Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Odds & Sods

Time for some Odds & Sods...

That our media and our politicians are spending this much time on Rev. Wright is abominable. That our media is obsessed with a girl’s photo shoot and her irresponsible parents is foolish. All the while gas prices continue to skyrocket and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rage on. Then rumbling continues that the U.S. will strike Iran before President Bush’s term ends. Once again our media and most importantly our politicians prove they are completely irresponsible!

In case you missed it, Bill Maher = Jackass!

Speaking of jackasses, was Jesse Ventura really once elected governor of a state?

Reportedly, Al-Qaeda has regained some of its pre-9/11 capabilities.

Hillary Clinton will be interviewed tonight and tomorrow on Fox News by Bill O’Reilly.

Nice job Daily News in getting the Sean Avery story wrong. Not only that but they are still taking credit for the erroneous "news breaking." I thought John Dellapina had more class than that, oh well, time to take him out of my links section…Nonetheless, best wishes to Sean Avery on a speedy recovery. The winger suffered a lacerated spleen, he did not pass out due to cardiac arrest (credit the Daily News for the latter).

Suppose there was a movie that you were interested in seeing and you asked me what my thoughts were about it even though I hadn’t seen it myself. Would anyone that has some soundness of mind take me seriously if I gave a review of something I had not watched? Well, that’s what you get with WFAN’s Mike Francesa. He doesn’t watch the NBA and generally puts his nose in the air when someone mentions either winter sports league. Yet, he’ll still make predictions and tell you why he knows more than you. Nice guy. More popcorn please!

Does Ray Allen know how to guard anyone?

The N.F.L. really has got something with their draft. Year after year it bears fruit with its t.v. ratings.

Hal and Hank Steinbrenner = New boss, same as the old boss!

I can’t imagine any major sports league having more inconsistent officiating then the N.H.L. does.

Don’t look now but the “Smiling Assassin” Isiah Thomas is now claiming to have invented basketball.

Cutting your nails in a public place.
While at work, eating lunch at your desk.

When walking on a sidewalk toward another person, instead of doing that little bunny hop thing, just remember this is America and walk to the right of said oncoming human.

Just my thoughts, just my thoughts!


Inside The Squared Circle: Maria Groped, Warrior-McMahon, Sid Vicious Comeback in N.W.A., Wrestlemania 25 Thoughts, The Sandman Drunk at Indy Show

We’ll take a trip around the world of professional wrestling to see what is going on...

W.W.E.’s Maria was groped recently at Liberty Airport in Newark, N.J. She went to find Umaga to go after the guy, but the lowlife who did the groping had already disappeared.

Speaking of Umaga, he’s expected to become a “good guy” in the coming months.

Umaga’s mom recently passed away. She was also the mother of Rikishi and the Tonga Kid and the sister of the Wild Samoans.

Starting with Backlash, the W.W.E. is holding three pay-per-view events in five weeks! I guess they are hoping to reap a percentage of people’s rebate checks.

Big Daddy V won’t be allowed to wrestle again until he drops 50 pounds.

Former T.N.A. wrestlers Ron Killings and Chris Harris were both backstage at Backlash. Killings has been working dark matches.

On his MySpace page, The Ultimate Warrior challenged Vince McMahon to a match at Wrestlemania 25. Ho hum! The man formerly known as Jim Hellwig also said some pretty rotten things about Jake “The Snake” Roberts. As if Roberts hasn’t had enough problems in his life.

Sid Vicious continues his comeback with the National Wrestling Alliance (N.W.A.) and will headline a card in Atlanta on June 7. Sid has stated that he hopes to make his way back to the W.W.E. I’ve always been a fan of Sid’s in-ring work and would love to see him back in the limelight. How about pairing up Sid with Tammy "Sunny” Sytch?

Wrestlemania 25 might be more interesting if it is headlined by Sid-Undertaker and Triple H-Shawn Michaels matches. Seeing Warrior anywhere near a W.W.E. ring would be nauseating.

I like long championship reigns, so I also wouldn't mind seeing W.W.E Champion Triple H vs. World Champion Undertaker in a match to unify both championships at WM XXV.

I’m curious to see if Mark Henry gets any heat for the Michael Hayes incident. Hayes is out for a couple of months for using a racial slur toward Henry.

In the ring, The Big Show and Mark Henry are going to start feuding very soon.

E.C.W. original Balls Mahoney was let go by the W.W.E. last week.

More bad news for another E.C.W. original, The Sandman was so drunk at an indy show recently he had to be helped backstage. Time to get help, please!

