WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania XIV

Did I have time to blog? Yes I did! We’re continuing with our look back on the history of WrestleMania. Looking back WrestleMania XIV, you can really see how this was a transitional period for the WWE. The main event really is a final chapter on the pre-Attitude Era of the WWE. This leaves the WWE roster looking completely different, especially who the top stars are. Steve Austin walks out of with the World Championship, and the company switches over to being Austin-centric. That works, because he really was the biggest star at that point. 



Remember VHS cassettes? I think I picked up a copy of this at Shop-Rite for $5 at some point.

The one interesting thing that stuck out to me after re-watching this was how appropriately short it was. The whole show was over in about three hours. That’s amazing when you look at it through the 2019 lens, where every week Raw is three hours and it is not uncommon to see a four and a half hour long pay per view.


Match wise, there wasn’t too much to complain about. It was exactly what you would expect from a WWE event in 1998. The biggest gripe to me was the ending of the Owen Hart/HHH match, which had HHH winning due to some interference from Chyna. In a post-Survivor Series 1997 world it felt all but certain that Hart would be walking out of this match with the European Championship, but it didn’t happen. If you remember, Hart was red hot when he came back to the company. Losing in this fashion really cooled him off as a character. In hindsight, it doesn’t feel like he ever recovered from this. I guess you could say the same thing about the Rock retaining the Intercontinental Championship over Ken Shamrock.


I remembered really liking the New Age Outlaws/Cactus Jack and Terry Funk match a lot. I still did. But I completely forgot about the Taka Michinoku/Aguila match. WWE didn’t have a lot of matches like this at the time and it really stands out–in a good way–from the rest of the event.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania XII

wrestlemania-xiiWrestleMania had a bounce back from the year before. So was it worth watching? I’m going to say yes on this one. You get a match that is over an hour-long for the WWF World Championship.

THE GOOD: The build to theBret Hart/Shawn Michaels match was epic, and the Iron Match itself didn’t disappoint. Well maybe it disappointed me a little, as I’ve always been a Bret fan. The “Backlot Brawl” was absurd, but in a good way. They framed this Roddy Piper/Goldust match with a gold Ford Bronco car chase, reminiscent of the one from the OJ Simpson saga the summer before. The premise itself was very silly, but still fun to watch.

THE BAD: If anything, the match for the Tag Team Championship with the Bodydonnas and the Godwinns, and the Vader/Owen Hart/British Bulldog versus Jake Roberts/Ahmed Johnson/Yokozuna one are pretty forgettable. Although I really did like the Camp Cornette Stable with Vader, Hart and Smith.

MATCH TO WATCH: It’s funny watching the Ultimate Warrior squash Hunter Hearst Helmsley in under two minutes, especially through modern eyes. You would never believe that Triple H would wind up becoming such a superstar, one of the faces of the company and now be so heavily entrenched in the behind the scenes aspect of the business from this.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania X


I started this feature a few years back, giving me a reason to re-watch all of the WrestleManias. Unfortunately, I’m clearly a lazy blogger so this got put to the backseat for a long time. Anyway, with the WWE Network making it so easy to see all of the old pay-per-views, so I have no excuse to not finish this.

THE GOOD: WrestleMania X is a really good show. It has the Shawn Michaels/Razor Ramon ladder match that is a classic. The show’s opener, Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart, is a great match that still holds up. Not only that, but it set up a bunch of rematches and story lines for the rest of the year. At the end of the show, Bret manages to pull out a good match out of Yokozuna, reclaiming the WWF World Championship he lost a year earlier.

THE BAD: Thankfully, there isn’t that much at WrestleMania X that was bad. If anything, I’d have to say the Bam Bam Bigelow/Luna Vachon match against Doink/Dink, or the Quebecers/Men on a Mission Tag Team Championship match are pretty much skippable.

MATCH TO WATCH: Randy Savage has an awesome Falls Count Anywhere match against Crush that I really loved at the time and still do to this day. The story that built up to it is so cartoony and everything that you love about professional wrestling. Crush–who was a brightly, neon colored good guy–gets squashed by the evil Yokozuna. When he comes back, he’s super bitter and angry. Not because he was nearly crushed (see what I did there?), but because Savage, whom he thought was his best friend, didn’t send him a get well card. This sets off a huge feud between the two former friends. You read that right.

