THIS WEEK: A one-on-one interview with one of the people behind the biggest show in independent wrestling, Cody Rhodes dishes on All In!
THIS WEEK: ALL-IN is SOLD OUT, Rousey's First Title Opportunity, Chris Jericho Returns to New Japan, Cool Gear in Indy Wrestling and more!
1. ALL IN is SOLD OUT
Big congratulations to Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and all involved in promoting September 1's "ALL IN" event - slated to be a 10,000+ seat event in Chicago.
The amount of buzz around this show put the onus on wrestling fans - if a group of accomplished wrestlers were to announce a lofty goal, without the backing of ANY of the major promotions, would the fans buy in and spend their money.
The answer? Yes - at a rather frenetic pace.
Wrestling has always been a niche attraction. However, with online marketing and fans maturing and being able to travel more, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that this event did so well. Will this lead to promotions like Ring of Honor and New Japan trying for bigger venues in the US? Time will tell.
Former ECW Head of State, Paul Heyman summed it up nicely:
2. Jericho's New Japan Return - Is He Chasing A Title?
It didn't get AS much buzz on this side of the world as his first challenge to fellow Winnipeg-raised star Kenny Omega did, but Chris Jericho made another return to New Japan Pro Wrestling, this time during the Wrestling Dontaku event which happened nearly two weeks ago in Fukoka, Japan. (Caveat: I'm really trying to stick to the "5 topics a week thing).
If you don't follow New Japan that closely, Jericho's presence is a great reason to tune in. Now that he is challenging a Japanese star, it's also a great chance to learn more about the stars of that promotion. Long before Shinsuke Nakamura was the "Rock Star" of SmackDown Live, he literally ruled NJPW. Other Gaijin (foreign) wrestlers of note to work there in the last decade include Kurt Angle, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, Prince Devitt (Finn Balor), and of course, AJ Styles.
Jericho hasn't been seen in NJPW since after his loss to Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom. The following show, he did a run-in attack on Tetsuya Naito, but it has been over four months since that first strike. After competing in WWE's Greatest Royal Rumble, Jericho once again flew to Japan to kick the new feud into gear, as Naito, the current IWGP Intercontinental Champion, was leaving the ring.
Could Jericho be vying for a "championship opportunity"? Time will tell. Perhaps the match will be set should Jericho find a way to cost Naito his title... exciting stuff!
3. Cool Gear on the Indies
Speaking of IWGP Intercontinental Champions, the first to ever hold the title, MVP revealed some cool new gear, while at the same time making it know that he is going to be approaching his final days as an active wrestler.
When I first started being allowed to work Independent wrestling shows - mostly as ring crew and a photographer, the thought of an independent worker investing a ton of money into gear was something that was only done if they had a tryout with WWE, WCW, or ECW. They wanted to get noticed, and look like stars. The rest of the time, gear would be... well... Indy.
Occasionally, you'd see a once big name on TV show up in the same gear he wore 10 years prior... looking like the gear was 20 years older.
Seeing the level of investment that talent still put into their gear today should be considered not only a reflection of their own success, but the success of wrestling in general. Not every wrestler out there is making huge paydays, but it seems this generation - even the established veterans - still take the time to keep their look fresh. In addition to investing in themselves, this is also clearly a salute to fans, who get to see the stars of their favorite promotion, LOOK like stars.
4. ROUSEY'S TITLE OPPORTUNITY IS A SMART MOVE
Chicago has once again made itself a combat sport and sports-entertainment hotbed. Between CM Punk's imminent UFC Return and ALL-IN selling out, WWE has upped the draw for their June Pay-Per-View, by having current WWE Raw Women's Champion, Nia Jax, challenge Ronda Rousey for the red brand's title.
With no Universal Championship match slated, we could be watching a Women's Division main event match. No disrespect to AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, or Seth Rollins and whoever his opponent for the rising Intercontinental Championship could be, this could be one of the most interesting matches of the year. Jax has evolved into a powerful fan favourite, but Rousey's "instant hit" of a debut could be opening the door for even more mainstream attention to be drawn to the biggest brand in the world. Who's your pick to win it? Will it take the Main Event slot in the show?
5. CLASSIC MATCH OF THE WEEK
With Money in the Bank ladder matches coming our way, it's hard not to look back at ladder matches of the past. WWE seems to have had the magic formula to making these matches memorable. While it was Bret Hart who first brought the match to WWE in a match that is a little hard to find - if you don't have WWE Network at least, one of the most memorable ladder matches NOT to be at a Pay-Per-View happened between then Undisputed WWE Champion The Undertaker, vs. today's United States Champion, Jeff Hardy. I remember watching this match on Raw when it aired CONVINCED we would have a new champion.