Keep it in the Ring!

Raw is Blah!

Maybe it’s the Wrestlemania hangover. Perhaps it is that every sport has its “prime of the season” and this is not it for wrestling. Hell, maybe I’ve got a case of the “Mick Jaggers” and I’m not very satisfiable. But Raw has been really lame the last couple of weeks. If it weren’t for Shawn Michaels, the show would be completely devoid of any flavor. Ending Monday Night Raw without showing us the conclusion to the Triple H-Randy Orton match was just stupid. There are so many other ways to draw heat or build up William Regal as a heel then for him to be running around the control room and turning off the monitors.

Last night, thankfully I did not watch, E.C.W. broadcasters Mike Adamle and Tazz just walked off before the last match (Kane vs. Chavo/bodyguard) got under way. So what gives W.W.E.?

Time for some fresh ideas. The overall roster is pretty good, although Smackdown's Edge is taking a couple of months off to recharge his batteries as is The Great Khali but he won’t be missed. There’s gotta be something done to infuse the product with life. A new angle? A fresh face? Or should we all expect Mr. McMahon to make his return to save the day. Oh yeah, I’m sorry Chris Jericho was supposed to do that?

Rangers By Numbers

1942, 1975, 2008? The Toronto Maple Leafs did it to the Detroit Red Wings in ’42; the Islanders did it to the Penguins in ’75; could either the Rangers, Sharks, or Avs do it this year? All three teams trail their respective series three games to none.

The Leafs and Islanders are the only two teams in the history of the N.H.L. to come back from a three-game deficit. If I was an odds-maker - and yes “the most exciting two minutes in sports” is this Saturday but I’ll save that for a future post – I would say the Sharks have the best shot of coming back. Colorado is too banged up and the Penguins just look like it is their time.

But it’s been 33 years since the last hockey miracle comeback and the Rangers play on 33rd street (OK between 31st and 33rd Streets and 7th Avenue to be specific). Tony Amonte used to wear number 33 for the Rangers. Which means what? Nothing really, other than the fact that he is from Massachusetts where another team hails from that pulled out a miracle comeback in another sport.

Blarney from a "Wholigan" you say? Perhaps, but as long as the porch light is still flickering, there’s hope for these Blueshirts.

Creepymania is Runnin' Wild!

There’s something a bit strange about Hulk Hogan dating actress Jennifer McDaniel (above), who is a spitting image of Brooke Hogan, Hulk’s daughter. Yet, there is something really creepy and quite disturbing about Hulk rubbing baby oil on Brooke. Photos courtesy of here.

Blueshirt Abyss!

I had little confidence in the Rangers last night and only have a mild optimistic feeling that they will win Thursday night in order to at this point just avoid being swept. There’s a lot to talk about in regards to this series, but I'll stick with the seemingly very basic.

I go back to something Mark Messier said that he learned while growing up with the Edmonton Oilers and that funny enough his coach at the time and now Rangers G.M. Glen Sather used to stress to the players: You never give your opponent any bulletin board material. Does a team need further motivation to win in the playoffs? No. But the Rangers set a bad tone for themselves by talking about the Penguins’ penchant for diving.

Yes, the star players get the benefit of the doubt. Does Sidney Crosby dive more than most players? Probably. But the talk emanating from the Blueshirts set themselves up to be in excuse-mode. Personal responsibility, I could go on and on about it not only in regards to sports but life. But, New York needed to worry about their own game; their defenseman staying in position; their forwards backchecking; their goalie playing like the elite goalie that he is. If they did, this series would have been drastically different.

They didn’t and so now the team looks into the abyss.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rangers In Six

I’d love to go into some deep analysis about this Rangers-Penguins series, however, time is limited for me today, unfortunately. Anyway, I am counting down the seconds until the puck gets dropped tonight! Here’s what I think:

The Rangers are better in goal and I believe Henrik Lundqvist will up his game in this series to match the fast and furious offense of Pittsburgh. The Rangers defense is young, but the inseparable Fedor Tyutin and Dan Girardi have done well against Sidney Crosby. The Rangers blueline will have to exhibit good judgement in terms of when to jump into the play and when to stay back.

Up front, much will be made of Jaromir Jagr - in what could be his playoff swan song - taking on his old team where he will get booed every time he touches the puck. But there are two other former Penguins playing for the Blueshirts, Michael Rozsival and Martin Straka. The latter also may be in his final days of his NHL career, I expect him to score some big goals in this series.

