Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: WrestleMania 33 letdowns

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Another WrestleMania has come and gone but this WrestleMania did not leave many wrestling fans unscathed despite many positive moments. The wrestling fan has gotten used to not having the results that we had planned out in our heads (or written about in our blogs or spent hours talking about on podcasts for that matter) but we are used to being left with a feeling of regret (again despite any good things that might have happened.

Less than 48 hours ago, we were all hanging in suspense, waiting for the beginning of what would become (in my opinion) a lackluster WrestleMania.  As I stated earlier, fans will never get exactly what they wanted because the diverse fan base would never agree to one specific story line but there were many letdowns at WrestleMania 33. Does this mean that I didn’t enjoy it? Most definitely not. Does this mean that there could have been things to improve?

Before I rip into how the WWE failed me as a wrestling fan during this year’s WrestleMania…I will tell you what they did right.

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  • Shane-o-Mac. That’s all I have to say. He took one of my favorite wrestlers, AJ Styles, to the limit and actually wrestled. He proved that he isn’t just the boss’s son. He proved that he has the skills to not only pay but to make some bills.
  • The Randy Orton taking on Bray Wyatt  for the WWE championship was an impeccable match. The two top stars proved that they were not only top caliber athletes but truly knew how to tell a story inside and outside the ring.
  • The Triple Threat Ladder Match was going to be amazing to begin with (as I am a fan of Enzo Amore and Big Cass) but when the camera panned to the top of the entrance ramp…I knew that my prayers had been answered. Then hits the Hardy Boyz music and despite having almost lost my voice due to allergies, I screamed as The_Hardy_Boys_at_WrestleMania_33_(33779867716)loud as my crackled voice could amplify. To see the Hardy Boyz finally grace the WWE ring with their combined presence thrilled me and filled me with fear. I hope that Vince utilizes their talents and allows their “broken” personas to shine. My fear is that he will just ‘delete’ them after he has milked them for what they are worth due to their recent skyrocketing popularity shift. He’s good for that you know. My hope is that the Brothers Hardy will continue to prove that they are, Ha Ha, the greatest tag team in all of space and time. 😉

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  • Despite my hatred for Seth Rollins and my distaste for HHH’s new persona in the company, the two of them put on a heck of a show. Besides all of that…when HHH picked up that Sledgehammer; I admit that I got goosebumps.

Now that I’ve said the positives….let me tell you what let me down. Here are Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: WrestleMania 33 letdowns:

WrestleMania_33_(33761042576)10. The ramp – Yes its cool that you had the longest entrance ramp in WWE history but there is a negative to having the longest entrance ramp in WWE history. THE NEGATIVE IS THAT IT TAKES FOREVER FOR THEM TO GET FROM THE CURTAIN TO THE RING! HHH had to ride a motorcycle just not be exhausted by the time he reached the ring. Sometimes Vince needs to realize that the spectacle’s massive scale doesn’t always guarantee reward.

9. John Cena’s proposal – I love John Cena. I really do. I love the Miz. I really do. But the match between Cena (plus one) and Miz (plus one) felt forced. It felt forced by the WWE to make us want to love the Bella’s again. John Cena is the shining star of the WWE; and he and the Miz have had some amazing matches in the past (even at WrestleManias in the past) but this was not a WrestleMania caliber match. This was a primetime Raw or Smackdown match at best. Good job at the string pulling John. You won those brownie points.

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8. Card placement
– The card felt jumbled. Something didn’t feel right but having the Smackdown Diva’s Championship match to be the Top 3 matches of the night? WASTE OF TIME SLOT! The Raw Women’s Championship match was a formidable replacement. The athleticism of Charlotte Flair, the Boss-ness of Sasha Banks, the strength and power of Nia Jax taking on the huggable Bayley would have been a better option for that time slot.

Big_Show_(4872080412)7. Waste of Big Show’s Last WrestleMania – The Big Show has slimmed down a lot. He has gotten a hold on his health and looked amazing. He is still a Monster in my opinion but the WWE dropped the ball in honoring the veteran on his last WrestleMania. The Big Show has been a feather in the hat of wrestling for years, and deserved one last push before he exited.

6. The Andre the Giant Battle Royal – Speaking of The Big Show. Though Vince usually loves the Monsters and Big Men, big men like Braun Strowman, Mark Henry and even The Big Show got booted from the Royal Rumble match early on. Instead of allowing The Big Show to win the match in his last WrestleMania appearance or utilize the amazing talent that is Braun Strowman, the WWE liked the story line and star power appeal that Mojo Rawley’s best friend (New England Patriots party-boy tight end Rob Gronkowski) brought to the ring. They knew that it would cause headlines to pop up all over the place and from a marketing standpoint, I understand. From a fan of Rumble style matches…I disapprove.

5. Bray Wyatt’s Bugging-out gifs – Would was slated as a gross out or fear inducing Bray_Wyatt_entrance_at_WrestleMania_33_(32977442834)moment from one of the most talented wrestlers in the WWE ended up as a corny deterrent. The distraction technique did not deter Bray Wyatt’s neck from finding an RKO right out of nowhere. So the childish bug gifs were a slap in the face to the brutality and heartbrokenness that we saw leading up to the WrestleMania.

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4. Goldberg/Brock Lesnar – Don’t get me wrong, I was a huge Goldberg fan back in the
WCW days and even in his WWF/WWE days BUT this time a title reign felt pushed. I loved the fact that he easily defeated the Beast-incarnate Brock Lesnar. It had me hyped up! He had Brock’s number and that was how it should have stayed. I’m tired of Brock. It’s that simple.

3. Former BFF Fight: Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho – I have never been a fan of Y2J Chris Jericho and his annoying antics with his then bff Kevin Owens just extended my hatred of his pompous character. The fact that the WWE placed a ‘former bff’ “you were never my best friend” fight on a WrestleMania card is preposterous! It could have culminated at a PPV sure but it was by no means WrestleMania worthy.

2. AJ Styles – When AJ Styles came to the WWE, I was truly excited. He was my favorite wrestler in TNA and as he went from ROH to Japan where he expanded the already huge popularity of the Bullet Club. He rode that success wave to America where he joined the biggest wrestling organization in the world: the WWE. Here he has won the Heavyweight title and feuded with top stars. SO….why make him turn and be the whining ‘why am I not a star’ wrestler? Why not use his abilities as they are and give him the push he deserves?!? He is the best pound for pound wrestler in my opinion and he should be given the push he deserves.

