9 Stages of Giddiness

I had planned on writing a long and worthy review of Wrestlemania, but as this past week has been quite the whirlwind, I decided just to run through all the WWE stuff making me happy at moment. Let’s just have a chat.  

That hug

The chances of John Cena not winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania were slim. Really slim. The promo videos charting his hidden emotional collapse could have been a swerve, but they’re rarely that sneaky when it comes to Cena. His turmoil is over, the Rock’s job is done, time for a new story. Mmmm. New stories.  At stupid o’clock in the morning after having too little sleep and too much junk food I was loopy enough to find even the cat nuzzling my hand an emotional experience. But that little chat and the hug Cena and Rock shared at the end of the show genuinely moved me. Considering all their history, it felt poignant. It’s so easy to be in love with wrestling when the sun is about to come up and you haven’t really slept yet. I know it was a predictable outcome, but everyone secretly loves those practically post-coital, crowd whipping winner speeches John Cena gives the night after regaining a title.

Cena_Rock_Hug

Ziggler! Finally! 

The problem with Raw being live at 2am is that unless you avoid the internet until you have an opportunity to watch it, you’re going to find out what happens. It’s so rarely worth the abstinence that Raw spoilers have just become a British way of life. It only becomes a problem when gargantuan, memorable moments take place. Case and point:  Ziggler’s cash-in. Andrew and I both ruined that for ourselves when we simultaneously opened Instagram and Facebook and held pictures of Ziggler wearing the belt up to each other. D’oh!

Spoilers aside we watched Raw later that evening and blimey, that cash-in was bloody great. The reward for being disappointed every time Dolph didn’t appear at the top of the ramp with that battered briefcase and a referee in hand (including at Wrestlemania) was that explosive moment. It made my tummy flip. It made me squeak. We have long been devoted to Dolph Ziggler around here and having paid his dues both in-ring and on the mic, he’s finally got a major title for more than a few seconds. We’re thrilled!

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The Shield 

There aren’t enough words to express how much I completely adore The Shield. This is why the blog post I keep trying to write about them is still in ever-changing draft form. Every time that radio crackle permeates whichever arena they happen to be in, my shoulders involuntarily rise to my ears. I am smitten, and not just in that lustful, early CM Punk sort of way. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve been visiting this blog for the past four years.

They’re so perfectly balanced I almost can’t stand it. A few weeks ago while watching The Shield on Smackdown, I turned to Andrew and suggested that I write a blog post on how threesomes work. Once the terror/intrigue had passed and we ascertained that what I actually meant was ‘trios’, I set about trying to put it into coherent words. As soon as I figure out how to make ‘I love them so much it aches’ sound less juvenile, it’ll be posted.

The_Shield_WM

Aesthetics 

Wrestlemania looked beautiful. 29 may not have been full of surprises or curveballs. Even I as a Triple H fan have to admit his match with Lesnar was way below par. As an event, though, Wrestlemania looked gorgeous. I’m a sucker for New York City at the best of times, but that setting, the stage, the colours, the fireworks…. For the first time in ages I felt envious of people experiencing the spectacle live and not necessarily the matches. As always, a slightly predictable Wrestlemania is STILL WRESTLEMANIA, GUYS. If you said you were glad you didn’t buy it when all you did was read a results page, you mugged yourself.

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NXT

The ludicrous gymkhana that was the old NXT holds a special place in our hearts. It was ridiculous, but we watched several series of it religiously. I will always feel a nostalgic flutter when I hear those first few bars of Wild and Young. The new NXT is a whole different animal. Ditching the middle ground between developmental and TV, then really investing in the way new talent is presented is the best thing WWE have done in a long time. NXT now feels like an exciting indie promotion, with stories, characters that aren’t charicatures and potentially huge rewards for working hard. Also, William Regal and Kassius Ohno kicking the nonsense out of each other. What more encouragement could you possibly need?

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I don’t know about you…

This video, mainly for Punk’s interpretation of the chorus. I would pay an awful lot of money to have CM Punk softly read me the lyrics of an entire Taylor Swift album. I think it might help me sleep better at night.

CMPunk_Taylor_Swift

HHH and Stephanie on Twitter

If you read the long piece I wrote for the Fair to Flair Quarterly a long time ago, you’ll remember that Stephanie and Hunter’s fictional and real relationships were the penny dropping moment in my understanding wrestling journey. It’s the reason I find them so fascinating, both individually and as a couple. When they both joined Twitter I was beside myself. When Stephanie joined, Andrew texted me immediately to tell me. I’m far too old to be fangirling over anyone, yet weeks on I’m still trying to think of something I can tweet to Stephanie that doesn’t suggest I’m 15 years my junior. To say that I’m in a constant state of marking out is putting it mildly.

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Fandango 

I have so much to say about ole Johnny. Soon.

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Our long weekend

You know sometimes when life has been busy and you just need to kick back, order junk food, be irresponsible with your sleep pattern (and your bank account) and do something fun? That’s what we did over Wrestlemania weekend. If you’re interested in all the delicious rubbish we ate and what we look like in our pyjamas, there’s a short post about that here. It was a brilliant four days.

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Approx 3am.

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Wrestlemania 27 Predictions: Boss Lady Ray

We spent a lot of time pondering how to predict this year’s Wrestlemania. There were many factors to consider. First of all, Wrestlemania is rather unpredictable in its nature. They like to mix things up and throw a few curve balls.  Secondly, for the last two years I’ve predicted via the Cupcake Method. This failed dramatically. You just cannot trust baked goods to predict wrestling. On top of all this, let’s face it, we’re both pretty terrible at predicting. Andrew may be beating me 4-1 this year, but each time he’s only beaten me by a small margin. We were curious to know how people who have no or very little wrestling knowledge would predict Wrestlemania. Just as the Sidekick did last year, we enlisted outside help. We presented the matches to family and friends, asking them to pick a winner and tell us why. There were some interesting and hilarious answers. Here I present my Wrestlemania winners, as predicted by Team Ray.

