and outside the ring.
I use the exact same strategy to pick up women. Like I said, I'm far from being a 10/10 in the looks department, but I make up for it with a charming personality. When I go out clubbing with one of my best friends from the school football team, you know who ends up going home with the girl? Me, and that's because my friend will tell a girl she has a nice ass while I'll tell her she has a beautiful smile. Works every time.
I also compare myself to The Miz because we both have our share of haters, from past and present. When Miz made his WWE debut nearly a decade ago as the "Ryan Seacrest" of SmackDown, no one thought he would become anything more than a jobber. Similarly, when I posted my first column in the LOP Forums just over four years ago, I never thought I would make it to the Main Page. Instead, Miz worked his ass off, paid his dues, and successfully defended the WWE Championship in the main-event of Wrestlemania. I kept on practicing my writing skills, using all the advice given to me from some of LOP's best columnists ever (Anonymous, Joey Shinobi, Hustle, XanMan, The Monkey, just to name a few) and I eventually got a chance to write with the big boys. No one expected Miz or me to make it, but we did, we really did.
Miz will probably never become the world's greatest wrestler, and he's fine with that. He has shown he has what it takes to be one of the top guys, continues to improve, and is willing to carry the company when it is required. He will never be a breakout star like The Rock or John Cena, but he will most likely be a top WWE star for many years to come.
I will never be LOP's best columnist, and I'm fine with that. I learn from my mistakes every week, I have some of the best fans in the world, and the connection we share makes this non-paying job worthwhile. When my run is over, I will never be remembered as one of LOP's best columnists, but I will be remembered as one of the top columnists, maybe not in terms of quality, but connect-ability-wise.
2. Day 7
Oooh, another topic which requires a good amount of thinking, I like it. There's no point in selecting just one tag team from the annals of professional wrestling history, so I'm going old-school and 'cheating' by picking both an all-time favourite tag team as well as my current favourite duo. Just a bit of a warning, the two teams I have settled on are completely different, and you'll see what I mean in a few minutes.
When it comes to narrowing down a long list of names who left their mark on the tag team division over the years, one criteria I consider to be rather important is longevity. In order to be one of the best tag teams of all-time, and therefore one of my favourites, two wrestlers must have teamed together for lengthy amounts of time. It's fine if they break up every now and then either because of injury or an attempted singles push. But as long as people will remember their contributions to tag team wrestling, that's what really counts, at least for me.
One of the more entertaining tag teams of the past decade was easily John Morrison & The Miz. Sure, they were two midcard wrestlers thrown together, but they had incredible chemistry and elevated both men to new heights. Not only did they hold the WWE tag team championship for seemingly ever, but they also feuded with the likes of D-Generation X during their reign. I don't want to say too much more about Morri-Miz because they will be talked about in greater detail before the end of the month, but I will say their legacy would have been even greater had their title unification match with Carlito & Primo not been kicked off the Wrestlemania 25 card. Moving on...
Paul London & Brian Kendrick are certainly one of the most under-rated tag teams of all-time. Back when WWE's tag team division was seemingly on it's death bed (with TWO pairs of titles, nonetheless), these two young stars worked their asses off every Tuesday night to keep the titles relevant. In fact, they once held the record for longest-reigning WWE tag team champions EVER, which is an impressive accomplishment for two guys that accomplished very little before becoming champions. During their title run, they saw new teams emerge (The Pitbulls, KC James & idol Stevens, The Gemini, etc.) and vanish pretty quickly. London & Kendrick met their end when WWE decided to draft the team to RAW, a move they never recovered from. Still, they were a fun and exciting team that once had a very bright future in WWE.
TNA is not far removed from their days of tag team glory, as Beer Money, Inc., LAX, and The Motor City Machine Guns seemingly effortless stole the show more often than not. The Guns were easily my favourite tag team for many years, as their athleticism and teamwork were something you had to see to believe. They pulled off double team maneuvers and combinations very few people had ever seen, and it's a miracle they didn't kill each other everytime they competed. Some people called them spot monkeys or said they didn't know how to "sell" properly; I say bullshit. Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin were a lot like a younger version of The Hardy Boyz, and it's a shame they held the TNA tag team championship together only once.