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  1. This is my yard: Undertaker/Roman Reigns – The Undertaker will go down in history as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He will be remembered amongst the great ones like Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, Ric Flair, or Bruno Sammartino. So are we as wrestling fans to just lay back and believe that Roman Reigns is a replacement for The Deadman…The Lord of Darkness…The American Bad Ass…The Big Evil…The Phenom…the man whom the Big Show called the greatest professional wrestler…the man who Mark Henry and Vince McMahon himself called their Undertaker_at_Wrestlemania_25_croppedfavorite wrestler of all time? I am partial in this argument because I don’t like Roman Reigns. He worked as a member of the SHIELD faction but now that he is being force fed down our throats, I can’t stomach it. I don’t think that he is a technically sound wrestler. I don’t think that he can work the mic. He can’t cut a promo. So….is the WWE pushing him in hopes that he can be as successful as the Rock? I think so. I think that that being the ‘passing of the torch’ for the Undertaker is a slap in his face. I will give the WWE one credit: they did give him the last slot of the PPV and allow him to take off the hat, gloves, and jacket in a memorialized fashion. The Undertaker has been wrestling for over 30 years and deserved better than to lose to Roman Reigns at his last hoo-rah. But that’s just my 2 cents.

 


 

Featured Image: WrestleMania 33 Stage image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – A #Phenomenal start to #WWE #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 last night as the sun starts to set in #Orlando #Florida #AJStyles #ShaneMcMahon, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57704230
WrestleMania 33 set up image by and attributed Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – Live for WrestleMania 33, and the incredible set up for it! Just Amazing! #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 #Florida #Orlando, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698644
WrestleMania 33 Banner image By Jeff Kern from Orlando – Apparently, there’s some little wrestling event this weekend in Orlando. Interesting people watching opportunities while I wait for my friend’s birthday dinner . . . #wwe #downtownorlando #amwaycenter, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698528
Shane McMahon performing a shooting star press at WrestleMania 33 image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – #ShaneMcMahon shows off his high flying skills as the crowds watches in awe – Another amazing match at #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 #WWE #AJStyles #Orlando #Florida, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698830
The Hardy Boyz at WrestleMania 33 image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – The Hardy Boys return at #WrestleMania to create fireworks! #WrestleMania33 #WWE #Orlando #Florida #HardyBoyz #JeffHardy #MattHardy #BrotherNero #Delete, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698636
Charlotte Flair entrance at WrestleMania 33 image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – Fireworks as the #WWERaw #WomensChampionship gets underway at #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 #WWE #Orlando #Florida #CharlotteFlair, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698657
Charlotte with Belt image by and attributed to Tabercil – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50251230
Bray Wyatt entrance at WrestleMania 33 image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – A stadium full of light, while the lights are off! Amazing to view. #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 #Orlando #Florida #Wyatt #BrayWyatt #RandyOrton #PhoneLights #FollowTheBuzzards, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698660
Triple H makes his entrance at Wrestlemania 33 image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – It’s time to play #TheGame! #HHH makes his entrance at #WWE #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 #Orlando #Florida, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698844
Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 33 WWE Universal Champion image by and attributed to Brock1990 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57688786

Wrestling fans rejoice! Wrestlemania 33 is upon us!

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Baseball has the world series. Weight lifting and bodybuilding has the Arnold Classic. Football has the Super Bowl. Soccer has the World Cup. College Basketball has the Final Four. Professional wrestling fans have Wrestlemania. Slated as “The Grandest Stage of Them All,” the once-a-year event places the cream of the crop, the tops of the proverbial ladder, and showcases the best of the best…if you will.

Since the first Wrestlemania took place on March 31st, 1985; the wrestling world has never been the same. It is the largest spectacle and most definitely where only the top guys in the sport come to play. For a wrestler, competing at Wrestlemania is a career defining moment. It’s like being the World Series MVP, a Nobel Peace Prize to a scientist, an Academy Award to an actor, or the reaffirming moment of being handed the Vince Lombardi trophy after a Super Bowl victory.  This year’s Wrestlemania is slated to be just as grandiose. With at least 13 matches on the docket and hopefully a few surprises; wrestling’s greatest spectacle will truly be epic.

Wrestlemania 33 will be held this Sunday (April 2nd, 2017) in sunny Orlando, Florida at the Camping World Stadium (yes the Citrus Bowl). The kickoff show will begin at 5 p.m. ET and will have three matches.Big_Show_(4872080412)

  • The first is the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal which will include the superstars from both Smackdown and Raw; Big Show, Braun Strowman, Sami Zayn, and many more are slated to perform. Samoa Joe is expected to make an appearance in the Memorial Battle Royal and I expect to see many a suplex occur.
  • Neville (current champion) will take on Austin Aries for the Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Alexa Bliss (current champion) will take on all Smackdown Divas who are able to compete.

The official Wrestlemania show will begin at 7 p.m. ET and will also feature wrestlers from both Smackdown and Raw. The show is packed, so expect the 4 hours to be utilized (plus some).

  • From Raw, Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson (current Champions) will take on Enzo Amore & Big Cass and Cesaro & Sheamus in a Triple Threat Ladder match for the Tag Team Championship
  • From Smackdown, Dean Ambrose (Current Champion) will take on Baron Corbin for the Intercontinental Championship.
  • From Raw, current United States champion Chris Jericho will take on his former best friend Kevin Owens in what (even though I hate Chris Jericho) will be a great match.
  • Also from Raw, current Women’s Champ Bayley will take on Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax in a Fatal 4Way Elimination match for the Championship.
  • The Face of the WWE John Cena & his real life girlfriend will take on The Miz and his real life wife Maryse in a mix tag match. This will be entertaining to say the least but I hope that it is over relatively quickly.
  • In what would be match that I don’t quite want to see but will ultimately end up being one of the best (I am sure) is what will probably be a no disqualifications, falls count anywhere or no holds barred. The feud between boss and employee is reminiscent of Stone Cold’s long time feud with Vince; but Smackdown’s Shane McMahon – AJ Styles match will be an entertaining slobber-knocker for sure. The real “Face that Runs the Place” AJ Styles will (like always) put on a great show.
  • In a non-sanctioned Raw match, the COO and Cerebral Assassin – Triple H will take on Seth Rollins. I dislike both of these wrestlers but I can’t deny the athleticism that will take place inside this vengeance filled match.
  • Regretfully the WWE has wasted another opportunity for the Undertaker to take on a worthy opponent but alas he will face Roman Reigns. In what will be another failed attempt to ‘put him over’, Roman Reigns will ultimately beat the Undertaker causing us to hate him and the WWE’s writing team even more. The only good part of the match will be when the gong is hit and the lights go out.
  • Follow the buzzards to the first of two headlining matches at this year’s Wrestlemania and find Smackdown’s Bray Wyatt (who is the current WWE Champion) facing his former Wyatt family member Randy Orton for not only the WWE Championship but for retribution for the Hell that he has caused in the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania.
  • The second of two headlining matches at this year’s Wrestlemania will be Raw’s GOLDBERG defending his Universal Championship against “The Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar in what is heavily speculated to be a Goldberg sided match-up. I hope that we see Goldberg (despite his recent injury) upset Brock Lesnar. Hopefully this will lead to Lesnar taking an indefinite amount of time off from wrestling. Maybe taking up crocheting or finger-painting.

