This past weekend I watched Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Wrestling. I didn't know what to expect until I watched it. I found it entertaining at times. Granted I'm going to watch it with a critical eye, since I been in the business for over twenty years. I also try to be very open minded to see if this show has any appeal to attract the masses and even the casual wrestling fan.
I can stomach many of the changes in the industry. I can even tolerate kayfabe being dead to some degree. My major gripe with the show was depicting wrestling as being so easy to learn. I don't like the idea that by teaching a bunch of novices a clothesline, a flat bump, forearm smash, and a kick in the span of four hours [I don't believe they learned it in four hours] is enough to have a basic match. Every fan knows wrestling is not that easy. Hell, there's guys on television that can barely have a three minute television match. Don't tell me Danny Bonaduce can have a 8 minute tag team match against Tiffany without blowing spots all over the place? Those matches must have been edited to death.
Does anybody remember Beth Phoenix body slamming Johnny Knoxville on his head on RAW two weeks ago? Johnny Knoxville didn't go up for the body slam correctly and ended up being dropped on his head. That spot was just one move. The bottom line is that wrestling is not that easy to learn and can be botched very easily if not properly trained.
If your going to depict that wrestling can be taught to anybody, than you should have shown how hard it was. WWE had to carefully book Mr. T, Lawrence Taylor, & Floyd Mayweather Jr. to wrestle in front of a live crowd at Wrestle Mania's. I'm very sure it didn't take four hours to get them to learn the basics. Keep in mind WWE booked enough swerves and distractions to keep the matches cohesive with a ring general. Are you telling me Danny Bonaduce can become a ring general and know psychology with four hours of training? The guy can't even identify a transsexual hooker. How is he going to know anything about wrestling? This aspect is what upset me the most about the show.
I had a bunch of wrestling lessons at Slammers Gym, Johhnny Rodz School [taught to me by Little Jeannie], and several wrestlers over the years. I am far from being a ring technician, but I can easily determine if a worker was trained poorly by just seeing their lock up and the way they run the ropes. Fundamentals takes time to learn and you just can't be thrown in to a match right off of your first lesson.
Timing and psychology is not something that you can grasp instantaneously. It takes a while to learn how to manipulate a crowd to get the desired reaction that you want. I'm glad the Celebrity wrestlers mastered crowd psychology in front of a audience that is told when to boo and when to cheer.
A great ring general can make almost anybody look decent. Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Terry Funk, Bret Hart, etc. can carry a match with a broom. I remember working with Sherri Martel in Canada in 1999. Sherri carried me to my only decent match in my career. Sherri knew how to call everything and knew how to make me shine. My only job was to be in the right place and know my spots in the match. I could never had pulled the match off against a novice. Did I mention that Sherri even allowed me to pin her to win the Apocalypse Women's Title? The business needs more people like Sherri Martel's to teach wrestlers by having actual matches with them.
I think Tough Enough was the best reality show that depicted how tough the wrestling business was. The wrestlers had to learn to take bumps and learn the ring mechanics at such a short period of time. Contestants were cut constantly for failure to pick up the basics. This showed how tough wrestling could be. This made the casual television viewer to marvel about how much effort it takes to just to learn a back body drop. Now that I look back on it, the closest thing I can compare it to would be Ultimate Fighter. Both shows make it obvious that not just anybody can learn either sport and be a star.
My other major gripe was there was no reality. Tough Enough and Ultimate Fighter has a house that allows the contestants to show off there personalities. You get the drama of personality clashes. We find out who is a sexual deviant, a drunk, asshole, stooge, etc. I only tuned in to see Nikki Ziering, since I heard that she got knocked up during the filming of the show. That piece of reality was the hook to get me to watch the show. Hopefully we can see her trying to hook up on the reality part of this show. Hearing Hogan calling people jabronies can get very old for myself very quickly. I need Danny Bonaduce being the steroid abusing-drunk that I saw on 'Breaking Bonaducce'. No reality = no interest for most viewers. Watching bad wrestling matches being put together by celebrities will get old very quickly unless we get drama.