As for podcasts you should check out, I'm going to take things in a slightly different direction. While this show doesn't focus directly on wrestling, they have covered different wrestlers of the past, and researcher/lead host James Pietragallo drops a lot of subtle wrestling references into every episode.
"Crime in Sports" is a True Crime vs. crass comedy podcast that while lengthy, is painstakingly researched and delivered in a brilliantly ruthless way which while not making light of the crimes, finds a unique way of telling the stories. Along with Jimmy Whisman's hilarious jabs, the podcast reveals some of the weirdest stories in sports and sports-entertainment. It's not for everybody, but if you're looking for something different, it's worth checking out - if for no other reason than to see how James fits in some random reference to a wrestler.
That's it for this week! Thanks for reading! As always, comments are welcome below!
THIS WEEK: Giving Impact ANOTHER Chance Pays Off, PWG Announces The Tournament Worth Travelling For, Yes - I REALLY Watched Impact and Liked It, 'Mella May Be Money, but MITB Qualifying Matches Don't Seem To Be, AJ Styles LOVES Spaghetti, and This Week's Podcast/Classic Match Of The Week!
1). PWG Announces BOLA Dates
The Battle of Los Angeles is one of the most famous annual tournaments in independent wrestling. If you're the type of fan that travels for big shows, but are craving something a little different, this should be something on your must-see list. Since 2005, the event grew from a one night to a three night event, and has been a launching point for many big names.
This year's tournament will take place September 14, 15 and 16 at the Globe Theatre in Los Angeles.
Past tournament winners include Kenny Omega, Joey Ryan, El Generico (Sami Zayn), Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, Zack Sabre Jr., Marty Scurll, and two-time winner Ricochet. Those aren't the only names that have passed through Pro Wrestling Guerilla for the event. Names like AJ Styles, Kevin (Owens) Steen, Roderick Strong, Claudio Castagnoli (Cesaro), Austin Aries, Daniel Bryan, Chris Hero, Pac (Neville), Bryan Kendrick, Drew Galloway (McIntyre) and many many more have competed only to move on to even bigger stops in their career.
On a recent episode of "Talk is Jericho", Chris Jericho spoke to the Young Bucks about their love of PWG. They say that the promotion is one they will always work for, no matter how big they make it elsewhere. Currently the hottest act going as far as tag teams in the independent scene, the Bucks lead the way in merchandising, and are a part of the "All In" show scheduled for Chicago later this year - a show which along with Cody Rhodes, they hope to sell out a 10,000 seat show at the Sears Centre. Tickets for that go on sale May 13.
2). IMPACT to Increase TV Tapings
Impact Wrestling (Formerly TNA) reportedly has plans to increase their TV taping schedule. Since being acquired by Anthem Sports last year, Impact has virtually been restarted from the ground up. After a string of talent releases, production woes, and scrambling for content from different sources, it seems as though the new regime of Scott D'Amore, Don Callis, Jimmy Jacobs and Sonjay Dutt along with Impact management have found a formula to make it through the lean times.
For all the years that Impact/TNA took a lot of flack from fans for one reason or another, if one goes back into the archives and watches some of the matches that came from the company, even in its worst-of-times, it's hard not to give it the credit it deserves for giving a platform for some of the most entertaining wrestlers in the world. With things on an apparent upswing, it could be an interesting time to give them ANOTHER chance.
3. SO I DID JUST THAT...
Admittedly, it's been a while since I sat down for a full episode of Anthem's flagship wrestling program, but I did like a lot of what I saw.
Impact does seem to be gaining some stability with their roster. It seems they are doing what TNA/Impact has always had to do to stay compelling - build their OWN stars. The former WWE stars are mostly gone, with the exception of those like Matt Sydal (Evan Bourne) who have reinvented themselves.
Storyline wise, there's an interesting power play brewing, as "The Belt Collector" Austin Aries recently lost the Impact World Championship to Pentagon Jr., but is now touting that the Impact Grand Championship should be the marquee title in the company. There are also a number of contenders lining up or the World title, which is refreshing to see. Other talents that caught my eye were oVe (Ohio Versus Everything), the Super-Heavyweight Fallah Bahh, and the heir apparent to the top spot, Moose.
The Knockout Division is quite strong as well, as BC's Taya Valkyrie is a force, and up until seeing Su Yung, Rosemary was the wildest character I've seen in a while. If you haven't had the chance to see either of these women yet, imagine Sensational Sherri, Papa Shango and that girl from The Grudge movies in one character.