The big key for New York will be minimizing penalties. During the regular season, the Rangers got in trouble when they took bad penalties. I also think that the third line of Chris Drury, Nigel Dawes and Ryan Callahan could prove to be the difference. Scott Gomez will be tough for the Pens to contain and if the Rangers’ third line could ever really start burying their chances, this could be Blueshirts all the way.

Still, the Pens have good veteran leadership in Gary Roberts and a solid defense with Hal Gill, Brooks Orpik and the supremely offensively-gifted, Sergei Gonchar.

The coaching nod goes to the Rangers, because Michel Terrien has the ability to lose a team. However, Tom Renney must not try to obsess about matchups. For the Rangers though, overcoming Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Petr Sykora, Jordan Staal, etc. will be extremely challenging. I like the Blueshirts depth and goaltending, however. Somebody, though, is going to have to get in the faces of Jarkko Ruutu and Hal Gill. Colton Orr anyone?

Rangers in six.

The other series, two of which have already started:
Montreal over Philly in seven.
Detroit over Colorado in six.
San Jose over Dallas in five.

Very Little T.N.A.

Unfortunately, I only caught the Samoa Joe-Kurt Angle bout which concluded T.N.A.’s iMPACT show last night. Good, long match with Scott Steiner getting involved at the end, which sets up all three facing off against each other at the next T.N.A. pay-per-view for the T.N.A. World Championship. Oh well, I’m hoping that Monday’s Raw will be something worth watching in order for me to get my wrestling fix. Some day I will watch a full episode of iMPACT to witness the buzz over this promotion that holds its matches inside a six-sided ring. Well, there is always W.W.E. 24/7.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Isn't It Ironic?

OK Sean I'm begging you, no more!

I found it to be pretty ironic the other night when Neil Smith (and play-by-play man Dave Strader) were handling the broadcasting duties for the game 7 matchup between the Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks. Why? Well, the Head Coach of the Flames just happens to be Mike Keenan.

"Iron Mike" is no stranger to his teams playing in game sevens, however, Smith said "he only remembered two of them." Those of course would be the game sevens the Rangers played while Smith was G.M. and Keenan was the coach against New Jersey and Vancouver en route to New York winning the 1994 Stanley Cup.

I wonder if Smith took any glee in Calgary falling to San Jose 5-3. There is certainly no love lost between "Big Deal Neil" and Mike Keenan. Ironic also that an old favorite of Mike Keenan's in Chicago, Jeremy Roenick, scored two goals and assisted on two others for the victorious Sharks.

By the way, Smith and Strader always seem to be doing the late game on Versus which is a shame because the two have excellent on-air chemistry and both know hockey extremely well. Smith can explain the intricacies of the sport without coming across as pompous. He also doesn't go overboard with stats.

Selfishly I'd like to see the pair calling any game the Rangers play on Versus. It makes up for having to listen to former Flyer Bill Clement. I just hate bullies!

A Little T.N.A.?

OK so I have been rolling lately in tying in some musical references and sports. Well, I think I have been rolling. On the other hand, the W.W.E. has been on a rocky road in my estimation lately.

An awful Monday Night Raw, this horrible decision to replace Joey Styles with Mike Adamle as the play-by-play announcer for E.C.W. and the suspension of Smackdown writer Michael Hayes for using a racial slur against Mark Henry.

Anything else? Yeah actually there is. Some genius forgot to install bathrooms at the W.W.E.'s brand new state-of-the-art developmental facility in Florida. Thus, they haven't been able to do any television tapings for Florida Championship Wrestling (F.C.W.) God, not a banner week for them. Even though W.W.E. got the three presidential candidates to appear on Raw, the rest of the news has overshadowed any "good" that may have come from their appearance.

Nonetheless, I'm looking for my wrestling fix this week, especially since I won't be ordering W.W.E.'s pay-per-view (screw?) this Sunday, Backlash. I've said on here before that I have never watched a full broadcast of W.W.E. competitor, Total Nonstop Action (T.N.A.), however, if I were to do so, tonight would be the night. There's no Rangers until tomorrow night and the show they are advertising on SpikeTV looks to be pretty solid.

Kurt Angle takes on Samoa Joe in a rematch for the T.N.A. World Championship and they are also teasing Sting coming out and responding to Booker T's challenge. So what would prevent me from watching T.N.A.'s iMPACT show?