The_Hardy_BoyzThere are many rumors floating around about potential superstars that might show up to surprise us all. Vince McMahon, Stone Cold, The Rock, or even the formally shunned Hulk Hogan would make perfect additions to the already massive lineup. I’m sure that the Andre the Giant Royal Rumble would be a perfect fit for Kane who is slated to return to the WWE’s active roster after a stint in the political realm while Kelly Kelly who is also slated to return to the WWE in 2017 would more than likely show up during the ‘any diva than can wrestle’ Diva’s title match. Sting has admitted to wanting to have more match and what better time than as an interference in the Undertaker-Reigns match. RVD has shown interest in being “The Whole F’n Show” in the WWE once more and what better venue to surprise the fans than at Wrestlemania. But I am hoping that the Brothers Hardy will show up and DELETE DELETE DELETE. Ha ha. That would make the night spectacular for me but even if ANY of these scenarios don’t happen, the already stacked card is definitely worth its weight in championship wrestling gold.


 

Wrestlemania 33 lineup card by and accredited to the WWE, wwe.com

Featured Image: Wrestlemania 25 image by and accredited to Matt Brink from Nashville – Wrestlemania 28, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50030109

Wrestlemania at the Citrus Bowl image by and accredited to Dcd722 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3977340

Big Show image by and accredited to Krystal Bogner from Adelaide, Australia – Big Show, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50034961

Bray Wyatt June 2013 image by and accredited to Linestra – This file was derived from: Bray Wyatt.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47580050

Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25 image by and accredited to Ed Schipul from Houston, TX, USderivative work: Tabercil (talk) – Undertaker_at_Wrestlemania_25.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6487206

Hardy Boyz image by and accredited to Christian Korsager – originally posted to Flickr as WWE Raw Bremen, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4359775

Nacho Libre and the real Priestly Luchador

Nachopost
In the summer of 2006, the world was introduced to a half-Mexican priest who secretly wrestled as a masked luchador to raise money for the orphans at his monastery. The sports comedy starred the always funny Jack Black in a movie written by Mike White, Jerusha Hess and Jared Hess (yeah…Napoleon Dynamite). My family and I fell in love with the simple, family friendly comedy; but recently I unexpectedly found out that the movie is loosely based on a true story.

320px-Jack_Black_(25747103295)Nacho Libre, though loosely based on the life of real-life Catholic priest in Hildago, Mexico, centers around a priest who works as the monastery’s cook but dreams of being a luchador. The priest, Ignacio, loves the orphans that he works with but the orphanage does not respect him nor do they give him money for the quality ingredients needed for good food. This causes his food to become more and more inedible (much to the literal and metaphorical distaste of the head priest). One night while collecting the free leftover chips from a restaurant in town, he was jumped by a street vagrant named Steven. He and Steven eventually joined forces once Nacho had reached his breaking point the next day when the already terrible meal was without the only redeeming factor…the chips. Even though he is losing almost every match, Ignacio is enjoying the fruits of being a semi-pro 640px-Jackblackandtomhowardluchador. To keep his identity secret (because the monastery thinks that wrestling is a sin), Ignacio adopts the name “Nacho” and Steven becomes “Esqueleto” (Skeleton in Spanish). The reason that wrestling is a sin? Because they are wrestling for vanity. When Nacho finally realizes that the Lord will bless him if he wrestles for the children…he becomes a professional luchador and even beats the greatest wrestler to ever live.

The man who inspired Nacho Libre, Sergio Gutierrez Benitez, got his inspiration after watching two Mexican wrestling movies in which the protagonists of the stories are poor priests who support the children of their orphanages by becoming lucha libre wrestlers. Sergio went to Rome and Spain to train as a priest and even taught in many Roman Catholic universities when he got back to Mexico. After a time, he became a priest in the Diocese of Texcoco and founded an Orphanage; just like the movies that had influenced him to become not only a priest but a luchador wrestlers. He founded “La Casa de los Cachorros de Fray Tormenta” and he became the masked luchador Fray Tormenta. He hid his face, much like Nacho Libre, because he was afraid that no one would take him serious in the wrestling ring if they knew he was a priest (and vice versa).

180_FrayTormenta-01Fray Tormenta retired from the wrestling business in 2011 after a 23 year professional wrestling career. He still works passionately with the orphans as a priest. The soft spoken Fray Tormenta has lived an epic life but humbly still preaches in a simple old church in Mexico. The larger than life character has influenced movie writers to create amazing characters; as well as comic book, cartoon and video game creators. The Mexican padre might not be exactly as Nacho Libre portrayed him to be but this loyal luchador did what he had to to provide for the orphans. Which just happened to allow him to intertwine the two things that he was truly passionate about: wrestling and his orphanage. He managed to bring his beloved religion into the sport that he loved and even managed to bring some of his sport into the church. Fray Tormenta still dons his lucha libre mask while carrying out his priestly duties. Seriously, did you think I meant that he would throw an unrelenting church member into his the figure four leglock called “the Confessional” if they weren’t listening to his sermon? I do know that I would never fall asleep in his church. 🙂

fray-tormenta

 


 

Featured Image: Luchador masks image by and accredited to StellarD – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56891280
Nacho Libre movie poster by and accredited to Paramount Pictures, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3953967
Jack Black red carpet photo by and accredited to Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia – Jack Black, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47516745
Jack Black and Tom Howard training for Nacho Libre image by and accredited to Tom Howard, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8302967
Fray Tormenta black and white image by and accredited to alchetron.com, Fair use, http://www.traditioninaction.org/revolutionphotos/Images%20(101-200)/180_FrayTormenta-01.jpg
Fray Tormenta Priest and Luchador by and accredited to Vice Sports, sports-images.vice.com/images/2015/01/08/addict-priest-luchador-the-incredible-semi-true-life-of-fray-tormenta-body-image-1420677603.jpg

 

Celebrity Crush: Beauty in Pop Culture

As someone who has an affinity for all things popular culture; it always intrigues me to see other people’s opinions about all the different avenues of popular culture. Pop culture has become such a vast wonderland that flows down different avenues and gets influences from many different venues from all around that world. These avenues allow us to encounter new interesting ‘celebrities’ who we inevitably end up liking one a little more than the other. Whether our significant others like it or not, sometimes we develop a

640px-magazines_on_stand_of_bookshop_in_nanhai_road_20090801

Magazine Stand on Nanhai Road

celebrity crush. My only question is that based on the pantheon of the normal “Sexiest Man Alive” or “Most Beautiful Woman” choices that People magazine presents to us once a year and other media outlets push down our necks every day….do they fit your criteria? Does your personal taste and your personal celebrity crush fall within the usual guidelines and perimeters of who is chosen for “Sexiest Man” or “Most Beautiful Woman”? I was curious about this because some of my choices wouldn’t appear on the list and most of the ones that are up there….shouldn’t be.