It’s funny what people take from first impressions, isn’t it? Kane & Co took this one by a landslide. In fact, only one person though The Corre would win and that was because they looked less mean than their opponents. Bless. The general consensus was that the faces appeared to be tougher, making them the obvious choices. According to my dad “They will win because they’re the biggest MFs that walk this earth.” Santino’s Cobra-Hand was also popular. My mother chose them because there were less beards in Team Kane. I should point out that my mum had been swigging Bacardi and Diet Coke for an hour or so before writing her predictions. I had to ask her to explain her handwriting on three separate occasions.

Another landslide victory here and it was in favour of Jerry Lawler. (Thank God!) I’d fall out of my armchair if Cole took this one. Reasons for selecting Lawler included the fact that he looked the most stupid, the most cheesy and gay. Does being gay (which we know he definitely isn’t) give one an advantage over Michael Cole? My brother suggested that Lawler would win because “Cole is carrying some extra timber”. More than Lawler? Really? Jerry does still wrestle frequently down in Memphis, so I suppose I’ll give him that one. Someone also chose Jerry because he’s wearing a watch. It is time to beat Cole into a pulp, Jerry. Make it happen. Please.

Aaaaand landslide again. This time the masses chose Edge. Boo! Actually, I don’t mind who wins this one. Either way I’ll be happy but I so desperately wanted to see Alberto get his title. Sadly, the only person who selected him was from Spain. I mentioned afterwards that Del Rio is Mexican, not Spanish. I then refused to let him change his selection as I wanted Del Rio to have at least one vote. Reasons for Edge’s popularity suggested that Del Rio’s lack of clothing and props made him seem less ready for a fight. It was also suggested that Edge has the edge because his name is Edge. Nice. My favourite reason for falling in favour of our current HeavyWeight Champ is that he appears to be carrying a shield. It’s not a shield, Iris, it’s his title belt. But I concur that in that picture it does look very shieldy. I quite like the idea of Edge strutting around in a centurion outfit.

When was the last time we saw his legs. Does he even have legs?

Ah-ha! The first one where there seems to be some debate. Overall people seemed to be selecting Cody because they found him to be a bit of a babe (these people included my mother!) or they selected him because they felt uneasy about the fact that Rey’s face is covered. It was a collective “Does he have something to hide?” vibe? My brother selected Rey Mysterio because the last time he saw Cody he was in Legacy and playing third fiddle to Randy and Ted. He hasn’t been privy to Cody’s rebirth as the Dashing Cody Rhodes. On explaining this development this morning he seemed pleased that he’d ditched his previous gimmick of walking out from behind the curtain backwards.

Again there was some debate here and there was great distress over the lack of pupils in Undertaker’s eyes. Fair comment. A lack of eyeballs is quite upsetting. I fear this is what may have pushed people to vote in favour of Trips, which means my people think The Streak will be broken. Ooh! Controversial! Actually, I think I would probably agree. If anyone’s going to break it, it’ll be someone like HHH. But then, I said that the last two years running with HBK, so what do I know? One of my favourite things about this exercise is that you unearth people who usually try to hide a fondness for wrestling. This was one of my favourite declarations of secret love for the Undertaker.

Underlining = love

We’ll quickly skip past the one where my mum chose Taker because he looks like Jerry Seinfeld. She doesn’t even like Seinfeld. Let this be a lesson in knowing when to stop drinking white rum, children.

This was another close one, but it eventually tipped Sheamus’s way. Reasons given were his rebellion against the mandate stating that all wrestlers must be spray-tanned up to the eyeballs, the ginger hair and his inherent Irishness. Although I think my brother is confusing his Celts and thinking of Drew McIntyre:

My Bacardi loaded mother plumped for Daniel Bryan because he looks like a young Ryan O’Neal. It seems there were actually some moments of surprising clarity during this swish:

She may have a point

These predictions weren’t quite as divided. The majority seemed to choose Orton. Boo! BOO! and BOO! The logic behind this choice included the fact that Orton has less tattoos (clearly someone who’s never seen his back) and the fact that he seems like he would be faster. FALSE! And by the way, Punk is NOT a crappy, dated name for an athlete. I also enjoyed your (?) against the word ‘athlete’. Grrrr. As is clear, I’m very unhappy with my people for this selection and I’d be quite happy to lose this match. I’d like to thank Kate for noting the tiny pants and equally sized stars on both their crotches. You see? It’s not just my infatuation. Even someone who never watches wrestling felt the need to comment on Punk’s ‘area’. (Don’t ask. I’m still not bringing that feature back. Nope. Never.)

Getting back to the predictions, my brother decided that neither CM Punk nor Orton would win. I initially thought he was suggesting there would be some kind of shenanigans where both were DQ’d. Not so. On further investigation I found he was implying that they’re actually the same person, so neither can win. Personally, I think Punk is perfect without the added Randyness, but we’ve put them together anyway to test the theory:

I think I still prefer them apart.

Cena’s the big favourite here and largely because the majority thought he was in better shape. They’ve gone for bulk and height over speed. The wearing of jeans was also a deciding factor. I think he should ditch the jeans myself, but apparently they’re a hit with the masses. This prediction should set the cat amongst the pigeons with the kiddie-winks:

Controversial

 

Aaaaaand finally with almost all the votes, John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki are predicted to take this match. They’re probably right. It’s rare we see the celeb losing at ‘Mania. Reasons for selecting Team Morrison seemed to vary depending on gender. The ladies were rather smitten with Morrison’s Mills & Boon good looks and the gentlemen were more interested in the potential puppy action. Yes. The word ‘puppies’ was used. I have to say, Morrison does look very handsome in that picture. If only he could string a promo together.