The Road Warriors: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling

road-warriors-danger-death-Many professional wrestling fans consider the Road Warriors one of the, if not the, best tag teams ever. The Road Warriors: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling gives an inside look into the spike and war-paint clad brawlers.

Since he’s the author, the book mostly focuses on Joe Laurinaitis life in Minnesota and how he and a friend of his named Michael Hegstrand changed their names to Animal and Hawk respectively and became professional wrestling royalty.

One of the things you take away from this book is how there was such a close-knit group of wrestlers from Minnesota who grew up together, worked out together and even bounced at the same nightclubs together. Animal and Hawk came into the wrestling business alongside Rick Rude, Demolition Smash, Nikita Koloff and even Curt Hennig, all of whom they had known since they were teenagers. Animal also goes out of his way to mention how Koloff is his best world, and makes me wonder how different the Road Warriors would have been if Koloff was part of the team instead of Hawk.

Once the Road Warriors made a name for themselves, the book goes on to explain their wrestling career and world traveling, taking them to Japan and to the World Wrestling Federation and every other major promotion in between. I was surprised to see how important their on-screen manager Paul Ellering was to their development as performers and helping them as a business adviser. You get the sense that he was equally responsible for their success.

Unfortunately for the Road Warriors, their biggest enemy was Hawk himself. As their years went by, he became increasingly difficult to work with and made poor professional choices that hindered their growth. And his reputation for partying hard certainly had a negative impact on both of their careers. It’s interesting that at certain points in the book Animal pretty much blames some of their problems on Hawk’s behavior, but takes responsibility himself for what happened, as he was supposed to be the level-headed one of the group.

Things started looking up for the Road Warriors in the early 2000s, with Hawk getting his personal problems under control and them getting ready to make a comeback. Unfortunately, Hawk died of a heart attack in 2003 and ending the Road Warriors career.

Wrestling career aside, you really get a sense of what makes Animal tick. He’s a devout Christian and his family is the most important part of his life, equal if not greater than his in-ring career. Animal comes across as a great guy who lived out his dream. He also makes a point that personal problems aside, Hawk was a very good friend of his and he is glad that they shared such a successful career.

While not accessible to non-wrestling fans as Mick Foley and Chris Jericho’s first books or as super detailed as Bret Hart’sThe Road Warriors: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling is an enjoyable read for die-hard Legion of Doom fans or casual wrestling watchers.

WWE Classic Superstars: Sabu


During the mid 2000s, I was kind of obsessed with buying the Jakks WWE Classic Superstars line. Having regularly watched Extreme Championship wrestling since it’s debut (lets face it; I was an impressionable youth) It only seemed right that I would get the Sabu figure.

SabuSabu is dressed in his typical ring gear. His baggy MC Hammer style pants are made out of a sparkly/shiny cloth which really makes him stand out. The detailing is right, even down to his sash belt

They also painted on his various wrist and arm tapes which are a nice touch. Sabu also came with a vinyl white version of his typical headdress to complete the look. The action figure also came with a folding chair as an accessory, so you can have him hit all of his signature wrestling moves, from the Arabian Facebuster to the Triple Jump Moonsault to the rest of your unsuspecting action figures.


Jakks received a lot of criticism for how much they recycled parts of action figures and didn’t detail the figures enough. This figure proves to be the exception. Sabu has all his appropriate scarring on his chest and arms, showing the pains of wrestling in barbed wire rings.

Ultimately, this is one of my favorite action figures from this line. It looks really cool and serves as a nice nostalgia piece to the days when a glorified bingo hall in south Philadelphia was the epicenter of the wrestling universe.

Checking Out Pro Wrestling Syndicate

Me with Jushin LigerI know I’m almost a month late on this but one of the best things of Wrestlemania being in my home state of New Jersey this year was that the area was filled with all kinds of professional wrestling goodness for about a week. A busy schedule made it really hard to participate in the festivities, but I was able to check out one of the Pro Wrestling Syndicate shows on April 4 in Metuchen, New Jersey.