To ensure that I was not alone I created a poll/questionnaire that I posted on a popular social media site (I won’t say which one but its the one that let’s you read people’s face) and the answers that I received astounded me.

img_1838As you see in the picture, in the questionnaire/survey I asked both male and female participants: agree/disagree with the choices for Sexiest Man and Most Beautiful Woman (the last 5 year’s worth of choices), who their celebrity crush was if it was not on the list, if their ‘type’ was also indicative of the person they were attracted to in real life, how big of a role that their celebrity crush’s popularity plays in the selection of their choice, and who their celebrity choices were 10/20 years ago.

I was pleased to receive responses for the questionnaire/survey from 23 people (24 if you include me).

  1. Adam Levine and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson received an equal amount of votes for being a female’s celebrity crush while Scarlett Johansson received an overwhelmingly large amount of votes on the male end.
  2. Male celebrity crushes who were not on the list included: Chris Pratt, Joshua Bell, Clive Standen, JJ Watt, Kit Harrington. Females who were not on the list included: Jenna Fischer and Blake Lively.
  3. A resoundingly large percentage of the questionnaire/survey participants said that their celebrity crush is also indicative of their personal dating choice.
  4. All but two of the participants in the questionnaire/survey indicated that the celebrity’s popularity had nothing to do with their selection. But some did bring up the point that they would have never been exposed to this person, if not for their immense popularity.
  5. The female participants indicated that 10 years ago their crushes ranged anywhere from Ryan Gosling to the Backstreet Boys while they indicated that 20 years ago their crushes ranged from Peter Steele to Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck. The male participants also presented interesting choices for their crushes from 10 and 20 years ago. The male choices from 10 years ago ranged from Trish Stratus to Erica Durance while their choices from 10 years prior to that ranged from Terri Hatcher to WWF wrestler Sunny.

I won’t deny that I was surprised to read some of the participants responses, I was pleased to find out that I was not the only one that deviated from the usual list of ‘most _____ person’ .  What did I truly learn from my investigation? In my investigation, I learned that we end up having crushes on people that we see and things that we love. My friend had a crush on Terri Hatcher back in the 90s but that was because he really liked Superman. Another friend really liked Peter Steele but that is because she was/is really into rock music. Without seeing these celebrities and being followers of them, these crushes wouldn’t exist. And even for me, you can’t really say that I am deviating from a norm or following a trend but take my celebrity crush as an example. Scarlett Johansson is my celebrity crush because….I mean…she’s Scarlett “the Black Widow” Johansson. Have you not seen her?!? 🙂

Sooo….How would you fill out my survey? Answer the questions in the comment section below.

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Photo attributions:

Featured image ‘People magazine title’ accredited to and by Time Inc. – http://www.people.com/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30478424
Magazine stand photo accredited to and by 玄史生 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33730954
Scarlett Johansson SDCC photo accredited to and by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27440650
Scarlett Johansson at the Don Jon premiere photo accredited to and by GabboT – Don Jon 09Uploaded by tm, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30090976

Royal Rumble in the Jungle

I have been watching professional wrestling for as long as I can remember. I remember watching the weekly episodic shows on Monday nights and the recaps on Saturday morning. I remember the special occasion where a large group of friends and family would get together and watch the Pay-Per-Views and out of all of the pay-per-views, Wrestlemania is the grandest stage of them all. When it comes to wrestling, Wrestlemania may be the biggest show but the Royal Rumble has always been my favorite pay-per-view. Since the 80s, the Royal Rumble has been the most exciting pay-per-view. The premise of the Royal Rumble is where you have 30 superstars (some of whom are big surprises or

john_cena_9401164296

John Cena

veterans only coming to participate in the Rumble), in a battle royal style match, that come out every 2 minutes and try to throw their opponents over the top rope. Sometimes it takes teaming up with someone who is normally your enemy or it might be just trying not to get thrown out by the biggest and the baddest in the company.

The 2017 Royal Rumble has been cataloged in the annals of WWE history and now we are left to discuss the best (or worst) things that over 52,000 watched in person and millions around the world witnessed. Cena pulled out a mixed bag of Canadian Destroyers, deadlifts, powerbombs, and AA’s (two back to back with one of the most impressive flip AA’s I have seen) while Styles released a malay of hurricanranas, ushigoroshis, an enzuigiri, and one precisely placed Pele’ kick to no avail. John Cena battled his way to win

charlotte_flair_in_raw_2017

Charlotte Flair

the World Championship; in what is, in my opinion, one of the best matches of their careers. This allowed Cena to now be tied with “the Nature Boy” Ric Flair as the 16 time

Speaking of Ric Flair; the battle between Bayley and Ric’s daughter, Charlotte Flair, that also took place before the big Royal Rumble match was epic. Even though Bayley succumbed to Charlotte’s Natural Selection finishing move on the apron just minutes after Bayley bombards Charlotte with a series of axe-handle splashes before she evokes her inner Macho Man Randy Savage and beautifully drops an elbow off of the top turnbuckle. Here in recent years, the Divas locker room has produced some of the most entertaining matches and the Divas have proved to show the most pound for pound athleticism in the world. I’m not afraid to say that.

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Brock Lesnar

I am also not afraid to say that this past Sunday housed one of the best Royal Rumble matches that I have ever seen…and I’ve seen them all. From the first Royal Rumble match back in 1988 until now, there was not a time when I was not at full attention. Big Cass came to the ring as the first participant. Chris Jericho (of course) hid on the side lines for most of the match which was not a surprise. The big man Braun Strowman allowed his size and power to eliminate more superstars than anyone else. He eliminated everyone from the Big Show to the chinless wonder James Ellsworth. His eliminations may have outnumbered everyone else but no one had quite the same impact as Brock Lesnar; whom entered the competition at number 26. Oh except for maybe when Goldberg showed up and showed everyone who was boss. Oh or maybe when the Dead Man himself, The Undertaker, showed up as participant number 29. Oh…I forgot when the regrettable

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Randy Orton

number 30 participant; also known as the superstar whom the McMahon’s refuse to admit has failed to win over the crowd: Roman Reigns. Thankfully it all evened out when Brock Lesnar was eliminated by Goldberg while Goldberg surprisingly was elimiated by the Undertaker who was then upsettingly thrown out by Roman Reigns. It then comes down to Roman Reigns and Randy Orton to which, thankfully, Randy Orton tossed the trash out and became the 2017 Royal Rumble winner.

As I stated earlier, I am not afraid to say that this was probably the best Royal Rumble that I have seen…possibly ever.