I’ll end on my absolute favourite comment of this experiment, which stated that “Ziggler and his girls will win because he has the face of a brute donkey.” I’m told it’s a Spanish phrase, but it made me LOL on a rubbish day in the office. The Sidekick was very put out on hearing this description of his man-crush. I’m sure Vickie would feel the same.

Guest Post: Wrestlemania Memories

As it’s both our blog birthday week and Wrestlemania week, we’re trying to lavish as many posts upon you as possible. Luckily for us, our favourite guest blogger Adam offered to write us a Wrestlemania themed post. How could we refuse? We defy you not to read it and get loads more excited for Wrestlemania. Whether you were there in person or watching on TV, why not tell us your own Wrestlemania memories in the comments box? We’d love to hear from you. Enjoy! – Ray

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My love of pro wrestling really knows no bounds.  I’m at a point in my life that I don’t even hide it anymore.  Granted, I don’t yell “Suck it!” or wear old NWO berets (nor any wrestling merch other than a “Death Rey” shirt), but I don’t shy away from admitting that I usually watch Raw live, Smackdown on DVR, and will always buy the Rumble and Wrestlemania.  However, for my life long love of wrestling, I really haven’t seen too much live.  I remember going to a WCW house show with a friend in my hometown of Asbury Park, NJ, when I was 4 or 5, but it wasn’t my idea and I really didn’t know what was going on.  What I do remember though, is that we sat ringside, my friend loved Sting and looking up the time frame, I probably saw a Sting/Flair classic but I honestly can’t tell you. I remember I went to a WWF house show in 1995 at the Meadowlands and thought it was cool that a character that hadn’t debuted yet was working the house show (in this case it was Louis Spicoli’s “Rad Radford” character.  Owen and Yokozuna lost to Shawn and Diesel in the main event).  In college I went to the Smackdown after the 2004 Royal Rumble where Eddie Guerrero was named #1 contender for the WWE title and I went to Summerslam 2005 where Eddie Guerrero lost a ladder match for custody of Rey Mysterio’s son.  Oh, and this happened.  I went a taping of Raw at Madison Square Garden where Kofi jumped on Orton, Piper was awesome, but overall I hated it, as exhibited in this poorly written argument.  Finally, I just went to my first CHIKARA show, and well, that ruled.

Of course, I’m forgetting one live event.  The second live wrestling I ever attended and first I actually was aware of.  I attended Wrestlemania XI, live from the Hartford Civic Center.

Allow me to educate those who are not up on their Mania history.  Wrestlemania XI is on the short list of “Shitty Wrestlemanias.”  The main event involved former New York Giants Linebacker/NFL Hall of Fame/Crack addict/current registered sex offender Lawrence Taylor taking on Asbury Park, NJ native/current cadaver Bam Bam Bigelow. In addition to this bad idea, this Mania also should be held accountable for the crime of getting Steve “Mongo” McMichael interested in professional wrestling, as he was in LT’s  corner.

The setting is important as well.  The Hartford Civic Center, although the former home of one of my great loves, The Hartford Whalers, is a decrepit arena in a shopping mall.  It was also about a three hour drive from where I grew up.  Keep in mind that Wrestlemania X, in addition to being one of the better Manias, was only a 90 minute train ride from my house.  But who cares!?  I was 11 and this was Wrestlemania!  Surely my innocence and general wonder would make this a memorable trip!  Right?

Well, not exactly.  For starters, this trip was a weekend alone with my dad.  Now, I’m not going to get too deep into how I was raised, and rest assured I don’t have any specific issues with my father now, but it should be stated that even at that young age I was conditioned to know that one-on-one time with my dad was stressful.  We also don’t have any common interests and he has a habit of making us leave early whenever we go to sporting events/movies/school plays because he gets bored.  So here’s an entire weekend, in an awful city, dedicated strictly to professional wrestling.  The possibility for a problem was high.  And I remember a few.  Most occurred at the Fan Fest (screw AXXESS, it will always be WWF Fan Fest to me).  My dad admonished me for talking to a stranger randomly, even though it was in actuality Jim Cornette just walking the floor.  I also was frequently (all my adolescence actually) told to “fix my jacket” because I had an oversized New York Knicks Starter jacket that would hang off me because we were indoors and I was overheating.  And by “told” I mean “forcibly yanked at the collar and yelled at” because I looked like “(I) was in a gang.”  Keep in mind, 11 year old Adam looked like this.

But hey, I’m getting ahead of myself.  The earliest memory of Wrestlemania XI weekend was when we checked into our hotel and my dad made his first of many observations that adult actress Traci Lords (most famous for lying about her age to start her career early) was on our floor of the hotel.  My dad speculated that she may have been a celebrity guest of the event, but I’d counter that with it was far more likely that she was there to score some coke off Shawn Michaels.  I mean we weren’t at an ECW show, amIright?  After we checked in we went for lunch at some local spot and Captain Lou Albano walked in, which even my dad recognized from the Cyndi Lauper days.  After walking around for a bit we decided to retire for the night where it was stressed upon me to keep my voice down because we were in a hotel and people are sleeping.  Plus, we had to wake up at 7 am to for the Fan Fest!

Ok, here’s the thing about Fan Fest.  It gets packed and quickly.  It’s also huge.  So if you want autographs, you have to pick your target early and go in that line.  I learned that one the hard way on Day 1.  So basically I just walked around a bunch with my dad and took in all the sights.  From what I hear, AXXESS serves as a defacto WWE museum with some autograph sessions and games and such.  Fan fest did not have that.  It had an Undertaker set with the hearse, a ring you could jump around in (which I did, and that ruled), some kids games (one was a dunk tank that I was totally at when Todd Pentigal ran over during a taping of WWF Mania and dunked on Doink, so I was totes on TV!), and LOTS of merchandise booths.   I left with the following loot:

Shawn Michaels Tee Shirt– It was kind of sparkly and had his picture on it.  I wore it to the Fan Fest the next day and was one of the first people in line for his autograph.  He remarked “Nice shirt” to which I replied “Thank you.”  Later that summer some kid at camp called me gay for wearing a shirt with a man on it, and although I told him to shut up, I can’t recall wearing the shirt much after that.