I was on the fence about going to anything that week, but the fact that Japanese wrestling legend Jushin “Thunder” Liger was added to the card made it a can’t miss event. Which lead to me getting the picture above.DSC_0202

Liger was put in a match with Davey Richards of ROH and Anthony Nese who has been appearing in TNA and Dragon Gate USA. The match was really fun with Liger busting out all his trademark moves and such. I still remember the first time I saw Liger on WCW television probably sometime during 1990 and to this day I’m still just as amazed by him.

Kevin Steen

Local PWS guys aside, there were so many random wrestlers on the show, like Kevin Steen, the Hurricane, Simon Dean, Elijah Burke, Shelly Martinez, Tommy Dreamer and even New Jack! It was like playing Fire Pro Returns on random.

Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton of the Rock N Roll Express

That said, the most random match of the night was the Rock N Roll Express vs.the Briscoe Brothers. It was amazing; Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton have probably wrestled the same match since the early 1980s and it still works.

You can view all of the pictures here.

WWE 13: Making Pro Wrestling Video Games Fun Again


The last pro wrestling game that I purchased was Fire Pro Returns for PS2 and I’ve been playing that religiously for the past five years. For Christmas, I was given  WWE 13 for Xbox 360. Was I able to make the transition to the newest, shiniest slickest pro wrestling video game?

The answer is yes. While lacking the ridiculous customization of the Fire Pro games, WWE 13 is the most fun WWE video game since Smackdown vs. Raw: Here Comes The PainI’ve been playing it pretty much non-stop since getting it.

The game is pretty much what you would expect; not only does it have the current WWE talent roster, but all the match types you would expect to find on your typical episode of Raw or Smackdown as well as the usual basic story modes that string along your story-lines.

But what really makes this an awesome game is the Attitude Era mode, which recreates all the major story lines on WWE programming from early 1997 through Wrestlemania XV. You wind up playing as Bret “The Hitman” Hart, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the Rock…even Ken Shamrock as you relive all the classic Attitude Era moments. Best of all, if you successfully complete all the objectives in each match, it unlocks content that you can use in the regular game modes, ranging from wrestlers to new arenas.

The online modes add some more fun for the game, allowing you to play against WWE 13 users around the world and to download create-a-wrestlers that people have shared. The only problem with the online components is that the server lags and disconnects a lot, but that can be expected with THQ’s current financial woes. I mostly use the online feature to download new wrestlers and arenas. If you are willing to get up really early in the morning to avoid peak hours, it runs a lot smoother.

I have a feeling that I’ll be playing this for quite some time, as you can create an additional 50 characters on your own. I’ve already found a great Bob Sapp to add to the game. Not to mention, that they’ve issued several downloadable content packs that not only freshen up the current roster with people like Antonio Cesaro and Ryback, but also add classics from the Attitude Era like Brian Pillman, Terry Funk and Diamond Dallas Page. These are all additions I would have made on my own, so it frees up CAW slots!

I’ve been away from WWE gaming for a decent amount of time and it feels good to be back. This game is highly recommended for wrestling fans everywhere.

Forever Hardcore:


One of the part of having a lot of time off during the holidays is that I finally have an opportunity to read and watch things that have been put off for a long time. One of these was Forever Hardcore, a documentary that looks back at the time when Extreme Championship Wrestling was running wild.

The film was done by Jeremy Borash, a longtime behind the scenes employee of WCW and TNA, who just happened to also be a super fan of the renegade wrestling company from South Philadelphia that went on to change the face of professional wrestling.

What separates this from the WWE produced The Rise and Fall of ECW is that this relies on interviews with people who were a part of the promotion at the time but never were able to parlay that success with the larger company. So in that sense, the stories that were told on this come across as a little more open. A lot of the stories I’ve read and heard before, but this documentary has the primaries going on the record about. There are some other stories that were new to me, like Shane Douglas and Francine never really getting along when they were outside of character.

Forever Hardcore was a decent enough documentary. There were a few things that I did frown upon though. The video quality wasn’t that slick, looking more along the lines of a student film or something made for hyper-local television. But in some ways, that keeps up with the spirit of the original ECW in that the presentation wasn’t what counted but the content you were experiencing. What was worse (and I’m sure was a huge challenge for Borash) about this was how they couldn’t use any video footage of ECW, thanks to it being the WWE’s. Random photography and indie wrestling helps fill the void, but doesn’t really illustrate the points being made.