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*Royal Rumble photo attributed to and by Bryan Horowitz – FlickrUploaded by Bulimaster, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24298725

*John Cena photo attributed to and By Krystal Bogner from Adelaide, Australia – John Cena, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50035210

*Charlotte Flair photo attributed to and by TheRafa2016 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55746471

*Randy Orton photo attributed to and by Gregory Davis – DSC02406, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6052053

*Brock Lesnar photo attributed to and by simononly – http://www.flickr.com/photos/simononly/6922654376/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19161591

The Obligatory Thanksgiving Blog

Thanksgiving is a time of mixed bag of emotions for most Americans. There are those of us who are privy to the ugly truth of the original Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t that pretty for the Native Americans. Then you have the sadness of loved ones that aren’t with you this year. Ultimately Thanksgiving time should be a time of giving Thanks. A time to realize the blessings that have been bestowed upon us and spend time with those that we love.

This year, I make a choice to say some of the things that I am truly grateful for…since we know that I love to make a list of things. 🙂

I am thankful for my salvation and for God. Whether you are a Christian and believe in the Judeo-Christian God as I do, a Pastafarianism who worships the Flying Spaghetti monster, or if you are an atheist; I respect your belief in something (or nothing at all) and I hope that you respect mine. God has blessed me beyond belief and I would be remiss to not include God in this list.

I am very blessed to have a lovely family (both immediate and by marriage). I am very thankful for them and the beauty that they bring to my life. I am thankful for a beautiful and supportive wife who has blessed me with a son that no one could have ever told me would bring so much pride and happiness. I am thankful to have parents who are not only wonderful, supporting people but they are my biggest fans. They are proud of everything that we do and support the decisions that we make.

I am thankful to have a small yet amazing group of friends and acquaintances that bring a joy to my life that is inexplicable. Their presence in my life brings balance to anything else that might lack. Over the years, we may not always see one another like we want to but know that I love you all and do thank God for you.

I am thankful to be an American. I am thankful to be an American despite any embarrassment that I am might feel due to the negative political climate in this country. I feel that I am blessed to be able to enjoy these particular set of freedoms that I think that we sometimes take for granted.

I am thankful for relatively good health and sanity. I may not have the perfect body but I am so blessed and so glad to have my health and sanity. I never look down on anyone with a disability but it makes you realize just how lucky we are…..just being able to wake up and walk around. These little things are taken for granted and it is a blessing and a privilege.

Along with being thankful for sanity, I am thankful and oh so blessed to have had an education. My parents worked extra hard to send me to college and I am so thankful for that. I am thankful for the education that I received which fueled a lifetime love for reading and writing. For the education which led to a degree that allowed me to work in a job that stresses me to no end….but I do love it.

I am thankful for entertainment. As corny as that may sound; I am thankful for the things that I have in my that make me happy. Without He-Man,  Washington Redskins football, music, comic books, Doctor Who, Wrestling (aka Sports entertainment), and any other random fandom or part of pop culture that entertains me; just imagine how boring life would be. These forms of entertainment help keep me sane and gives a welcome break from the mundanity of our every day lives.

I am thankful for you. The select few that chose to read these blogs. No matter how few of you that there are….I am thankful you. I am thankful that you search for knowledge and entertainment in other places. I am thankful that you believe in me. Thank you for allowing my voice to be heard!

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Top Cat’s Tuesday Top Ten: Most Influential Celebrity Deaths

Last week held the 20th anniversary of the death of one of the most influential rap artists in music history: Tupac Shukar. Remembering his death’s anniversary caused me to think about all of the other influential celebrity deaths that I have bore witness to over the years. Because of our increased love of entertainment, we have more and more celebrities that are relevant to our every day lives and therefore lead to these pop culture icons become idolized and popularized. We as a populous are met with an over saturation of popular culture figures. We see them on TV and movies, can watch their personal lives unfold on Instagram, can see their antics on Snapchat, or anything else that allows us to delve deeper into the lives of our idolized popular culture figures. In our modern society, we know of actors; musicians; politicians; athletes; talk show hosts; and many other people whom we idolize or just enjoy what they do. There is a sad truth to life though: Death. Our favorite popular culture figures are not exempt from this sad reality. The world goes into a frenzy when one of our beloved popular culture figures meets an untimely demise.

I have made a list of the most influential celebrity deaths that I have ever experienced. I use the term celebrity to encompass all facets of ‘people’ because as I have stated earlier…..we know about a lot of people.  (I am excluding any influential people that died before I was born; despite how much I may hate that Elvis Presley died before I could see him in concert. Or witness another movie starring Bruce Lee.)

So here is Top Cat’s Top 10 Most Influential Celebrity Deaths

10. Michael Jackson

(Died June 25th, 2009)

michael-jacksonThe undisputed King of Pop was a worldwide, pop cultural phenomenon. Sadly his contributions to music, dance, and fashion are sometimes overshadowed by the controversial and sometimes questioned lifestyle that he lived. But no one can deny the influence that Michael Jackson has left behind in the gigantic wake that his life left in the ocean of pop culture.

9. Philip Seymour Hoffman 

(Died February 2nd, 2014)

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I’m not sure that I could fully get the disturbing image of a sweaty, overweight Philip Seymour Hoffman open mouth kissing Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights until Hoffman’s rendition of one of my favorite pop culture characters: Truman Capote. I read “In Cold Blood” while still in college and the year of my graduation comes The Capote movie. It was remarkable and Hoffman’s Capote was just as remarkable as the man himself was. Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of those actors that made the movie that they were in and his death was a sad loss for the movie industry.

8. Tupac Shakur 

(Died September 13th, 1996)

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I was a freshman in high school when we saw that 2pac had been murdered. I had been a 2Pac fan since hearing his work with the Digital Underground (thanks to the 1991 Dan Aykroyd cult comedy classic “Nothing but Trouble” starring Chevy Chase and a then gorgeous Demi Moore) and then on to his solo work. 2pac’s music as well as his poetry (since not only do I love it but I minored in poetry in college) will live on through the ages in our CD players and has definitely joined the pantheon of greatest American musicians.

7. Patrick Swayze 

(Died September 14th, 2009)

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So, Patrick Swayze may have been a heart throb because of Ghost and Dirty Dancing but he was a bad-ass, womanizing, karate-kicking, night club cooler from one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time: Road House. Patrick Swayze fought pancreatic cancer for many years and his death was a blow to everyone…especially me.

6. David Bowie 

(Died January 10th, 2016)

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The make up drawn lightning bolt on the face of Ziggy Stardust will stay forever entrenched in my mind. Even as a small boy I remember placing the needle tipped arm down on to record after record of rock and soul music. I remember the beginning crackle of the record before the gift of music was placed into my ears. It wasn’t music that drew me to David Bowie at first…it was the Labyrinth. Oh the times that I watched Jim Henson’s classic movie. It was and still is one of my favorite movies. Ah…but the music. The music drew me to David Bowie and a world of songs started to be placed at my finger tips. From “Space Oddity” to “The Man Who Sold the World” (which would be remade and becoming one of my favorite songs of all time and houses one of the most beautiful guitar solos of all time), I loved his music. Much to the chagrin of my Motown-grooving father.

