Posts Tagged ‘ John ’

For once I agree with Torts

It is not my intention to drag out the issue that was my last post, but it was the first thing I thought of when I saw this recent clip of New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella.

Normally I find Torts to be way over the top in how he goes out of his way to be deliberately difficult with reporters, but he was right on the money here.

We don’t actually get to hear the reporter’s question, although the voice-over on TSN says he was, “asked in an indirect way” about Rick Nash’s lack of production. Much the same as Claude Noel was asked in an indirect way about how he thought that game went.

“Are you asking me is Nash playing good enough? Is that what you’re asking me?” Tortorella challenged the reporter.

“Yes, but without… asking it that way,” he responded.

“Ask me that way. You’ll get an easier answer if you just ask me that way, instead of beatin’ around the bush.”

I can’t say I understand why some reporters seem to be too intimidated by a coach after a loss to do their job effectively. I mean, I suppose I understand it well enough, but I guess I’d just suggest the reporter try to find a little more confidence then or maybe a new profession.

Hopefully if someone is a sports reporter, he or she is a sports fan. And being able to think like a sports fan is one of the greatest assets a sports reporter can have. A sports reporter should know what he or she would want to read, the answers he or she would want, as a regular fan.

“How did you feel the game went?” might seem like a lazy question, but yes, fans want to hear the coach’s thoughts on the game. “How tough is this loss?” Not a sports fan in the world who wants or needs the answer to that question.

Ask the question you want an answer to. It’s your job, don’t be afraid to do it.

WrestleMania 28: The Good, The Bad & The Downright Wrong

Another year, and another WrestleMania has been etched into the history books of the WWE.

While I still feel like the WWE is really missing that “wow” factor that it had so many years ago, WrestleMania 28, like any WrestleMania before it, had its highs and lows.  There were moments and matches that exceeded expectations, and those that could have been so much more than what they were.

John Cena vs. The Rock

I think the match itself lived up to what we were expecting.  Chris Jericho said it best when he said, “I think Cena vs. Rock is going to be one of the greatest matches we’ve ever seen, because it’s destined to be that.”  It was two of the biggest stars the WWE has ever seen, and that we thought would never cross paths, going toe to toe in the squared circle.  The atmosphere alone was destined to make the match everything we wanted it to be.

But the outcome… I’m sorry, but I completely disagree with what the WWE did here.  The Rock wins? My, oh my, oh my… Now, I’m not going to pretend to be able to see into the future. For all we know, these two could have a rematch and split the wins.  But if The Rock is packing up and leaving once again, as we all expect him to, this was an atrocious decision to make. And if you know anything about me, you know I hate John Cena.

But the fact of the matter is, tomorrow, and five years from now, Cena will still be here. He’ll be bleeding WWE until the day he hangs it up, and for that reason alone, he needed to come out on top in this match. So Rock wins, and what kind of mileage does he get from it? Nothing, he’s as good as gone again already.  A win in one of the biggest matches in WWE history is worthless where he’s going.

The match itself was great. Rocky clearly got in good ring-shape for the match, as we would expect him to. There was some good back and forth, and nice false finishes.  Rock still has the best arm drag in the business, but it’s not good enough for me to feel good about the final 3-count in this match.

Undertaker vs. Triple H

What can you really say about this match?  As soon as it was announced, I said, “I bet they want to make up for their stinker at WrestleMania 27,” and I stand by that opinion; their match last year was a piece.  The story-telling in this year’s match, with the addition of HBK, was outstanding.

Without question it was the most physical match of the night. Those chair shots had me cringing.  But Shawn, Hunter and ‘Taker all told a great story in there together. I would be comfortable calling this the best match of the night.

And I may take flak for saying this, but it should not be that way. And leads me to my next point:

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus

Pardon my French, but are you fucking kidding me?

This “match” was an absolute disgrace, and flat-out insulting and disrespectful to Bryan Danielson first, Sheamus second, and the fans third.

I said right off the top that this match would steal the show, and two talents like Sheamus and Danielson going at it easily could have.  I don’t know who Danielson pissed off, or what Vince McMahon was smoking backstage, but this was just mind-boggling.

As I alluded to earlier, newcomers like Sheamus and Danielson hold the future of the WWE in their hands. When guys like ‘Taker and Triple H aren’t around anymore to send the fans home happy, it’s going to be up to these guys to do the heavy lifting. And they should be stealing the show right now at WrestleMania.  And like I said, these two could have, they’re fantastic talents.