Oh just that although they have some real talent, the storylines of the program are what I find to be quite dreadful. It's a shame too, because some of the guys they have on their roster are extraordinarily talented. I'm a big fan of Samoa Joe's and Kurt Angle is a former Olympian, so that match is intriguing for me. But they seem to go for more soap opera stuff and stupid comedy than you know, actual good old fashioned slobberknockers and donnybrooks.

If nothing else comes up tonight, I'll turn it on and I'll hope for something good.

We'll see.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Phoenix Lights Part Deux Solved

Well, all the ballyhoo over a possible U.F.O. sighting can now be put to rest. Apparently, it was all the work of a practical joker. This from an article on which initially came via the Drudge Report:

The man, who did not want to be identified, said he used fishing line to attach road flares to helium-filled balloons, then lit the flares and launched them a minute apart from his back yard. He said he believed turbulence created by a passing jet caused the balloons to move around.

For the full story, click this.

I guess Hartford isn’t the only place these days where there is nothing to do!

Beware of the Sneaky Penguins

Many people are saying that the N.H.L. got their wish with the Pittsburgh Penguins taking on the New York Rangers in round two. I would have to disagree with that. Having Rangers-Montreal and Pittsburgh (with Sidney Crosby) versus Washington (with Alex Ovechkin) would probably maximize ratings – especially if you could then have the Penguins and Rangers face off in the conference finals.

Regardless, the Rangers take on a much tougher opponent in the second round than they did in the first. These are some of what I think are a few really interesting sidebars to this series:

  • The fans unrelenting booing of former Penguin Jaromir Jagr in Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena.
  • Jarkko Ruutu has had some brutal hits on Jagr (particularly at the 2006 Winter Games). Do the Rangers have an answer for Ruutu?
  • How will vets like Gary Roberts respond to Sean Avery and will he be able to convince the other players to not react to Avery's antics?
  • The goaltending. How will Marc-Andre Fleury play? If the Rangers are going to win, Henrik Lundqvist is going to have to step up his game. He was good against New Jersey, but he’s going to need to be great against the mighty Pittsburgh offense.
  • The awful play of Marian Hossa while with the Atlanta Thrashers last year in the playoffs against New York; could he use that as motivation in seeking redemption?
  • Marc Staal (Rangers) vs. Jordan Staal (Pens). Probably won't be brothers in arms during this series, now will they Mark Knopfler?
  • Pascal Dupuis had a very small cup of coffee with New York last season (six games).
  • Petr Sykora had a bigger cup of coffee with the Rangers in 2005-06 (40 games).
  • A few wrestling references: Can you smell what Laraque (as in Georges) is cookin’? Also, I heard that they play on the video screen a clip of wrestler Mr. Kennedy screaming “Mr. Kennedy!” whenever rookie Tyler Kennedy scores. That could get annoying…

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Don't Look Back In Anger, Marty

Whenever Martin Brodeur decides to retire he will go down as one of the best goaltenders ever to play the game. That’s why I can’t figure out for the life of me why he let Sean Avery get into his head. Clearly, by not shaking hands with Avery at the conclusion of the Rangers-Devils’ series, Marty showed just how unglued he had become. Hard to believe. I thought the Rangers were going to win this series, but did not bank on New York being able to get to a veteran the way they did. I’ll be interested to see if Avery can do that in the next round against Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury or Montreal’s Carey Price.

Rangers' Five Rookies New Face of Franchise

I still pinch myself every time I realize that the New York Rangers are playing with five rookies (Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Nigel Dawes, Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan) in their lineup. The five all played vital roles in the Blueshirts first round win over the Devils.

Ironically enough, one of the Devils’ defenseman, Mike Mottau was a former Rangers’ draft pick that for some reason was never able to crack the lineup. Mottau represents the old days when rookies in the Rangers' organization were regularly passed over for players that were more of a "household name." By the way, I wonder if the former Hobey Baker winner is taking any solace in his alma matar, the Boston College Eagles, winning the NCAA hockey championship?

I suppose I have to give G.M. Glen ”The Savior” Sather and Head Coach Tom Renney a great deal of credit for changing the face of this franchise. They've shown patience in grooming a promising crop of fresh faces. The five rookies all play with poise and a great deal of heart, nicely illustrated by Ryan Callahan and Nigel Dawes driving to the net against Martin Brodeur in the picture above.

Callahan is going to be a special player in time. He can score, he fights, drives to the net and kills penalties. He plays on a line with Chris Drury and the aforementioned Dawes. Hopefully, some of the magic that Drury is able to create in key situations rubs off on young Callahan.

