Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Wrestling”

Nitro by Guy Evans

Nitro by Guy Evans is the best book ever written about Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling. Prior to this book’s existence, The Death of WCW held this title. Not anymore. At nearly 600 pages, Nitro features interviews with over 120 former TBS and WCW employees. The author also had access to a myriad of internal WCW documents, providing the reader with the nitty gritty details when it comes to contracts, PPV revenue, and more. For a topic that has been covered ad nauseam, Nitro is a fresh take on one of the wildest times in professional wrestling, providing the most comprehensive and satisfying account of the rise and fall of WCW.

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IMPACT Wrestling Press Pass: Eric Young & Rich Swann

I had the opportunity to take part in an IMPACT Wrestling Press Pass where I, along with other reporters, interviewed Eric Young and Rich Swann about their upcoming main event for the IMPACT Wrestling World Championship at Bound For Glory on October 24, 2020 on PPV. You can watch the full video below.

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A Conversation With Vampiro

Ian Hodgkinson — better known as Vampiro, the lucha libre legend and former star in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) — has a new documentary called Nail in the Coffin: The Fall & Rise of Vampiro. Having grown up watching Vampiro in WCW, I jumped at the chance to interview Ian to learn more about his thoughts on the documentary, his career in wrestling, and more.

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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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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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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…

Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived Forever

The Ultimate Warrior was my favorite wrestler as a child. His colorful, high-energy, over-the-top persona grabbed my attention and captivated my imagination. There were mat tacticians, high-flyers, brawlers, and then there was the Ultimate Warrior. He was an amalgamation of styles, which made him unique. He had a more impressive physique than Hulk Hogan, colorful attire that rivaled Macho Man Randy Savage’s iconic outfits, and he could fly around the ring like in a way unlike anyone his size was doing. Unfortunately, Warrior’s life was cut short at the age of 54. He died on April 8, 2014. I saw him the day before. Thankfully, there are several ways to reflect on the man and his career, including Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived Forever, a beautiful hardback book from Insight Editions.

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Audible Review: More Than Just Hardcore by Terry Funk

Terry Funk is one of the most influential wrestlers of all time. With a career spanning decades, you’d think that his autobiography, More Than Just Hardcore, would be fascinating. While this Audible Original was an easy and entertaining listen, it didn’t blow my mind. There weren’t any shocking revelations, dirt on other wrestlers, or anything of that nature. What you get here is the story of a man who is content with the life he’s lived. To me, that makes for an inspiring audiobook replete with life lessons.

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The Unofficial Wrestling Figure Retrospective 1990-1994

I am a big pro wrestling fan. Growing up in the 1990s means I have fond memories of the wildly popular WWF Hasbro action figures that came out during the first few years of that decade. Crazy, over-the-top commercials promoting the wild and wacky toys, including a miniature WWF ring where my tiny titans could battle it out to become the World Wrestling Federation Champion! It was a glorious time to be a fan, and I still own my WWF Hasbro figures. When I heard that a book came out celebrating these cherished WWF Hasbro figures, I knew I had to check it out. So, is this 388-page tome of pro wrestling action figures’ glory days worth buying? Read on for my thoughts on The Unofficial Wrestling Figure Retrospective 1990-1994.

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WWE: Kicking Down Doors

WWE: Kicking Down Doors, a new book from DK, highlights the female superstars who are at the forefront of WWE’s Women’s Evolution. Relive the very first all-women pay-per-view event, discover how legends such as Wendi Richter, Chyna, and Lita proved their dominance in the ring and chart their progression from glamorous sidekicks to fierce and fabulous Divas to the powerful superstars of today. Celebrate the likes of “The Man” Becky Lynch, “The Queen” Charlotte Flair, Naomi, Nia Jax, and Ronda Rousey as they set a new gold standard in WWE.

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