The feeling I was left with was the story of how everyone involved with ECW believed in the product and the risks they took–both financially and physically–to support it. It ends with Terry Funk discussing being offered a contract to participate in the first WWE ECW tribute show. And pretty much sums up the experience of what it was like working for ECW with this quote:

“I said honey, I can’t do it. I want to go back to the guys that I love. The guys that I’ve been down the road.  And that’s why I’m not a millionaire because I do the things I want to do instead of the things I should have done.”

And that’s exactly how I remember ECW.

It’s the Gobbledy Gooker

Who remembers the Gobbledy Gooker?  I certainly do. This over-sized turkey first appeared at the WWF’s Survivor Series in 1990. So how did we wind up with a turkey in the world of professional wrestling?

Before we start that, we do have to acknowledge that Thanksgiving night was traditionally one of the biggest days for professional wrestling events. The logic behind that is that by the evening, everyone is antsy from sitting around all day eating and wants something to do. Having a big event provides a perfect alternative from sitting around eating and listening to Uncle Jimmy tell the same tired story over and over again. Don’t believe me? The NFL and NCAA schedule tons of football games on Thanksgiving day, and wrestling promoters followed suit.

The WWE’s November pay per view event Survivor Series originally aired on Thanksgiving night, providing many a family with some much-needed entertainment. The 1990 show had a mystery of sorts to it, as to what exactly was in the big egg.

WWE programming would feature a big egg, with various personalities wondering what was inside. Was it a returning wrestler who had been not on television in a while? Had some huge star from one of their competitors like Sting decided to join the WWE? I remember watching every Saturday morning what was in the mysterious egg.

So what was in the egg?

A big giant turkey. Literally. Survivor Series watchers were treated to the debut of the Gobbledy Gooker…an anthropomorphic turkey that was full of enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the crowd wasn’t that receptive to the bird.

For the next few weeks, they tried to make the Gobbledy Gooker cool by having him hang out with various WWE personalities. This didn’t help the turkey, and eventually his goose was cooked after a few weeks.

Since then, the Gobbledy Gooker has made sporadic Thanksgiving time appearances in the WWE, usually as someone else wearing the costume to surprise their opponents.

The original Gooker was none other than Hector Guerrero, whom I got to meet at a TNA event in Trenton a few years back. He’s currently their Spanish-language announcer, and  super nice guy. It’s worth checking out his non-Gobbledy Gooker matches on YouTube.

My 2012 Wrestling Observer Hall Of Fame Ballot

If you don’t like professional wrestling, you might want to take a break. Every year, the Wrestling Observer (the New York Times of the wrestling world) has its annual Hall of Fame issue, where WO founder Dave Meltzer surveys people in the wrestling industry, as well as journalists, historians and writers for their choices. If I was given a ballot, how would I vote?

The criteria are simple; candidates have to be 35 or older and judged on the criteria of how good they were as a performer, how much of a box office success they were and their impact. You can pick up to ten candidates; to be successfully nominated, a candidate has to receive at least 60% of the votes in that category. If you want to see who already is included, check here. Anyway, for my choices

Gene & Ole Anderson, The Masked Assassins (Jody Hamilton & Tom Renesto), Johnny Barend, Red Bastien, Pepper Gomez, Dick Hutton, Hans Schmidt, Kinji Shibuya, Wilbur Snyder, John Tolos, Enrique Torres, Kurt & Karl Von Brauner w/Saul Weingeroff, Tim “Mr. Wrestling” Woods

Batista, John Cena, Edge, Owen Hart, Curt Hennig, Ivan Koloff, Brock Lesnar, Fabulous Moolah, Pedro Morales, Dick Murdoch, Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson), Buddy Rose, Sgt. Slaughter, Jimmy Snuka, Sting, Mr. Wrestling II

Sting was the face of WCW, the second largest promotion in the United States for almost a decade, and he was at the top when the company was the biggest. There’s two people synonymous with that company: him and Ric Flair.

Slaughter was a pretty big draw in his pre-WWF career, and although it may have cost him his WWF career at the time getting associated with the GI Joe toy line made him a superstar. Hart and Hennig get my vote, as growing up I really enjoyed how awesome they were and stuck out at the time.