4. MONEY IN THE BANK QUALIFYING MATCHES FAIL TO KEEP FANS
I'm a WWE guy. I love the big brand, and believe in being a fan that "likes liking things". This week's episodes of Raw and Smackdown were both full of great wrestling, but much like regular season sports rivalries, these episodes didn't have the usual buzz you feel after a Pay-Per-View happened.
Yes, in case you forgot, Backlash happened this past weekend. Let's face it - NOTHING happened. I thought maybe we would see both the Intercontinental and United States championships switch brands... maybe a cool run-in... SOMETHING. The wrestling was superb (Miz v. Rollins stole the show), but after a Pay-Per-View has nothing to hang off of, there isn't much to engage into the weekly TV for. Oh... unless you hadn't heard that Carmella beat Charlotte Flair...
The opening qualifying matches for the Money in the Bank Men's and Women's matches have no real stakes yet, so hopefully things pick up next week as the herd begins to thin. Also, WHY WOULDN'T YOU PUT ZACK RYDER ON A LONG ISLAND SHOW? I really thought he would end up in that main event, if for no other reason than to take the pin... but come on WWE - Give me hope! Even if it's false!!!
Reports said that Raw took a HUGE ratings dip this past week, and honestly, it's almost like they planned it that way. The numbers show that this week's past Raw is actually the least-watched of 2018.
5. AJ Styles Still Gives Me Hope
How good is AJ Styles? That's a pretty smarky statement to make - almost wrestling-fan-hipster or something like that when it comes to over-obvious statements... but while I was lamenting Raw and Smackdown, I decided to check out the latest episode of WWE Network's "Table For 3", and I wasn't disappointed.
If you haven't checked out an episode yet, I recommend it. It's usually highly entertaining - a shoot-ish style show where 3 subjects reminisce about their careers over a meal. This episode, featuring AJ Styles, also featured Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle. Titled "Show Stealers", the episode features the 3 talking about their insane stunts with each other, and in their careers in general.
While the internet was ablaze about the fact that Anthem's GWN (Global Wrestling Network) licensed some footage from TNA of Angle and Styles performing some insane stunts of their own, something far more subtle caught my eye during this episode: AJ Styles eats spaghetti like I do!
Sure, this past weekend, AJ ate a chair to the face against Shinsuke Nakamura at Backlash, but even that wasn't with the passion and fury he attacked his plate of pasta during the show. The discussion is great to watch, but try not to be mezmerized at how much spaghetti AJ can fit onto a fork and into his facehole. It's... phenomenal.
CLASSIC MATCH/PODCAST OF THE WEEK
CLASSIC MATCH: SLAMMIVERSARY 2009 - KING OF THE MOUNTAIN
Since there's been so much talk about Impact this week, as well as matches with insane stunts and AJ Styles, I thought I'd take us back to one of the more complicated, but entertaining matches by a group of stars who make it bearable.
The "King of the Mountain" matches in TNA were a little hard to follow. Instead of a traditional ladder match, where one must grab the title off of a cable over the ring, participants in this match must score a pinfall on any of their opponents for the opportunity to try and climb a ladder and hang the title themselves.
To make things MORE convoluted, wrestlers could find themselves in a shark cage at ringside, known as a penalty box for two minutes if they were pinned or submitted.
Even with AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle and Mick Foley, this match was an example of some of TNA trying to be different. Some things worked, some things didn't, but the wrestlers still gave their all - even in the main event stage.
As for this week's Podcast, if you were like me and brought to the world of podcasts by this show, but wondered what happened to it, Colt Cabana's Art of Wrestling has re-emerged and is better than ever as the Art of Wrestling: Road Diaries.
The founding father of wrestling podcasts has shut down his weekly interview style of shows, in favor of a weekly audio journal. Multiple stars, multiple stories, and a true look at what life on the road is like for one of the most successful independent wrestlers in history. Every week, listeners are also offered the chance to ask Colt's Mom to watch something crazy and weird in wrestling, and get her views on it. It's shorter, faster moving, and a great listen for any fan.
THANKS FOR READING! Feel free to leave any and all opinions, arguments (keep it friendly) and ideas in the comments section!
THIS WEEK: THE OKAYEST ROYAL RUMBLE, TITUS' TUMBLE, THE BIG GUY IS HUMBLE, AND THE BIRTH OF HARDCORE WRESTLING
1). THE GREATEST... OKAYEST... IT WASN'T BADDEST ROYAL RUMBLE
Last Friday morning at 10am my time, WWE's "Greatest Royal Rumble" was broadcast live from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I can remember almost every non-North American broadcast WWE has put on in my lifetime. From the poorly lit but compelling Monday Night Raw in South Africa, to the first run of RAW episodes shot in the UK, last year's "Beast in the East" show from Japan, to now the first Pay-Per-View level event to be broadcast live from Saudi Arabia, these events have always had a unique feel. The wrestlers act a little differently, the broadcasts are always a tad different, but one thing that really stands out are the fans.
