Professional wrestler Tommy Rogers (real name Thomas Couch), best known as one half of the tag team The Fantastics, has passed away at the age of 54. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, Rogers "...had been having legal troubles in recent years stemming from fighting. He was to be sentenced tomorrow over a fight with police officers and feared a long prison stay." [more inside]
Wrestling Isn't Wrestling: a short film following the last 20 years in WWE, with a mostly female cast and a preposterous number of celebrity cameos. Directed by Max Landis and starring Chloe Dykstra as Triple H (contains lots of profanity).
WWE CEO is no longer a billionaire, Forbes reports. His attempts to generate new revenue by reshaping the way fans consume his product have "imploded", according to Business Insider. Meanwhile, Paul Levesque, aka Triple H, strives to rebuild WWE from within.
The Color Of His Presidency
A few weeks ago, the liberal comedian Bill Maher and conservative strategist and pundit Bill Kristol had a brief spat on Maher’s HBO show, putatively over what instigated the tea party but ultimately over the psychic wound that has divided red America and blue America in the Obama years. The rise of the tea party, explained Maher in a let’s-get-real moment, closing his eyes for a second the way one does when saying something everybody knows but nobody wants to say, “was about a black president.” Both Maher and Kristol carry themselves with a weary cynicism that allows them to jovially spar with ideological rivals, but all of a sudden they both grew earnest and angry. Kristol interjected, shouting, “That’s bullshit! That is total bullshit!” After momentarily sputtering, Kristol recovered his calm, but his rare indignation remained, and there was no trace of the smirk he usually wears to distance himself slightly from his talking points. He almost pleaded to Maher, “Even you don’t believe that!” “I totally believe that,” Maher responded, which is no doubt true, because every Obama supporter believes deep down, or sometimes right on the surface, that the furious opposition marshaled against the first black president is a reaction to his race. Likewise, every Obama opponent believes with equal fervor that this is not only false but a smear concocted willfully to silence them.[more inside]
Lost Dog: The Search For A Forgotten New Orleans Superhero
On a recent Friday night in the Harahan Community Center, the master of ceremonies had the capacity crowd’s attention. “This here,” he promised, “this tonight is gonna be some old-school professional wrestling.” All of us cheered. “Some of you may remember– folks my age, a little younger– the kind of old-school wrestling New Orleans was famous for. I’m talking about a certain Bill Watts. I’m talking about the Junkyard Dog.” Some jumped to their feet, howling in approval. “Junkyard Dog!” they shouted. Most just clapped politely. When I spoke to people outside during the show’s intermission, no-one younger than forty had much to say about Junkyard Dog. Of the younger attendees, a few knew he was from here, but to the majority he was just another name, a minor figure from the distant days of Hulk Hogan. Thirty years ago, Junkyard Dog was a New Orleans demigod.[more inside]
Dave Shumka's account of being shot after a comedy show is equal parts hilarious and terrifying. (Starts at 4:25) [more inside]
Historians of the war consider it to have been lost in what became known as the Fingerpoke of Doom. [more inside]
The clash between The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan that began with WrestleMania VI and continued with Hogan's unflattering comments in The Self Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior climaxed with this epic shoot in which there are - so to speak - no holds barred. [more inside]
25 years ago today, the professional wrestling boom sparked by the Captain Lou Albano/Cyndi Lauper "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection" reached its zenith with WrestleMania III - whose attendance record of 93,173 for a live indoor "sporting" event in North America stood until 2010. The match between "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat is prized by aficionados as one of the greatest in wrestling history. Look into the videoscope! [more inside]
Kayfabe Memories has a small book's worth of material on the history of professional wrestling's regional territories and the grapplers who animated them.
Any shortlist of the top wrestling promo botches in history would include Lex Luger's t-shirt and the debut of the Shockmaster. But it is unlikely that anything will ever surpass Hulk Hogan setting up his Wrestlemania XIX feud with Vince McMahon.
The Montreal Screwjob (part 1, part 2, aftermath) - as remembered by Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels,and Vince McMahon (previously)
While Hulk Hogan may have been professional wrestling's biggest box office star of the past generation, from a critical standpoint, Ric Flair is widely regarded as the most talented wrestler of the modern era in terms of actual in-ring ability, as well as being known as one of the best promo men (the ability to give entertaining interviews promoting upcoming matches) in the history of the business. In recent years, however, Flair's legacy has been tarnished, with his name more likely to be making news for any number of embarrassing out of the ring incidents and dire financial situation as for his in-ring exploits, to the point where comparisons to Randy “The Ram” Robinson are not out of place. Grantland explores Ric Flair's fall from grace in "The Wrestler in Real Life".
British Wresting Posters: a Flickr set. See also British wrestling photos, and the British wrestling archive. (Via everlasting blort)
Last night's Wrestlemania XXV received mixed reviews [SPOILERS here and elsewhere] - though at least Mickey Rourke did participate. But there's agreement that future Hall of Famers The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels put on "a once-in-a-lifetime match". [WWE is getting any YouTube clips pulled, of course. So you'll need to either order the PPV or torrent it. But here is Michaels' famous entrance at Wrestlemania XII. And here is The Undertaker's impressive entrance at last year's Wrestlemania.] (previously)