Quite frankly, these two are owed an apology in the form of a rematch, with no time limit, so we can see what we should have on the Grand Stage.

Horrible booking.

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho

Honestly? Nothing special here.

Was it a good match? Absolutely.  But this was one of the matches on the card that had the capability of exceeding its expectations, and I don’t think it did. It was everything it was supposed to be, but nothing more.

The other matches were all filler, and quite frankly I don’t think anyone came here to read about them.

And to come a little out of left field here, this is as good as official: They need to bring Money in the Bank back to WrestleMania. It never should have left.  I can guarantee that probably 99% of the WWE Universe would have rather seen the participants of Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy in a MitB match instead.  It was consistently one of the best matches on the card, and really rounded out the whole show.  Bring. It. Back.

And that’s that!  Another WrestleMania down, and this one was really one of the better ones I’ve seen.  There were some things I didn’t agree with here and there, but I think the good outweighed the bad.  The only thing I’d say is most important right now, is that the young talent starts being given the opportunity to step in and fill the roles that guys like Edge and Triple H are leaving behind. And an 18 second bullshit match is doing the exact opposite.

What did you think of WrestleMania 28?  Share your own opinions, or comment on mine. Let me know!

It’s Now or Never, Cena.

The ‘Road to WrestleMania’ began last night with the airing of WWE’s Royal Rumble 2012, and while there is currently only one match officially announced, and a few predicted, I’m definitely starting to get majorly amped up for WrestleMania XXVIII on April 1.

It’s a known fact that a big part of what makes WrestleMania easily the best pro wrestling show of the year is that every WWE SuperStar on the card gives 110 per cent.  Sure, most of these guys give it everything they’ve got night in and night out, but at WrestleMania… everything is left in that ring.

But you can still end up with a garbage show even if everyone gives it everything they’ve got.  For instance, I could have a spot on the WrestleMania card and give 110 per cent, but chances are people would be pretty displeased with what they were watching.

So far, the card is filling up with guys who can really bring it, and under the bright lights of WrestleMania, chances are pretty low that they’ll disappoint.  Sheamus is headed to the big show, where he’ll probably face Bryan Danielson.  Lots of potential for a great match there, as well as with Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk, another predicted match.  I would gladly sit through a 60-minute Iron Man Match between those two incredibly gifted wrestlers.

But obviously, the one match that every single fan of the business is waiting to see, is hands down the biggest match of this generation: John Cena vs. The Rock.

I realized last night that the WWE is doing the exact right thing with John Cena to set up this match.  Finally, after years of pretending it wasn’t there, John Cena and the WWE are acknowledging the fans who hate Cena and everything he stands for. They’ve even extended a hand to the Cena haters and given them a voice, offering a “Cena Sucks” t-shirt.

After watching the amazing, chill-inducing video package on Cena from the Rumble last night (below), I realized the genius behind these questionable decisions by the WWE. They’ve completely obliterated the heel/face aspect that is usually pivotal to any wrestling match, in order to get the eyes of every wrestling fan in the world on this WrestleMania match.

I didn’t realize the enormity of this match until last night.  It’s not just a blockbuster match for the sake of bringing in revenue, maybe even more-so this is a stage, in front of everyone, for Cena to silence his haters once and for all.

He’s stepping into the ring with one of the very best in the history of the business, and quite frankly, if he can go move for move, hold for hold with The Rock, he’ll have little left to prove to those who have been calling him out for years now.  And I, someone who dislikes Cena, think that’s exactly what he’s going to do.

April 1 the eyes of the entire pro wrestling industry will be focused on one match, but probably more on one man than the other.  For years now, I think Cena has been afraid to try and prove those who hate him wrong, for fear of failing to do so.  But if he can’t do it at WrestleMania XXVIII, he never will. I think we’re about to see a side of him we’ve never seen before.

And the haters… are gonna hate it.

HirOshima.

I might have enjoyed Hiroshima by John Hersey a little bit more if I hadn’t read the book from front to back in about seven hours, between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.  But this, of course, is my own fault and will not prevent me from giving a genuine and honest opinion on the book.

After hearing it in blog presentations and reading it on people’s blogs for myself, I feel a bit repetitive in saying it, but clearly what worked best and what stands out the most in Hiroshima is the level of detail that Hersey poured into the work, that really brought it to life.