As much as I enjoyed watching those three teams grow up and part ways over the years, there is one team I think stands above all others. They may no longer be a team, but they outlasted other great duos from their generation like The Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian. They're also one of the most decorated tag teams in history, having won TWENTY-FOUR tag team titles as a unit. They also have a fetish for tables. My all-time favourite tag team is
The Dudley Boyz
Do I really have to explain my reasoning? Alongside Edge, Christian, and The Hardyz, Bubba and Devon help put tag team wrestling on the map, and despite having quarrels over the years, the two would remain a tag team long after Jeff won his first world title and Edge evolved into The Rated 'R' Superstar. The Dudleyz were such a credible tag team both in WWE and in TNA that any other unit who beat them automatically looked like a big deal. But of course, The Dudleyz are notorious for making the table a beloved weapon of choice. Everytime you saw Bubba and Devon in the ring together, you just had to scream, "Devon! GET THE TABLES!"
On one hand, it's a shame The Dudleyz are no longer competing together as they were in many ways the 'perfect' tag team - they wore matching outfits, spent years teaming together, shared entrance music, and of course, had a sick finisher in The 3D. However, had they not broken up two years ago (and putting over The Motor City Machine Guns in the process), we never would have been introduced to the incredible Bully Ray. That being said, The Dudleyz will most probably be my favourite tag team for a long, long time.
When it comes to picking a current favourite tag team, I can't choose a team based on longevity, since the 'oldest' tag teams on both rosters are probably The Usos (WWE) and Daniels & Kazarian (TNA). Therefore, I'm going to pick a team who has been entertaining since their 'alliance' and remains a pleasure to watch to this day. Kaz & Daniels are an excellent team, but they spent much of 2012 side-tracked by that awful Claire Lynch storyline. The Rhodes Scholars are quickly becoming an amazing pair, but they haven't been together for very long, and I doubt they will remain a team come 2013. The Prime Time Players would have been my choice had WWE not played with their push over the past few months, and will apparently continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Thus, almost by default, my favourite tag team at the moment is
Team Hell No!
Their name may still be growing on me, but Kane & Daniel Bryan are proving to be God's gift to tag team wrestling. Putting the titles on them at Night Of Champions last month was a brilliant idea, as it gave the most compelling storyline on RAW a focus, and ensured they didn't fade off into obscurity. Since winning the titles, Kane & Bryan have main-evented (and won) both RAW and SmackDown, which does nothing but elevate the tag team titles. Although one must assume their pairing will eventually come to an end, can you imagine the kind of rub the team who defeats them will receive? Be it The Rhodes Scholars, The Prime Time Players, or Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara (ugh), Team Hell No is bringing lost credibility back to the tag team division and fast.
Besides, who doesn't love screaming "I am the tag team champions!"?
3. Day 8
I'm afraid you guys are in for another short column today. Not because I'm pressed for time (although I kind of am due to me struggling to balance two jobs and school at the same time), but there's not a lot I can say about this topic. I suppose I could give a history about the lineage of my favourite championship belt, but that would be pretty boring, with most of it being copied and pasted fro Wikipedia. So, without any further ado, I present to you my favourite championship belt:
The classic/current Intercontinental Title
Isn't that a piece of beauty? One thing I really like about the belt is how different it looks. It's not a different, stupid colour like the WWE Tag Team or Divas Championships, nor is it a 'spinner' belt, but it's classy. The old Intercontinental belt wasn't hideous or anything, but it was overdue a make-over. When Cody Rhodes brought back the classic design last year, many people marked out, and rightfully so. What better way to rejuvenate the IC title division than to 'start over' with the belt that was proudly worn during it's peak? Sadly, Cody failed to really elevate the title, but baby steps folks, baby steps...