The face of the franchise has once again changed. The Rangers now have guys on the team that work hard and make the organization proud. So much so that although it's been a while since I was even remotely inclined to purchase a sports jersey, these new Rangers have changed all of that. I only own one Rangers’ jersey – a Mark Messier – but am tempted to get a Ryan Callahan “sweater.” The only thing is that I am over 30 and according to Jay-Z, that disqualifies me from being allowed to wear a sports jersey.

Oh No, Not The Phoenix Lights Again!

It’s been 11 years but the questions still remain as to what was seen that night in the Phoenix skies. Once again, formations of lights have appeared over the city of Phoenix (above is one of the pictures from last night's sighting). I don’t believe in aliens or E.T., but I do believe that these are aircraft of some sort, possibly spy planes. Does the government have an obligation to tell the folks what these lights are? What say you? Similar formations were also seen in central Florida, as well. For more on the Phoenix story, click here.

Recap of Monday Night Raw

So last night the W.W.E. gave us a three-hour spectacular? Huh? I don’t get it. The first couple of matches in the "King of the Ring" tournament were promising – Chris Jericho-M.V.P & CM Punk-Matt Hardy. But after that? The show was awful. The appearance of the candidates on Monday Night Raw may have been a coup for the W.W.E., but it did nothing for the fans, you know the ones that want to see actual wrestling. The Hillary-Obama spoof was way too long. I can’t believe this is the crap they put on before a pay-per-view this Sunday. Well, if the Rangers aren’t playing Thursday night, I may sit down and watch an entire episode of T.N.A.’s iMPACT. Raw was that bad!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Obama vs. Clinton vs. McCain on Monday Night Raw, Seriously!

It’s really going to happen, sort of! A few weeks ago the W.W.E. invited Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to settle their differences on this evening's Monday Night Raw. Most fans expected a parody similar to the Rosie vs. Trump waste of time we saw last year on the show. But tonight, the W.W.E. is saying that they will play taped messages from all three presidential candidates on the three-hour Monday Night Raw. Additionally, there will be a "King of the Ring" tournament on the show. W.W.E. has to be now banking on huge ratings for this evening.

Friday, April 18, 2008

NHL: Nine Years Ago Today, "99 Tears"

Well, actually that famous or infamous headline on the Edmonton Sun's cover was back in the summer of 1988 when Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. But it was nine years ago today that Wayne Gretzky retired from the game of hockey. He finished out the final three years of his illustrious career as a New York Ranger.

Gretzky and the Rangers would lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins on that Sunday afternoon in his final game. Jaromir Jagr got the game winner for those of you scoring at home. So much has changed since then in the N.H.L. and for the New York Rangers.

The Blueshirts with Gretzky and Mark Messier qualified for the playoffs in 1997, but didn't get a sniff of the post-season until the spring of 2006. Mr. Gretzky is now coaching the team he partially owns, the Phoenix Coyotes. I thought about Wayne Gretzky - pictured above wearing a Wrestlemania promotional shirt in hopes of drawing sports entertainment’s top event to Arizona in 2010 - during the Rangers-Devils game the other night.

I will never forget a goal he set up in a regular season game: Gretzky skated just to the right of New Jersey Devils’ goaltender Martin Brodeur and ricocheted the puck off of the base of the goal to Niklas Sundstrom who was set up in the slot. "Sunny" put the puck past a stunned Brodeur. It was brilliance! It was magical! It was beautiful, deft passing on display as only “The Great One” could dare to do.

Wayne, I thought you were a pretty boy when you were in L.A. and Edmonton, but I always admired your skills. You’re sorely missed.

Tonight is a big test for the Rangers. They’ve got the Devils on the ropes and need to finish them off. No need to fool around or give the Devs new life. Pittsburgh is resting comfortably at home thank you very much, after their sweep of Ottawa. Montreal got their series extended after being drilled by Boston last night. While Philly looks to be on the verge of advancing after going up 3-1 on Washington.

The Rangers need to knock the Devils out and get ready for the next round, because if it’s the Penguins, it’ll be a tough, tough series.

Out west Detroit is the most compelling series right now as they are tied up with Nashville 2-2.

Could the President's Trophy winner go out in the first round?


Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Business of 'Rasslin'

Ted Turner bought W.C.W. (World Championship Wrestling) in 1988 and so "Billionaire Ted" decided to telephone Mr. McMahon and gloat.

Ted Turner: “Guess what, Vince, I'm in the 'rasslin' business!”
Vince McMahon: “That's nice, Ted, I'm in the sports entertainment business."

Moving right along...