If you look at the current political climate in Saudi Arabia, there are a lot of values that are considered discriminatory and in some cases, archaic by many Western countries. Ignoring those differences is not a solution, but it didn't change the fact that the show happened.
While Saudi Arabia was clearly on a mission to flaunt a "more progressive" society in the works, the one thing I saw was that even with royalty at ringside in cushy chairs, and a clear divide between them and the rest of the fans in attendance, wrestling was what wrestling is - a universal form of entertainment.
It's clear why names like John Cena, The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, The Great Khali, Hornswoggle, and many others made their faces shown at this event. These are global superstars. Yes, all of them. When names like Goldust, Mark Henry, and other established names came out, they were known, and cheered for. As a regular fan, who is still in a bit of a hangover from WrestleMania mode, the "Greatest Royal Rumble" wasn't a shocker, but I still enjoyed it. Did YOU watch the GRR? If so, leave your thoughts in the comments section!
2. TITUS' TUMBLE BREAKS THE INTERNET AND HAS ITS OWN T-SHIRT
In all honesty, a 5 hour show starts becoming background noise after a while. I think at the exact moment Titus O'Neil was coming to the ring, I may have been folding laundry or something, but when I heard the entire commentary team losing their minds laughing, I knew I had to pay closer attention to what was happening.
Hearing the commentary team take a break during the live show to have some fun was tremendously refreshing and gave the match some new life.
Not since Bret Hart and Lex Luger went over the top rope at the same time in 1994 has a single incident at a Royal Rumble been replayed as many times as Titus' misstep. Nevertheless, it did make a memorable moment, which isnow available to commemorate for about $38 Canadian...
3. RYBACK DELIVERS
It's always interesting when a "name" talent comes to work an independent show. The internet usually takes sides as to whether a talent is worth hiring or not, and is quick to judge before seeing them in action. There have been times where established stars have under-delivered, but these days, there are fewer stories like that.
When CM Punk appeared on Colt Cabana's "The Art of Wrestling" Podcast, he left no gray area, implying that one of the things that caused a series of injuries for him was working with Ryback. A year down the road, and Ryback himself would decide to leave WWE, at first citing a desire for "equal pay".
Since that time, Ryback himself has appeared on Cabana's Podcast, and told his story about his passion for wrestling, as well as acknowledging the type of heat a guy who looks like him can get from fans.
This past Friday here in Regina, "The Big Guy" was a guest performer at Saskatchewan's High Impact Wrestling Spring Meltdown. After putting on an entertaining match with HIW's Mike McSugar, Ryback spoke of his love for wrestling, as well as how he has been able to take care of a major back injury due to his lighter schedule. He was quite gracious to the fans, as well as to the HIW crew. I'll have video of the entire match soon, but this was a perfect example of something I would love to see more of in wrestling - forming an opinion of someone from your own experience, rather than relying on "The internet's opinion".
4).CLASSIC MATCH/PODCAST OF THE WEEK
This week, for the Classic Match, it's actually a post-match brawl which became the template towards a technique which is still used today. Many also consider this the birth of "Hardcore" wrestling, using everything but the kitchen sink as a weapon. According to Jim Cornette, the only thing that didn't get used during the match was the popcorn machine, as the workers were all told to stay away from it. The "Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl" from 1979 happened in Memphis Wrestling. The Blonde Bombers, Larry Latham (later 'Moondog Spot') and Wayne Ferris (the man who most remember most as 'The Honky Tonk Man') took on Bill Dundee and Jerry "The King" Lawler in a brutal match. Lawler and Dundee lost the Tag Team championships that night, but the aftermath is still amazing to watch today.
More notably, word of this incident helped revive the Memphis Wrestling territory, which had lost a large amount of talent and saw business dropping. This would kick off a rivalry that would last for months, and keep the territory going.
"Mustard everywhere!" - Lance Russell
As for this week's Podcast, I love wrestling podcasts that can talk about wrestling, but make me laugh as well. I mentioned it last week in the mention of a Bruno Sammartino story which came from it, butE and C's Pod of Awesomeness has to be one of the funniest yet informative podcasts going.
