Tag: wwe

Top 8 WWE Live Moments!

funniest wwe moments

 

World Wrestling Entertainment’s Road To Wrestlemania Tour comes to Toronto this Friday, March 8, and thanks to my friends at the WWE, my family will be attendance for the show! It should be a great way to kick off March Break. As someone who’s been to an event or two over the years, I can tell you that the experiences are always memorable. Like, listicle worthy memorable. Check it out! Here are eight of my top WWE moments, experienced live, in person:

8. The Royal Rumble is one of the biggest shows of the year that the WWE puts on. I actually went to the very first show, in 1988, in my hometown of Hamilton. It also happened to be the first show that I went to. Even more memorably, despite coming from very modest means,  my family somehow had floor seats, just a few rows from the ring!

wwe best moments of all time

A picture that my mom took of the action. Hulk Hogan, wobbly, after Andre The Giant overturned a table on him.

7. While leaving the above event, heading back to our car, I had my first celebrity encounter! We bumped into legendary wrestler Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and legendary wrestling personality ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund outside of the rear entrance of what was then known as Copps Coliseum. As Jake was my favorite wrestler at the time, little kid me was in awe and starstruck.  They had clearly downed “one too many” beforehand, but were incredibly nice and talked to us for a while. For those not around in the 80s, we couldn’t just bust out our phones, to take a selfie, if we met a star (crazy, eh?), so you’ll have to take my word on this encounter.

6. A couple of years later, I went to a house show with one of my sisters, also in Hamilton. Again, for reasons unknown to me now, we somehow had floor seats, a few rows from the ring. My favorite wrestler at that time, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, was scheduled to be on the card. One of his gimmicks was that, during his entrance, he would give his sunglasses to a child who was ringside. Knowing that we would be close, I brought my Bret Hart action figure with me, with the intention of waving it, and drawing Bret’s attention, so I could hopefully score a pair of shades. When the big moment came, and Bret came strutting to the ring, he took off his glasses, looked right at my frantically waving little butt, and headed over. BUT, before he got to me, he saw a kid rocking a Bret Hart shirt, so gave the glasses to that boy, instead. Yo, I didn’t say they were all of these top WWE moments were good moments, peeps.

5.  When attending any event live, the crowd can really add to the experience . Wrestling is no exception to this. The hypest atmosphere of any concert/sport that I’ve been to occurred at the 2006 WWE Unforgiven Pay Per View, in Toronto, during the main event. Local hero Edge versus challenger John Cena, in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. The crowd was bananas for Edge, and the hatred for Cena was hilariously harsh, so the place was rockin’. When Cena ended up winning, grown men were legit furious. Just a very surreal match, to say the least!

4. 2007. Saturday Night’s Main Event, in Toronto.  Batista’s music hits, followed by his pyro routine. Here’s an example of it, for reference:

Needless to say, it is LOUD! However, I looked over at my buddy…..and he was fast asleep. Slept through the whole thing. I was surprised, but impressed. It takes a special kind of tired to saw logs through that kind of noise explosion.

3. I’ll cheat a bit, as this wasn’t at an official WWE event. However, when a guy like ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted Dibiase wants to lock you up in his signature move, The Million Dollar Dream, you suck it up and do it! Everyone has a price, right?

best wwe moments

Tie 2. & 1. First times always trump everything, so my top moments are when I took my oldest two oldest kids to their first shows. B a few years ago, to a Smackdown house show, and J, last year, to a WWE NXT show.  We had a good time, and they’re both looking forward to the upcoming Toronto show. At the end of the day, man, that’s what it’s all about – creating memories with your children. Who knows, maybe we’ll add to this list of top WWE moments Friday.

See you at the fights!

 

 

 

 

This Is Awesome! WWE Smackdown LIVE in Toronto!

 

 

Note: The good folks at WWE hooked me up with tickets to the show. Opinions and thoughts expressed are 100% mine.

There really is nothing like watching wrestling live, especially when it’s a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) show. Having been to a few cards in my life, I can honestly say that they put on a good show, and the events that transpire during them are always interesting, to say the least.

Such was the case of the most recent one that we went to, Smackdown Live, at the recently renamed Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. In a bit of a swerve, my guests for the night were B and one of his friends, who’s a hardcore fan. My perspective on the WWE obviously differs from theirs (mine probably leans more to the “smark” side), so I was curious to see what their reactions would be like.

B has gone to houseshows before, but not to a TV taping. The main differences are the lighting (much brighter) and the breaks in the action (much more frequent, due to commercials).  During the breaks, videos were shown, though, to keep the crowd into things. Not that the crowd needed much help staying involved. The atmosphere was very energetic and loud, which was contagious. It’s hard not to scream “Yes!” and point along with Daniel Bryan, when 15,000 or so people are doing the same thing!

Among my group, the boys were most excited to see the New Day (B), and Randy Orton and AJ Styles (his friend) in action. While the New Day started off the show, Orton and Styles were saved for the non-televised main event, which didn’t happen until after another show took place, 205 Live. In all honesty, if the kids hadn’t been looking forward to the main event (Orton and Samoa Joe versus AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy), I probably would have left after Smackdown finished, as I’m not that into 205 Live (I can only watch so much wrestling in a week). However, I’m glad that we stayed, as 205 Live was great. The boys thought Hideo Itami beating up a local enhancement talent was hilarious. While we all were initially meh about the Kalisto/Buddy Murphy match that followed, the two tore the roof off and had an incredible encounter! By the end, all three of us were chanting “This Is Awesome!” with everyone else there.

The main event also didn’t disappoint, as the four stars did all of their greatest hits (or signature and finishers moves, as my video game playing young guests called them). The good guys won, too, and celebrated with the fans for a long time after, to send the crowd home happy.

Speaking of that, by far the most popular wrestler that night…..was a bad guy. Becky Lynch had ‘turned heel’ a few weeks before, by turning on her best friend, Charlotte Flair. The problem (I think) is that Becky was pretty justified in being mad, in the minds of many of the WWE fans. So instead of hating her, people seem to be liking her more and rallying behind her. I don’t think this is what the WWE intended with this story. At the end of Smackdown, after Charlotte retained her championships in a match with Carmella, Becky ran out and attacked her. Normally this results in boos from the crowd. On this night, though, the place went bananas. The “pop” or reaction or whatever was huge, and the chants for Becky were deafening.  B and his friend were a bit confused by this, and I legit had trouble explaining why the person who is supposed to be hated had the arena going crazy for them. Like I said, it’s always an interesting time when you see a show live!

This was the apparent overwhelming sentiment.

Three more observations then I’ll wrap this up. 1) Our seats were behind former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas.  Really nice guy, and was cool to the steady stream of people who came up to him. 2) The merchandise available wasn’t that impressive. There was a lot of stuff for Raw superstars who weren’t even there. Also, t-shirts were $35, but they kept showing promos during breaks that said you could buy shirts online that night for $10. Needless to say, we didn’t buy any merchandise. 3) In terms of kid demographics, besides the New Day, Styles, and Orton, as mentioned, B and his buddy were most into Samoa Joe (so good at being bad that he’s hard not to cheer for, if that makes sense), Daniel Bryan, and R-Truth.

All in all, it was a phenomenal night. Two solid hours of Smackdown Live, followed by an entertaining 205 Live, and a crowd-pleasing main event.  The boys that I was with weren’t the only kids that I saw there who left with big smiles on their faces!

 

 

Olympic Nightmares And Velveteen Dreams – WWE NXT Live!

Disclaimer: The good folks at World Wrestling Entertainment graciously hooked me up with tickets to their WWE NXT Live show recently, in St. Catharines, Ontario. This is my review of the event!

 

“WE. ARE. NXT!” 

When Johnny Gargano yelled those words, to conclude a fun night of wrestling matches, the audience burst into cheers, including my kids B and J. What started out as curiosity ended with two converted fans!

For the uninitiated, NXT is basically like the WWE’s minor league wrestling system. It is a roster of talented performers who aren’t quite ready for the big stage. Some of the wrestlers are brand new, some are experienced but still perfecting the intricacies needed to be called up one day, while others are big name “independent” workers  with built in fan bases who are adjusting to the WWE style. Whereas WWE promotes itself as “sports entertainment”, NXT has a more pro wrestling vibe to it. Less talking, more in-ring action.  NXT has its own weekly TV show and regular pay-per-views, as well as their own merchandise. It’s really not a reach to say that some of the stars in NXT are just as popular as WWE ones.

In our house, I do find myself watching wrestling more lately. It’s one of the few shows that I can put on and follow while doing other dad duty stuff, without having to pay attention too closely. Yo, with three kids, to paraphrase Batista, it’s like distractions are not only welcomed, but encouraged.

B will watch with me sometimes, but he’s not that familiar with the NXT brand. J, conversely, only knows John Cena. However, both are pretty open-minded when it comes to outings, so I knew they’d be down for some live wrestling action. Plus, J had told me recently that she wanted to be a princess when she grew up. Now, I know some princesses are pretty empowering. However, I also know that some are just side pieces for their Prince Charmings. I figured it would be a good opportunity to expose J to some other strong female characters.

