Friday, August 31, 2012

Blood in WWE: Unnecessary or effective tool?


I was watching WWE Monday Night Raw this past Monday (naturally, of course). The main event was CM Punk versus Jerry Lawler in a steel cage match. The point of this match was to help further Punk's recent heel turn. The crowds weren't really booing him, so I guess WWE wanted to use Lawler - the lovable ex-wrestler turned announcer - as a magnet to attract heat to Punk. He goaded the former AWA World Champion into the ring and proceeded to beat him to a pulp and attack him after the match was over.

During the match, I noticed something that piqued my interest. Punk's face was driven into the cage and when he stood up from the ground his face was covered in blood. Since changing their television shows from TV-14 to TV-PG in the summer of 2008, they have banned the act of bleeding in a WWE ring, either intentional or accidental. If it happens on accident, the referee will stop the match and a physician will attempt to close the wound. Locked inside a cage, doing that was harder, so they went on with the show.

Punk, realizing the no-blood rule, tried to wipe the blood away at every opportunity, leaving his wrist tape soaked red. As soon as the match was over, he exited the ring and was handed a towel by the referee.

Rumors sprang up online the next day that Punk had drawn blood intentionally, through the act known as "blading." Blading is exactly what it sounds like and has been used to increase drama in wrestling matches since at least the 1970s - you cut your forehead with a small razor blade. That's an area of the body that will bleed a lot from a small cut. Mix in some sweat and you have what famed announcer Gorilla Monsoon famously called a "crimson mask."

Punk vaguely referenced the rumors on Twitter, tweeting about how paying a $500,000 fine was a "drop in the bucket. Bucket of blood!" He further added, "And, yes, I have more power than you could possibly imagine," as one would assume a wrestler intentionally breaking that rule on live television would be instantly fired.

See for yourself - click here to watch the match. It's broken up into clips. At around the one-minute mark, Lawler drives Punk's head into the cage. Punk hits the ground and one of two things happen - he blades his head or he touches the legitimate cut on the top of his head.

I'm leaning toward the latter, that he was really cut from his head hitting the cage. One, I just don't think he would take the chance on doing something like that. Two, the cut was on the top of his head and pretty long. Even if he did blade, I don't think he would do it like that. Click here to see the 8 staples he received. When some questioned that the blood was fake, he tweeted the picture with the caption "The staples are fake too."

So, with all that said, why is there a video of Shawn Michaels versus Chris Jericho from 2008 embedded above? That's a landmark match for a couple of reasons. First, it was the beginning of Jericho's great heel turn and their amazing feud. Second, it was the last major blade job in WWE before the company turned TV-PG.

My girlfriend has gotten into wrestling a little bit just by being around me. She never watched WWE pre-PG and she hates when matches get bloody. She feels like there is no need for blood in wrestling and a lot of people feel the same way about it. I think that when used correctly, blood can add the necessary drama to a match and help tell a story. A perfect example of that is Jericho vs Michaels from the Great American Bash 2008.

The story is amazing and is why the feud worked so well. In May, Shawn Michaels faked a knee injury to win a match. He "played possum," in effect. He played up the injury for a while and Chris Jericho started to question it. Still a good guy at this point, he called Michaels out on it and HBK admitted that he lied. That was the impetus for Jericho's heel turn. He questioned the fans for continuing to cheer Michaels despite the fact that he lied to them. He said they respected Michaels for being a cheater and would never respect him no matter how hard he tried. Jericho was tired of pandering to the fans for respect like Michaels had done. The first couple minutes of the video recaps this.

Jericho slammed Michaels head into a television screen, damaging his eye. Michaels later made his return and cost Jericho the Intercontinental Championship. Michaels euphoria was short-lived, as Jericho walked up to him and punched him in the eye, further injuring him. That leads into the GAB 2008 match.

At around the 18:50 point of the video above, Jericho catches Michaels with an elbow to the eye. He's busted open. Jericho realizes it and takes advantage of it, punching and kicking at Shawn's face with reckless abandon for nearly 10 minutes. He mounts Michaels and throws punch after punch until the referee pulls Jericho off an unconscious Michaels and declares Y2J the winner.