Adam "Edge" Copeland and Jay "Christian" Reso, along with Producer Matt delve into weekly wrestling, but also offer great conversation to listen in on. The weekly cameos from my favorite superstar, Paul Smackage, the Master of the Small Package will have you in stitches, and the insight from two of the premiere performers of their generation makes you appreciate wrestling in a new way. Recently, they had Bret "Hitman" Hart and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin joined E&C to tell stories from their iconic WrestleMania 13 Submission Match. It's a longer podcast, but once you get into it, you'll be hooked.
THIS WEEK: THE LOSS OF A LEGEND, THE RETURN OF A POWER-INDY, HYPE FOR THE GRR, INDY SHOWS IN CANADA, MATCH/PODCAST PICKS OF THE WEEK AND THE BEST THEME IN WWE JUST GOT BETTER
For years I've written about, done radio shows about, and contributed to numerous sites that cover one of my passions: Professional Wrestling. Every week, I'm going to choose up to five different things to talk about, as a fan and as someone who is still involved in the independent wrestling scene. Feel free to agree, disagree, and send me ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line, "WOAW".
1). BRUNO SAMMARTINO
It hasn't been a week since the longest reigning WWE/WWWF Champion, Bruno Sammartino passed away at the age of 82. Some fans are just now discovering what a mainstay Bruno was in his prime, as a longtime rift between he and WWE saw the two virtually ignoring each other since his departure from the company in the 1980's.
Personally, I had the pleasure of seeing Bruno return to the company, and be inducted in the the WWE Hall of Fame in Madison Square Garden, a venue he was largely credited with helping make "The most famous arena in the world".
WWE did a great job paying tribute to Bruno, but one of the best stories came from E and C's Pod of Awesomeness, where Adam "Edge" Copeland told the story of Bruno tracking him down before his neck surgery, and calling him personally to make sure he was ok. It's well worth the listen.
2). The Return of MLW
Big congratulations going out to Court Bauer and the crew of Major League Wrestling. Bauer, a former WWE Wrtier and head of one of the leading wrestling podcast networks, has taken advantage of the white-hot US Independent wrestling scene, and found a way to bring a new brand of wrestling back to television. Airing on the beIN Sports Network, MLW airs Friday Nights and is generating some great buzz. What started as a one-off Pay-Per-View turned into more PPV's, and now has found a TV deal - something that companies with arguably bigger budgets and access can't easily tout.
Debuting with an incredible end to a 3-Month Tournament between Shane Strickland and Matt Riddle for the new MLW World Championship, the slick production and fantastic commentary (including the return to wrestling of WCW heritage voice Tony Schiavone) is worth getting into the grassroots of.
3). The Greatest Royal Rumble
"In the beautiful city of Jeddah... at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium..." man... did they ever hammer that home this week. It's pretty amazing that a promo for the largest Royal Rumble in history could even be played in a bigger window than a match, but I'm guessing WWE is hoping to see a massive spike in WWE Network viewership for this card.
It is kinda crazy, considering non-regular competitors like The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, and even Rey Mysterio are expected to be a part of the show. From a promotional side, this is what the power of a "bought show" looks like on the grandest stage. Talent, production, and any other costs are likely all paid in advance, with the tickets being sold at a substantial discount.
I don't know enough about Saudi Arabian culture to speak about what a show at a Kingdom means, other than these fans will be seeing a LOT of star power in one night. With a start time of 12PM ET, 9AM PT, it's safe to say any workplace with WWE Network Subscribers on staff shouldn't expect a lot of productivity on this side of the world.
4). Big Indy Shows in Canada
While the return of MLW, the uptick of Impact Wrestling, and the steady viewership of ROH and NJPW, there is a LOT of wrestling to watch online and on TV. Don't forget to support your local indy wrestling promotions though.
Big Congratulations to Kurt Sorochan, whose Prairie Wrestling Alliance recently celebrated their 17th anniversary. On the card was former WWE Superstar Emma, AKA Tenille Dashwood and Christopher Daniels. PWA has been a mainstay in Edmonton, Alberta, and has expanded to Calgary as well, with strong followings in both cities. From launching some of the best regional talent, to seeing many names become international superstars, PWA's evolution has made it a must-follow company. PWA has been the home ring for Jinder Mahal, Natalya, Tyson Kidd, Harry Smith, Viktor, Tyler Breeze, and many other performers who have graced WWE, New Japan, among others.