Sgt. Slaughter


George Gordienko, Gran Hamada, Volk Han, Masahiko Kimura, Seiji Sakaguchi, Kensuke Sasaki, Mike & Ben Sharpe, Kiyoshi Tamura, Hiroshi Tanahashi

Sasaki was a huge draw in the 1990s. Hamada was the first Japanese worker to really incorporate lucha style into his work. This Japanese/Mexican fusion spread like wildfire; it’s the basis of modern American independent wrestling.


Perro Aguayo Jr., Atlantis, Cien Caras, Karloff Lagarde, Blue Panther, L.A. Park, Huracan Ramirez, Vampiro, Villano III, Dr. Wagner Jr., Dr. Wagner Sr.

L.A. Park was a star in Mexico. And even though he was pretty much a lower level guy in WCW during his big United States run, he was more popular due to his charisma than anyone anticipated. He came back to Mexico and picked up right where he left off, and having an awesome feud with the man who took his place as La Parka.

Vampiro was a mega-star in the 1990s and was huge. After his stint in WCW, he went back and is still tearing it up.


Big Daddy, Henri DeGlane, Horst Hoffman, Mick McManus, Kendo Nagasaki, Jackie Pallo, Rollerball Mark Rocco, Johnny Saint

Spyros Arion, Carlos Colon, Domenic DeNucci, Mark Lewin, Mario Milano

Carlos Colon was the biggest star in Puerto Rico/the Caribbean ever. You can’t argue that.

Lou Albano, Bill Apter, Jim Crockett Jr., Gary Hart, Jerry Jarrett, Gorilla Monsoon, Dr. Alfonso Morales, Don Owen, Jesse Ventura

Apter was the editor of Pro Wrestling Illustrated and about a million other wrestling magazines from the mid 1970s-1990s. Before the internet, the Apter mags were the way to learn about wrestling. Every kid in my generation would check these out at grocery store newsstands.

So those are my picks. Who would you vote for?

Chikara: I’ll Be A Mummy’s Uncle

Battling insects? A marching bandleader turned mixed martial artist and a football player fighting for the affections of a drum majorette? Demons from the Bled Isle in Slovenia? That’s typical in the world of Chikara Pro Wrestling.

This past Saturday, Chikara came to Rahway, NJ to hold the event “I’ll Be A Mummy’s Uncle.” You can view my pictures from the show here or in the slide show above.

Chikara blends elements of American, Japanese and Mexican professional wrestling styles with a healthy amount of comedy and comic book like characters to create something that is completely different. The main event featured Chikara stalwart ants the Colony teaming up with the promotion’s Grand Champion Eddie Kingston against a group of evil doppelgängers called the Gekido in a really awesome match that was really intense.


I got to pose/meet with the evil serpent warrior Ophidian.

We were also treated to a comic book story/match with Ultramantis Black trying to win back his staff (think like Skeletor’s Havoc Staff) from the evil Ophidian. There was even the wacky comedy match of Mr. Touchdown fighting Archibald Peck, which was filled with mixed martial arts jokes.

If Chikara is having an event near you, by all means try go attend. Check out their website; they are having a contest where you can win tickets and travel to their June 2 show in Philadelphia, just a few doors down from the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Show.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania IV

WrestleMania IV is awesome because the whole show is built around a one-night tournament for the vacant WWF title. Being that this is from 1988, you would assume that Hulk Hogan or Andre the Giant would be the winner. But in an amazing swerve, the two of them were eliminated in the first round!

THE GOOD: When I re-watched this for the first time in years, I had no idea how the tournament played out, save for the Andre/Hogan match. The unpredictable nature of a tournament really helped make this a fun show to watch.

THE BAD: Don Muraco versus Dino Bravo wasn’t so hot. I would have liked to see more Rick Rude, but those are the breaks. On the bright side, it gave us that awesome Rude/Jake Rogers feud.

MATCH TO WATCH: The final match of Randy Savage versus Ted DiBiase for the championship is great, and the crowd goes insane when Andre and Hogan get involved in the finish.

WrestleMania Flashback: WrestleMania II

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Mr. T duke it out at WrestleMania II.


WrestleMania II is unique for two reasons:

  1. It was the only WrestleMania to happen on a Monday.
  2. It was the only WrestleMania to be held at three different locations, Chicago, Long Island and Los Angeles, thanks to the magic of television satellites.

