This week on the newly-named PractitioNERD WIRed (Week-In-ReviewED) episode:
1) Is Apple’s Going All Extra-Terrestrial On Us
2) What’s it Like Being A Fly On The Wall At The GameStop EXPO
3) The Kinect Hacked To Help A Stroke Victim, and
4) The Top 15 World Heavyweight Champions of ALL-TIME (according to WWE, anyway).
…plus, THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK!! Read the rest of this entry
One of favorite film genres are documentaries, and one of those movies is Barry W. Blaustein’s 1999 project Beyond the Mat. I remember seeing commercials for this film while watching WWF Shotgun Saturday night (remember that, fellow wrestling fans) and anticipating its release. I would later be gifted the VHS release of the film as a Christmas gift from my parents in 2001 and watched it non-stop for several weeks. Beyond the Mat is by far one of my favorite professional wrestling documentaries (next to Wrestling with Shadows and The Rise & Fall of ECW) of all time, and one that any fan of pro wrestling and/or documentaries should take the time and watch. Read the rest of this entry
Soon after The Undertaker made his World Wrestling Federation debut at the Survivor Series in 1990, he set his cross-hairs on the World Wrestling Federation Championship and it’s then-title holder, Hulk Hogan. Everything initially began on November 16, 1991, when Ric Flair and The Undertaker attacked Hulk Hogan on the set of Paul Bearer’s Funeral Parlor interview show, but later Randy Savage and Roddy Piper fought off both Undertaker and Flair to protect Hogan. This would culminate in Hogan facing off with Undertaker for the championship at the 1991 Survivor Series, coined as “The Gravest Challenge.” Check out more about the match (including a video) and the fallout after the break. Read the rest of this entry
The video above comes from FPSRussia, an online entertainment show with a main character who is known for being a faux-Russian arms aficionado. In many of his prior videos, he has tazed his willing fans, blown up trees using .50 caliber guns, and even driven an APC through a drive-thru at a McDonald’s. Now, McDonald’s may be good enough for some people (I’m more of a Whataburger guy, myself), however this time he’s got a hankering for some good ol’ White Castle burgers. Plus, this time FSPRussia managed to get his hands on an actual WWII-era tank.
Man, I wish we could get some White Castles down here in Texas…
Well, I’ve finally done it. After ranting about the WWE Championship needing a complete design change last summer, The PractitioNERD has changed the entire landscape of World Wrestling Entertainment and the world of professional wrestling!!! Well, not really, but I just wanted to take a short ego-trip; don’t worry, I’m returning to reality now
Indeed, on Sunday May 20th, Christmas will be coming early this year.
To the involved and dedicated wrestling fans, or “smart marks” (a.k.a. “smarks”),we felt that a championship match between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan (or “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson) was destined to happen; it would just be a matter of time. Both wrestlers had made names for themselves on the hard-knock independent wrestling circuit (including stints in Ring of Honor) all over the world. Punk and Bryan both have old-school wrestling backgrounds and styles, making them among the purest of athletes and finest technicians in the business (something that not as common nowadays). Both of their world title reigns were possibly the most dominant and popular in late-2011 to early-2012. Finally, in three short weeks at WWE Over the Limit, they will both meet again, but this time a world title will be on the line. Read the rest of this entry
While celebrating the promotion’s Top 5 moments in it’s history, Ring of Honor (ROH) placed CM Punk’s final match against Colt Cabana (and the events surrounding it) at the ROH event Punk: The Final Chapter as part of that Top 5 list. Punk initially rose to prominence through his career on pro wrestling’s independent circuit, primarily as a member of ROH, where he was the first head trainer of ROH’s wrestling school as well as winning both of their championships.
I recall the amazement (just on the novelty alone) of watching large scale professional wrestling events that took place outdoors as opposed to an indoor arena. The events that come to my mind include: WWF Wrestlemania IX at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, the WCW Road Wild events held in Sturgis, South Dakota during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and WWF SummerSlam ’92 at Wembley Stadium in London. There’s just a great “play in the park” feeling of watching or attending a pro wrestling event held outdoors; a reminder of playing and spending time outside with close friends in the bright, natural sunlight, feeling the wind breeze by, and having nothing but the cloudy or clear sky above our heads. Even though I enjoy this feeling when attending smaller-scale independent wrestling shows, I dream for WWE, TNA, and ROH to have more larger-scale shows taking place outdoors.
On this episode of “WWE Legends of Wrestling,” a round-table discussion show hosted by WWE Hall of Famer “Mean” Gene Okerlund, the host and guests (including Kevin Nash, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, Michael Hayes, and soon-to-be-WWE Hall of Famer J.J. Dillon) talk about some of the more historic outdoor events and the unique aspects of putting on a show in the midst of God and Mother Nature, discussing events like World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) Parade of Champions, and the aforementioned Wrestlemania IX, WCW Road Wild and WWF SummerSlam 1992.
Okay everyone, say it with me:
Without a doubt, “Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island” for the Super Nintendo ranks as one of my favorite games of all time. The game is a prequel to the Super Mario series, in which players control various Yoshi dinosaurs rather than the usual hero himself, Mario, who appears as a helpless infant in need of Yoshi’s protection. From the graphics that resemble as if they had been drawn with crayons and felt-pens, making them more cartoonish, to the familiarity of Mario games with an added egg-throwing mechanic, it’s an absolute joy to play time and time again. Read the rest of this entry
In New York City, a golden phoenix is rising out of the ashes and rubble of Ground Zero. It is……..a brand, spanking-new skyscraper. The new One World Trade Center Complex (1WTC) is on the way to being the most environmentally and technologically advanced structure ever attempted at this scale. Read the rest of this entry
Competition between varied businesses in the same field often means the consumer wins. There are 3 major video game consoles out on the market now (Sony’s “PlayStation 3,” Microsoft’s “Xbox 360,” and Nintendo’s “Wii”), and with those options open, consumers are able to select which console has the features that fits their needs and desire, and all three companies are then forced to become the better product and have more popular features than anything that the other company’s machine offers. The same can be said about most businesses, including the business of professional wrestling.
Back when World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), then the World Wrestling Federation, and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) were competing in the “Monday Night Wars” from 1994 to 2001, both companies vied for fans, money, ratings, and confirmation that they were the superior company. Soon when Extreme Championship Wrestling entered the fold, the same desire was the same. During those times of competition between the 3 major entities of professional wrestling in the United States, the fans were the true winners; wrestling was on television 6 days a week, there were 3 major pay-per-view (PPV) events every month, and there was a variety of wrestlers, styles, and stories to become attached to.
Now why did all of that hoopla come to be. It’s actually pretty simple; the competition between them FORCED THEM TO BE BETTER. When sports franchises want to be number one, they deal with contracts, cut players, hire/fire staff, develop new game-play strategies, re-position players, and recruit new players through a myriad of techniques with the goal of winning championships. They do this because if they don’t, the the OTHER GUY will be the champions, and they don’t want that. The WWE, WCW, and ECW were forced to do the same; sign certain wrestlers to contracts, develop more engaging storylines, improve the quality of the matches, create new superstars, and make the product more available to fans to access (via television, PPV’s, appearances, merchandise, etc.).
One can argue that after the closure of ECW in January 2001 and WCW getting purchased by WWE means that the WWE was the winner of the “Monday Night Wars,” and many argue that ECW was a winner based mostly upon the quality of the matches compared to the other two companies, but most (including myself) feel that there was no true winner since 2001. The loss of WCW and ECW took 3 shows off television, and then WWE had declined in the amount of quality in both storylines and matches due to a lack of competition since they didn’t feel the pressure to be better; as a matter of fact, WWE’s 4 shows a week was soon lowered to only 2 with some short-term experimental shows in-between (I’m looking at you, ECW-WWE or WWE-ECW; ugh). Later on, and thankfully, TNA came along to become a viable competitor and then the feelings of the days of the Monday Night War rose again as both companies are now inspired to outdo each other. As of now, WWE is still hanging in there with 3 main shows a week, TNA has 1 show and needs improvement (but there is a lot of potential), and now, ROH might become the third viable competitor in the fight to be the top pro wrestling promotion in the United States.
Now, the competition is at a high point, and with WWE, TNA, and ROH fighting to be relevant, make more money, book more dates, write more creative storylines, inspire a high-quality of matches, rule in the ratings, and create new superstars to be the face of their business, and can say this on behalf of true pro wrestling fans everywhere: WE WIN!!
|PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE, Bring THIS belt back!!!|
This Sunday at WWE SummerSlam, WWE Champion John Cena will face WWE Champion CM Punk. Yes, you read that correctly; both men are recognized as WWE Champion.
Here’s some backstory: Punk defeated Cena last month for the title at the “Money in the Bank” pay-per-view, his contract expired that midnight, and he left WWE. I posted a previous blog concerning WWE entrance music that featured an article that mentions the Punk/Cena/WWE storyline. The next night, the title was vacated, and the following week, Cena won the vacant title. Then that night, Punk returned, with a new contract and HIS WWE Championship belt. At SummerSlam, both titles will be unified into an Undisputed WWE Championship, and this brings me to my topic; John Cena has been a multiple-time champion since 2005, and the form of the WWE Title was customized and changed into what’s known as the “Spinner” WWE Title (to go with Cena’s hip-hop/rebel persona).
|It’s SPINNIN’ Cena, It’s SPINNIN’! It’s SPINNIN’ Cena, It’s SPINNIN’!|
However, for the past few years, that belt’s form was worn thin with me (and some other fans I converse with), and I feel that the new Undisputed WWE Championship belt should resemble the form it was from early-2002 to early-2005 (shown at the beginning of the post). This not a anti-John Cena bias blog post (as I love what both Cena and Punk bring to the table that is professional wrestling), just a gripe concerning that style and symbolism of the current “Spinner” WWE Title belt. Let me list my TWO main reasons:
1) The “Spinner” WWE Title belt works well with John Cena’s persona, and not necessarily everyone else.
|YOU CAN’T SEE ME!!!|
In the early 2000′s, spinners & hip-hop went together like peanut butter & jelly, and since Cena’s persona was that of a hip-hop star and a rebel, this belt suited him very well. He had previously done it with the United States Title, and when he lost that title, it went back to its original form.
|Note that his name is permanently on the belt,
intending it to be Cena’s belt, and CENA’S BELT ONLY.