WWF Pogs– I won these at a Pog Station.

Undertaker Pendent– It was a heavy, die cast metal pendent shaped like the Undertaker.  That became my bling for the remainder of 5th grade.

Lawrence Taylor Hat– My dad just bought this for me, despite how my feelings on the main event were conflicted.  Hey, gotta stick up for the hometown, right?  The hat did come in handy the next morning though, when bright and early we saw LT in our hotel lobby and he signed my program for me.  My dad was actual proud of how I let him finish a previous conversation and politely asked Mr. Taylor for a signature without any prompting. This encounter swung my favor to Mr. Taylor.  Seven years later I waited on Bam Bam Bigelow at the Applebees I was working at and told him the same anecdote.  He told me I made the right decision.

Various Autographs– I really don’t remember who I got except for Shawn and LT.

Something Tatanka related.

Foam Title Belt– This requires a bit of explanation.

Regardless of time period, I am fairly new to the internet.  My father was a computer programmer, but it also stressed him out enough that it made him sick.  As such, our home wasn’t wired for the internet until about 2001.  So there was no way I’d of been a smart, internet wrestling fan then.  I didn’t read the Apter mags or dirt sheets.  Christ, I didn’t even know WCW existed at the time.  I remember being in the hotel on Saturday night, my dad put on TBS because wrestling was on his channel surf, and I had NO IDEA who anyone was (yet oddly enough, I now remember it was a Four Horsemen promo I saw.  There must have been one of those green screen logo promos.)  Hell, I thought the Undertaker had some reality to him, even though I knew it was all scripted.  So yea, 11 year old Adam was not the discerning wrestling fan that I am today.  However, which foam title belt did I insist on buying?  Do I even have to say it?

Yes, I had a play Intercontinental title.  The “worker’s” belt.  Why root for Big Daddy Cool and The Undertaker when I can watch Jeff Jarrett and the 1-2-3 Kid?  And yet, I hate TNA now…

Oh, and I loved that foam belt.  It was probably my favorite thing ever for years after the fact.  But the smarkiness didn’t stop there.

For starters, I was a huge Owen Hart fan.  Always have been, going back to his days teaming with Koko B. Ware to form High Energy.  And I also found his heel turn in 1994 to be well reasoned, and needless to say, popped huge when he beat Bret at Wrestlemania X.  I also popped huge when he won the tag titles with a mystery partner (who I correctly guessed was Yokozuna.  I thought I was so smart, but looking back on it, they were practically slapping you in the face with the answer when they ran a bunch of Leslie Nielsen “Where’s Yoko?” spots.) So fine, that’s not unusual.  But I pretty much rooted for ALL heels.  We’ve already established I bought a Shawn Michaels shirt.  He was the heel in the world title match against Diesel.  Let’s look at the whole card and I’ll tell you my preferences.  Winners are listed first.

1) The Allied Powers (Lex Luger & the British Bulldog) vs Jakob and Eli Blue– Who cares?  I guess I liked Matilda, Davey Boy’s pet bulldog, so let’s give my pick to the faces.

2) Razor Ramon vs Jeff Jarrett (IC title)– I liked Double J’s country song “With My Baby Tonight”, and the woman next to me was a big Razor fan.  Since I have to be a combative little shit, my pick was J-E Double F, J- A- Double R- E- Double T.

3) Undertaker vs King Kong Bundy– My swag picked the Undertaker, but I did have an affinity for the Million Dollar Corporation (Dibiase is another favorite).

4) Owen/Yokozuna vs the Smoking Gunns (Tag Titles)– This match involved my favorite wrestler taking on Billy Gunn.  ‘Nuff said

5)    Bret Hart vs Bob Backlund (special guest referee Roddy Piper)(I Quit Match)– Not only did I root for Mr. Backlund in this, I brought a sign that said “BRET HART QUIT.”  Let me repeat that: I WAS 11 YEARS OLD AND ACTIVLY ROOTING FOR BRET HART TO QUIT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING.  An adult actually gave me a snide comment before the show when he read the sign.  I remember being pissed that Backlund lost even though I never actually heard “I quit” out of the mic.  One of the few times I have questioned Roddy Piper’s judgment.

6) Diesel (with Pamela Anderson) vs Shawn Michaels (with Jenny McCarthy) (WWF Championship)– Well my pick is obvious, but to further elucidate what a little shit I was, I had some beef over the booking of this.  The prize for winning the 1995 Royal Rumble (in addition to the title match) was that Pamela Anderson would accompany you to the ring.  I don’t care how Cool Bid Daddy was, or how many Hearts the Kid Broke, Anderson was a prize fairly won by Mr. Michaels.  She should have accompanied him!  It’s in her contract!  Even if Jenny McCarthy is hotter!

7) Lawrence Taylor vs Bam Bam Bigelow– I was bribed into rooting for the face.

Final count: 4-3 heels (with bribery involved, so who’s really the heel in the main event?  Plus, he’s a sex offender!)

My love of the law didn’t stop there either.  R&B group Salt-N-Pepa were brought in to sing “Whatta Man” to LT on his way to the ring.  The band Fishbone was advertised to perform the “America the Beautiful” before hand.  I know this is true because there is no way I’d imagine that, especially at 11.  For whatever reason, they were replaced by Salt-N-Pepa.  In retrospect, this is the superior choice.  But I remember thinking that was bullshit.

Needless to say, the combination of wrestling and my insufferableness made my dad get bored and he went for a walk around the arena.  He returned about 20 minutes later.  But not empty handed.  No, he returned with a WWF Ice Cream bar.  I don’t think I need to explain that this is the most delicious food ever created.  I was perturbed I couldn’t find one all weekend.  I guess my dad walked around until he found the one stand that had it, which may be one of the nicest gestures anyone has ever done for me.

