Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the category “Pro Wrestling”

Book Review – WWE 50

50th Years Of WWEWWE 50 is a beautifully-bound hardback book that celebrates 50 years of the most iconic company in the history of sports entertainment. Below is my video review of WWE 50. The book comes out March 31 and you can buy it here.

 

WrestleMania XXX – It’s Almost Here

20140228-184142.jpg

Today I received my WrestleMania XXX travel package, including tickets to the event itself, as well as tickets to the Hall of Fame ceremony, the following night’s Raw, and tickets to Axxess – the weekend-long event where fans can meet the wrestlers, see memorabilia and engage in a variety of fun activities. I also have VIP tickets to meet and get professional photos taken with two of my all-time favorite wrestlers: Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. This will be my first WrestleMania and my first time in New Orleans. Stay tuned for all the great stories, photos and videos I’m sure to gather during what will be a fantastic weekend.

WWE Network Coming February 24

WWE NetworkWWE, the iconic sports entertainment company that made professional wrestlers like The Rock, Hulk Hogan and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin household names, just announced WWE Network. This 24/7 streaming network, launching February 24, will provide subscribers with access to all 12 live WWE pay-per-views, including WrestleMania, as well as “original programming, reality shows, documentaries, classic matches and more than 1,500 hours of video on demand at launch.” The best part is subscribers only have to pay $9.99 a month for all this content, and it can be streamed through the WWE app on nearly every device you can think of (i.e., desktop/laptop computers, iOS and Android devices, Kindle Fire tablets, Roku, Xbox 360/Xbox One, Playstation 3/4, etc.).

What has me most excited about this news isn’t that I’ll be able to access every WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-view ever – although that is awesome – it’s that this service doesn’t require me to have an existing relationship with a cable provider like HBO GO does. WWE is the first cable content provider to cut out the middle man and provide its product directly to consumers through a paid streaming service. And unlike Netflix and Hulu Plus, WWE doesn’t need to pay movie studios large amounts of money to lease this content because they already own it. For WWE, this will be a huge revenue stream for the company and a smart way to provide pay-per-view content to fans at an extremely attractive price.

Needless to say, I’m very impressed by this announcement and excited to try out WWE Network on February 24. Check out the videos below for a taste of what’s to come.

 

Book Review – Wrestling With The Devil by Lex Luger

Lex Luger - Wrestling With The DevilWhen I became a wrestling fan, it was in the heyday of larger-than-life characters like Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior and the British Bulldog. Not only did these superstars have otherworldly personas, they had spectacular physiques. While Lex Luger wasn’t known for being the most charismatic performer, his physical presence couldn’t be denied. In the 1980s he was a force to be reckoned with in the National Wrestling Alliance and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and when he came to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Luger was a top babyface (i.e., good guy). After his stint in the WWF, Luger went back to WCW and became World Champion and eventually joined the rebellious New World Order. Luger had a stellar career but he wasn’t without his vices. His autobiography reveals all of the ups and downs he went through, including the death of the “First Lady of Wrestling,” Miss Elizabeth. I found it to be a captivating read up until the final couple chapters where the book turned into what felt like an infomercial for Christianity. While I’m glad religion helped Luger turn his life around, his heavy-handed use of Bible verses came off as preachy instead of inspirational. Nevertheless, Wrestling With The Devil was an enlightening and entertaining read that wrestling fans should check out.

Synopsis 

Pro wrestling sensation Lex Luger was leading a thrill-ride life, with fans screaming his name and money pouring in faster than he could spend it. One of the most memorable figures in the sport’s history, Lex was the ultimate all-American muscleman. The three-time world champion could slam anything that got in his way—and he believed he was invincible.

But outside the ring, Lex was self-destructing. He lived a secret double life that was taking him down and ripping his family apart, culminating when his mistress died from a much-publicized drug overdose. Without realizing it, Lex was fighting for his very life—and the enemy was a host of his own demons.

Yet it wasn’t until he was at his lowest point that Lex Luger began to discover what true strength is all about. That strength would get him through the greatest challenge of his life: a paralyzing spinal cord injury.

In this stunningly honest memoir, Lex Luger reveals behind-the-scenes stories from the world of pro wrestling, recounts his dramatic struggles with personal failings, and shares how—through unexpected faith, grace, and redemption—today he’s standing stronger than ever and fighting the battles that matter the most.

I’m Going To WrestleMania XXX!

WrestleMania XXXThe first WrestleMania took place three days after I was born. Since then, it has gone on to become an annual extravaganza that generates nearly $75 million and attracts nearly 100,000 attendees, not to mention the millions of people watching it worldwide on pay-per-view. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been enjoying WrestleMania from home. Next year, I’ll be there in person, in New Orleans, to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

In addition to the event itself, I’ll be enjoying WrestleMania Axxess, where fans get to meet wrestling legends, as well as the superstars of today, and engage in a variety of fun activities. I’m also attending the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, where the superstars of yesteryear are honored for their impressive body of work. And finally, the weekend will wrap up with WWE Raw, where I’ll get to see how the aftermath of WrestleMania plays out.