Amazing visual of Michael's loss. The ensuing storyline sees Michaels admit that he might not be able to return. He says he will make an announcement about his future at the following month's SummerSlam event. Standing in the ring with his wife, HBK looks like he is about to announce his retirement before Jericho interrupts the party. Jericho attempts to punch Michaels, but HBK moves out of the way and Jericho inadvertently strikes Michaels's wife in the face [click here to watch].

The feud ends at the beginning of autumn, with an unsanctioned match, with HBK recreating the GAB finish, mounting Jericho and punching him until the referee pulls HBK off an unconscious Y2J.

That blood added the drama and realism of Shawn Michaels suffering a potentially career-ending injury. The personal animosity between the two competitors was upped a notch with Jericho attacking Michaels and drawing blood.

While I understand WWE not wanting blood on their programming, that doesn't mean that I have to like it. With that said, though, you don't need blood to have an entertaining match. A lot of times, I'll admit, blood is often overused and doesn't add anything. But, when it's used correctly, like Jericho and Michaels showed, it can help turn a good match into a great match and an already great angle into one of the best of the last decade.

What do you think? Is blood unnecessary or an effective tool to help tell as story?

Do I know you from somewhere?

I never realized how closely associated I was with something until I was no longer associated with it. I worked at Pizza Hut from June 2005 until November 2011. I was there for what I guess were the formative years of my life. Most of my life-changing life experiences from my late teens into mid 20s involve that place in some way.

[Pizza Hut memories in picture form ... counting money ... Robbie changing a light bulb ... Me and Lamar, part 1 ... Me and Lamar, part 2]

I began working as a server at Outback steakhouse in late January 2012. On my first day, mere minutes into my first shift, a co-worker says to me, "Do I know you from somewhere? Where did you work at before here?" I say Pizza Hut. "Oh. I thought I recognized you from somewhere."

I started waiting tables and interacting with customers. The first time it happened out there was more direct. A guy said, "When did you stop working at Pizza Hut?" I talked to him about it for a minute and we shared some stories. Most people though, have the same general inquisitive attitude toward recognizing me: "Do I know you from somewhere?" For the first 3 months, I heard this an average of 2-3 times a week. After that, it slowed down to getting recognized a couple times a month or so.

I thought the final one had occured in June. It was a late Saturday night. A couple came in. I actually recognized the girl from high school. But, she recognized me from somewhere else: "Do I know you from somewhere?" Pizza Hut? "Yeah! That's it! How long have you been here?"

It has now been around 8 months since I have worked at Outback. We're almost at one year since I have stopped working at Pizza Hut. What I am assuming is the last one happened two days ago.

It was late at night. There was only one table left and another server was waiting on them. She realized that I was still there and asked me to come over so she could ask me something. As I approached the table, the lady sitting there studied me for a second: "Do I know you from somewhere?" I recognized her and didn't even question it - "Pizza Hut." Her eyes lit up and she exclaimed, "Yes! I used to see you two or three times a week. I like the beard." At Pizza Hut you can only have a goatee. You wouldn't know that from seeing me at Pizza Hut over the years, as I routinely got in trouble for having a beard.

I guess I'll always be associated in some way with Pizza Hut. That's why I have bittersweet feelings about the closure and moving of the Pizza Hut I worked so long at. For those who don't know, the store beside McDonalds and across the high school has been moved down the street to the Kroger plaza. The dine-in aspect has been removed and they now only do carryout and delivery.

At the end of my tenure there, I was very unhappy. But, before that I made a lot of great friends and created many awesome memories in and around that building. I'll never forget that. But, I'll also never forget how mismanagement and poor decisions led to me being at a very low point in my life and the resentment that I still feel about that.

Percolating in the back of my head somewhere is an idea to write a detailed piece about how Corporate America ruined my passion for the pizza industry. I really did enjoy it for a while. I enjoyed it so much that opening a pizza restaurant at some point in life was a legitimate idea I was considering. But I don't really have that fire anymore for something like that. That corporate mentality of "Here's a sheet of paper that will tell you how to successfully run a business" doesn't work. The mentality of making sure you cut every corner for a profit just ruined whatever amount of goodwill I had built up toward Pizza Hut.

I guess the people recognizing me, mostly the last one the other day, really made me realize that I missed that human aspect of working there. I really enjoyed interacting with customers and being that anchor, that first and last figure they talked to when they came in and left.

