Posts tagged #WWE

The One. The Only. RIC FLAIR!

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Over the last weekend I had the chance to meet one of my personal heroes, The Nature Boy Ric Flair.  He was making a personal appearance at a RV dealership located about fifteen minutes from my house. I just happen to be scrolling through Facebook when I saw a video titled “Ric Flair is Coming to Cleburne, Texas” so naturally I watched the ad. It was a leathered looking Ric Flair informing everyone that he would be making a personal appearance at some kind of RV sale. The thing was Ric wasn’t looking so hot and seemed to be slurring his lines. I’m not sure if the video was shot after a long day of work negotiating with the dealership in the hot sun (selfie style) or if the sixteen time world champ wasn't doing so well.  So I immediately hit up the boys and to see if they were game for meeting the champ.

After a hearty “Hell yeah” from the boys we started planning our day.  The appearance was scheduled for Three p.m. , and us be avid fans of comics and other nerdy fan based things knew this was going to draw a huge crowd.  So we agreed to leave my house around 12:30 to make sure we were there early enough to get to see him. After a few minor delays we got to the dealership around 1:10 pm, and with us being around the Fiftieth in line we knew we secured our place to meet The Nature Boy.  He was going to be signing and taking pictures inside their outdoor store but we weren't allowed in until 1:30. So, it being a hot summer day in Texas and a readily available snowcone vendor, I decided to take to boy for a couple of cones, my treat. After picking out what we wanted , a half tiger’s blood half orange for me and a blue raspberry for the boy, I asked how much I owed he informed me the dealership took care of it. So far off to a good start, free snowcones and a free chance to meet one of my childhood heroes!
After devouring our cones and getting let into the building we began to enjoy the AC we realized there was more time to kill and they had activities for children.  I took Steve to play the arcade game they had, to visit the balloon animal artist and got back in line with my friends. It was about thirty minutes 'til showtime and the crowd was starting to pile into this store, easily pushing around 500. Man, was I glad to be able to make it there when we did, Ric was only available for a two hour signing ,and some of these assholes were going home empty handed. As time grew nearer the crowd would let out random "WOOO"'s of anticipation and they began to become louder. Around 3:05 someone with a P.A. let us know that Ric’s plane was running late but he would be there within the next ten minutes.

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Sure enough like clockwork ten minutes later The Nature Boy made his grand appearance.  He entered the building announced he was ready to sell some RVs and gave us a big "WOOO". At this point Steve was becoming nervous, and when i asked him why he informed me that he "has never met a world famous person before.”  Well, before I could give him any other advice than “ he is just a man like you and me” it was our turn. I looked over at Steve and saw him clutching his WWE World Championship title belt to his chest and looking to me to lead the interaction. I handed my cell phone off to the employee of the RV dealership who was designated to take photos and stepped up to the table with Steve by my side. Ric Flair instantly extended is hand to mine for a handshake and was smiling, I introduced myself and Steve and let him know that Steve became a fan of him through me and that we were so excited to meet him. Ric replied back by asking how old Steve was and the he was so thankful for Steve being a fan. At this point Ric began signing Steve’s title belt (which he took his time with to make sure it was legible) and posed for our picture with him.  After the photo opportunity i thanked him for everything he had done in his career and for keeping myself and Steve entertained to which he replied “No my man, thank you for being a fan” and waved bye to us.

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Steve and myself were floored at how nice and kind he was to us and my friends as well. People always say “don’t meet your heroes because they’ll let you down” well I’m here to inform you that it doesn’t always apply. Ric seemed like he was generally happy to meet us and wasn’t the least bit rude, which made it a fun time overall. If you’re at a con of some sort or have a chance to meet The Nature Boy I highly recommend it. He won’t leave you disappointed.

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Posted on July 5, 2018 .

Rumble Young Woman, Rumble

It's been a busy few weeks for Vince McMahon and Co. The Royal Rumble is always one of WWE's most watched PPV specials but this year promised to be special. The addition of a 30 Woman Royal Rumble to the card is something that has never happened before. The importance of this moment was magnified by the fact that management decided the match should be the main event on a card that included a Brock Lesnar Universal Championship bout and the men's rumble match. The company has been oft-criticised for oversexualizing their female talent in the past with women wrestlers being relegated to the Divas moniker and competing in lingerie matches. In the last few years, we've seen WWE put more emphasis on their female Superstars actually wrestling. Once they realized times were changing they even named the change "The Women's Revolution".  Some fans and industry professionals have soured on the revolution though. The overuse of the term historic has started to diminish the moments the woman are given and shines a light on exactly how misogynistic the WWE has been in the past. Late last year, the Women's Revolution hit a very tone-deaf low point when their first-ever female Money in the Bank Ladder match ended with a male wrestler climbing the ladder and throwing the prize down to a female competitor. This end was so poorly received that WWE chose to call for a mulligan and do the whole match over again. The same woman won but now she climbed the ladder herself without the aide of her male companion. 