In terms of the show, the Meridian Centre was about two thirds full. From what I could tell, the crowd was mainly families (with more small girls there around J’s age than I expected), and 20ish/30ish year old looking “smart fans”; that is, the more hardcore wrestling fans who know the behind the scenes stuff. Trust me, this made a difference.

To work on their money skills, I had a little contest going, where before each match, B and J would make a prediction as to who they thought would win. If they were right, I would give them 25 cents. Since they are little kids, their automatic pick would be to pick the good guy or girl, so they could boo the baddies. I’ve been to WWE shows before, and since those crowds tend to have more casual fans in them, they will play along, and cheer/jeer appropriately. With the NXT crowd, though, the smart fans just cheered their own personal favorites! For example, one wrestler named Velveteen Dream is a heel (bad guy). However, he’s such a cool, great performer, that, as soon as his music hit, the place went nuts. B and J both asked me if he was good or bad. All I could say was that he was in the middle. They then both picked him to win. Unfortunately, he lost to another crowd favorite, Aleister Black, in an awesome match.

Velveteen Dream, soaking in the adulation.

The crowd also popped huge when Richochet’s name appeared on the jumbo screen, and he showed up. This was one of his first matches in NXT, as he hadn’t been on the TV shows yet. So to me, it was unexpected that he got such a big reaction.  However, he is a star outside of WWE. Dude’s an incredible athlete, and did some stuff that I had never seen before, in his match with Buddy Murphy.

Not every thing was bizarro world, though. By far, the wrestler who got the most heat was a Marcell Barthel, an arrogant German. Earlier that day, Germany had stunned Canada at the Olympics in hockey, crushing our gold medal dreams. Barthel made sure to mention this to us, which got him booed out of the building, unsurprisingly.

Also unsurprisingly was J’s favorite contest – the women’s three way match between Nikki Cross (dat gurl be cray cray), Aliyah (who bragged about reppin’ Toronto, and hated on St. Catharines, so she got booed hard) and the NXT Women’s Champion, Ember Moon. J really liked Moon. I tried to say she was a butt-kicking warrior princess, but J took that to mean she was the Queen. Eh, close enough.

All in all, it was a fun night out, with a lively crowd. If you had no idea who the performers were going in, they all did such a good job in getting their characters over, and the audience was so into them, that it was easy to be invested in the outcomes of the matches. B and J went in blind, and a week later, they still randomly talk about Johnny Wrestling (Johnny Gargano), Mrs. Wrestling (Candice LeRae, Gargano’s wife), the Queen, or Velveteen Dream. I’ll add that even though my tickets were free, NXT Live is reasonably priced, as well. For our event, cheap seats weren’t that much more than taking the family to a 3D movie, for example. I also appreciated that, at least from our vantage point, the audience respected the kids in attendance, so the chanting and yelling was not vulgar or profane.

Thanks again, WWE. If NXT Live comes to your town, as Billy Red Lyons use to say, don’t cha dare miss it!

 

John Cena And The WWE Are Ruining My Life

 

We always try to expose our kids to new and different things. Sports, hobbies, activities, whatever. Sometimes they’re feeling it, sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they feel it for a while,  get bored and move on to the next one (word to Jay-Z!).  Regardless, we just keep throwing stuff at them, because we never know what will stick.

For me, one of the things that stuck was pro wrestling, especially the WWF/WWE.  What can I say, since I was four or five years old, I’ve been a wrestling fan.

Until recently, B and J were only familiar with wrestling, and didn’t really care for it. To them,  it was just another thing that daddy watched, like basketball or football.  One day, though, I gave B my old  Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior dolls (err I mean action figures!). He’s at that age (almost five) that I was, when I got my first wrestling toys.  From then on, his curiosity was piqued.

But now?

It’s a borderline obsession!

See, he’s not just into wrestling; he’s really into it and wants to know everything about as many wrestlers as possible. As a parent, I’ve been trying to ease him in, and be cautious. I’ve been only showing him stuff that isn’t super crude/profane/risqué.  I also give him warnings to never try what he sees, because he isn’t a trained wrestler (Yet. Lil dude keeps talking about going to wrestling school when he’s older).  He gets that it is a show, too, and not ‘real’.

It is such a niche form of entertainment which a lot people aren’t into, though, that I am  B’s almost exclusive source for information.  As a result, he’s been asking me lots of questions. Not just the easy ones, like who’s the best wrestler or who wins the most. He wants to know everything, so his questions are randomly bananas. I try to give him real, honest answers, but sometimes, it’s impossible!

