Monthly Archives: March 2012
“HOLLA TO THE WORLD” IS NOW AVAILABLE ON iTUNES!
MVP is one of the most accomplished megastars in the industry today, and continues to impress despite having recently parted ways with WWE. He’s already been an Intercontinental Champion with New Japan Pro Wrestling and was monumental in making their 2011 stateside tour a success. This consummate professional also refuses to lay idle when he’s in-between tours.
Move over Lex Luger, Holla the the World featuring Dwane Sweazie, the modern day mac’s latest music endeavor is the true “total package.” If not for the eye candy, and wrestling personality cameos, MVP delivers catchy respectful lyrics that even Mom and Pop approve. The video itself has everything you expect from the rap genre with its expensive cars and slammin’ feminine assets, while executed tastefully. Let’s hope WWE is taking notes the next time they let Jon Cena or R Truth cut a video.
Like others before him, from Junkyard Dog grabbing cakes, to Ernest Miller pleaing for someone to call his Mamma, this “rapping wrestler” is no joke. We here at RingWriters feel it’s only a matter of time before he takes his skills and appeal to Hollywood.
Be sure to visit mvp305.com and follow MVP on twitter @The305MVP
“I don’t think that McMahon thinks very much about the fact that J.R and I have been successful. I don’t think that McMahon thinks the wrestling announcers really have that much to contribute the show.” – Jerry Lawler
Professional wrestling may present a “fantasy world of combatants,” but a major part of its success is how the industry personalizes its shows and creates a product that the public can relate to. There exists an “anything can happen” mentality but that usually only occurs during a match. In order to improve the entertainment value of any promotion, attention must be made to every detail, from the entrance ramp, to railings, and especially to announcing.
If each match is announced by the same person, a sense of routine monotony takes over. On Monday Nitro, WCW employed Michael Buffer and his trademarked “Let’s get ready to rumble” phrase to usher in the main events. Occasionally, WWE will invite a celebrity or wrestler as the special guest ring announcer. Mr. Kennedy announced himself and Alberto Del Rio’s gimmick was vastly enhanced by his own spanish ring announcer.
In order to take advantage of the the seldom tweaked aspect of ring announcing, we journey back to 1996 to the Rosie O’Donnel Show. What was innovative and catchy about this show was how it opened with a member of the audience introducing Rosie. While their mic skills weren’t as impressive as a professional, they added a humble personal touch to the show. It’s time to embrace this same strategy in the world of professional wrestling, especially during TV tapings. Before the wrestling action begins, involve the audience by asking for participants to audition for the role of announcer. Invite a mix crowd, from energetic youth, to sassy ladies, to quirky grandparents. Let the audience select one of them, and then for one of the matches, allow this “fan favorite fan” to take over the ring announcing. It’s probably best to use their services for the opening match to help set a friendly and crowd interactive tone for the rest of the show. Make sure that only your professional announcers handle title matches and main events, this is because you want those to have a professional and heightened mood much like when Michael Buffer announced the main events of Nitro.
Sure this has been before, and in some cases on a regular basis, but it definitely needs to be brought back and executed consistently. While only one person enjoys the spotlight while announcing, it empowers all the fans at home, that they too have the chance to be involved. Whenever there is an opportunity, professional wrestling needs to personalize the experience and involve its greatest asset: the fans.
“Damn referees, I’ll miss them less than anybody.” – Abe Lemons
“A women’s greatest asset is her beauty.” – Alex Comfort
Despite it’s PG rating, WWE relies heavily on eye candy to draw in the 18-49 male demographic. Consequently, they’ve put their T&A specialists wherever there was a spot as: managers, valets, “girlfriends,” interviewers, ring announcers, wrestlers, and even in WCW as dancing cheerleaders. How come those girls haven’t adorned the zebra stripes more often? Aksana, who is clearly years away from becoming ring ready should permanently officiate. She’s done it before and she should do it again. Suddenly a tag match between “whoever” versus “I don’t care” has my attention, especially when she has to get down on the mat for the count.
Is it sexist to feature female referees? Not at all. If anything, it’s forward feminism. The role has been dominated by males, and this way women get to be involved. I’m not saying they should wear long slacks and a polo, but I’m also not abdicating they strip down to a thong either. No matter how you strip it, eye candy equals money. Let the true women wrestlers duke it out in the ring, but there’s no reason to make the hot ones leave. Just delegate them to officiating and everyone wins. In addition, if these pretty ladies want to train to become wrestlers their experience in the ring as officials will only help them.
The bottom line is if I was in charge of any promotion, large or small, I would immediately axe all male referees and install adorable ones in their stead. While some are critical of bringing back a Nitro Girls type dance team, or the sign holders from the early days of Monday Night Raw, adding female referees is cost effective because you don’t have to hire additional workers, since the position has to be filled. Plus, if you’ve got some wrestlers insistent on traveling with their wives or girlfriends, why not plug them in as referees. There’s no need for vocal talent, you just need to move around, avoid contact, smooth communication and dictate orders. It’s not a job you can master overnight, but it’s certainly easier then becoming a wrestler and will 100% guaranteed entertain that all too horny demographic.
Ladies, it’s time we see you in stripes on a full-time basis.
“You gotta have a gimmick.” – Ethel Merman
Picture two hooded figures stalking the ring under the guise of bed sheets. This is not the deep south, we’re not in an attic, and it’s not Halloween. But it sure makes for comedic entertainment. Say “Boo” to DEJA BOO, the newest idea in the Gimmick Garage.