I don't really have an all-time favourite title belt, so rather than cut this column extremely short, I figured I'd share with you my pick for my least favourite championship. Although Jeff Hardy's custom-made TNA World Heavyweight belt and the WWE Championship 'spinner' belt are top contenders, there's no beating the ugliness of this title, that's for sure:
The Divas Championship
Like, what the fuck is that? A butterfly? Really, Vince? There was nothing wrong with the old Womens Championship belt. Why couldn't we keep that one instead of this atrocity? It's bad enough that 99% of wrestling fans consider WWE's divas division a joke, and this title being their most prized obsession isn't helping matters. It's like competing at The Olympic Games and winning a medal. They either award you with gold, silver, or bronze, correct? Well, would they award the females with a pink butterfly medal? HELL NO! So what's the deal WWE, honestly? It's bad enough Beth Phoenix had to carry this piece of garbage around for such a long time. Could you imagine Kharma wearing it? Yikes! The current Divas title belt has to go away and never, ever come back.
Well, you heard from me, but what about you? What's your favourite/least-favourite title belts, either currently or from back in the day?
4. Day 9
Today you'll be getting two columns in one as I will quickly continue the 30-Day Challenge before I share my thoughts on the whole CM Punk vs. Asshole Fan incident. Thankfully, today's entry is rather short and doesn't require a lot of reflection, so it all works out.
I've always been a sucker for good theme music. In my opinion, the right music can make or break a wrestler. Guys like Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, and The Rock were all destined for superstardom, but their entrance music helped them more than hurt them, that's for sure. Having some excellent theme music can help even less-experienced and popular wrestlers get over. Take Drew McIntyre. Not many people were a fan of his character when he re-debuted a few years ago, but they tolerated him thanks to his addictive entrance theme. On the other hand, someone like Jinder Mahal is uninteresting in the ring, bland on the mic, and his stereotypical theme music isn't winning him any new fans.
Some of my all-time favourite themes are Shawn Michaels' "Sexy Boy", DX's "Break It Down", John Cena's "Word Life", The nWo theme, and Zack Ryder's "Radio". All of them are catchy, and better yet, fit the accompanying wrestler(s) appropriately. But my favourite entrance music at the moment has to be:
Dolph Ziggler's "Here To Show The World"
The song is simply perfect for Ziggler. He's the show-off and future of the WWE, and the same notions are referenced in the song's lyrics. I also have the song downloaded on my iPod, with the number of plays currently sitting at 25. It's just a great tune that despite being cocky and heelish the fans will love singing along to when his face turn eventually comes.
Now, onto more serious business, the wrestling and media world is abuzz about CM Punk's actions at the end of last night's RAW. I know you've already heard by now, but just so we're on the same page, Punk assaulted a fan for whacking him in the back of the head as he stood among the audience. Now, many people are speculating that it's a work to get people talking; that the fan was nothing more than a plant. Others insist the altercation was real and that Punk (and WWE) may be in serious legal trouble sooner than we know it. But regardless of whether it was real or not, there's one thing I know for sure:
CM Punk did the right thing by defending himself.
Don't believe me? Go and watch the slow-motion video of the incident. Many people think Punk struck the wrong guy, that he was aiming for the little guy in the white shirt who pushed Punk seconds before it happened. But look at the guy with glasses, the "innocent" one who Punk gave the black eye to. The dude was clearly striking Punk in the back of the head and Punk knew it, he's not an idiot. Therefore, Punk put the guy in his place and returned the favour.
When your lively hood is being threatened, I don't care WHO you are - you defend yourself. It's human instinct. Punk didn't beat the guy because he was being a dick and throwing profanities at the WWE Champion. Punk was on the arena's stairs, playing his role, and this guy (including at least one other dumbass) decided to strike Punk. I'm sorry, but you don't just stand there and let yourself be assaulted. WWE claims to be against bullying, yet when one of their talents (the top guy no less) gets bullied, he's supposed to stand there and take it? Get outta here with that kind of logic.
I know he was live in front of millions of viewers on national television. I know there are certain things that are not "allowed". But the line has to be drawn somewhere. If I'm at work and some guy starts pushing or striking me I don't ignore him because I'm a manager and I have to remain professional. If I'm physically provoked, I fight back. My well-being is more important than my job, and I'm sure Punk was thinking along the same lines when he defended himself.