With some bias, I must also mention that THIS FRIDAY, in Regina Saskatchewan, the company I ring announce for, High Impact Wrestling will be hosting one of its biggest shows, "Spring Meltdown". As for a marquee name, former WWE Superstar Ryback is scheduled to face Mike McSugar. The match to watch is the Central Canadian Heavyweight Championship Three-Way Dance, as HIW core wrestlers, Dixie Dragon, El Asesino, and current champion "Sky Flyer" Jeff Tyler will compete for the company's top prize. King Kash vs. Michael Allen Richard Clark will be in a steel cage, which sees the veteran vs. the next generation in what should deliver. Cody Rhodes will also be visiting HIW in May, for their Saskatoon show, "Battle Arts".
Danny Duggan's CWE is bringing another legend across the country with WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons. While I have yet to see a CWE show personally, I have many friends on the roster and look forward to the continued growth of opportunities for Canadian professional wrestling.
I'd love to find out about what wrestling is happening in BC, Ontario, and anywhere you happen to be reading this from! E-mail me at email@example.com to submit your events!
5). Classic Match/Podcast of the Week
Since it's the first column in a long time, and I've been racking my brain trying to pick what match I want to put here. While part of me thought it appropriate to post a Bruno match, another part of me wants to pick some of my favorite matches from the past. So, with that said, I can't help but pick one of my favorite matches. I'm a WWE guy through the good times and bad, but I have favorite matches from all over the world.
That said, with the "Greatest Royal Rumble" in our sights, it's hard to ignore what talent-wise may have been the ACTUAL "Greatest" Rumble until now. The 1992 Royal Rumble Match had it all. The World Championship on the line, and a talent roster so loaded, one wonders that if Saudi Arabia were booking it today, even they might need to take out a loan to pay the bill.
As for this week's Wrestling Podcast recommendation, my first pick comes from a pair of entertainers I have followed through their own ups and downs. These guys get things done, and manage to still maintain the same quality they had when backed by a major company.
If you were a fan of the last incarnation of Live Audio Wrestling, you'll be happy to know that for some time now, John Pollock and Wai Ting continue to "Rewind-A-Raw", "Rewind-A-SmackDown", and cover all sorts of great wrestling news each and every week through their venture, PostWrestling.com. Pollock's puns continue, and Wai's love to hate little production glitches will keep you laughing as they cover the industry with knowledge, insight, and like any other good wrestling fan, just the right touch of sarcasm.
6). ONE LAST THING...
How AMAZING is Shinsuke Nakamura's new theme?!?!!?!
Thanks for reading, catch you next week for more Wrestling on a Wednesday!
“Today is going to the best day I can make it”.
That’s a big goal to set first thing in the morning, but it’s the first one I set every day. It wasn’t always like this. I set expectations high, and wouldn’t allow myself to fall to disappointment. The truth is, disappointment can only exist if you allow it to.
I’ve received so many messages and posts of support after the past few months, but the truth is: I’m in the clear. I’ve “made it through the rain”. The fight is never over, but I choose to live my life with new vigor and purpose every day.
The absolute truth is: I’m not using my full potential. To say I’ve arrived at this point of realization in my life alone would be foolish, and grievously deceptive of me. While I would like to laundry-list a pile of names of those who have seen me through the last 6 months of my life, they know who they are, and they know that I’ll always be grateful to them.
There are also those who have given up on me. Cast me aside, or frankly, have pushed me away or have been pushed away by me. They keep me humble. Not everyone is on my side. When I think of them, I ask myself one question: “Why sweat what isn’t worth the energy?”
So, it’s time to make the most of every minute again. I’m a creator. I’m a generator. I try and contribute positivity every day. I don’t ignore the problems of the world, but I hope to offer you something good to think about. If I use my own experiences as the example, maybe that can spread. One of the biggest joys of my life is to learn from others. There are so many things out there that I’ve experienced, in some cases for the first time just recently.
What comes next? Experiencing those things together. I don’t know what this site is, but if you’re reading it and you’re interested in finding out, then I look forward to having you along. Get ready for goals, ambitions, and everything that makes life worth living... in my opinion anyway.
The following is from a Facebook post I made last night...
Yes... let’s talk...
Yesterday I was invited to the Pats game and someone also walking in the door stopped me to say I had lost a lot of weight and it was clear that I was taking things very seriously(as far as the diabetes diagnosis). They then shared that they went through the “same thing” in their family. In line walking into the Brandt Centre wasn’t the place to dig deeper into the conversation, but clearly they had read my blog from last month. I wish the other challenges I’ve been overcoming were as easy to notice as the physical, but the random support was appreciated.
Soon, stories of people dealing with mental health issues will flood social media as part of one of the most famous campaigns in the world, but I tell you this now as someone who has lived the shame... the solitude... and survived it... there is hope. You don’t need to suffer alone. I’ve learned that support may not come from where you expect, and you can’t expect everyone in the world to sympathize or even understand.