TYPE: Tag Team / Heel or Face
LEVEL: Lowercard, timeline could be a one-time shot or up to a year
COMPATIBILITY: If they’re to be heels, a manager is a necessity. If faces, they will have to be strictly comical and rely on their moaning boos for interviews.
Theme: Halloween / Ghosts
BODY TYPE: any size works, it depends on the effect you have in mind
RING STYLE: Twin magic, much like the Bella Twins
LOOKS LIKE: Two people in lame ghost outfits.
ENTRANCE: Lame halloween party background sound effect music.
FINALE: Possible: Following a victory they use their sheets to engulf their opponents, then after the lights are turned off, all four wrestlers vanish.
ENTRANCE ATTIRE: White bed sheets with black eyes, custom fitted to allow mobility.
IN-RING ATTIRE: Same as entrance.
Move/Finisher Names: Boo Who, Trick or Treat, Boodyslam, Deja Booplex
GIST: While many of my gimmicks are comical, I must defend how wrestling needs to re-emphaize the “entertainment” aspect. Not all wrestlers need a gimmick, and therefore those individuals can function as the “serious” competitors. At first glance Doink the Clown could have been written off as a joke, but as the character progressed, he became a sinister plot-driven heel. While Deja Boo can’t exactly play off their vocal skills or facial expressions, the anonymity of their identity can certainly drive the team into various directions. In addition, one amazing aspect of this gimmick is that it can executed in any wrestling federation big or small. For young guns, custom fitted bed sheets may prove more cost effective then traditional ring gear. In the end though, I will never forget the Zombie from ECW and while I’m not sure if WWE bothered to copyright it, Deja Boo is the next best thing. The gimmick was strong enough to resurrect on the indy circuit at a Pro Wrestling Syndicate show.
Mick Foley is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. His wrestling personas are extremely creative, his hardcore style raised the bar in terms of what was expected of wrestlers in the 90s and his Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker in 1998 was one of the all-time great bouts for its extremity and shock value.
I’ve read Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks and Foley Is Good: And the Real World Is Faker than Wrestling, both essential reading for wrestling fans. In fact, it was Have A Nice Day in 1999 that kickstarted the trend of wrestlers releasing autobiographies, even though most would be ghostwritten, unlike Have A Nice Day. Foley has always been involved in various projects outside the ring, and his latest enterprise is stand-up comedy. If you’ve read Foley’s books you’ll know he’s an exceptional storyteller, so I was looking forward to seeing him live.
The evening at Sheffield City Hall began with a ‘meet and greet’ and Mick took time to pose with every fan who wanted their photo taken with him. There wasn’t much time to talk but my friend chatted to Mick for a short while about The Rock and John Cena and their ongoing feud (Mick verified that it is pretty likely the two do hate each other in real life). Mick also had a very noticeable limp, so you can be assured he isn’t putting that on when he’s walking down to the ring in WWE.
Mick’s whole UK tour has been compèred by comedian and wrestling fan, Chris Brooker, and the first support act was wrestler-turned-comedian Steffen Peddie. Both Brooker and Peddie included a lot of wrestling-related stories and gags, and the crowd, who were mostly males in their mid-20s, lapped it up. The second support act was Martin Mor and he had the crowd in hysterics. He was a very tough act for Foley to follow so after Mor had performed it was a good time to take a short break.
Following the intermission Foley was introduced by Brooker to deafening applause and chants. He came on to his WWE entrance theme and his first joke was to pretend to be upset with the entrance music. He exited and re-entered, this time dressed as Funkasaurus and to Funkasaurus’ entrance music. This was a joke that about half of the audience got, but it’s typical Mick, as during his career he’s made plenty of jokes in promos knowing that only some of the audience will get them.
Before getting into his material Mick requested that the audience refrain from chanting anything during his set. This was probably a wise move as it meant the set was all about him and not some wise guy in the second row.
‘The Hardcore Legend’ started off with some traditional gags then moved onto longer, wrestling-based monologues. Mick is a naturally interesting guy, and I felt he was most engaging when he wasn’t trying to be funny. He told stories about meeting Tiger Woods, sharing a hotel room with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and the time Al Snow revealed everything to a crowd in Canada; I’d read some of these stories before in Mick’s books, but it was still enjoyable to hear him tell them.
There were times when his stories and jokes were hard to follow though. It’s obvious he hasn’t been doing stand-up for that long, as his comedic timing and personality aren’t quite at the level of other professional comedians, and some of his jokes are perhaps overthought.
So the crowd weren’t laughing as hard as they had at Martin Mor’s set, but the combination of wrestling insight and humour went down well. Saying that, I’m not sure how much non-wrestling fans would have got out of the evening. Mick did say at the start of the show that he wanted to make sure those who didn’t know anything about wrestling still felt involved, but some of his humour does hinge on knowing who certain wrestling characters are. Mick ended with a joke completely unrelated to wrestling — a gag about Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” — and then there was a Q and A session that lasted about five minutes.
Mick seemed to really be enjoying himself touring the UK and he even tried to inject some British vocabulary into his set. It’s a testament to his popularity over here that he sold out many of the dates on this tour, even though his last UK tour was only three months ago.
All in all, I feel stand-up comedy is perhaps the wrong label for Mick’s show. It’s obvious Mick has tried hard to write a funny set, but the most enjoyable aspect of his show were the wrestling stories with a simple punchline at the end. It was interesting to bump into a couple of people I knew at the show, and it highlighted to me just how many people know who Mick Foley/Mankind is, and I feel most people went to simply see one of their wrestling heroes talk. Next time perhaps he doesn’t need to try so hard.
For more info visit www.mickfoleystandup.co.uk.