5. Dusty Rhodes 

(Died June 11th, 2015)

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The man of the hour, the man with the power. The hit-maker, the record-breaker. He had style and grace with a pretty face. He could make your back crack, and make your liver quiver. He was tough enough to rip off your head and dance down your tonsils. The polka dot clad American Dream Dusty Rhodes was quite possibly the most charismatic personalities that the wrestling world has ever or will ever see. If ya will.

4. Robin Williams 

(Died August 11th, 2014)

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From Popeye to Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams and his multi-faceted acting ability has been one of my favorite actors to watch since I was old enough to be able to watch TV with understanding. His stand-up comedy routines, appearances on night time talk shows, TV/movies roles, and his humanitarian work (which includes his work performing for the troops overseas {thusly dubbing him the new Bob Hope} and Comic Relief: the non-profit charity organization which raised money for the homeless) will cement his place in the annals of pop culture and will keep his beautiful spirit alive for all time.

3. Brandon Lee

(Died March 31, 1993)

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Bruce Lee’s movies were some of my favorite growing up, so when I heard that his son was starring in a movie opposite the actor who played my favorite cartoon character of all time, He-Man; I knew that it was time to watch Showdown in Little Tokyo. In a time of Jean Claude Van Dam and Steven Seagal movies were the rage, this movie fit right in and thrilled my heart. About a year later, eastern North Carolina was thrown into a whirl when Brandon Lee was accidently killed while filming what would grow into one of my favorite movies of all time: The Crow. The violent nature of Brandon’s death added to the hype of an already amazing movie.

2. Chris Farley 

(Died December 18, 1997)

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Chris Farley’s loud, charismatic style immediately drew my attention when he was catapulted onto Saturday Night Live in 1990. I constantly accidently woke up my parents while watching the on screen collaborations of Farley, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade. Farley’s SNL characters, as well as his movie roles, skyrocketed him to the top of my favorite’s list. Growing up, I idolized Chris Farley because despite being a bigger guy; he made people laugh. Chris Farley truly inspired me in my life….despite the negative aspects of his life.

1. Kurt Cobain 

(Died April 5th, 1994)

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Kurt Cobain (from MTV’s Unplugged Live from New York)

“Smells like Teen Spirit” metaphorically bursted my ear drums as it groundbreakingly pushed itself to the top of the music scene. Kurt Cobain rose to be an influential figure in the youth scene of the early 90s and I was right in the middle of it all. I had my Nirvana T-shirts. I listened to all the songs. I watched all of the videos. I drew x eyed smiley faces every day. For 4 years, Nirvana was on top and I was their biggest fan. I remember that April 5th, 1994 was a Friday. I came home from school, turned on MTV (as you did back then) to see live footage being shot of Kurt’s Seattle home. I still remember the tears that fell when Kurt Loder (MTV news anchor) announced that Cobain was dead in what was an apparent suicide. I remember the disbelief that the captain of the flagship band of Generation X was gone. I still am one of those fans that believe that his wife Courtney Love had him killed but however it happened….a generation lost a leader and the world lost a pop culture phenomenon.

 

Honorable Mentions: Heath Ledger (Died 2008), Prince (Died April 21th, 2016), Notorious BIG aka Biggy Smalls aka Biggy aka Christopher George Latore Wallace (Died March 9th, 1997), Muhammad Ali (Died June 3rd, 2016), John Pinette (Died 2014), Ryan Dunn (Died 2011), Gene Wilder (2016), Roddy Piper (Died 2015), Leonard Nimoy (Died 2015), Jim Varney aka Ernest P Worrell (Died 2000), Lemmy Kilmster (Died December 2015), Paul Walker (Died 2013)

Top Cat’s Top 10: Wrestlers

In the world of popular culture, wrestling is not usually listed under the more respected forms of entertainment but that doesn’t stop over 3 million viewers from watching the WWE’s flagship show ‘Raw’ every Monday night. I have been a wrestling fan since a Saturday morning while turning the knob on an old color TV in my mother’s room; I came across Hulk Hogan fighting Andre the Giant in a replay of Wrestlemania III on NBC weeks after it was shown as a pay per view in 1987. Watching these larger than life characters fight one another with the roar of the crowd shaking the building around them was a great addition to He-Man, Rambo and all the comic book heroes that were taking up residence in my mind and heart. Ever since that day, I have been a wrestling fan. My friends and I put on wrestling matches in the local gym, watched wrestling on TV and even went to shows every chance that we could. You can read more about professional wrestling with this informative wrestling blog…

Ever since that Saturday in 1987, I have been a fan of many wrestlers. Since the wrestling business does not forebode well on these athlete’s bodies; it is common that wrestlers come and go BUT there are some that make a huge splash. Some of these wrestlers don’t exactly make the splash that the companies thought that they initially would (cue the Shockmaster’s infamous fall or WCW’s white eyed ninja Glacier). To me, there have been some greats and here are the top ten most influential/best wrestlers according to me:

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  1. A.J. Styles

AJ styles was the face of TNA wrestling for 11 years and worked with New Japan Pro Wrestling as a co-leader of the Bullet Club. He has been one of the best all-around wrestlers despite just recently joining the WWE. The high flyer has been around for a long time and will continue to be a forerunner in the wrestling industry.

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  1. John Cena

John Cena is the face of the WWE, whether the half of the crowd that chants “Cena sucks” every time he comes to the ring wants to claim it or not. Cena signed a contract with the WWE (WWF at the time) in 2001 and went from a intense yet generic wrestler to an arrogant and edgy rapper to the Hustle, Loyalty, Respect Fruity Pebble that we all love today. He’s the franchise player, the face of the WWE and is amazing with the fans. And last year, he amazingly has granted over 500 wishes with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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  1. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

Ric Flair, whom you will hear about later, slated Piper as the ‘most gifted entertainer in the history of professional wrestling’ and to that I have no doubt. In a career that spanned over four decades, the WWE Hall of Famer wrestled for everyone from the AWA in the 70s to the WWE to WCW during the NWO vs WCW period and then back to the WWE. Until his untimely death in 2015, Piper was a pivotal part of the wrestling world. He will forever be remembered as one of the best wrestlers ever.

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  1. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

He’s the tower of power, too sweet to be sour. He was funky like a monkey. Sky was the hulk macholimit and space was the place. “Oooh yeah!” The posthumously inducted Hall of Famer is one of the greatest pro wrestlers in history. His early career led to many championships, famous tag teams with the Ultimate Warrior (where they formed the Ultimate Maniacs) & Hulk Hogan (where they formed the Mega Powers) and forged a place in the annals of wrestling and pop culture history.

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  1. Undertaker

The macabre Lord of Darkness has been choke slamming his way into the greatest wrestler of all time spot for more than 30 years. He has reinvented himself many times but every time that the bong clashes to show that the Undertaker is coming down the aisle, still makes the hairs on my arm stand on end. Undertaker is close to hanging up his wide brimmed hat but I hope that we will see the delivery of Tombstone Pile-drivers for many years to come.