I read something in this book that will likely stick with me indefinitely as one of the most eye-opening (no pun intended) and startling things I’ve ever read, and that is when Hersey describes one of the main characters stumbling upon a group of (temporary) survivors whose eyeballs had melted and were running down their cheeks.  It was partially because I really had no idea that eyeballs could actually melt like that, and just the visual of the scene, it was so gripping and disturbing, and it’s details, however gruesome they may be, that really makes Hiroshima come to life.

One thing that I thought didn’t work in this book was simply the number of characters Hersey chose to focus on.  He chose six in total, and at 152 pages in the book, that leaves an average of about 25 pages for each character’s personal story.  Not only did it possibly force Hersey to jam details together where they might have benefited from being more drawn out, but the characters were just too hard to all keep track of.  They all had specific details to their story, and going from one to the next, to the next, to the next, rinse and repeat just became a headache after a while.  Sometimes I would start a new section on, say, Mr. Tanimoto, and I’d have to flip back to the end of his last segment to remember where his situation had left off, because I’d just finished reading about five other people.

I don’t think anything is necessarily “missing” from this book.  It is an internationally acclaimed piece of writing, and I am a firm believer in the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As grammatically incorrect as it may be.  Like I said, I don’t think anyone would have complained if Hersey had chosen to maybe focus on only three or four of his chosen subjects.

The number one thing, in my opinion, that journalists can learn from this book, is the art of storytelling.  This is a non-fiction work, so how does Hersey make it read like a work of fiction or an action/adventure novel?  Well I certainly don’t have the answer, I assume that Hersey does, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that journalists can learn how important storytelling is to their craft.  The straight facts of Hiroshima, while historic and intriguing, would probably put most of us to sleep if they were just read one after another after another.

But there I was, four in the morning, glued to that book as if my grades life depended on it.  I’m being sarcastic of course, but I really did find the book interesting, and plenty of others in Hiroshima’s place definitely could have put me to sleep at those wee hours of the morn’.  But Hersey’s ability to weave everything together, and make it readable is what journalists need to realize is so powerful about this book.

It’s also what sets the book apart from a lot of other non-fiction works.  I’ve read non-fiction books – professional wrestler autobiographies, let’s say – and a lot of times it’s hard for authors to avoid telling a true story without (basically) saying “After that happened, this happened.”  It’s extremely difficult to try and recount a true story that is full of details without sometimes making the reader feel like they’re just being fed detail after detail.  But Hersey somehow manages to make the entire book, from start to finish, one cohesive unit that flows nicely.

Originally published in The New Yorker, Hiroshima was met with mixed reviews, but I think it was ultimately highly praised. From what I read, it seems like there were some people who believed that, in publishing this work, The New Yorker was taking the stance of being sympathetic to Japan and regretful that the bomb was dropped.  The New Yorker cleared up any and all misconceptions, and, like I said, it was met with mostly high praise.

I enjoyed reading John Hersey’s Hiroshima.  It gave me a really good perspective on the human side of what happened when the atomic bomb was dropped, and I think that is something that we are fortunate to have gotten.  It’s one of those things that is tragic to read about, but important to read about, and I think Hersey did a fantastic job of presenting in a way that is approachable and digestible.

The Problem With The WWE.

The WWE, as most everybody knows, is the top dog in the Professional Wrestling universe. The WWE’s brand will be cemented in history well into the foreseeable future as the #1 Pro Wrestling company of all time. So how is it possible that the WWE is not the product that showcases the best wrestling?

Match of the Year?

You heard me correctly.  The other day I showed my mother the Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards match from Ring of Honor’s Best in the World 2011.  She posed a question that I think a lot of WWE fans would pose if they watched almost any ROH match: “Why don’t you see wrestling like this in the WWE??”

It’s a great question, with a simple answer: the WWE creates “Superstars”. The focus in the WWE is on creating entertaining TV in the same way that soap operas aim to create it.  There are simply not enough fans of the technique and skill involved in Pro Wrestling to put a company like Ring of Honor at the top of the heap, even if their wrestlers are putting on matches 100x better than anything you’ll see on WWE programming.

Is that to say that the WWE doesn’t have talented wrestlers? Absolutely not.  The WWE certainly has some of the most talented individuals in the game today.  The problem goes back to what I mentioned earlier; WWE’s top priority is turning these individuals into larger than life Superstars. Ask yourself why the entire world knows who Hulk Hogan is (even before Hogan Knows Best), and yet he was and is one of the least talented in-ring wrestlers ever.