Still, and again I base this on my personal experiences, finding the strength to be honest with yourself and accept what you can and can’t control is a big step.
Like before, I share this not to garner sympathy, but in the hopes that it connects with someone who might be living in the darkness. To quote a very good friend of mine, “It’s ok to feel blue... don’t go black”.
It WILL get better - and people DO care.
Since making this post, the feedback has been very kind. However, it was a private message that made me realize that had I not found the help I needed, things could have gone a lot differently...
I'll be completely honest. Since this all started, I'm not that big of a fan of seeking attention - which is odd for a guy whose career has basically been trying to get anyone to pay attention for the better part of 15 years. While very nice, the praise in that message is unnecessary. This is a lot for some people to take in, and in today's "DON'T OVERSHARE" society, the wild west of social media may be just as quick to ignore or mock this post as it is to accept it, but that part doesn't matter right now.
This comment brought back some truth I didn't want to acknowledge about myself. I've got a lot of good in my life, yet the brain works in strange ways - it took a lot of work to see it again. I have a better understanding of the physiology (Remember: everything psychological is biological), and the forgiveness I've had to show myself and others for what has gone on up until this point.
This comment made it even more real for me - and may be for someone else out there right now. There have been other messages and comments, and I encourage anyone who wants to talk to me or someone else about this to do so... when you're ready.
Well... here goes…
There's a lot going on in my world right now. What started it? The fact that I’m a recently diagnosed diabetic. How recent? October 30. Yeah… the day before Halloween. Dick move, doc.
In all seriousness though, my curse is my blessing… just like Spider-Man… if Spider-Man could never really enjoy eating whatever dessert he wanted to again.
During my diagnosis, I was told I was an “extreme diabetic”. What makes me “extreme”, is the level of blood sugar in my body. My doctor told me that an average person, after fasting for 10-12 Hours should have a blood sugar rating of about 5.9. When my blood was tested, I came in at 12.9. The day I was diagnosed, 13.4. The next morning I was at 14.5 Safe to say, I was flying pretty high, and have likely been suffering the long term damage of too much blood sugar.
Friends of mine and some people out there know that I’ve been to the hospital a few times for different things. While I can’t connect them ALL to this, several of my issues since diagnosis have seen remarkable turnaround.
Things like chronic joint pain all over my body, fatigue, and all around just not feeling great have subsided. Not so much as a heart flutter (I used to get regular SVT episodes)… and I sleep at night – the WHOLE night.
Being diagnosed as Type 2, that means no needles full of insulin. That doesn’t mean there isn’t constant testing and medication though.
Physically, things are looking up. Neurologically, is where it gets a little more dicey...
Those who know me, on whatever level, may also know that I can be a pain in the ass. I’ve been passionate, short on patience, and sometimes, just a downright jerk. I’m not saying that being a diabetic makes you a prick, but in my case, there is likely a link between the two.
In the last few weeks, I have completely transformed, physically, and mentally. I can exercise without too much pain, so I do so regularly. I eat better. I check my sugars EVERY day, more than once. Some days are better than others.
Additional depression from diabetes is also a possible contributor to my mental health, but it’s still all so new, myself and my doctors are all figuring it out together. Combined with a number somewhere in the dozens when it comes to visiting a psychologist, there are a lot of positive developments that have been taking place, including the introduction of new medications to deal with the changes going on.
The struggle is ongoing. I’ve tried to be the professional and keep it to myself, as I know there are many people who don’t need/want to know this, and frankly, those who are dealing with much more in their lives. I first told myself when this happened that I wasn’t going to be one of those people that spewed his guts about mental illness, but at least if I tell the story, I know it’s the truth.
A very good friend encouraged me to share as much as I was comfortable about sharing. This is about as far as I can go right now. If anything I've described sounds like something you're dealing with personally or with someone in your life... look for the answers. If who you're talking to doesn't have them, find someone who does. You could be saving yourself.
I'm going to make it... for the better
I’m not mad.
I’m not even disappointed.
My childhood wasn’t destroyed.
So here it is – as sure as Ghostbusters is a part of my being (literally), I can tell you that the level of hate this movie has been hit with before its release can simply stop.
No, it’s not the Ghostbusters I grew up with. The comedy structure is completely different, the characters are completely different, and the car… I gotta admit, my biggest source of trepidation was the car.
This is a very 2016 Ghostbusters – which isn’t a bad thing. The jokes, while in some ways less “smart” than the original film, are still funny – and there are a lot more of them. The characters all have their own quirks, and no one character reminds you of any of the four originals – something I feel needed to be done.