I watched a kid grow up at Pizza Hut. That boggles my mind. He's probably 16 or 17 now, but he came into Pizza Hut maybe once a week for six years with his mother. I watched him develop from 11 or 12 years old to almost being an adult. All from seeing him come in and eat pizza. He came into Outback once. I don't know if he recognized me from Pizza Hut, but he definitely recognized me. I walked up to the table and we just stared at each other for a second. It was kind of weird.

That's one thing I enjoy about journalism. It's that one-on-one aspect of talking to somebody, of needing them in order to achieve what you're trying to accomplish.

I'm starting to develop that same relationship with people at Outback. I really don't want to be known as "The Outback Guy," but I guess I'll take it if I have to.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tricycle Offense blog posts

I haven't been quite as proactive with my posting for Tricycle Offense lately as I would like to be, but here are the two most recent pieces I have contributed to the multimedia blog.

Oh, You Don't Know Hacksaw? ... I don't come up with the headlines. I spotted "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan's autobiography and had to have it. It was a fun read, which I go more in depth with in the review. The biggest part of the book details his late 80's arrest for marijuana possession with the Iron Sheik, which created national headlines at the time. If you like easy, entertaining reads, check it out.

The Second City Saint v. The Rattlesnake: Will It Happen At 'Mania XXIX? ... It has been rumored for a while now that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin will return for his first match since 2003 against CM Punk. When will that happen? I look at the possibility of it occuring at WrestleMania 29, to be held in April 2013. I examine the factors that could lead to it happening and I also look at what may lead to it not happening. Since writing the piece, some rumors have popped up that point to this match actually happening at WrestleMania 30, which would be held in 2014. As I mention in the article, we'll know a lot more by February of next year.

I have a lot more ideas in my head for things to write about. If you have any suggestions on what you'd like to see me tackle, give me a shoutout. Some of the guys from the site have discussed getting together for a wrestling podcast, which would be cool. It's mostly scheduling issues that have stopped that from happening so far. I'll keep you updated on when that will eventually occur.

Gertie from the OS

I'd like to call in a favor. If anybody's willing to help out, that would be greatly appreciated. My girlfriend, Candace Nelson, has been doing some freelance writing for Prerogative Magazine, a women's magazine published by the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, and she needs some help with an article.

Since she lives in Morgantown and only makes sporadic trips down to Princeton to see me, it's hard for her to talk to people sometimes. She is doing an article in the next issue of Prerogative about Gertie, the lovable waitress from the Omelet Spot (formerly Omelet Shoppe, for those old enough to remember).

As we all remember, Gertie retired back in 2009 and it was a big deal since she had been a waitress there since the late 1970s. She returned to the Omelet Spot at some point (I remember seeing her there in January of this year at the earliest...) and Prerogative wants to do a profile piece on her return.

Candace has interviewed Gertie already. Being one of the only late-night options in Princeton, I have already taken Candace to the OS on multiple occasions when she comes to visit (click here to read her review of the restaurant for her blog). She already liked Gertie a lot and was excited when she was given the opportunity to write this story.

What she needs is comments from customers who want to share stories, experiences, anecdotes, etc... about your experiences with Gertie over the years. Basically, we need to illustrate why people like her, for people reading the article who wouldn't know her.

If you would like to be included in the article, you can leave a comment here, message me on Facebook, send me a text, contact me in some way with a story or two about why you like Gertie, if you're excited that she's back, an experience you had with her, etc... and I'll forward those to Candace. Quotes cannot be anonymous, and we would need your full name and age.

I have no idea when the article will be printed. I'm assuming this is for their Fall issue, so sometime within the next month or two months it should be out.

Thanks in advance for anybody who wants to help out. As a sidenote, I have a humorous story regarding my dealings with Prerogative Magazine that I'll get around to sharing one day.

Check out Prerogative's Facebook page by clicking here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

XXVI

Turned 26 on August 18. I spent it at the wedding of my friend Shane. It was a nice event. There was an afterparty at Danny's, a local Princeton bar. I went home to change and fell asleep. I guess I'm not as young and spry as I used to be.

The biggest thing about turning 26 is that I need a new theme song about how subpar my life is. "25 years and my life is still trying to get up that great big hill of hope for a destination." That worked well for a year. If you have any ideas let me know.