Every wrestler that the everyday person knows about was created by the WWE.  The Rock, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart. In fact, most of those individuals are extremely talented, but it’s not their in-ring ability that they’re known for to most people.  “If ya smell what The Rock is cookin!”, middle fingers, crotch chopping… These are the types of things that non-wrestling fans latch on to, and it’s the type of thing that the WWE still tries to create, while the actual wrestling takes a backseat.

The other thing that the WWE really believes in is nobody out-performing their top stars.  So that means if you’re on a card with John Cena (and if you’re in the WWE, you almost always will be), you aren’t allowed to put on a better show than him.  And to be a wrestler like Bryan Danielson or Matt Sydal and have to tone your abilities down so much, must be an absolute nightmare. And for the actual wrestling fans, like myself, it is almost torturous to have seen what those two can do in Ring of Honor, and then watch their matches in the WWE.

The Briscoe Brothers

There’s been talk that the WWE currently has its eye on some Ring of Honor wrestlers, including Mark and Jay Briscoe, which is fantastic.  But if they bring guys like that over and plan to tone them down, then I will just shake my head.  It’s unfortunate that the only company that you can really make a name for yourself in is the one where you can’t display your full in-ring ability.

I sincerely hope that the WWE is open to changing this in the future. It’s possible to keep the showmanship aspect that makes WWE #1, and also allow your talent to go out there and blow people away.  Look no further than the face of the company, John Cena; loved by people who want to see a larger than life Superstar, and hated by those who want to see a good wrestling match.

Time to change it up, WWE.

Sincerely,

A fan on the fence

Sour Grapes.

If you have been following the goings-on of the WWE even just casually in the last little while, you know that there has been some major developments, changes and twists taking place recently. Most notable of these is, of course, the CM Punk controversy, which just recently culminated in a battle between Punk and John Cena at WWE’s Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View.

But what really kicked the whole thing off was Punk’s “shoot” promo, which I featured earlier on this blog (You’re Doing It Wrong).

Whenever something like this happens, and sets the WWE Universe and beyond abuzz, it’s almost guaranteed that bitter souls are going to come out of hiding and try to snuff out the fire. Two former WWE Superstars have really been getting under my skin lately, and that would be Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Gene Snitsky.

Chavo chose to go after John Cena, while Gene attempted to cut down Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin. Both former WWE employees took to Twitter to vent their frustrations. Let’s start with Chavo Guerrero, @MexWarrior on Twitter.

@MexWarrior: “Ok, don’t F’in say that people will talk about this for years if you’re going to let Punk do all the work and not deliver at the PPV, Cena. I am tired and I know fans are tired of WWE Superstars talking big and not delivering. We don’t want to see someone just in a fight. And frankly no one believes it anymore. If Miz can kick your ass then the clerk at the store can kick your ass, so please deliver if you say that..

People will remember this PPV. You know Punk will bring ‘it’. I’ve been in the ring with both of you and Punk has ‘it’. Cena you have mic skills yes but if you think people believe your BS lazy comeback that you do exactly the same every match then you are mistaken. Eddie and I taught you different. We never said ‘get lazy’ and do the damn thing every night. We always said ‘think out of the box’ and give the fans what they deserve and not rely on the ‘machine’ to ‘get you over’.

I hope this lights a fire under your ass and you deliver this Sunday. Don’t just rest on you being over cause you are and that is easy. Challenge yourself and give the fans what they deserve. That’s why they boo you. Because they aren’t stupid. They know what they pay for and the ‘great’ promo guy but the shitty ‘match’ guy that you have become is not what they want. I understand ‘longevity’ but at the sacrifice of the fans trust is not worth it. Deliver on your fans and deliver on why you got into this business. Eventually the fans that you have gained with from the purple t-shirts will turn on you. Take a lesson from the Hulkster. Give the fans there $ worth and don’t become just another ‘promo’ guy. I know you love this biz and don’t get distracted from the McMahon $. Deliver please!! Have enough respect for your fans because without them, you’re working at a fast food chain.

Love you man and I support you and hope you see this because I know Punk will and I know he’s going to bring it because he’s got nothing to lose!”

That came before Punk and Cena’s classic match at the PPV.  From start to finish, Punk and Cena gave it everything they had for over 40 minutes, and blew the roof off of the Allstate Arena in Chicago.  Almost in direct response to Chavo’s challenge, Cena changed things up, and brought a lot of new offense to the table in his match. However, still not satisfied, Chavo took to Twitter once again.