The night didn’t stop after the last bell either.  Walking back to our hotel there was one final prize.  Loitering in front of our hotel were some punk teens.  In the street was a private limo.  One of the teens took a pebble from a potted plant and threw it at the limo.  The limo stops short, two GIANT bodyguards come out, beat the crap out of one of the kids (smooshing his face in the plant), and then go back in the limo.  This took place over 20 seconds.  Probably the best action of the night.  My dad still tells that story.

I don’t have too many good memories of growing up.  That’s not to say I have all bad memories, but the memories of pure, unbridled happiness are few.  Maybe I was always just a contrarian little turd (read: BRET HART QUIT) or maybe it was something else.  That’s not for here or now.   Wrestlemania XI is a good memory.  I guess that’s the moral here; that even the worst Wrestlemanias are a pretty great time.  It’s corny to say, but Wrestlemania is special.  And not because the marketing machine says it is, or its four hours now, or the Hall of Fame.  It’s special because we want it to be.  Everyone wants it to be special, so we work hard to make it memorable.  I want more Wrestlemania memories, even if I never watch another day of professional wrestling again in my life.

The author tweets about dinosaurs and hockey over @adamrjones24.  Please pity him.

A Song For Whoever: Announce Team Edition

Boss Lady Ray: I was going to use this post to rant about the tedious Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Brian Lawler and Jim Ross segment on last week’s Raw. I planned on giving you a detailed précis of how very long it was. I was even going to time it to tell you exactly how many minutes were wasted on Michael Cole’s abominable dancing; if he was actually dancing at all. There’s a chance he was having an epileptic fit and nobody noticed. This might have lead nicely on to an analysis of how much actual wrestling there was on Raw last week. I might even have mentioned the WWE executive who suggested that the WWE isn’t a wrestling company and what that meant for the company’s output.

Then I felt a blush of embarrassment rising up my face like a greenhouse thermometer on a scorching day. This is the almost completed Road to Wrestlemania. It’s silly season. Who really cares that the announce team are having a match? Let the baby have its bottle. Give the dog a bone. Let the nut see the cracker (thanks, Paddy McGuinness). Jerry Lawler has been a servant of the business for decades, let him have a Wrestlemania match. Much as I hate to admit it, Michael Cole does a sterling job of being the guy everyone wants to punch in the gob. Any time you can involve Jim Ross in a storyline it at least give the die-hard smarks something to crow about and I had conveniently forgotten that Lawler and Cole’s Wrestlemania match is to be refereed by one Stone Cold Steve Austin. Stone Cold, the legend. Stone Cold, who hosts the next big WWE project – Tough Enough. Tough Enough, which starts in the same week as Wrestlemania and needs a little plugging.

I’m forever telling wrestling fans to lighten up, to not take it too seriously, to remember it’s just entertainment and not life and death, to keep in mind that everything WWE does is ultimately about plumping up the bank balance and that it isn’t going to please all the people all the time. Sometimes I forget to take my own advice. Being an objective fan of wrestling isn’t all that simple but, at the risk of making each and every one of you vomit over your laptops, with all the very serious things going on in the world at the moment, just repeat after me: “meh, it’s just wrestling.”

This song is dedicated to myself and all the other moaners, groaners, whingers, grumblers and complainers.* (It’s audio instead of video this week. YouTube was being unkind to me.)

*Disclaimer: I reserve the right to moan, groan, whinge, grumble and complain in the future. I’m only human.

Sidekick Andrew: Yeah, I’m not doing one this week… got a problem with that?

 

 

 

 

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wrestlemania 26: dressy-dressy

So we’ve come full circle. One of the very first posts on this website was a review of Wrestlemania 25, during which I ate wrestling themed cupcakes and faffed about while my cats demanded attention during the Money in the Bank match. This year wasn’t much different. So how does one boil four hours of wrestling down to a blog post long enough to cover everything but not so long that people need a slap round the face to wake up half way through? Ummm, you don’t.

If you follow my Twitter account you may have noticed me grumbling about not feeling very well for a few weeks. I’ve needed a spot of R&R the past few days to try and clear a long-running ear condition which is blighting me and get healthy again. I left Sidekick Andrew in charge for a few days and he found it such a stressful job he announced on Thursday that he needed a holiday to recover. It’s tough at the top, eh? But I’m a kind boss so I let him see the light of day for the Easter weekend. Boss-Lady Ray’s back in charge. Not 100% healthy, but healthy enough to have a look back at that miniscule event called Wrestlemania 26. Oh and because everyone knows what happened, this Wrestlemania recap will take the form of………

I would like to point out that this is in no way the result of my Wrestlemania predictions being the most inaccurate they have ever been. Here’s a tip: Never predict wrestling with your heart and never listen to what baked goods tell you. Cakes are filthy liars!

Before we get to the actual wrestlers, first a shout-out to our commentary team. Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole and lovely Matt Striker all looked especially smart in their tuxedos. Striker was so enamoured with his own image that even when important discussion was taking place, he still flashed a smile to the camera.

Dreamy!

I’ll mark Michael Cole down for wearing one of those hideous cowboy ties. It’s not a tie, Michael Cole, it’s string.

ShowMiz vs R-Truth and John Morrison was up first, but they had no major fashion offerings. When you’re the first match on, the least compelling and the part of the show nobody will remember by the end, it’s best to just know your place and blend into the background. ShowMiz retained their titles, which is one of the few predictions I actually got right.

From here we moved on to the Triple Threat between Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. Ted came out first and there was nothing wrong with the trunks themselves. The pose was a little camp, but we’ll let it slide.

Ted’s voguing, however,  was nothing compared to what came next:

REALLY!