Of course, there's always a huge possibility this is nothing more than a work. It just seems too strange of a coincidence that something like this would happen the day before Punk's DVD hits stores, the same day the creative team is "shaken up", the week after RAW scored a horribly low rating that made everyone freak out. Also, where was the security? Usually, at least one or two staff personnel follow a wrestler into the crowd everywhere he goes. Something doesn't seem to add up, much like Chris Jericho's flag incident in Brazil which got him suspended days before Fozzy was scheduled to go on tour.
Are these really coincidences? Or is Vince fooling us all? I'd love to hear your thoughts and what you have to say about CM Punk, work or not.
5. Day 10
Time for a 'not-so-cheerful' column. Then again, it's hard to crack jokes and make light of a situation that I consider to be the saddest wrestling moment I've ever witnessed. A popular pick is hearing the news of Eddie Guerrero's passing, as well as the tribute show that followed. However, Crow did an excellent job of covering it during his 30-Day Challenge, so feel free to check it out, if you haven't already. As a matter of fact, just like Hustle, I won't cover any death-related topic as those are moments that are better left untouched. Instead, I'm going with a moment that may have been done in kayfabe, and was nothing more than a storyline, but a sad one nonetheless.
What's one of the worst feelings in the world? For me, it would have to be the revelation that a girl you're madly in love with has fallen for another guy. I'm not talking about a really hot girl who I had a crush on in high school who out-of-the-blue decided to hook up with the captain of the football team. I'm talking about a girl you spent months chasing after, texting, taking out to dinner, wake up one morning and realize she doesn't have feelings for you. Even worse, she decides to break it off with you AND get with another guy the same night. If that's still not bad enough, the guy she hooks up with also happens to be your best friend.
Eight years ago, this heart-crushing scenario became a WWE reality at Wrestlemania XX, when Trish Stratus turned her back on Chris Jericho and hooked up with Christian. For those of you who don't remember, Jericho and Christian were a heel tag team in the early-2000s who bet "one Canadian dollar" over which one of them could score first, Jericho with Trish, or Christian with Lita. Once the ladies found out about the scheme, Trish 'broke up' with Jericho, and in an attempt to win her back, Y2J saved the former blonde beauty from a Kane attack. Jericho's heroic actions allowed Trish to forgive him and the Fozzy frontman turned face soon after. Christian, upset with Jericho being a 'good guy', physically assaulted both divas, which led to a match between the former partners at WM 20. Just when Jericho looked to have the match won, Trish "accidentally" struck her old flame, giving Christian the roll-up victory. Afterwards, Trish revealed the interference was no accident, and made out with Christian on the entrance ramp, while Jericho looked on in tears.
Maybe it's because I was only fourteen years old at the time. Maybe it's because all the participants (Jericho, Christian, and Trish) were such great actors. Or maybe it's because I recently went through a similar experience myself last spring. But there's just something about that angle and Wrestlemania match that gets me every time. When I go back and re-watch the entire show, there's several things that stick out: the awful Goldberg/Lesnar match, Eddie & Benoit's infamous celebration, and Trish's heel turn. On a card that featured matches like Kane vs. Undertaker, Angle vs. Guerrero, and Benoit vs. HHH vs. HBK, I think these two put on a fantastic effort trying to steal the show (with the aid of Miss Stratus, of course). Many people won't soon forget the image of Eddie & Benoit hugging it out, with smiles on their tired faces, but I won't forget the sympathy I felt for Jericho, seeing the girl of his dreams walk away with a man he once called his best friend.
I know I've touched on it before, but Jericho truly is a master of the game. He can make you hate him without saying a word. He can make you cheer for him without lifting a finger. But on that faithful night, he made you pity him, and you could feel your own heart break in two. I'm not undermining Christian and Trish, as it takes two - or three - to tangle, but this love triangle turned out to be a preview of what Jericho as a performer is capable of. It might not be a popular choice when compared to Eddie's passing or Flair vs. Michaels at WM 24, but for me, witnessing Jericho get betrayed at WM 20 is my saddest wrestling memory.
We've all shed a tear throughout our wrestling fandom, haven't we? What was YOUR saddest wrestling moment?