@MexWarrior: “Some of u are asking me to eat my words. I’ll give credit where credit is due. Cena & Punk DELIVERED! But why should we be wondering if Cena will show up? He is the highest paid wrestler in the industry & the backbone of the WWE… He should deliver EVERY night! No question! We Never said this about Taker or Michaels. U knew they would deliver every time they stepped foot in the ring. There was never a lazy Accusation with those 2. So what u should be saying is. It’s about time Cena gave the fans there moneys worth!

I’m very happy for Punk…If he’s resigning or not, he deserves it.Nobody has lot a fire in the WWE like that since Austin and I guarantee Cena makes 3-4 times if notMore than Punk. If u make that much, u should deliver every night, no if, ands, or buts! But that’s just me, weather I was making Mysterio Quit or putting over a little person, I gave it my all every night. Not for the money but cuz I have pride in my work and I respect this biz & the fans cuz they are what matters.

There’s always some1 seeing u for the first time & for the last time every night! That’s how every Wrestler should view this biz. Nit as a stepping stone to Hollywood but as way to deliver to the ppl who pay there hard earned money to Watch them every night!!!

Viva La Raza mother f’rs! 🙂 just playing.. Dint hate!”

It’s a classic case of someone who is bound and determined to have nothing but bad things to say about someone.  And what I find most distasteful about the entire thing is how Chavo deliberately made a point of dropping Eddie’s name in both of his rants, in order to try and get people on his side that way.

John Cena is not a technician in the ring, everybody knows this.  He’s talented on the mic and appeals to a large portion of the WWE’s fanbase, which is why he’s in the spot that he’s in.  But he’s there for another reason as well, and that is because he is one of the hardest working employees that the WWE has.

I met John Cena a few years back in Montreal, and can attest to his attitude and work ethic personally.  Despite being heckled and almost physically assaulted on his 30-foot walk into our hotel, he spent about 45 minutes after checking in, beaten up and exhausted, making sure all of his actual fans got their autograph and photo with him.  He is anything but lazy, and while I will never be a John Cena fan, and will boo him until I’m hoarse, I have nothing but respect for him, and I have to wonder about people like Chavo Guerrero, a zero-time World Champion, who call Cena, a ten-time WWE Champion, lazy.

Next up is Gene Snitsky, ONLY known for his one angle with Kane and Lita back in ’04 or ’05, simply because of how ridiculous it was.  He’s a garbage wrestler with the personality of a brick, and here is what he had to say about The Miz and people who defend him. *Language warning*

@therealsnitsky: Well said chavo! Wtf is seriously scared of the fukn Miz? Ru kiddin me!!!!

@therealsnitsky: RU fukn kiddin me? Heez a putz and i mean that.”

@therealsnitsky: “Love the haters on twitter!!!! I beat the miz in 30 secs and he could nvr hold my jockstrap! Im a div 1 athelete, former NFL player! Fags”

As you can tell, Gene Snitsky is an incredibly intelligent man.  The childish namecalling is simply that, but there is a little bit more weight behind the things he said about The Miz.  It seems to me that he truly believes he’s better than The Miz, and that is nothing short of mind-boggling, in my opinion.

Snitsky was let go from the WWE many years back now, and this seems like a pretty clear case of someone who misses the spotlight (which he had for about a month), in my opinion. I actually went to try and grab these quotes right off of his Twitter today, only to discover that Snitsky has deleted his account.  I think that says it all.

 A lot of wrestlers have/had a lot of contempt for The Miz, because he was a Tough Enough contestant, which is basically a reality show competition for a WWE contract.  The Miz didn’t win the show, but instead worked his tail off in order to get a WWE contract.  Even still, he was hazed and resented by a lot of the wrestlers upon making it to the WWE.

He even recounts a time that he reduced to using a public restroom stall in the arena, next to a young boy who was wearing a Miz t-shirt.  Talk about degrading.  But he took his share of crap, continued to hone his craft, and became the WWE Champion.  I will always have an enormous amount of respect for The Miz, maybe even more than any other WWE Superstar, for what he had to overcome on his way into the WWE.

No matter what you do, there is always going to be someone who does it better than you.  Worry about yourself, and what you should be doing to get better, instead of trying to cut down those who are proven to be better than you.  Because the person you’re cutting down, can’t even hear you; they’re too busy continuing to be better than you, and loving it.

This Just In!

One of my favourite moments in the CM Punk vs. John Cena match at WWE’s Money in the Bank PPV was one of Punk’s beautiful knees to Cena’s mug. Finally managed to get my hands on a GIF. Enjoy!

Note the precautionary leg slap!