Category Archives: TV

Chris Benoit Thoughts, Part 2

As promised, I’m continuing my thoughts here…

I’ve watched my share of “talking head” shows over the past week.  It’s apparent that a lot of people are talking – but very few are listening.

After each new note is posted regarding the investigation, media-types seem to fall over themselves to proclaim THAT as the primary cause.

For instance, the first guess was steroids.  It HAD to be “roid rage!”  A professional wrestler committed a heinous act, so it could NOT have been anything else besides steroids.  Well, nothing about this tragedy implies rage and Benoit passed a recent WWE-sponsored drug test (which may or may not be as legit as you’d want it to be).

Next, it was the fact that Daniel had Fragile X Syndrome that sent Benoit over the edge.  Well, new evidence shows that he DID NOT suffer from that.

This was followed by the evil doctor.  We’re still not sure what went on there.

The thing is, I’m guessing there was not just one thing here to cause this tragedy.  There were probably numerous things going in Benoit’s head, perhaps different substances coursing (or not) through his body.

It’s sad to hear about all the troubles that Benoit had…how erratic his life had become, and apparently, had been for quite some time.  But since he presented himself to his fans and coworkers in a stoic, put-together way, he was not given the help he desperately needed.

If some good can come of this, I hope that it alters the sports entertainment landscape to protect the physical and mental well-being of it’s performers.

Perhaps WWE scales back from 4-5 live events a week to 2-3.  Perhaps they can offer health insurance to their wrestlers.  Perhaps they can have guidance counselors available.

I’ve studied the history of the genre a little bit.  The vast majority of superstars used to travel constantly, but within a smaller region.  Today’s Superstars roam the globe with no break, expected to perform in front of tens of thousands in the arena, in addition to millions on television.  The pressures and rigors — and the stakes — have never been higher.

More Great “The Office” Moments

It’s been a while since I posted some new clips from “The Office,” probably the greatest show on television right now.  So, here goes!  (Feel free to pass these on, Dan!)

Chris Benoit Thoughts, Part 1

If you are reading this, then you know the basics of the story.

Longtime readers of this blog definitely know the appreciation I have from professional wrestling, dating back to my days as a “Little Stinger” following WCW in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The events of the past several days jolted the wrestling world, as fans search for answers and observers look to point fingers.

I’ve got a lot on my mind, as it relates to this tragedy, and I’m sure I’ll let them unfold over several entries over the next period of time.

Professional wrestling is different from other forms of entertainment.  It asks you to shed your disbelief in a way that an action movie never really could.  It demands you to invest yourself in the characters in a way that a soap opera really can’t do. 

For me, enjoying the show is not about believing the grapplers are “really” fighting.  We all know they aren’t.  When you listen to music, you know it has been edited, tweaked, synced, and altered.  But you appreciate it just the same.   The entire presentation is given with a wink of a knowing eye anda  sly grin. 

No, my enjoyment in wrestling comes from two major areas:

1) Enjoying the performance art.  Go see West Side Story at your local high school.  Then see the original movie.  Much different, right?

2) Connection with the performers and characters.  Some readers may know what my profession is.  I don’t want to get into that, but it has afforded me the opportunity to meet many WWE superstars.  These men and women develop their personas and characters over time and the best ones allow you to grow with them.  I met Chris Benoit about 10 years ago in Baltimore.  Since then, his character has undergone no major changes.  Silent, technical professional.  He sucked me in – I was able to connect with his character.

Unlike other TV programs, wrestling TV, because of it’s naturally episodic nature, HAS to be original and (preferably) live.  On Monday night, WWE was scheduled to run a 3-hour extended show pushing their #1 storyline at the time, “Who Killed Mr. McMahon?”  Just hours before that show was to air, word broke that Chris, his wife and son were all found dead.

WWE immediately cancelled the TV taping, sending performers and fans home.  Instead, they used that 3-hour block to 1) have Vince McMahon introduce the show at the top of each hour, explaining that the storyline was a story and that this was real and 2) run matches and clips from the long-ago produced Chris Benoit DVD.

Seriously, could they have done anything else?

Last night, I was watching MSNBC, FOX News, and other outlets as they questioned WWE for paying tribute to a murderer.  However, that fact hadn’t come out yet and they had a 3-hour major cable channel window to fill. 