No, he’s not naked. He’s just wearing some very tight terracotta granny knickers. And check out those white boots! Get this boy a job in the chorus of Mamma Mia! After that I needed something to cleanse my eyes of this image. Send someone else out to avert my gaze from the morbid car-crash that is Cody’s crotch.

This finely dressed gentleman pinned Teddy to take the win. This begins the destruction of my predictions and the beginning of the end of Legacy.

Now to the Money in the Bank ladder match where ten, yes ten, guys made their way to the ring to grab at that very special briefcase. Some said there were too many competitors to give everyone  fair crack. There were. But if you look at it from a fashion point of view, there were more opportunities to point and laugh at the ten competitors’ new outfits.

Shelton Benjamin just wore some of his old, golden trunks and a pair of sport socks:

MVP, Evan Bourne and Matt Hardy all shilled their t-shirts. Christian wore his t-shirt too but, being such a pro, he had spent the morning glue-gunning frosted beads to himself.

Bedazzling.

Maybe MVP would like to consider that for next year. The other guys made more of an effort though. Jack Swagger went ultra patriotic:

Drew McIntyre too went his usual patriotic route, but this time he came out in white pants. It was almost enough to force me to bring Crotch Watch back:

Dolph Ziggler ditched the snow leopard for an all-black ensemble:

So dark.

And Kofi Kingston bounced out resembling….. resembling……ummmm…..

Ah, got it:

Seriously Kofi. That’s just wrong.

Kane may possibly have been wearing new tights but as I can’t remember the last time I paid attention to Kane’s tights, so who’s to know?

Shockingly, none of the people I thought might win actually unhooked the briefcase from the suspension rope above the ring. In fact, I thought the winner’s chances were so tiny, I didn’t even make him a cupcake to ponder whether he might win or not. Who was it? JACK SWAGGER! YEAH! I KNOW!

Next we had Sheamus vs Triple H. In clothing terms, there was very little fabric to mull over. At least the outcome gave my ailing predictions a nice boost. NEVER bet against HHH.

From there we went to the match I was looking forward to most – CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio. I was disappointed in the result. Rey won and the match was way too short, but what we got was fantastic. It just ended a little too swiftly. Clothing-wise though, it was a mixture of greatness and WTF?

CM Punk became a soldier for Straight Edge in his G.I. Punk trunks…..

You need to have been a child of the 80s to get that one.

….while his miserable sidekicks came out in outfits resembling usual attire for Neo-Nazis. Ah yes. There’s nothing like a spot of ethnic cleansing to get a party jumping. If they spot you sneaking a bottle of Stella, you’re eliminated.

Rey Mysterio, meanwhile, decided to attach a large ponytail to the back of his mask. Apparently this was reminiscent of the Avatar movie. Being the only person in the Western world not to have seen Avatar, I didn’t make the connection. It actually looked worse than when I used to wear a fake ponytail as a blonde.

Jericho vs Edge was one of the more solid matches of the night, but Jericho winning really threw a spanner into my prediction works. Come the following Friday, it all made sense, but at the time I was losing the will to ever predict a pre-determined sporting event using cake again! There wasn’t much to shout about clothing wise, even though Jericho went to the trouble of getting some new trunks, so I’ll move on.

Don't look so shocked, Jericho. You should have taken a leaf out of Punk's book and gone for the military look.

By the time the Divas match rolled around, I had all but given up on my predictions. Even the outcome of the Divas match, which was added to the card just days before the show, was incorrectly predicted.  Of course, the ladies looked extra sparkly for the prom. Even Vickie Guerrero, who led the bad gals to victory, had a very special outfit made.

Batista was in his standard PVC knickers, but wearing the title belt really blinged-up his groin. John Cena, who didn’t divert at all from his usual jeans, summoned up the help of some scary looking riflemen.

Anyway, you know those great promos we all got wrapped up in before Wrestlemania? In the hype we managed to forget that neither Cena nor Batista are the best wrestlers on the planet, so they kind of botched and bumbled their way through the match.

Shut up, Dave. You know I’m right. AND you lost the bloody match. Stupid muscle daddy.

Apart from the Undertaker’s touching tribute to his girlfriend…..

….this really was all about the wrestling. Were Taker and Shawn Michaels as good as their performance at Wrestlemania 25? Probably not. But then, last year we weren’t comparing it to anything. It was truly special and Shawn Michaels’ tearful defeat started a whole week of nostalgia and eye wiping.

All-in-all, it was a great show. Sure, they tried to squeeze too much into the four hours and some of the matches suffered as a result, but it’s Wrestlemania and everyone wants their moment. The fun and games for the next year of wrestling goodness kicked off the next night on Raw, and that’s where I shall take you next.

nxt episode 5: i’ve got my spine, i’ve got my orange crush

Join me, if you will, as we travel back to a time most people only dimly recall. A more innocent time… a time when we were certain in our beliefs… a time of almost mythological stories of bravery and heroism… a time forever known as “THE WEEK BEFORE WRESTLEMANIA!”

What great deeds were performed by man in these hazy, almost primordial days? What amazing feats have been lost to time? More importantly perhaps, is there a way we could someday revisit this period and experience the thrilling savagery of the mortal perils these gladiators put themselves through for the entertainment of the masses?  Well, yeah… of course we can. NXT’s on Youtube and everything. Unfortunately, last week’s NXT was hardly the epic stuff of legend I may have led you to believe thus far. In fact, it was quite disappointing as we shall see. But, as always, there were flashes of brilliance to light the darkness.

As a premise, this week’s NXT episode showed a great deal of promise. All 8 NXT Rookies would be in action, spanning two tag matches.  First though, Striker announced that the WWE Pros would reveal their “standings” for the Rookies next week, hopefully giving us a clue as to how the hell the voting process is supposed to work.

