Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Nail in the Coffin: The Fall & Rise of Vampiro

I grew up watching pro wrestling in the 1990s, which means I lived through the “Monday Night War” between Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (WCW). There were plenty of colorful characters in both promotions, and, for a couple of years, Vampiro was one of them. Similar to the face-painted warriors who preceded him, Vampiro had a mystique about him that seemed to resonate with fans. He never became a top guy, perhaps because he was in WCW during its waning years and was never invited to join the WWF (now WWE). However, he was a lucha libre legend in Mexico. Now that he’s semi-retired, Vampiro — real name Ian Hodgkinson — is releasing a documentary through digital VOD services on September 8. Entitled Nail in the Coffin: The Fall & Rise of Vampiro, it’s a wonderful, yet tragic, film that documents the internal struggles and external injuries of a wrestler trying to break away from the business that broke him.

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Audible Launches Audible Plus

I love Audible and audiobooks! Every day I’m listening to a new chapter in an audiobook using my Audible app, as it’s a great way to be productive while doing chores around the house. Audible also comes in handy while taking a walk, driving, or when you simply want to wind down at the end of the day. You can even get your morning off on the right foot by listening to a newspaper, such as The Wall Street Journal, with Audible. The options are endless, and with the newly launched Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus service Audible has gotten even better.

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Walter Day’s Greatest Fear, Music, and Video Games

Walter Day is best known as being the founder of Twin Galaxies, the oldest video game scorekeeping and adjudication service. He is also the creator of e-sports and has often been called “The Patron Saint of Video Games.” While his dedication to find, verify, and catalog video game world records led to a decades-long partnership with Guinness World Records, Walter’s one true, unrequited love is with music. At the age of 71, his greatest fear is not fulfilling the dream of bringing his music to life. Since 1985 these songs have been bottled up inside him, and Walter is determined to make sure his music comes to fruition. Over the course of two days Walter and I had a personal and profound discussion. In the process, we became friends. I hope you enjoy the interview below. Walter is a special person who has already accomplished a great deal, yet I have a feeling the best is yet to come.

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My WWE ThunderDome Experience

On the August 21 episode of SmackDown WWE launched ThunderDome, a state-of-the-art set, video boards, pyrotechnics, lasers, cutting-edge graphics and drone cameras, within Orlando’s Amway Arena. Both SummerSlam and Monday Night Raw took place in the WWE ThunderDome, and I found it to be a brilliant concept because it’s a way for fans to visually be present in the arena using technological means. It is the perfect way to engage the WWE audience on a deeper level, while also intriguing fans who may have not watched WWE for some time. Despite the hefty investment WWE had to put into this, registration is completely free. I have to applaud WWE for making this a free service, as they could have easily charged fans even a nominal amount to attend. I registered for WWE ThunderDome for the August 24 Monday Night Raw and received confirmation that I was in. However, I never got a link to join. This issue affected many other people as well. Nevertheless, I registered for the August 28 edition of SmackDown. Not only did I receive confirmation, but I got a link to join! So, what was it like in the WWE ThunderDome? Read on for my thoughts, including photos and videos from my point of view.

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Audible Review: A Deadly Shade of Gold

A Deadly Shade of Gold is the fifth book in the Travis McGee series. In this entry, McGee picks up the phone and hears a voice from the past, he can’t help it. He has to meddle. Especially when he has the chance to reunite Sam Taggart, a reckless, restless man like himself, with the woman who’s still waiting for him. But what begins as a simple matchmaking scheme soon becomes a bloody chase that takes McGee to Mexico, a beautiful country — and one from which he hopes to return alive. John D. MacDonald has really gotten the hang of writing for this character, and it shows. The dialogue is entertaining, and there are action-packed events throughout this Audible Original.

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The Hardy Boys: The Tower Treasure

I’m a huge fan of thriller and mystery books, and I grew up watching Murder, She Wrote on TV. For whatever reason, I’ve always enjoyed twisty tales that make me wonder, “Who commited the crime?” I didn’t get into reading until I started consuming professional wrestling autobiographies in high school, followed by James Patterson thrillers. Once I dove into these books, I realized that reading could be fun! They made me want to explore more books, and now I read about 50 books a year. At this point in my life, I’ve decided to revisit books that I owned and either only read a little bit or didn’t read at all. First up, The Hardy Boys!

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Audible Review: Hardcore History

Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of the ECW is an excellent Audible Original. Writer Scott E. Williams has pored through records and conducted dozens of interviews with fans, company officials, business partners, and the wrestlers themselves to bring listeners the most thorough account possible of this bizarre company. As someone who has watched numerous documentaries about ECW, I learned a lot while listening to this audiobook. It provides an excellent, and sometimes detailed, overview of major events related to ECW and its various incarnations.

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Walter Day’s Superstars of Gaming: Volume One

Walter Day is the founder of Twin Galaxies, the oldest video game scorekeeping and adjudication service in history. He is known as the creator of e-sports and has often been called “The Patron Saint of Video Games.” His remarkable efforts to find, verify, and catalog video game world records has led to a decades-long partnership with Guinness World Records. Walter Day’s Superstars of Gaming: Volume One is an excellent book celebrating Day’s life and legacy as a living legend in the video game industry.

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Pro Wrestling Demystified: You Know It’s Fake, Right?

“You know it’s fake, right?” These are the words uttered by people who don’t understand professional wrestling. How do I respond when people ask this ill-informed question? I say, “You know Darth Vader is fake, right?” Or, “You know the characters in This Is Us aren’t real, right?” Professional wrestling might as well be Rodney Dangerfield because it doesn’t get any respect. Despite the fact that professional wrestling has been around for more than 100 years, some people feel the need to cast judgment and view it as holding no redeemable value. I’ve been a fan of professional wrestling my entire life, and I’m proud of that fact. I’ve derived a plethora of value from my fandom, established friendships because of it, and had amazing experiences along the way. Professional wrestling is just as valid a form of entertainment as anything you’ll find on film, in print, on stage, or even on a sports field. This is the first in a series of posts where I’m going to take the time to help demystify professional wrestling in an effort to help those who aren’t fans understand why millions of us are. Read more…

Review – The Elder Scrolls: Call To Arms

The Elder Scrolls is one of my favorite video game series of all time. I enjoy all entries in this franchise, including the spinoffs and The Elder Scrolls Online. While many of The Elder Scrolls games have been successful, Skyrim is the one that practically everyone knows. The fifth entry in the series, it has sold over 30 million copies across various systems since its release in 2011. This summer I completed the main quest in this game, along with numerous side quests, on the Nintendo Switch. I also sunk more than 150 hours into The Elder Scrolls Online on my PC – which is an excellent game that I highly recommend. When I read that Skyrim’s open world was coming to a tabletop game created by Modiphius, entitled The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms, I was intrigued.

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