One of their major stars was found dead, no details were available, so they did the only thing they really could do: pay tribute to his career.

At the beginning of Tuesday’s ECW on Sci-Fi broadcast, Vince McMahon again addressed the viewers, this time to recognize that more facts had come out since Monday evening and that his company was starting to heal tonight by entertaining the fans.  John Cena, their top star, led off the show with a terrific match against the new ECW champion Johnny Nitro.  Many people speculate that on Sunday night’s Pay Per View show, Benoit would have won that ECW title.

Right now, the hot topic of discussion is the role steroids may have played in the incident.  I won’t even touch that until the reports come back, but it is definitely worth discussing in the proper forums.

So what are we left with?

The Benoit immediate family is gone.  The extended family left with broken hearts and countless questions.  They must be questioning themselves, as well.  What didn’t they see?  What couldn’t they have known?  I can’t even begin to imagine their pain right now.

The WWE lost one of their top stars, a technical marvel that brought a sense of tradition, respect, and athletic validation to their product.  Their locker room is left without a quiet leader, who by all accounts led by example and actions, which spoke so, so loud.

Fans are left confused.  I have never heard or read of any fans saying, “Yeesh, that Chris Benoit puts on AWFUL matches!  I hope I never see him again!”  Like many fans, I proudly owned countless Benoit matches, including the 1996 Great American Bash classic Falls Count Anywhere match between Benoit and Kevin Sullivan which exploded all over the Baltimore Arena.  Ironically, it was during that time that Benoit began his relationship with Nancy, who was married to Kevin Sullivan at the time.  For a decade, that has stood as one of my favorite 20 minutes of entertainment, one that I joyfully popped into the DVD player several times a year. 

When an entertainer goes bad, can you every truly enjoy their body of work again?  And is it OK to feel guilty for ever enjoying it in the first place?  These are the questions fans are asking themselves right now.

In the wrestling world, fans excuse a lot.  Drugs, booze, domestic abuse, marital infidelity…it’s hard to name a top wrestling star who hasn’t at least climbed towards that Mount Rushmore of issues.

For me, it’s all too new…too fresh. 

There are certain events that define the world.  JFK’s assassination.  Dropping the Atomic Bomb.  9/11.  These are events which forever alter the world.  There is no going back.

In no way am I comparing the Benoit case to those three globally horrific moments in time.

However, in the wrestling world, this is the biggest story ever.

One of the greatest wrestlers of all time murdered his wife and son then took his own life. 

The world of professional wrestling will never be the same again.

Forgotten Great Wrestling Themes

So, we have listed the greatest wrestling theme songs.  That list isn’t changing.

However, there are some that slipped through the cracks that we now fondly remember:

– X-Factor – X-Pac’s faction stunk, but their Uncle Kracker-created theme is pretty sweet

–  NWO Wolfpac – the “good” NWO…it’s very confusing

– Maven (“Memory” by Mercy Drive) – the Tough Enough winner’s awesome theme

– Ken Shamrock – when you hear this song, you KNOW it’s “GO TIME”

– Owen Hart – it’s extremely dated now, but this was a pretty tight song for it’s time in the early 1990s, trust me

– Christian (Waterproof Blonde – Just Close Your  Eyes) – awesome, awesome, awesome song

– Kurt Angle

Top Wrestling Entrance Themes

I think I may have done something similar to this before, but y’know what?  I’ll do it again!

In professional wrestling (nee Sportz Entertainment), the music heralding a wrestler’s entrance into the arena for a match or interview is crucial to set the proper tone.  If someone came in to a high-energy Metallica rock song, you’d get one impression of them, as opposed to if they entered to a Frank Sinatra ballad.

So I present to you this Top 10 List of the Wrestling Entrance Themes!  They are judged on the following characteristics:

– Reactiveness: Does the music make you feel an emotion?  Excitement, fear, etc.

– Coolness: Does the piece just have a unique, cool spin?

– Longevity: If it lasted for a long period of time, it did so for a reason.

– Success: On a lower level, the success of the wrestler can help make a theme awesome.

All set?  Let’s roll.

#10 – Randy Orton (Mercy Drive’s “Burn In My Light”) – WWE – Sweet song for an arrogant, rising star.

#9 – Dusty Rhodes (“Common Man”) – WWE – You want to dance EVERYTIME you hear this, don’t you?

#8 –  Jeff Jarrett (“King of the Mountain) – TNA – From the opening notes, you just HATE this prick.

#7 – Goldberg – WCW/WWE – These had slight differences but were close enough.  Amazing.

#6 – Macho Man Randy Savage (“Pomp and Circumstance”) – WWE/WCW – Can’t find a good version of it, but here’s something.

#5 – Ultimate Warrior (“Unstable”) – WWE – Sheer energy.  The forerunner of modern themes that defined the character.

#4 – Ted DiBiase (“Money”) – WWE – Just perfect.

#3 – Edge (“Metalingus” by Alter Bridge) – WWE – Amazing, amazing song.  Perfect for the character.

#2 – Sandman (“Enter Sandman” by Metallica) – ECW – This clip is from a WWE show, but this entrance is ALL ECW.

#1 Hulk Hogan (“Real American” by Rick Derringer) – WWE – Simply the best.  For over 20 years.

Rick Astley on Family Guy

Blog Hero Rick Astley’s appearance on the season finale of Family Guy was…awesome!!!

For the record, he’s married.  To a woman.

Enjoy the Blog Hero!

For more Rick Astley, click on the Rick Astley or Blog Hero category tags below.

No, Carmen. Thank YOU!

This may go down as one of the greatest commercials of all time!

– Fat, middle-aged CEO hires a washed-up model (didn’t Dennis Rodman, her husband at the time, call her a “sperm receptacle?  Ouch.) to go ga-ga over him.

– She talks about “fast enlargements” with a straight face.

– Wait…Carmen Electra, Photographer??

– I KNOW Carmen has at least 50 or 60 options for “big, big enlargements.”  Ritz MUST be good, then!

Enjoy!

American Idol – Top 6 – RESULTS

Two go home.  Four will remain.  Big night.

–  Seacrest promises no filler.  I laugh.

– We recap last night’s show.  Which is…FILLER!

– We all agree that Blake kicked ass and took names.

– Seacrest interviews random people.  Which is…FILLER!

– Seacrest interviews the contestants.  Which is…not filler.

– Reuben Studdard shills for Idol Gives Back.

– A recap of last week.  Which is…FILLER!

– Musical performance from Robin Thicke.

Here’s his BEST song EVER:

– He doesn’t sing that tonight.  But he does sing “Lost Without You,” which is a tight track.

– Fantasia shills for “Idol Gives Back.”

– Sponsored Crappy Video of the Week is “Paint It Black.”

Elimination One:

Melinda, Phil, LaKisha are center-stage.

– Melinda is safe!

– LaKisha is safe.

– Phil goes home.  Bummer…he was just starting to roll!

– Like I said last night, “Blaze of Glory” was a perfect song for him to sing this week.  And it’s kinda awesome to here him sing it again after elimination.

Elimination Two:

– Jordin is safe.

– It’s down to Blake and Chris–after the break.

– Bon Jovi performs a new song.  Eh.

– Taylor Hicks shills for “Idol Gives Back.”

– Chris and Blake admit they are best friends.   Blake shoots down the importance of the elimination by reminding us that they will BOTH be on the tour.  Love it.

– America voted…Chris goes home and Blake continues!

Next week, Boogie Sounds.  OOOOOOOOOOkay.

Thanks for reading!

American Idol – Top 6 – Performances (Bon Jovi)

Sorry for not having a recap for the results show last week.  My DVR failed me.

Also, the cop-out ending was kind of a bait-and-switch.  So, blah.

But tonight….tonight should be interesting!  It’s Bon Jovi night!

– We start with a career retrospective of Bon Jovi.

– Tony Bennett, Jennifer Lopez, Diana Ross…all great mentors.  But BON FLIPPIN’ JOVI???  That’s cool.

– Phil starts with “Blaze of Glory.”  Quick tip.  When you are a rock kinda guy and the setlist is, hello, Bon Jovi music, do one of the big guns!  He claims to have performed this song in front of his mirror.

Hmm…listen to the lyrics: “I’m going down in a blaze of glory.”  I change my mind on the song selection.  Makes sense for him.  He knows he’s probably on the chopping block.  Really, this is a great song for that.  And he sings it well.  Oh, the irony!  Randy recorded the song with Bon Jovi.  And called it his second best performance ever.  Paula loved it.  See-moan: “I thought it was OK.”

– Gina is in the crowd.  Again, the irony.

– Wait.  Jordin’s MOM grew up listening to Bon Jovi?  Damn, I feel old.

– Jordin gets the MONEY song, “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

– Jordin has 80’s hair, to go with the song.  Actually, she looks like Scary Spice tonight.  The first verse is rough for Jordin, but she gets it together by the middle.  The end was so good, I forgot how shaky the beginning was!  Randy acknowledged it was tough…especially the verses.  Paula said about the same.  See-moan wasn’t a fan.  Here’s what I don’t get:  Phil was GREAT and feels like he got no momentum.   Jordin had her worst night yet and they make excuses for her.  Don’t get it.

– LaKisha is in the Sponsored Cola Lounge.

–  This is rich: LaKisha admits to seeing Bon Jovi on Oprah, but that she has never heard one of his songs.  Wow.  That statement is all sorts of messed-up.  She’s performing the not-well-known “This Ain’t A Love Song.”

-LaKisha does a nice job with the song.  She’s still falling down the depth chart, but this will definitely slow the descent.  Didn’t have the WOW factor, but it had a SWEET factor.  Probably the best you could have expected from her on Bon Jovi night.  Randy says she’s back.  Paula said she “gave everyone a little somethin-somethin.”  See-moan threatens to kiss her.  And then does.  I guess that’s a good thing?

– Beatbox Blake gets the OTHER money song, “You Give Love A Bad Name.”

– He promises a risk.  He colored his hair.  Wow…he completely re-imagined the song.  It’s funky.  And then rocks out for the chorus.  And beatboxes after that.  Wow…this is all over the place and I LOVE it.  It’s a vocal remix!  Blake definitely put himself out there with this song.  Randy loved the creativity, originality and the song overall.  Paula: “This was your night.”  See-moan’s mom is in the crowd tonight.  See-moan claimed half will love it and half will hate it and he personally liked it.  Works for me.  The risk paid-off for the Beatbox!

– Chris Richardson is in the Sponsored Cola Lounge.

– He’s trying “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

– On the surface, should be a good song choice.  Oh man…he forgot the words in front of Bon Jovi.  As Richardson said, Daughtry also did this on the show.  Couldn’t find that clip, but here is another one:

– Shaky, karaoke performance.   Especially after Blake’s masterpiece.  Blog Friend Andrea sums it up:

BFA: moron

BFA: chris daughtry NAILED that song – you KNOW youre gonna be compared… and his voice isnt gruff enough for it. i think that was another bad choice

Randy kinda liked it.  So did Paula.  Did they listen to the same song I listened to?  See-moan said Chris did his best, but that it might not be good enough.

 

– Let’s wrap things up with Melinda Doolittle!  Interesting song choice, with “Have a Nice Day.”

 

– Bon Jovi tells Melinda to take it to church.   For not being a “rocker,” she is rockin’ pretty hard in a Tina Turner-meets-Journey kinda way tonight.  I dig.  This is phenomenal. My Melinda crush is back in full effect.  Randy loved it, compared it to Tina Turner.  Paula gushed.  See-moan also loved it, channeling Tina Turner.

 

Dubbya and Mrs. Dubbya thank Amurica.

 

Most Valuable Singer: Blake, followed by Phil and Melinda.  Rough night for Jordin.  Might be the end for Chris.  Second good week in a row for Phil…will it save him?

 

Thanks for reading!  Results tomorrow!

Blog Summer Concert Series #2

We’re back for another week of live musical performances!  Enjoy!

1) “Metalingus” by Alter Bridge

2) “The Remedy” by Jason Mraz (Check out the ITHACA IS GORGES t-shirt!)

3)  “Grand Theft Autumn” by Fall Out Boy

4) “Zombie” by The Cranberries

5) “Hotel California” by The Eagles

6)  “Crazy” by Seal

7) “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugar Hill Gang

8) “Toxic” by Nickel Creek (Britney Spears cover!)

9) Another cover.  “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)” by Chris Daughtry

10) Sticking with American Idol Alums… “Movin’ On” by Elliot Yamin

The Concert Series continues next week!  Thanks for reading!