There are some things that don’t quite make sense. There’s no real opposition in the film, rather this group of Ghostbusters trying to overcome their own struggles. The addition of a villain also makes for an interesting dynamic – something that forces our new team to band together – which is the theme throughout the story.
Some old favorites make appearances – Yes, Slimer makes his return to the franchise – and he’s got a girlfriend – More toys to sell, remember? That’s still a big part of what this is all about – although for the life of me I STILL can’t find anything in stores except for PopVinyls.
Look – I watched the first trailer – and like much of the internet, I felt the crunch of something I grew up with being tampered with. As more trailers came out – I started to buy in. Even the producers admitted the first one released probably wasn’t the best one. After seeing the movie, I agree. Nothing shot this movie in the foot more than its own rushed publicity. The final project, if you truly are a “fan”, won’t disappoint you.
The word going around is that the initial cut of this movie was over 4 hours long. That would be too much. Still, there were some gags that were released in early trailers which don’t make the final film. Paul Feig has said somewhat of a director’s cut will be available – I’ll be buying it.
I’ve shared stories about what Ghostbusters means to me. From the time my Mom drew the logo onto a blank tape for me so it would look like the soundtrack we couldn’t afford growing up, to even going to the Hook & Ladder 8 in Tribeca – also known as Ghostbusters HQ, to even having Dan Aykroyd sit 3 feet away from me and tell me about what were originally the Ghostbusters 3 plans – I like to think I qualify as a sort of Ghostbusters aficionado. These characters were like imaginary friends to me. With the cartoons, I went on weekly adventures with them… and when I got older, I realized how much work went into making them.
The torch – or neutrino wand, has been passed for a new generation to experience and enjoy.
To all the keyboard warriors out there who want to trash this film, and to everyone that hit the “dislike” button on the first trailer, I’m not going to try and sway you. To anyone who wants to feel good about going on another romp with the Ghostbusters, past and present… just go see it. Most importantly – have fun. That’s what this is all about.
Bustin’ STILL makes me feel good. Good to see you again, Mr. Ramis.
Dear Musician hiring a tracker:
I've bit my tongue for the solid part of a decade on this, but today was a dark day. I received a call from a tracker regarding a single from a new artist. While listening to the song, I started asking simple questions... "Where is this artist from? What's their story?" - while neither of those questions would determine whether or not the song would be added, it would be nice to get a back story on the performer I was listening to.
The "tracker" then replied with "We sent that in a press release, I don't know. You'd have to ask my boss". As the conversation progressed, I admitted that I was going to give about as much interest to this song as the tracker was giving it. They followed with, "So is that a 'pass'?"... to which I regrettably had to say, "Yes".
Now, I'm not the be-all end-all of Music Directors, and today happened to be a day where I had a LOT of things on the go. Still, when I have the time to really look into an act, I will - and I have a long list of people who can attest to me listening to their songs on the phone with them or in person to try and offer whatever advice I might have - good or bad.
One thing I've ALWAYS appreciated is that when an artist takes the courage, time, and MONEY to release a song to radio, they do so in the hopes of accomplishing their goals. If any feedback I give can help with that, I've done my job.
There is nothing sadder than witnessing an act, big or small, get duped into being told their song is "radio ready", when realistically it probably doesn't stand a chance.
I won't go into much more detail because it isn't fair to the artist who trusted these people with their money and their brand, but I will say this... Please... for the love of all things holy... DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
3 EASY steps to picking someone to toss money at to represent you:
1) What is their track record?
2) When was the last time they actually got a song to chart on a chart that actually matters?
3) What kind of REALISTIC feedback are they offering you?
Remember, if you're going about this yourself, you are the boss. Start with those 3 questions and go from there!
Some of the BEST trackers I know in the business turn down more songs than they take... others take everybody they can and "make no promises". Can you imagine any other business besides a casino that would tell you that? "Well, thanks for all this cash, but I don't like your odds"... While there's no guarantees in life, a good tracker will at least give you some realistic expectations, rather than toss their hands up and give an "I dunno!"
In keeping with my own personal beliefs that people don't go to work and say "How can I screw up someone's life today?", I'm simply saying, 'watch out for yourself'.
There are many new trackers out there that are putting in the work and while they may not have big success on commercial radio, they still put in the effort and form those relationships necessary to better represent artists. They should be commended, and if you do a little bit of legwork, you will find them.
Keep making music, keep doing what you do, and keep reminding yourself, "I'm in charge here".
Some of my tracker friends who are still waiting for feedback on songs - you know it's coming. As for the person that called me today...
If you're representing an act whose money you're taking and you can't even tell me what damn city they're from... just get out... NOW.