No joke, here is what he has asked me, in  just this past week:

Who’s the cutest wrestler?
Who had short hair when they were a kid?
Who has the coolest boat?
Who has the coolest car?
*Pulls out all of his action figures* Which of my guys has the coolest car? (I say John Cena). Which guy has the next coolest?
This goes on until we’ve ranked all of their cars.
Side note: I have no clue what they  all drive. Chris Jericho finished last, though.
Who has the longest hair?
Who is the tallest?
Who is the smallest?
Who got angry when someone broke something that they liked that was hard, when they were in school?
Who’s the oldest and youngest?
Who was the first wrestler from a long long long long long long loooooong time ago?
Who was the second from a long long loooooong time ago?
Who was the tenth?
Side note: yes he skipped third, fourth etc. and went straight to tenth.
Who has the coolest car but they’re dead?
Which wrestler is the tallest out of the medium?
Who has the curliest hair?
Which wrestler played video games with their dad?
Which wrestler watched another wrestler when they were a kid? Who did they watch?
Which wrestler is from Toronto?
Who’s the darkest?
Who has the most boring music ever, when they come out?
Could Andre the Giant touch my ceiling?
Who are Andre the Giant’s family? Are they giants?
Who has the best necklace?
Who has the best swimming pool, from when they were a kid?
Who can jump the highest? Can they jump over a car? Over Andre the Giant?
Who has the nicest boots?
Who can lift up a house?
Who’s the fastest?
Who had the coolest room when they were a kid?
Who cries the most?
Side note: I told him that I didn’t know, but he was adamant that I told him a name before. After arguing for a bit, I just said The Miz. No clue if he cries.
Really? REALLY?

Really? REALLY?

Sorry, Miz.
We also had this exchange:
B – ‘Which wrestler has gone to jail, when they were younger?’
Me – ‘Uhh…….Booker T.’
B- ‘Booger T? Does he pick his nose!?’
And this exchange:
B – ‘What’s your name?’
Me – ‘My name? My name is-‘
B (Cuts me off, mid sentence) – ‘It doesn’t matter what your name is!’
Side note: his timing in the cut-off was perfect. The Rock would have been proud.
IMG_20140813_222311_147

The Rock approves of B rudely interrupting me.

Another time, our neighbour dropped the news on B that the Ultimate Warrior died. He came home, and asked me when he died. I couldn’t remember, so I looked up the date on Wikipedia and told him. Much later, one of K’s friends came over, and B excitedly showed her some of his wrestlers:
B – ‘This is Rey Mysterio. This is R Truth. This is Ultimate Warrior. He’s dead. He died on April 8 2014.’
Yeah, it’s pretty crazy, man. When the school year starts, when everyone else’s kids are making pictures of Spiderman, or those princesses in Frozen, I’m sure that my kid will be drawing Kofi Kingston.
Here’s the other messed up part – you know how younger siblings emulate older ones? Guess who J’s favorite character is right now? Why, it’s who every two year old girl likes – not Dora……not Elmo…….but  John Cena!?
Who, me?

Who, me?

I mean, she doesn’t watch wrestling with any real interest. Yet, because B is so into it, she learned from him and somehow picked Cena as her go to guy. Which means:
– Whenever B is playing with his wrestlers, J will join in sometimes, but will only play with John Cena.
– When I  play one of my old WWE video games, she insists that I always be John Cena.
– She left a bunch of her toys and other play things on the stairs. When I asked her who made the mess, she said ‘John Cena! You can’t see me!’ and then ran off humming his theme song.
– I did movie night with the kids, when K went out one evening. While browsing for one to watch,  I stumbled on Scooby Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery.  Hand’s up if you knew this existed.  I put it on, and of course, it was the most riveted B has ever been for a movie. J, on the other hand, only got excited when John Cena was in it. She spent the scenes that he wasn’t in repeatedly asking where he was.
– This:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J5vTtfQj0A

Anyway, that’s our household right now.
OK, OK, maybe the title of this post is a bit of a swerve and kind of harsh.  John Cena and the WWE  aren’t really ruining my life. They’ve only made it more……. let’s go with interesting.  It’s cool that when B is really into a subject, he has an insane thirst for knowledge. And I guess that there could be worse characters for J to like. Cena does seem like a decent  role model, in real life.
I still can’t wait for my kids to move onto the next one, though.
My answer to the tenth wrestler question was Georg Hackenschmidt.  No clue if that's right. No clue how many other kindergarten-aged kids know who he is, either.

My answer to the “who was the first wrestler question” was Georg Hackenschmidt. No clue if that’s right.  No clue, either, if any kindergarten-aged kid besides B knows who he is.

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