When the W.W.E. announced almost two years ago they were resurrecting Extreme Championship Wrestling (E.C.W.), visions of Dudleys danced in my head. Though I realized that the new boss would most certainly not be the same as the old boss, I still had hope for some similarities.

Well, there were virtually none at the start and as time progressed all that remained the same in the new E.C.W. as the original E.C.W. was the promotion's name and Joey Styles as the play-by-play announcer. Now that’s gone, too.

So Styles got “promoted” to head up Fine I can take the fact that change is inevitable and that Vince McMahon did not love Styles’ mic skills, but Mike Adamle as a replacement? The guy who referred to Jeff Hardy as “Jeff Harvey” at the Royal Rumble. Please. I’ve read the reviews of Adamle’s first night behind the mic and they are unanimously dismal.

Jim Ross says the fans should give Adamle a chance and be forgiving for his inexperience as a wrestling broadcaster. Well, fans shouldn’t have to forgive a guy who – as my old friend Gorilla Monsoon would say – doesn’t know the difference between a wristlock and a wristwatch. I think it’s time to do some homework Mr. Adamle, and perhaps get to know the talent and their names.

In other news…

Some hooligan smashed a window on the W.W.E. tour bus as it rolled away in London the other night. Apparently, Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho were none too pleased.

Indy Wrestling comes to Newburgh, N.Y., this Friday night at the Free Academy High School, with Roddy Piper hosting “Piper’s Pit!” Also, Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle is advertised.

Some Thursday night I will sit down and watch the full two hours of T.N.A., though it won't be tonight. I just don't get drawn into T.N.A., despite the fact that so many people rave about it.

Ring of Honor (R.O.H.) is said to be close to a t.v. deal and could announce something very soon.

I recently watched the Jake "The Snake" Roberts story on WWE 24/7. What a sad, sad life. It's amazing Roberts is still alive considering all the drugs he did. I also couldn't believe the DDT move he did to Ricky Steamboat on the cement floor, which legitimately gave "The Dragon" a concussion. Roberts was reluctant to do the move, but I guess the guys who wrote the script demanded he do it. For the record, Steamboat said there were no hard feelings between the two over that particular incident.

I thought Randy Orton was going to get seriously hurt by William Regal's suplex the other night. You're just not supposed to land on your neck that way.

It was good nonetheless to see Mr. Regal back inside the ring. I’d love to see him and JBL square off, I think they would put on some good matches.

Ric Flair was honored in Congress by Rep. Sue Myrick the other day. For more, here is a story in North Carolina's Gaston Gazette.

Jesse Ventura was recently interviewed on Sean Hannity’s radio show and discussed his 9/11 conspiracy theory.

Let’s all hope for the best for Bobby Eaton who has been hospitalized with some kind of heart ailment.

The Man Who Got Me Into Wrestling

I remember when I was a little kid, my oldest brother and I would watch the channel two evening news together. I largely ignored the news and played puff, or Nerf, basketball. But when sportscaster Warner Wolf came on and did his weekly “Plays of the Week” segment, my antenna went up.

Wolf used to always throw in a wrestling clip – usually from Madison Square Garden – and what got me into it was a feud at the time that was going on between two masked wrestlers. I remember how cool the masks were and I got hooked. I’ve always been a fan of the masked wrestlers – the mystery behind it I suppose, or maybe because there were some good ones back then such as Mr. Wrestling II, Tiger Mask and Masked Superstar. Owen Hart would later also don a mask and was known as the "Blue Blazer," in an attempt to succeed on his own merits and not off of his older brother Bret's.

I recently commented on the blog penned by Jim Ross that WWE 24/7 should feature the masked guys one month. He liked the idea.

So this wrestling thing all goes back to the great Warner Wolf.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Darkness on the Edge of Town

As most of us all know, one year ago today the inexplicable murders on the campus of Virginia Tech took place. The country mourned those that were lost and the news channels pulled their usual bullshit power play of pretending to care, when in reality most of them are just trying to push an agenda.

What the Virginia Tech murders-suicide represents is the failure of our society. Not only has our government continuously failed to protect us, but so has our media by not holding our politicians’ feet to the fire; while collectively we have failed one another. A flawed system allowed someone with past mental issues to be able to purchase firearms. We’ve seen this over and over again and we will see it again, no doubt.