Click here to hear Aaron Lewis of Staind do an accoustic cover.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hodgepodge

I just bought a new battery for my phone. It should be shipped to me at some point on Thursday. I'm not sure what's going on with my phone, but for the last few weeks the battery has only been lasting about 10 minutes or so. It's okay if it's just chilling, but if I start to do something - check twitter, get on the Internet, etc - the battery instantly drains down to that red "warning" bar.

I went to the AT&T store in the mall, but lady I talked to couldn't really help me. I haven't downloaded any new applications or really done anything differently with my phone. Let's see if the new battery works. I also bought a new case.

One-day shipping was $24, while two-day shipping was only $4. While I would like to have this battery tomorrow, I can hold off another day.

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In other news, I finished the advertising contract and informational packet for my magazine project, Mountain Slate. The people I showed it to have said that it looks nice and professional. I'm about a month behind where I'd like to be in getting things done with the magazine, but I'm like 5 years behind where I'd like to be in life, so one month won't kill me.

I have contacted one organization to set up an interview to pursue an advertising relationship (aka them giving me money) and am formulating a plan to begin contacting other forms of business and organizations and whatnot. I'll keep you updated with that.

For more information on Mountain Slate, click here, here, and here. Also, check out @MountainSlate on twitter.

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I've been dreaming a lot lately. It seems as though I have been having vivid, realistic dreams every single night for the last couple months. When I say "realistic," I mean dreams that are just an extension of real life. Like, I will dream that I got up, went to work, then came back home. Nothing crazy or out there, just a casual day at work. Then I'll wake up, go to work, come home.

I can't recall ever really having any type of fantasy type dream, like something that couldn't happen in real life. A lot of times I'll wake up and have to convince myself that it really didn't happen. An example of a nightmare for me is me going to work and all of my friends hate me because I said something stupid. Then I'll wake up feeling awful until I realize that they really don't hate me.

Earlier today I had a dream where I was hanging out with some friends and a guy said something really profound. In the dream I remember thinking how awesome it was and how that was the solution to everything. If I make that my motto in life, I'll go far. And, of course, I can't remember it. I woke up and thought about how awesome it was. I should have written it down, because I fell back asleep and can't recall what it was.

It was something about don't be lazy once you've made it to the top, because somebody will be there to take your spot. Only it was a lot more succinct and used an animal metaphor.

But, I don't really need to remember my dream to know that. That's just good advice.

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As most who read my blog know, I like to write a lot. It's geared more toward journalism; I like to report what is happening, I like to offer my commentary on things. I don't like to create the situation, I like to observe the situation and then present it to you.

With that said, though, I wrote a short story last week. It's only 1500 words and it only took a couple hours to write, so it's not really anything special. It's the first time I've done anything like that in forever. I can't recall the last story I wrote.

I had an idea running through my head and it wouldn't go away, so I expanded on it and words started coming out of me. I'm not ready for anybody to actually read it and I don't know if I ever will. But, I'm finally okay with the idea of people knowing that it exists.

It was fun to do. Even in those short 1500 words, I created a little universe in my head and I could see expanding a lot and creating more stories out of all of it. I don't know if I'll actually wind up doing that, but I see the ability to do so.

We'll see where that goes.

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As a final note, my Facebook account finally was switched over to the "Timeline" feature. I lasted until I was forced to make the switch. For my thoughts on the Timeline, read this blog I wrote a few months ago - http://chrisslater.blogspot.com/2012/02/my-facebook-timeline.html

CM Punk: Best in the World dvd trailer released


The trailer for the highly anticipated CM Punk documentary "Best in the World" has been released. It looks like an amazing set, one which I can't wait to get my hands on.

You can tell that WWE is serious about telling the real, complete story of CM Punk because they are doing something that they usually don't do - using footage that they don't own. They have footage of CM Punk from IWA: Mid South, where Punk got his first small break in the early 2000s and also clips from Ring of Honor.

The 3-disk set will be released October 9, 2012. To see a match listing, click here.

It is being reported on PWINSIDER.com that there will be a theatrical screening of the documentary in Chicago (Punk's hometown) on October 7, with Punk in attendance. No word yet on whether any other theaters will host screenings, but I doubt it. WWE experimented with showing documentaries in theaters back in 2008, with a screening of past WrestleMania moments set to coincide with that year's WrestleMania event, but it performed poorly.