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  1. The American Dream Dusty Rhodes

The Son of a Plummer who has eaten caviar with kings and queens but also scraped the can of pork and beans with his spoon. Not a silver spoon. He was the working man’s wrestler. He didn’t have a perfect body. He had a lisp when he talked ‘if ya will’. The charismatic ‘Common Man’ personified greatness. The feud that he and Ric Flair had was so memorable that I can see some of the interactions in my mind, to this day. I can see his dancing before knocking his opponents to the mat with his Bionic Elbow. Dusty Rhodes was amazing. He made me think that I could a wrestler too. I didn’t have to have 22” pythons like Hulk Hogan or pectoral muscles like the Ultimate Warrior. I too could lock a sleeper hold onto some punk kid because he put my family through ‘hard times’.

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  1. Hulk Hogan

I said my prayers, exercised and ate my vitamins because Hulk Hogan told me to. Over the years, the most famous wrestler of all time may have reinvented himself a couple of times but one thing is for sure, he has always been in the limelight. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Hulk at an event down in Orlando a couple of years ago and he proved that he wasn’t a superhero with a super ego. He was a really down to earth guy and even joked with me upon our first meeting when he was hugging my wife and said with a smile to me ‘hey, you’re nice and all but I’m not hugging you’. He talked to us about his back surgeries and the chicken wings that we all were eating at the Hard Rock Café. I genuinely appreciate how he treated us and the multi decade professional wrestler treated us with a respect that deserves recognition. The decorated wrestler may have had his name drug through the mud in the last couple of years but that doesn’t change the fact that wrestling would not be what it is today without Hulk Hogan.

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  1. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

What?!? During the WWE’s Attitude Era, Stone Cold Steve Austin was (and in reality still is) one of the biggest names in the industry. Stone Cold transcended all demographics and his frustrations with his superiors gave us the example that we wish that we could have followed. When the glass broke, Stone Cold ‘stunned’ his through the so many times that it became comical. Stone Cold’s name shall be listed as one of the greatest sports entertainers…err wrestlers of all time.

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  1. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair

WOOOOOO! The legendary professional wrestler has cultivated a legacy that will reign as the greatest of all time due to the greatness that has endured in his 40 year career. The 16 time World Heavyweight Champion has kept the audience excited by his strutting and his rule breaking antics. This dirtiest player in the game has knife-edged chopped his way into the hearts and minds of the wrestling world. The limousine-ridin’, jet-flyin’, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’, son-of-a-gun was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a single’s competitor and for his work in the infamous Four Horsemen faction. Congress honored the North Carolina native because of how much he meant to the state. Flair’s impact on Pop Culture has been so impactful that his sequin-covered robe has now been placed in the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. The Master of the Figure Four has and will be a pivotal part of Wrestling history.

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  1. Sting

The “Franchise of WCW” and for many years the major draw of TNA had a career that spanned for more than 30 years before he finally made the jump to the WWE in 2014. Sting has been a force in professional wrestling since he and the Ultimate Warrior set out across the country in a T-Top Trans Am to wrestle. Complete with Gold’s Gym membership, the muscle clad duo stepped into the ring and over time, even though they would part, would become gigantic parts of the wrestling landscape. Sting was one of my favorite wrestlers for a long time but it wasn’t until the nWo vs WCW wars started filling the Monday Night Nitro TV time. Sting was our savior against the evil nWo. Sting’s epic battle against Hollywood Hulk Hogan at 1997’s Starrcade literally had me so on edge that I could barely breath. When Sting’s hand was raised, I could not contain my excitement. But years went by and times changed. The WWE (then WWF) purchased WCW and most wrestlers went ahead and jumped ship early or rode out until the last Monday Night Nitro….but our Sting did not. Sting went to TNA wrestling which was an offshoot of the NWA (which has always had ties with the WCW) and stayed there until his 2014 WWE jump. Sting was and still is the paramount, the literal Icon of professional wrestling. He deserves his accolades and he most definitely deserves my placement of him atop my top ten list of my favorite/most influential professional wrestlers.

 

Honorable mentions: The Rock, The Hardy Boys (Matt and Jeff), Dolph Ziggler, Goldberg, Ivan Koloff

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Geek Fuel: Monthly Box of Mystery

geek levelsNot too long ago, there were these groups of individuals who were pigeon-holed to fit the term “nerd” or the quintessential term “geek”. These geeks were characterized with their geek definitiontrademark black-rimmed glasses, pocket protectors, snorted laugh, undeniably distinct wardrobe and a superfluity of varied nerd interests. Whether you were the super smart, an intellectual computer nerd; a video game player; a Dungeons and Dragons player; or a comic book enthusiast; you were more than likely slid into one of the, sometimes negatively viewed, stereotypes. This type appeared strange and foreign to most people, since most of their time was spent in front of a computer screen or reading a comic book but years go by, the internet is invented, we progress as a society and low and behold, geeks are cool. Geeks are now admired by their peers for their superior intellect or receive God-like status if you are a Steve Jobs or a Stan Lee. Finally, the world is embracing geek culture.

All of a sudden the new term in Hollywood is called ‘geek chic’. Justin Timberlake is rocking geeky clothing and the black rimmed glasses that normally would only be seen on revenge of the nerdsLewis (played by actor Robert Carradine) in the cult classic Revenge of the Nerds. Now-a-days, the cool kids rock Spider Man t-shirts and new X-Box one games are spoken about without the fear of being reprimanded by your peers. Its okay to read a comic book or admit to watching Doctor Who. Being a geek has become such a popular thing to be that companies are selling packages of items that will help you manifest your geekiness in your every day life. I watched the popularity of these boxes rise before I got involved and I must admit that the blind purchasing of a box of items is a scary prospect but my geek meter leaned more towards the purchase section. I researched A LOT; as I always tend to do. I decided to jump on board with the Geek Fuel box. Now if you aren’t familiar with these boxes, let me just explain it really quickly.

In case you are interested, these monthly subscription boxes send you miscellaneous items that are catered towards your specific interests. Some companies offer you the ability to narrow down your box subscription by purchasing all: horror movie related, comic book related, children appropriate items, or a lot of other things that tickle your fancy. I decided upon the Geek Fuel box which sends you a Steam online video game, toys, collectibles, other geeky gear and an exclusive t-shirt every month. So basically, you pay around $20 per month for over $50 worth of items. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well there is no catch. My first month receiving my monthly Geek Fuel subscription box was in the month of April. My family and I waited impatiently for the box to arrive and tore into it as soon as we got home. I’m going to show you the items that I received (and the items that you would have received if you had purchased a subscription to Geek Fuel. 🙂 The packaging is really awesome as well.

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Not your average shoe box. 

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Pretty presentation. Almost like opening a present at Christmas. 

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Ah….Doctor Who. One of my favorite things. This specific cover is a Geek Fuel exclusive. 