I was recently listening to Bruce Springsteen’s album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and many of the themes of that album are similar to what comes to mind when I think of events like what happened one year ago and how this world can seem so cruel and fruitless. Springsteen’s magically hand-crafted lyrics talk about betrayal, anger, sadness, putting effort into things that fail, and then when the record takes you to the abyss, we see someone reaching down to muster all of the intestinal fortitude they can to fight back. That person then stands up and says “Fuck you” I’m worth it. That’s the true power of someone weaving real life into art. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to get up off the mat one more time.

I feel for all of those people who mourn today, my heart weeps for this country and for the lost souls who have lost their way and have no hope. America is a nation filled with stories of great resolve, I hope that those hurting can find some small radiance of joy that will gently nudge them to pull themselves up and walk away from the darkness on the edge of town.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Want That Magic Bus!

Now this is a cool contest! For $10 you can win The Who's Magic Bus (pictured above) in a raffle. Go here for more information. Proceeds from the raffle go to Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT), a charity that Roger Daltrey spearheads.

Speaking of which, Roger and Pete Townshend closed out the TCT Concert Series at the Royal Albert Hall in London last night with an acoustic set. Pete's brother Simon played mandolin for "2000 Years." Here is the entire setlist:

Let's See Action
Behind Blue Eyes
2000 Years
Mike Post Theme
Won't Get Fooled Again
Tea and Theatre

I'm not sure who else played, but the annual event usually has some good performers such as Noel Gallagher, Brian Adams, Paul Weller, etc.

The Devils Still Lurk

The New Jersey Devils got back into a series that they were never out of. Yes, they were down 2-0 going into Game 3 at Madison Square Garden. But the Devs have not played horribly in this series. In fact, I think New Jersey has actually played quite well. The Rangers, on the other hand, have not been up to par. Their shaky nerves were quite evident the other night at MSG. I did not think the Blueshirts were able to control their emotions which led to them taking so many needless penalties. Though I'm still confident New York will win this series, they are going to need much more than Sean Avery playing schoolboy tricks on Martin Brodeur.

The one thing I will say about that particular incident is that if Scott Stevens were still with the Devs, Sean Avery would be missing some teeth Sunday night. No way that stuff would go on with the former Jersey captain manning the Devs' blueline. I like Sean Avery most of the time. His energy and aggression add a great deal to the New York Rangers. But that kind of stuff has no place in hockey and I am glad that Colin Campbell came down on it.

If the Rangers are going to win this series, though, they are going to need to play a much more disciplined game. We'll see. Game four is tomorrow night.

I'll be watching, will you?

Bloody Wrestlemania Hangover

The W.W.E. was in London last night for Monday Night Raw and although the show was good, I still personally am feeling this “Wrestlemania hangover.” That's partially the reason why I haven't posted anything on here the last week or so. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s because there weren’t any new feuds that developed at Wrestlemania. I mean it apparently looks like already the Shawn Michaels-Batista storyline is going to transmogrify itself into a Michaels-Chris Jericho program.

I also think the W.W.E. Title situation is too muddled at this point. Randy Orton beat Triple H and John Cena, so why are they again going to be involved in a match with Orton at a pay-per-view? It should be either Cena or Triple H, not both. I’d much rather see a Cena-Hunter feud. So that brings us to JBL. A win over Finlay makes him the number one contender? I don’t get it, but I somehow have a feeling that John Bradshaw Layfield will come out as the victor in the “fatal four-way” at Backlash.

I am nitpicking, because it’s not all bad. But there is a bit of a punch lacking in the W.W.E.’s programming the last few weeks. Do I hear Vince McMahon reemerging? One never knows. Overall, Raw was good last night. Solid match between Orton and William Regal. Same for the Triple H-JBL bout. Michaels laying out Chris Jericho was also a highlight – during the “highlight reel.” I also actually enjoyed the Mickie James-Beth Phoenix match, and it was good to see James win the W.W.E. Women’s Championship. Next week, things could be spiced up quite a bit with the “King of the Ring” tournament on the three-hour Raw.

Incidentally, I'm hardly a big fan of T.N.A. but I am happy to see that Samoa Joe defeated Kurt Angle for the T.N.A. World Championship at Sunday's Lockdown pay-per-view.