Now, to my fellow wrestling fans, think about how the “Spinner” belt looked on Randy Orton (Methodical Sociopath-like, shown below), The Miz (Mr. Hollywood/MTV), Rey Mysterio (Mexican Luchador), Edge (Rock Star), and Sheamus (Irish Warrior). Sounds and feels kinda odd and off, right?
Question: Remember who else held this belt while they were WWE Champion? Trick question; no one did, (sure, The Rock had “possession” of it for a brief time, but he never held that belt as champion) because when someon else was champion, they used the exisitng WWE Title belt, not this customized version. In the history of the WWE, many champions had their belts customized to fit their persona. The list of such wrestlers include:
A] “Superstar” Billy Graham (red leather strap)
B] The Ultimate Warrior (white, blue, and purple leather straps)
C] Sgt. Slaughter (purple leather strap, changed to original black strap after defeating The Ultimate Warrior)
D] “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (“Smoking Skull” belt)
E] John Cena (Spinner belt with free-motion “spinner” WWE logo in the center)
F] Edge (Modified “Rated-R Superstar” spinner belt, BASED ON CENA’S VERSION; look below)
G] The Miz (Modified spinner design with upside down WWE logo simulating the letter M, ALSO BASED ON CENA’S VERSION; look below)
|Hmmmm, THIS look kinda familiar….|
|Gee, I wonder where he got the idea from?|
Based on that, I feel that a clean break needs to be made from Cena’s persona-based customized WWE Title belt and the new Undisputed WWE Championship belt (whether Punk or Cena win at SummerSlam), focused more on the WWE as a whole, and less focused on John Cena.
2) The old Undisputed WWE Title belt is classy and distinguished, much like SmackDown’s World Heavyweight Championship, and many other World Titles before it.
|Classy & Distinguished. Why, I Declare!!|
The “Spinner” belt would look cool because it would appear that the crews of West Coast Customs and GAS from MTV’s Pimp My Ride worked on it. The problem is that Pimp My Ride stopped being cool when the customizing went overboard and gaudy; much like this customized belt.
|Yo Dawg, I heard you like spinners and stupidly-gaudy diamonds,
so we hooked you up and put spinners and stupidly-gaudy diamonds on yo belt!!!
|Oh you fancy, huh?!?|
It comes off as bold and powerful because it uses a very simple design. This belt is based on the older WCW World Heavyweight Championship (nicknamed “Big Gold Belt”), which also stemmed from WCW’s roots in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and once served as that promotion’s world championship belt.
|The National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship;
old-school, classy, & simple
|The Ring of Honor (ROH) World Heavyweight Championship;
abstract, yet symmetrical and classy
To close, I feel that the new Undisputed WWE Championship Belt (assuming a newer belt is made) needs to be focused more on the WWE as a whole, and less focused on one superstar/wrestler. While it may be fine and well for John Cena to hold on the “Spinner belt” whenever he’s the WWE Champion because it works for him and his persona, it doesn’t look right on other wrestlers with different personalities, and it subliminally makes Cena the entire focus (and the face) of the Championship and that title’s picture. I also feel that older Undisputed title belt never got it’s fair shake since it never returned to the WWE after Cena won the title in March 2005. It may be time for the WWE to dig back into its past for the benefit of its future.
|Again, PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE WWE, Bring THIS Title Belt Back!!!|
I love eating Ramen Noodles; I even go as far as adding some extras spices and meat (chicken, sausage, brisket, etc.). I read this story from Gizmodo a while back that talks about the history of Ramen noodles and their original purpose in its conception: to combat poverty post-World War 2 in Japan, and, potentially, to end world hunger.
To think that in the last century, a slew or great inventions came out of Japan; ranging from Sony’s Walkman (Sony itself is a great Japanese post-World War 2 story), digital cameras, fuel-efficient vehicles, karaoke (admit it, you ENJOY it; **cough** SingStar, Rock Band **cough**), and fast mass-transit trains (i.e., “bullet trains”). However, the Japanese took a vote in a survey almost a decade ago, and they selected the invention of instant ramen as the single greatest 20th century invention/contribution from Japan.
Bill Simmons (you know, “The Sports Guy” from ESPN & ESPN.com, the editor-in-chief from Grantland) wrote this awesome article on entrance music in professional wrestling, and why it matters in creating a true superstar, as well as its effect on crowd reaction and connection. Simmons also provides a great example of this claim by using the recent controversies surrounding professional wrestler CM Punk (the guy with the briefcase), his connection to the fans, and the current status and storyline surrounding the status of the WWE Championship.
At the end of the article, he provides a Top 12 list (with some Honorable Mentions) of pro wrestling entrance songs that he deems to be the most effective in both creating a superstar and connecting with fans. Much of the list I agree with, especially with Edge’s theme (“Metallingus” by Alter Bridge, though incorrectly named as “On This Day”) and it’s placement on the list. This is an excellent read for pro wrestling fans (of course) and music fans alike.