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Okay. This is legit. The comic has a certificate of authenticity and to be honest, HOW CUTE IS THAT STICKER!?!

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This is the Steam Game. The code and access information is on the back of this awesome card. Daniel is super excited about playing this. 

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I’m not team Captain but a Captain America sticker is pretty cool to have. 

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A vinyl Star Wars Flame Throwing Storm Trooper Bobble-Head figure is a large title. This will look great sitting on my collectibles shelf. 🙂

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The Exclusive Captain America vs Iron Man (as Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots) t-shirt. 

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The accompanying Geek Fuel Magazine. 

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The accompanying info card which gives you descriptions of all of the items that you received in your box. 

So as you can see, the Geek Fuel box is quite literally packed to the gills with geeky goodness. If you are interested in buying this for yourself of giving a subscription as a gift, use this unique referral link: Geek Fuel referral link.

I hope that you had a Happy Star Wars day yesterday. Happy Cinco de Mayo.

May the Fourth have been with you. 🙂

Love, peace, and chicken-grease,

-Chris

Competition usually comes in pairs

MCD Vs BKing.pngGood and evil. Nike and Reebok. McDonalds and Burger King. NBC and CBS. Pepsi and Coke. Fox News and CNN. Star Trek and Star Wars. Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. The Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. Microsoft and Apple. Democrats and Republicans. Mac vs PC. Marvel and DC Comics. Competition is everywhere. It is inevitable. In the words of American evangelical author Nancy Pearcey, “competition is always a good thing. It forces us to do our best. A monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity.” For example, the current cesspool of mediocrity that is intravenously administered to us from the WWE. Wrestling has no real competition and I feel that the creative team and ultimately Mr. McMahon have no real competition to try to wwe vs wcw.jpgmake a bigger and better product, thusly we are left with a lackluster result. The Monday Night Wars in which the top professional wrestling brands in the 1990s, the WCW and WWE, were fighting for brand and individual Monday night show’s supremacy caused the greatest era in wrestling to be forged. Alas we are not here to talk about wrestling again; I want to discuss something that is as equally important to me: comic books (and more specifically, I am referring to the new found popularity of the Comic Book Movie Universes).

Comic books spawned out of our innate love for Comic Strips or as you might know them famous funnies comic‘the funnies’. Dell Comics creator started to see the popularity of the comic strip and decided to circumvent selling the comics just inside the whole newspaper and make more money by taking the comic strips, folding them up into the roughly the same size of our standard comic books and slapped a 10 cent sticker upon them. Thusly, the “Famous Funnies” comic book was action comics 1born. Detective Comics did something revolutionary when they introduced a comic starring just one character: Superman. A character created by two Jewish immigrants, who in 1938 ushered in the Golden Age of comics. Detective Comics (commonly known as DC comics today) asked artist Bob Kane to create a new character to compete with Superman. “The World’s Great Detective”, “The Dark Knight”, “The Caped Crusader” or asBatman_ad Billionaire Bruce Wayne’s secret identity: Batman swung his swift sense of justice into the scene in 1939. At this time over 2 dozen comic book companies were fighting for supremacy and most used Superman or Batman as their template. Out of the great depression and into a time of war, a character by the name of Captain America came swinging his fist into the face of Hitler in 1941 thanks to Marvel Comics predecessor Timely Comics.

By the early 1940s more than 90% of America’s youth between the ages of 7-17 was rushing to news stands across the country to buy comic books; while 1 out of every 4 publications sent over seas to soldiers during WW2 were comic books. Even though wonder womanCaptain America lost his steam after the war, comic books weren’t all lost.  Soldiers returning from war wanted to read something more. Crime and suspense books replaced the top rack popularity of the super heroes of old and it wasn’t until 1960 when Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash, and other DC characters became members of a little organization known as the Justice League. This started our obsession with ‘superhero teams’ and fueled a competitive force to flow by the time 1961 rolled around when then writer-editor for Marvel, Stan Lee, changed the comic book industry forever when he created an even bigger reader base. Fantastic Four #1 was released in November of 1961 and showed a different side to comic characters. The human vulnerabilities and emotions of the characters fueled their popularity. The human appeal was even further felt in the character who premiered in August 1962 issue of Amazing xmen 1Fantasy: Spider-Man. The costumed, crime fighting teenager quickly became popular amongst youth due to Peter Parker’s (Spider-Man’s alter ego) problems. His teenage angst, flung amongst the ever present danger around his New York City home. Down the fictional road from Spider-Man’s New York home, stands the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester County, New York. In 1963 we are introduced to Professor Xavior and his mighty X-Men in The X-Men #1 comic book. We are introducted to Professor X and his team: Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman and Jean Grey. Despite the introduction of the Comics Code Authority in 1954, this comic book approval code didn’t slow down comic book’s popularity to continue rising.

batman tv showComic books had been on film, TV, the radio, cartoons and in the comic book realm by the time the late 1970s rolled around; it was time for a rejuvenation of Superheroes on film. Captain Marvel, Batman, Captain America and Superman had all had movies in the 1940s but with the advent of new technology it was time for a big budget film. The popularity of Star Wars had proven that fantasy and science fiction was the popular wave to ride upon, 1978 saw the true big screen introduction to Superman. Many sequels followed and even Batman saw his time on the big screen in 1989 keaton batmanwhen Tim Burton rolled up his sleeves and introduced a whole new world of children to the Caped Crusader. Many comic book movies were made in the years following the new Batman movie and it fueled the big screen’s love for comic book movies. Batman and its many sequels, The Shadow, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, The Crow, and Spawn continued to wet our comic book whistle but it was not until 1997’s Men in Black and 1998’s Blade that film studios avengers movie postersaw the films as legitimate power houses. The X-Men movie in 2000 and Spider-man in 2002 were some of the largest blockbusters of all time. Comic books were selling more and more and movie companies were shelling out movies for us to enjoy. The X-Men and Spider-Man sequels, Hulk, Hellboy, Ghost Rider, Iron Man, Captain America, The Watchmen, and The Dark Knight trilogy were all fueling the comic book fire. Comic books and comic book characters were cool again.

The competitive nature of the industry is causing us to have a better and better movie going experience. Competition leads to increasing innovation. If Marvel were the only player in the field, they wouldn’t have as much motivation to continue making a better and better product. And thankfully with DC and Marvel running neck and neck with their respective properties, we are reaping the benefits of their rivalry. The Sci-Fi /action movie genre is a crowded market but thankfully Marvel and DC are succeeding by not doing what everyone else is doing. With the DC’s new Batman vs Superman movie fighting for supremacy against  Marvel’s newest X-Men, Doctor Strange, and Captain America movie in which we shall see almost all the members of the Avengers. This healthy competition encourages change which will distinguish the brand from the other. This Comic book movie universe is more powerful than it ever has been and I look forward to buying my bucket of popcorn and large Coke to enjoying the results of a competitive product.

Love, Peace and Chicken grease,

-Chris

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