Keep it in the Ring!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rangers In Five

Wish I had more time to blog about tonight's opening game between the Devils and Rangers, but I don't, not today. Here's how I see it in a nutshell: the Rangers are deeper and have the ability to role four lines - especially when they slot Brendan Shanahan into one of the flanks on the fourth line. The Devils' defense (Johnny Oduya and former Ranger farmhand Mike Mottau) is nothing - to say the least - like it was when Scott Stevens manned their blueline and provided an intimidating presence. There is no reason for the Rangers to be intimidated by New Jersey, and if Sean Avery can get to Martin Brodeur early, it could be a sweep. I'm going to be cautious and say New York in five, only because I see New Jersey getting an overtime winner.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Must-Watch Ric Flair Tribute

Fuel's "Leave the Memories Alone" is the music for the best non-Who video I have ever put up on this blog.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


No matter how old we get, we all need heroes, right? Well, mine is this man: the late Captain Timothy Stackpole. He is one of the brave that was killed on that awful day in September almost seven years ago. There is greatness in this world, although sometimes it is not so easy to see. This is someone that I see it in. I wrote the following about him a few years ago and I still feel the same way:

As a long-time listener and sometimes first-time caller to WFAN, I remember hearing the distinct, heavily New York accented voice of Stackpole doing a commercial in which he talks about how much The Burn Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital had helped him to recover.

In 1998, the Brooklyn native was fighting a fire in a city-owned building when the floor collapsed causing him and two other firemen to fall ten feet into a fierce blaze. More than 30% of Stackpole's body was burned on a night that three other firefighters had died. Stackpole and the other two firefighters were well-compensated because NYC was found to be negligent in taking care of the building's structural flaws. Stackpole spent two months in the hospital and then worked out vigorously to come back to do what he loved.

I remember picking up the New York Post and seeing a picture of Mayor Rudy Giuliani standing next to Stackpole's wife and five children at his funeral services. The picture is heartbreaking but the memory of this brave man is inspiring. I wish I had known him. But when I used to hear that commercial, it was so uplifting and inspiring you kind of felt as though you did know him and you rooted hard for him. Stackpole, 42, by all accounts was a regular guy doing what he loved. Stackpole had the heart of a lion and unparalleled bravery. I am not ashamed to admit he is a hero of mine.

Note To Rangers: Just Win Baby!

This is a big test tonight for the New York Rangers, let’s not kid ourselves. Beating the Islanders is all that stands in the way of a third consecutive playoff berth for the Blueshirts. Destiny lies in their hands and they would actually be able to rest some of their achy players, such as Brendan Shanahan (pictured above) in the final two games with a win tonight. The Islanders are a feisty team and Nassau Coliseum will be filled with a bunch of rowdy Islanders’ fans, and many Rangers’ supporters also. But tonight’s game will show me how much intestinal fortitude this team has, something that is quite necessary in the long grind known as the NHL post-season. Will this one game predict how far the Blueshirts will go in the playoffs? Absolutely not. But it will show us all how much killer instinct this team does or does not have.

I’ll be watching…

The Who Play Acoustic Set

The Who will close out the eighth annual Teenage Cancer Trust concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall on April 13 with an acoustic set. This recent announcement allows me to walk down memory lane! I remember the night like it was yesterday, a hot summer evening in New York City and I was on my way with some friends to see The Who perform Quadrophenia... It was a great show with a bunch of special guests. But one of the highlights was after the Quadrophenia part was over, they belted out some of their heavyweight songs like “Won’t Get Fooled Again" as part of an acoustic set! Oh if only I could find my flux capacitor and go back in time…

Legend + Class Act + Great Entertainer = "Nature Boy" Ric Flair

What can I really say about Ric Flair that hasn’t already been said. The guy is beyond great and what drives that point home is how well-respected “Nature Boy” is by his peers. If I never watch another Monday Night Raw again, my professional wrestling hunger would be fulfilled because of the way that show closed out Monday night - it was just unbelievable.

Seeing the old N.W.A. World Championship a couple of weeks ago on Raw was incredible and just brought back a host of fond memories. But when the original faction in wrestling – the Four Horseman – came out to pay their respects to Mr. Flair, well, it was just mind-blowing is all I can say.

The segments throughout the night of old Ric Flair matches gave me chills. Flair fought them all; I mean he fought stars from the 1970’s all through the stars of today. All those great matches that he wrestled against Rick Steamboat, Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes and his classic battles with Sting.

Ric Flair’s sendoff goes down in my book as some of the best television I have ever, ever, ever seen. Put it up there with anything that has ever occurred. You name it? So what did I do after Monday Night Raw concluded? I put on WWE 24/7 and I watched an interview Flair did on World Championship Wrestling back in 1986 on the old Superstation TBS. You know what? Flair may have slowed in the ring, but as far as being a great showman, his fastball still has a whole lot of velocity on it.

Naitch, you've got a big fan right here.

Thanks for the memories!