The first match was pitting Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel up against Skip Sheffield & Wade Barrett. On the way to the ring, Sheffield’s mentor William Regal showed his usual disdain for his rookie, while showing a great deal more interest in Wade Barret (given the short train ride between Blackpool North and Preston they’re presumably good friends anyway, Regal popping down to meet Barrett for a mooch around the Fishergate now and then.) Ray has already commented on certain aspects of this match in her ongoing attempt to convince the world that pro-wrestling fans are even more camp than previously suspected by concentrating on fashion. However, there was some confusion in the Wrestlegasm Bunker over Skip’s trunks and their “NXT BIGGEST THING” motif. NXT BIG THING would have made sense, but NXT BIGGEST THING implies that there is something bigger than Skip’s arse in the WWE Universe, and Skip seems to be a pretty big guy to me. What on earth could be bigger than that?

ah...

This was a pretty good match, Gabriel taking most of the punishment from Sheffield and Barrett until Slater got the hot tag for the win. This, however, was where the alarm bells began to ring. As you may be aware NXT (once the ad breaks are removed) runs for approximately 45 minutes. This match was over in 10 minutes. Assuming roughly the same length of time for the only other announced match, how would we fill over half the show?  Maybe there’ll be a bonus match? CM Punk vs Chris Jericho? The Miz vs William Regal?

OK. Daniel Bryan video’s cool, but we’ve seen it before. Anyway, time for a bonus match…

Hmm. Undertaker vs HBK. Pretty epic promo, but we’ve seen this before too. Right, bonus match time…

Yep, after 30 minutes of promos and recaps and 8 hastily bodged together patented Wrestlegasm screengrabs, somebody decided it would be a good idea to interrupt the ring entrances to show another clip, this time of The Miz and David Ortunga at the Syfy Awards.  Therefore, to spite the WWE I shall restrict my review of the main event to the following. Punk was awesome – Bryan was awesome – Ortunga pinned Bryan.  What did you think of the match Punk?

how to have a wrestlegasm wrestlemania party…(on british time)

It’s almost Wrestemania time and as  Sunday becomes Monday, we’ll all be settling down on our sofas/couches/settees/beanbags to witness this year’s ‘Big Dance’.  Both Sidekick Andrew and myself have posted our respective predictions, both having taken slightly alternative routes to our predictions this year. But Wrestlemania isn’t just about wrestling matches, it’s an experience and a time to celebrate.

Andrew and myself spent last night decorating the Cardiff Wrestle Bunker with helium balloons and streamers. We’ve rigged up a smoke machine so we can recreate the Undertaker’s entrance on  The Bunker’s staircase, we’ve suspended my make-up case from the ceiling to resemble the Money in the Bank briefcase and we’ve hired a ticker-tape machine to shower us in tiny pieces of paper at the end of the show. Matt Striker couldn’t be there to help with the decorations as he had to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony. But he insisted that we send MMS messages to him throughout so he could see how amazing our decorations were. He hates to be left out.

For those of us who have to watch from midnight to 4:00am, it’s a long stretch. We’re all ready to go, but if you’re still wondering how you’ll make it through to the wee hours of tomorrow morning, this guide should help:

GET SOME KIP

Even if you make if through the show without a little pre-Mania nap, you’ll suffer for the rest of the week if you don’t. Also, the clocks went forward an hour last night (in the UK)  so you’re already losing an hour without doing a thing. You could try eating a big roast dinner before having a sleep. Some prefer an afternoon nap, I’ll be taking myself off to bed at around 8pm and hoping I make it back for midnight.

MONSTAAAAH

All Wrestlegasm-style parties need corn snacks. Favourites include Frazzles, Wotsits and ChipSticks, but this time we’ve plumped for Mega Monster Munch. You can either have the Roast Beef or the Pickled Onion flavour. The Flamin’ Hot ones just won’t do.  You may also eat home-made Wrestlemania themed cupcakes for when you need a quick sugar-hit.

HYDRATION

Four hours is a long time to stay focused, so you’ll need hydration and probably a little caffeine and sugar too.  Please note, this does NOT mean alcohol. Booze might give you an initial boost of energy but it’ll send you to sleep rather swiftly. Besides, I’m on medication that means I’m not allowed to drink and Andrew is trying out his own version of the Straight Edge lifestyle, so this is an alcohol free zone. If you really want a drink you can have a straight-up Scotch or a Gin & Tonic at 3:30am. No sooner!

You should also avoid coffee. It’ll make you too jittery and keep you awake when you try sleeping at 4:00am. You may select from either tea or Dandelion and Burdock. By tea I mean hot British tea in a proper mug. None of this cold, sweet, American tea. If you’re not of this fair isle, you can replace the Dandelion and Burdock with Root Beer if you really must, but we won’t be happy about it.

 

My own stash.

GET COMFY

You need to be comfortable, so you should be in your PJs or a nightie. But you better not just slump yourself in front of the TV in your boxers and an old t-shirt. You need to be wearing brand new pyjamas. Pay Per Views are a special occasion and Wrestlemania is the most special night in the wrestling calendar. The world is watching, so make an effort! Andrew and myself have purchased these outfits for tonight’s show:

I should point out, however, that these pictures are not an accurate depiction of ourselves. I’m way hotter than that woman and Andrew keeps the buttons on his nightshirt open so he can do his famed Zack Ryder impression.

HAVE NO SHAME

No Wrestlegasm PPV party would be complete without tacky WWE merchandise. Tonight, I will be drinking tea from my John Cena mug, D&B from my WWE cup, I’ll be resting my weary head in between John Cena and HHH on my cushion. And if I get chilly in that nautical t-shirt, I’ll wrap myself in my Batista bath towel for warmth. Andrew will be using his DX snuggie. We expect you to do the same.