Those logistics alone make it impressive. As for the show itself, it felt pretty average. There was some good stuff on the event, but as a whole it felt like it went on for far too long. I do have a short attention span you know. None of the matches were over 15 minutes, but the show as a whole time felt like a chore to get through.

THE GOOD: Roddy Piper and Mr. T’s “boxing” match was pretty fun.

THE BAD: The Velvet McIntyre/Fabulous Moolah match wasn’t that good at all. And this is on an event with an Uncle Elmer match!

MATCH TO WATCH: The British Bulldogs win the Tag Team titles from Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake in an awesome match. How awesome? The Bulldogs don’t only have longtime manager Captain Lou Albano in their corner, but Ozzy Osbourne!

Let’s Draw Demolition!

Here Comes The Axe! Here Comes The Smash! Here Comes The Crush! Here Comes Demolition!

At my day job we’re getting ready to move to a new section of the building, and I uncovered this lunchtime sketch I did of one of my favorite wrestling tag teams/groups growing up, Demolition. It might be because of them I developed a fondness for the band KISS.

Axe gets ready to hit the Demolition Decapitation on poor HydraGrowing up, my parents did not like that I would watch wrestling, so I would have to sneak downstairs to watch it early in the morning. Needless to say, I never got the chance to see Demolition wrestle in their prime.

I did get to see them wrestle for Chikara Pro’s King of Trios weekend in 2008. They may have been the oldest wrestlers there, but they certainly still knew how to put on a fun match. I even got to chit-chat with them after the show, and Axe and Smash were super cool.

How awesome was their theme song? I’m sure you will have it stuck in your head all day.

What If The Justice League of America Were Professional Wrestlers?

Chris Sims over at Comics Alliance had an interesting post about what wrestlers best fill the roles of the members of the Justice League. While he was spot on that Dusty Rhodes would be the Superman of the group, I thought that there were some better choices to fill the roster.

The Batman would be Bret “The Hitman” Hart. The two are very similar, going into there line of work due to their family. They both have subterranean lairs under their ancestral homes; Hart being based in the family basement training facility known as the Dungeon and Batman’s Batcave under the Wayne Mansion. Both of them travelled the world, honing their craft. And really, Batman and “the Hitman” are known for their mastery of tactics (and execution) as well as their no-nonsense approach to everything.

The Undertaker would be the Martian Manhunter of the group. In both their respective genres, it is always stressed that their characters are other worldly. Even though they’re both very cold emotionally, fire causes them great deals of trouble–Undertaker’s evil brother Kane is known to light things on fire, and Manhunter is deathly afraid of it.

Trish Stratus and Wonder Woman are very similar; they respectively are the most successful woman wrestler and super hero, and that’s something you can’t argue.

Shawn Michaels would be the flash of the group, as both characters rely on their quickness to overcome larger and more powerful opponents.

Christian by far is the Aquaman of the group. How so? Aside from both of them being blonde and foreigners (Canada and Atlantis), neither of them are given the chance to live up to their full potential and are always delegated to second tier status. they both have their loyal fans who are always eager to say otherwise.

Finally, we have “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Hal Jordan. Both of them fall into the rogue hero archetype. They may be smart mouthed, but they have the toughness to back it up.

So Did The Muppets Survive Monday Night Raw?

Stretching is an old timey style of pro wrestling where your goal is to literally pull your opponent apart. Here poor Gonzo gets stretched by Jack Swagger, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler on the October 21, 2011 episode of Monday Night Raw.

So last night as my long-awaited episode of WWE’s Monday Night Raw, where the wrestling show was invaded by the Muppets. This was one of the most fun episodes of any professional wrestling show that I can remember. I wish we could see more team-ups with the Muppets in the WWE in the future.

This was one of the best segments involving the Muppets, with poor Beaker being bullied by Christian. Our favorite meep-ing lab assistant was rescued by Sheamus in a moment of sheer hilariousness. I love how they made the two be related. Genius.

Most of the Muppet involvement last night revolved around a storyline with them feuding with manager Vickie Guerrero and her charges, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. The three did not take to kindly to the Muppets being on their show, and with the help of Santino Marella, the Muppets were able to get their comeuppance.