We need the cast to start fighting with each other. We need to see blown spots and tempors flaring at the coaches and their opponents. We need the contestants to start stooging each other off and telling each other how they suck behind their back. Back stabbing and politicing to get a decent spot is a big part of the business. Hopefully we can get footage of the contestants trying to sabotage each other.
If I don't see Nikki flirting her way to Brutus Beefcake's hotel room, than I'm going be a pissed off viewer. What a better hook for the massses. The wrestling coach that sleeps with his student. Baby mama drama draws ratings.
The biggest star of this show will always be Hulk Hogan. Hogan and his family have a great track record in drawing ratings for reality shows. The big question is if the masses find Hogan more appealing at this point for just being Hulk or for wrestling. The success of this show will be very interesting to monitor.
Luckily I'm not a T.V. producer, since my vision of this show would be so different than this version. I would have had "Iron Sheik Celebrity Rehab Wrestling". I would take three wrestlers with long time drug problems and make them coaches. Than I would have them coach a bunch of celebrity drug addicts. The winner would be the person who can come out of the house clean.
Every week Sheiky can berate the contestants and threaten to break their backs and make them humble. Sheiky can have drama when he tries to seduce any woman with his medicine and have his sexual advances turned down. The result is Sheiky going on his many rants about how everybody is a cheap Jew and how all the women are lesbeans!
The wrestling coaches can be Jake Roberts [he claims to be clean]. Every episode Jake gets mangled. But he ends up exposing himself to the celebrities, since somebody spiked his drink. We than get Jake trying to acquire 8-Ball from every celebrity or camera man who is a minority. This show idea = buys.
The other team can be coached by Scott Hall. He only comes to practice when ever he feels like it. He hits on every female and gets violent for no reason. He can piss on everybody's ring gear and not even realize it.
One episode has Sandman as a guest instructor. He shows the celebrities how to get loaded and incoporate it in to their ring character. Than he shows everybody how to get sleep in the ring by putting your foe in the sleeper hold and he passes out instead.
The celebrities battle drug addiction with stacking somas to mask the painful wrestling bumps, while they are detoxing from ther previous addictions. We all know a overdose could be evident at any time. A female celebrity can get knocked up and contemplate a life changing decision. The choice of kicking pain pills, booze, and other substances could be the answer.
The stoned out celebrity wrestlers can put together matches in a zombie haze. Botched moves and career ending injuries can occur at anytime. F*CKED up celebrities end up sleeping with each other and regretting it constantly, since they were taken advantage of in their inebriated state.
I'm willing to sell my "Celebrity Rehab Wrestling" concept for dog kibble for my Jack Russells.
I want to give a big THANK YOU! to Diamond Dallas Page. I saw DDP at a wrestling show awhile back. I started telling him about how tight my back and neck were. I told him that I do yoga to allieviate some of the pain. He started telling me about his yoga DVD. So naturally I started rolling my eyes about his DVD. DDP than offered to send me a copy. I said I would only use his DVD if it doesn't have him doing yoga in a leotard or spandex. Last week I finally got the DVD and it was great. I'm actually using DDP's DVD in place of my previous yoga DVD. I guess DDP can now add me to his testimony list on the greatness of his yoga tecniques.
I also want to give a big shout out to fellow dog rescue volunteer in Norm Connors [IWC Promoter]. Norm runs a funeral home and has became a foster parent to some of the deciests owners pets that were left behind. Finally a wrestling promoter that I can respect! I'm also currently helping out at my local animal shelter twice a week. It breaks my heart that 44,000 stray cats and dogs arrive to the shelters each year in N.Y. Unfortunately a large amount of those strays are put down if they are not adopted. My advice is spay & neuter your pets. If you don't have a pet, than please go out and adopt.
On 11/1, I'm going to be working for WPW. Check out http://www.worldpremierwrestling.com for more information. I can't wait to see Taylor Wylde VS. Angelina Love wrestle live in person. Its no secret that I'm a big fan of the Beautiful People and the TNA Knockout division. Balls Mahoney [who always busts his ass live] goes against Cute Kip and Rhino. They even got James Caan & Gianni Russo from the Godfather movie. I LOVE the Godfather. Bruno Sammartino, Lou Albano, Larry Zbyszko, and others will be there. Did I mention that I will be managing Hawaii Allen [possible superstar or just another jabronie]?
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