TWEET-TWEET

Persuading friends who don’t watch wrestling to watch it with you can be difficult enough during daylight hours. During the night it’s almost impossible. So if you haven’t got one already, get yourself a Twitter account, follow fabulous wrestlers, fans and of course bloggers, and tweet your way through the show. You can follow my Twitter account at http://twitter.com/WRESTLEGASM and you can follow Andrew’s at http://twitter.com/apsouthern. We’ll be tweeting our little hearts out throughout Wrestlemania. Come and join us.

So that’s it. Simple, right? See you on the other side, kids!

 

cupcakes and colleagues: wrestlemania predictions part 1

Ta-daaaa! I promised Wrestlemania themed cupcakes and here they are:

Never let it be said that I don’t dedicate enough time to this blog. I spent several hours making and icing these cakes yesterday. Enjoyable as it was, it was a lot of work. I do also need to explain something. I bought some letter cutters to give the final cupcakes a more professional look, but it seems the cutters I bought cannot be used with sugarpaste. It’s too soft. So basically, all my designs went out to window and I had to just improvise as I went along, with mixed results. I’ve clearly learnt nothing from all those episodes of Cake Boss I’ve been watching.

Anyway, I am predicting this year’s Wrestlemania via the use of cupcakes. Hah! I bet nobody else on the internet is doing that. But then, most people don’t have as much time on their hands as I do. Come with me on this journey of baked delights.

MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH

Ok, I realise there are ten competitors in this match, but seriously, there’s no way I could have made ten cakes just for one match. Although, I now wish I’d made an Evan Bourne cake so that I could….never mind. Insert your own filthy ‘eating Evan Bourne’ joke. In case it’s not obvious, these cakes represent Kofi Kingston, Christian, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. I’m pretty sure something will brew between Christian and Edge over the coming months, so I think he might take it. I won’t be surprised if any of the other three gran the briefcase though. Ziggler’s an outsider because he has no storyline, but I’m quite open to the idea of a surprise winner.

CM PUNK VS REY MYSTERIO

When Creative came up with this feud, I’m not entirely sure they knew just how fantastic it would be. CM Punk has been on fire these past few weeks and there are months of mileage left in this storyline. I’ll be disappointed if Rey Mysterio wins tonight, as it’ll take all the momentum out of what could be one of the feuds of the year.

LEGACY TRIPLE THREAT

Hmm. I’m still a bit undecided here. Randy Orton has been pushed as a face lately, but they never really gave us my much requested ‘minions overthrowing their evil leader’ bit. I feel a little cheated. I had my POWER TO THE PEOPLE chant ready and everything. Even though Randy Orton cleared house in spectacular fashion on this week’s Raw, I still think people would love to see Ted have his moment. He’s ready!

BRET HART VS VINCE MCMCAHON

I know! I know! It’s Wrestlemania and it’s the silly match. It’s the feelgood fight to give you a warm glow in your heart. But this is no ordinary feelgood match. It had baggage and potential to run longer than it might originally have seemed. Bret is booked on to the UK tour next month (SOB – I can’t go) and he’s had no interaction with The Hart Dynasty yet. Something tells me this one’s not as clear-cut as everyone thinks.

HHH VS SHEAMUS

I struggled with this one. I even asked my dad who he thought would win; at which point he laughed in my face and questioned why I was bothering to predict ‘a sport’ that’s already pre-determined. We’ll see who’s laughing the next time he marks out for Dave Batista, won’t we? If I thought this feud might run for a while, I’d choose Sheamus. But this is mostly an interim thing to keep them both occupied for a few weeks. And everyone knows, Triple H jobs to nobody.

BIG SHOW & MIZ VS JOHN MORRISON & R-TRUTH

Ummm. Yeah. Here’s the thing. I made four cupcakes to represent The Miz, Big Show, John Morrison and R-Truth and…. well….. the Big Show ate them. I left them out on the counter for the icing to dry out and came back to find him stuffing his face with them. I was going to shout at him, but after he demonstrated the size of his fist by holding it against Josh Matthews face this week, I figured it was best to let him eat as many cupcakes as his belly desired. I think ShowMiz will retain the tag titles at Wrestlemania. And I would like to point out that Big Show was in no way holding his fist to my face while I made that prediction. Maybe. Please send help.

CHRIS JERICHO VS EDGE

I’d like to come up with some long and logical reason for why I think Edge will win, but my main reason is that I think Batista will retain the WWE Championship over John Cena. I’d be shocked if neither of the big belts dropped at ‘Mania, so Edge has to win. Also, it would set up my previously requested feud between Edge and Christian. Edge will obviously have to turn heel, which is not something I think he’ll have much trouble with.

DAVE BATISTA VS JOHN CENA

So yeah, as I mentioned in the last prediction, I really believe Dave will hold on to the belt tonight. This heel-turn has been quite extraordinary. Who knew Dave had it in him to pull out some of the best mic-work we’ve seen from anyone in ages? There’s far too much potential in this superior character for John Cena to wipe it all away just yet. He will eventually, but I think John can keep his cape in the bottom drawer for a few more weeks.

SHAWN MICHAELS VS UNDERTAKER

YEP! I’m bucking the trend. Everyone seems to think Taker is untouchable and that Michaels’ recent talk about wanting to hang up his chaps for good is an indication of how the match will go. I still think HBK will retire soon after Wrestlemania, but I think he’ll break the streak first. That way, his BFF HHH can give him a proper send-off a few weeks from now. Either way, I really hope it lives up to the hype and the magnitude of their WM25 match. There’s nothing like setting yourself a personal challenge, eh?

The Diva match was added fairly last minute and without fanfare, so I had to come up with something quick. There’s no major storyline here and if it lasts more than two minutes I’ll be amazed. Team Beth Phoenix will win. Also, let me give you some advice for when icing cakes with sugarpaste….. if you use a pen filled with edible ink on wet paste, your handwriting may resemble that of a five year-old child. Be patient and wait until it’s dried.

Now don’t disappear, scroll down and read part 2. That’s an order!