Cody Rhodes didn't take too kindly to Kermit the Frog.

The episode had the Muppets making appearances throughout the rest of the episode. Miss Piggy kept flirting with the wrestlers and would get upset that the WWE divas would flirt with Kermit.

Even Statler and Waldorf were around, hanging out in their own luxury skybox; having been to the Phillips Arena in Atlanta where last night’s episode was taped, I can vouch for there not being a balcony for them. The two old bitter Muppets would pop up from time to time with their own sarcastic commentary.

I enjoyed this whole episode very much. It was just as silly and fun as I thought it could be, and this gets two thumbs up. You can find more clips of the Muppets on Raw on the WWE’s YouTube or on their website.

Mick Foley’s Countdown to Lockdown


Mick Foley may be the Hardcore Legend, but I'm the Awesome Legend!

One of the joys of the inclement weather this weekend was that I finally had a chance to read Mick Foley’s Countdown to Lockdown. See that picture? That was taken at an author event just a few days after the book debuted.

So what took me so long to read Countdown? I do consider myself a huge Mick Foley fan. The excuse, if you want to call it that, is that his books are rather conversational and read better in one sitting, rather than picking it up and reading a bit here and there. And unfortunately, I’ve been way too busy to devote the proper time to reading this.

This past Sunday–hurricane and all–was Countdown‘s turn to be looked at. The book tells the story of Mick getting back in the ring to fight a one-time rival from the early 1990s in Sting. Except this time, it was for the TNA (now Impact) Wrestling World Championship in a cage match at their Lockdown pay-per-view in 2009.

You can tell that having seen Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler plays a lot in Mick’s mind, as he’s afraid that returning for yet another match will propel him into the sad category of being a Randy the Ram type character. It’s less in the vein of him needing to wrestler for the financial aspects, but more so that he doesn’t want to embarrass himself. So the story of the buildup to the match is very compelling, and all the combined whackiness of professional wrestling and his family life definitely weigh on his mind through all of this, whether it be the humiliating process of him finding tights to wear for the match (and winding up getting them in the women’s section of Target) or that his sons think the other wrestlers in TNA are cooler than him.

The best parts of Countdown are his side stories, whether he’s talking about vacations with his family or all of the various charities he supports and is involved with. The sections on his helping the youth of Sierra Leone show how much he really cares about the world around him, and how he actively wants to help.

The story is also framed with his obsession and love of the Tori Amos song “Winter”, and how its influenced his life. In the book, he describes the two times he spoke in person with Tori and you can just tell how excited and how much of a fan he is.

Anyway, Countdown is a fun read and a great look into what makes Mick Foley tick outside the wrestling world. And what makes him tick? His family and making a positive impact on the world around him, both of which are cool with me.

Mick has been keeping up a blog, and it is worth reading. You can also check out some pictures from the previously mentioned author visit here.

WWE and Comics: Perfect Together

Let’s face it; professional wrestling and comic books are very thematically similar. Pro wrestling is a lot like comics coming to life, filled with heroes and villains (clad in over the top costumes) battling for supremacy. Even their fanbases overlap; they’re both constantly criticized for liking something many disregard as something you should have given up by the time you turn seven.

Over the years, comics and wrestlers have crossed over many times. Some of today’s best grapplers, guys like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe and Shane Helms, are all devoted comic readers. Wrestlers like Rey Mysterio and Nova have worn many comic inspired outfits to the ring. ECW’s Raven and the Sandman spent the majority of the 1990s wearing t-shirts featuring art from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. Even Hulk Hogan’s name is a reference to a certain gamma powered monster…

Anyway, it’s no surprise that the professional wrestling world would be represented at Comic Con last week. Both WWE and Impact Wrestling were out in full force. But WWE took it one step further, expanding one of their angles (wrestling speak for “storyline”) during one of their panel presentations.

During the presentation, wrestler HHH (who now runs the WWE in story) gets interrupted by WWE champion CM Punk, who himself is an avid comic book fan.

In the WWE storyline, Punk won their championship on his last night wrestling for the company and is keeping the title high-jacked. The question is when—or will—he return to the WWE, and by having him harass it’s on-screen chairman only keeps this moving. It was a nice little way to make those in attendance feel like they’re part of the story.