Asuka winning the Royal Rumble. Courtesy of the WWE App

Asuka winning the Royal Rumble. Courtesy of the WWE App

This Royal Rumble actually felt worthy of the word historic. Female wrestlers in the industry thought so too, as evidenced by just how many wrestlers from past eras showed up to compete in the rumble. This could easily be construed as negative because they had to hire so many past stars to fill up a 30 woman rumble match. In fact, 11 of the 30 entrants were either either part-timers or retired. That number would have most likely been lower if 2 current full time wrestlers had not been injured earlier in the week. (Paige was injured in a house show match with Sasha Banks shortly after making her return to the ring and veteran Alicia Fox was held out with an undisclosed injury as well. ) In past generations the female wrestlers were always thought of as a secondary story or an accompaniment to a male led story. This main event rumble match was anything but that and you can tell both old and newcomers alike were enjoying themselves in the ring. With all that being said the match itself was fairly generic with most of the cheer coming from surprise entrants and and the last few minutes between the Japanese star Asuka and Sasha Banks. Asuka ended up being the last woman standing in the ring which is historic for it’s own reasons but the moment that left everyone talk came as the credit were about to roll. Combat sports legend, Ronda Rousey, made her way to the ring. After a few mean looks and awkward finger points to the Wrestlemania sign hanging in the background the show ended. 

Ronda pointing.

Ronda pointing.

Rousey is a special talent. While she was definitely not the first woman to fight for the UFC she is one of the most popular fighters ever. She’s one of the handful of UFC fighters whose popularity as a fighter has spilled over into celebrity status. In a sport full of testosterone and machismo Rousey racked up medals and belts but more importantly to her former employer she sold PPV buys, millions of them. She earned a reputation as a trash talker who backed up her words with knockout after knockout for years. WWE is trying more than ever to push women’s wrestling as a viable option for main eventing PPV specials. Who better than Rousey to lead that charge? She’s main-evented 8 PPV’s already (2 co-main events) and has a high buy rate with a fan base that has proven to be a very similar demographic to that of WWE.

Philomena Sheahan's accusation of rape toward Eric Arndt (Enzo Amore) which he has denied. 

Philomena Sheahan's accusation of rape toward Eric Arndt (Enzo Amore) which he has denied. 

If the women's royal rumble was not evidence enough that a shift in tides has come to the world of wrestling maybe the swift release of Enzo Amore can help convince you. Early last week word spread across Twitter that Amore had been accused of rape in Phoenix, Arizona. Amore was quickly suspended until further notice because of the accusation (something that in years past would had maybe been ignored) Once the Phoenix Police Department confirmed the accusation and said that they were in fact investigating Eric Arndt for sexual assault WWE pulled the trigger and released him completely. From the time of accusation to the release was just 2 days. It’s been speculated that the reason Amore was released so quickly was because he did not let management know about the investigation that had been ongoing since October of 2017. It’s also been speculated that Amore had become somewhat of a problem child in the locker room. The fact that management had decided to make him Cruiserweight Champion leads me to believe they had faith in him until this news broke. Eric Arndt has denied the claims made by Ms. Sheahan but WWE has zero tolerance for this type of situation now and that’s a good thing. 

WWE Hall of Famer Lita wearing #TIMESUP on her way to the ring, days after Enzo Amore is released for accusations of sexual assault. 

WWE Hall of Famer Lita wearing #TIMESUP on her way to the ring, days after Enzo Amore is released for accusations of sexual assault. 

Is World Wrestling Entertainment going to be a feminist wonderland from here on out? They still regularly invite ex-announcer Jerry “The King” Lawler to come back into the fray and refer to women’s breasts as puppies so I’m going to have to say, no. But there’s a chance that the female competitors get a larger percentage of the TV time now, that’s a win and a nudge in the right direction. Especially if it means more little girls becoming fans of pro wresting and I get to see more videos on the internet like THIS

 

Posted on January 31, 2018 .