Being a lifelong wresting fan, I’m thrilled to have the chance to attend WrestleMania; and with it being the event’s 30th anniversary, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I’m equally happy that it’s taking place in a vibrant, historical city I’ve yet to explore. It will be a fantastic weekend that I’ll remember for a long time to come.

For a taste of what WrestleMania is like, here’s a video of the “Top 10 Championship Changes” to take place at the event:

 

 

WrestleMania 19 – Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho

Shawn MichaelsIn honor of tonight being WrestleMania 29, below is the best match from WrestleMania 19, broken into three parts: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho.

WrestleMania Rewind – Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior

WM6Growing up I’d watch wrestling incessantly. Nowadays I don’t have that luxury. With WrestleMania 29 quickly approaching, I want to share with you my all-time favorite match from the “grandest stage of them all.”

If you asked asked me who my two favorite wrestlers of all time were, I’d tell you Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. Hogan personified the American spirit, had awesome ring entrance music and knew how to pump up the crowd. Ultimate Warrior was a face-paint-clad, larger-than-life superhero. With colorful attire, mysteriously confusing promos and a ridiculous physique, he captured the attention and support of millions of fans in the early 1990s, including me.

At WrestleMania VI in 1990, Hulk Hogan was the WWF (now WWE) Champion and Ultimate Warrior was the WWF Intercontinental Champion. The main event was these two titans going head to head, title for title – a first in wrestling up to that point. Having two babyfaces (i.e., good guys) go against each other was also a first for WrestleMania and it tore the crowd in two. Half of them wanted Hogan to win, while the other half was cheering for Warrior to reign supreme. Another element that gave it a big-match feel was the terrific commentary by Gorrila Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. These legendary commentators had a wonderful chemistry that made the spectacle even more entertaining. It was a fantastic main event that is required viewing for wrestling fans, which is why I’ve included it below. It tells a great story that I still enjoy to this day.

John Cena’s Fruity Pebbles

Cena Fruity Pebbles - FrontI was at the supermarket today and I spotted a box of Fruity Pebbles and noticed something different about them; instead of Fred Flintstone being on the box, I saw WWE superstar John Cena with Bam Bam.

Cena Fruity Pebbles - BackFor those unfamiliar with wrestling, The Rock has had an ongoing feud with John Cena. “The Great One” told Cena that his colorful attire made him look like a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. Over a span of several months they traded barbs and had an epic battle at WrestleMania last year. Their rematch is taking place at this year’s WrestleMania in New Jersey.

Partnering with Post to have John Cena replace Fred Flintstone on boxes of Fruity Pebbles, leading up to WrestleMania 29, was a brilliant way to promote the event and tie it back to WWE’s product. Well done, WWE. Well done.

 

What Authors Can Learn From Pro Wrestlers

20130103-231348.jpg

I’ve been a fan of pro wrestling since I was a child. When executed effectively, this amalgam of theater and athleticism can suspend my disbelief and take me on a thrilling adventure – similar to other art forms. Unfortunately, pro wrestling doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. There are many uneducated people who approach wrestling fans and say asinine things such as, “You know it’s fake, right?” What these Neanderthals fail to realize is that wrestling fans are fully aware of the fact that it’s an intricately planned form of entertainment; so are television shows, movies and novels, but you don’t see these same myopic buffoons accosting fans of True Blood or Lord of the Rings saying, “You know vampires and hobbits aren’t real, right?”

Rather than dismissing it because you don’t understand it, I challenge those of you unfamiliar with pro wrestling to watch the match below. It’s arguably the greatest match in the history of pro wrestling. It features Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania 25. What makes it special is it tells a story from start to finish. From the opening video package to the match itself, there is a great deal to be learned from these two grizzled veterans. Like any skillful storyteller, they set a great pace, insert several calamities and end with a thrilling, and satisfying, conclusion.

Yes, there are plenty of terrible wrestling matches, the same way there are a multitude of dreadful television shows, films and novels. But the great ones are a spectacle to behold and, as writers, we can learn from them. We can learn that it’s important to know your audience and give them what they want, while at the same time keeping things unpredictable and fun. None of us want to produce something that is forgettable; we want to be known for drawing in our readers, having them fully invested in our characters and anxiously turning pages. Wrestling is the same. Companies like WWE seek to create compelling characters, insert them in precarious situations and let the drama unfold.

For authors, there is much to be learned from pro wrestling. Give the match below a shot and you’ll see what I mean. There are stories being told all around us; some are good, and some are bad. But if we aren’t open to experiencing all of the different mediums through which they are told (e.g., TV, movies, plays, books, music, pro wrestling, video games, etc.), then, as storytellers, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. There is a great deal to be learned, but only if we expand our horizons.

WWE Launches Flagship App

20120817-235107.jpg

Being a lifelong fan of pro wrestling, I was thrilled to hear that WWE launched its flagship app this morning for iOS and Android devices. After trying it out on my iPad and iPhone, I have to say it’s very good. It provides a central location to access all things WWE; everything from video clips of classic matches to tweets by current superstars. While there’s room for improvement, this is a big step in the right direction. If you’re a fan, I recommend you check it out right away.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: