Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sowing the Seeds of Discontent

Everyone out there who thought that John Cena’s handpicked team to conquer the Nexus would be a well-oiled, cohesive unit raise your hand. Yeah. That’s what I thought.

C’mon… it’s wrestling. Nothing’s supposed to go smooth or as planned.

Monday night’s RAW began with John Cena cutting a promo about how his team was going to take down the Nexus at SummerSlam – you know, your typical Cena babyface promo. Out comes Chris Jericho to rain on Cena’s parade by proclaiming that Jericho should be the leader of the team, not Cena. Cena, of course, could not care less who leads the team as long as the job is done. Jericho (in an interesting little dig at Cena) says that Cena is just as bad as the Nexus.

The duo nearly come to blows before the still-unseen RAW General Manager (this week he seems to be Triple H, which, of course, means it’s not him) orders Cena and Jericho to show their teamwork by teaming in a match again an unnamed team of the GM’s choosing.

There was good work all around here. Cena came off as he should – not caring who the leader is so long as the Nexus is taken down, and Jericho in full heel mode accusing Cena of being as bad as the Nexus and patronizing him at the same time. These two work very well together, and it’ll be a shame that they won’t have a bigger program after the Nexus angle as done. Why you may ask? Rumor has it that Jericho will again be taking some time off after SummerSlam when his contract is up. Take that for what you will, of course.

In the midst of all of this, it was also announced that the Team Cena vs. Nexus 7-on-7 match at SummerSlam is now an elimination match which is a tremendous decision. This will really add to the drama of the match and could offer a clue or two to Nexus’ leader, if he is on Cena’s team as I suspect.

As a bit of a preview, the Nexus would be taking on a team of RAW superstars (and I use that term loosely since the team included Goldust and Yoshi Tatsu) in a 7-on-7 elimination match. And before the match even started, I knew the outcome – a clean sweep for the Nexus. Why? It was the only logical outcome. But more on that in a bit.

Before this match, Randy Orton beat Jey Uso in a short squash match. Sheamus was at ringside for the match and predictably went after Orton. Orton managed to take Sheamus out with an RKO which brought out the Miz to again try to cash in his Money in the Bank title shot. Well, before the match could be started, Orton took out Miz with another RKO.

I’m really enjoying the Miz’s work now that he’s been pushed to the top of the card, and Sheamus (the whitest man in North America) is starting to grow on me. Orton has rapidly become the number two babyface on RAW and is responding with some of his best in-ring work and promos. Unlike his first ill-fated face turn, this one is working incredible well for Orton. Oh, yeah, one more thing – the GM announced that the main event would be a tag match between Cena/Jericho and Miz/Sheamus.

This brings us to the elimination match. Thankfully, it was short and pretty much a squash – as much as a match like this can be a squash. The Nexus dominated the RAW C-listers (with the exception of Evan Bourne) and won without having a single member of Nexus eliminated. Having one of their members pinned by someone like Goldust would only have weakened the Nexus going into SummerSlam. They need to appear to be all-but invincible for the angle to work like it should, especially because Cena’s team is in ruins.

Speaking of that, more dissension in the ranks came in the form of Edge and The Great Khali (who is suddenly somewhat interesting for the first time in… okay, for the first time ever). Edge cut a backstage promo on Khali that really wasn’t all that condescending, but Khali’s increasingly devious handler fed Khali a bogus translation causing Khali to demand a match with Edge.

The match was blessedly short (videos of Great Khali matches are used to interrogate prisoners in Gitmo… at least that’s the rumor) and was cut short by the Nexus. Edge ran like a scalded dog (TM Jim Ross) leaving Khali to fend for himself. Strangely, the Nexus let Khali leave without any incident which further fuels the story that Cena’s team is weak and not unified.

This plot development was furthered when R-Truth (sort of) cost John Morrison a match against Ted Dibiase which resulted in the obligatory pushing and shoving between Truth and Morrison.

Now where is Bret Hart, the seventh member of Team Cena, in the midst of all of this mess? Supposedly back in Calgary, training for the big match. Hmmm…

Before I delve into the developments of the main event, I need to take a quick detour and talk about how awful the Women’s division is on RAW.

I understand that injuries (to Melina, among others) and retirements (of Trish Stratus and Lita) have really crippled what was once one of the best parts of RAW, but man, does Alicia Fox suck out loud as the current Divas Champion. Her match against one of the Bella Twins did nothing to change my mind. I really like Eve Torres – she can actually work a half decent match – so why the powers-that-be put the title on Fox is beyond me. As is the woeful under-use of Gail Kim, who was so big in TNA and yet has barely registered a blip on the RAW radar. Former champ Maryse is now Ted Dibiase's arm candy and hasn't had much ring work as of late. Jillian Hall needs a gimmick revamp and maybe even a face turn. The Bella Twins are useless.

Thankfully (spoiler alert!) Melina is finally due back from (another) injury and did a run-in at the RAW taping that was done after the live show on Monday. Melina is easily the best worker on RAW or Smackdown, and I’ll be happy to see her back. Let’s hope it’s not too long before she’s holding the Divas Championship.

Anyway, onto the main event…

The match was an excellent back and forth affair with both mismatched teams working surprisingly well together. The end did catch me slightly by surprise, though in retrospect, I should have seen it coming. As the referee was busy with Miz and Sheamus, Jericho snuck back into the ring (after hot tagging Cena) and hit Cena with the Code Breaker. Miz immediately tagged himself in and pinned Cena.

Jericho took advantage of the downed Cena and put Cena in the Walls of Jericho which Cena reversed into the STF. Before long, the remaining members of Team Cena hit the ring and started arguing with one another. Cena and even the Great Khali tried to play peacemaker. As RAW went off the air, one has to wonder if Team Cena will be able to put their differences aside and be a real team against the mighty Nexus.

Once again, this week’s RAW propelled the Nexus vs. the RAW roster storyline toward its conclusion(?) at SummerSlam. The Nexus looks invincible while John Cena’s team is in shambles. And that is how it should be. If Cena’s team was unified, then there would be no doubt as to the outcome of the elimination match at SummerSlam. But now… well, I think there’s a good chance Cena’s team loses and the Nexus angle continues into the fall. However, I really think that we need to see some chinks in the Nexus’ armor in the coming weeks. I mean, they are a bunch of rookies, and sooner or later, that’s got to be addressed. Though as to who will break away from Nexus and strike out on his own remains a question.

One last thing before I sign off. Rumors are still persisting that John Cena will be revealed as the behind-the-scenes leader of the Nexus. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – this would be the worst piece of booking since “The Finger Poke of Doom” angle back in WCW during the nWo storyline. Making Cena the leader of Nexus not only makes no sense, it also takes away WWE’s number one babyface something that would be a huge mistake since there’s no one on either roster ready to take that spot.

If it’s Bret Hart, that’s fine. If it’s Triple H (out for months more after yet another injury), that’s also fine. If it’s someone no one would have ever thought of, that’s also fine. But it can’t be John Cena. Period.



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Plot Thickens

Last night’s edition of Monday Night RAW began and ended with a bang.

Right out of the chute we had a top notch Triple Threat Match between Randy Orton, Edge and Chris Jericho. I’ve always been a fan of Triple Threat Matches (especially ECW’s Three Way Dances), but the success (or lack thereof) of the match depends on the wrestlers. I know that some people like to see crazy three-way spots like you’ll see in your average indy match, but this is WWE, so I didn’t expect anything like that. What I did expect was a solid match between three of the feds best workers, and I wasn’t disappointed.

There were a ton of near falls, almost no breaks in the action (save one Jericho reverse chinlock that might have lasted all of 45 seconds) and a satisfying, clean ending (with Orton hitting both Edge and Jericho with RKOs). Orton’s victory guarantees him a match at SummerSlam against the WWE Champion (right now it’s Sheamus, but that could change – more on that in a bit). Frankly, Orton deserves the spot. Since his face turn, he’s continued to be near the top of the card, but this will be his first time main eventing as a face. Overall, I’m very satisfied with how WWE has handled Orton’s face turn. It’s much like they did when Steve Austin became a face after his epic WrestleMania match with Bret Hart many years ago. Orton’s personality hasn’t changed. All that’s really changed is that he’s now wrestling heels and being cheered by the fans. Memo to Vince Russo: that’s how you do a face/heel turn.

After the match, Edge and Jericho had a confrontation that played out pretty much like I expected but led to something I really didn’t see coming. Edge called out Jericho and both ended up calling out the Nexus. Nexus ended up beating the tar out of Edge while Jericho cheered them on, and then (predictably) Nexus turned on Jericho and beat him up, too. Predictable as it was, it was the logical next step in the ongoing Nexus storyline.

It’s been a very long time since WWE had an angle like this, and I’m very pleased with how it’s played out so far. Nexus hasn’t been too overexposed (much like the nWo came to be), but they’re still a constant presence on RAW. Whereas the nWo dominanted every angle on Nitro, there are still other non-Nexus angles on RAW, which leads me to your friend and mine, The Miz.

When The Miz first burst onto the scene, I immediately dismissed him because of his reality show background. I didn’t think he was a very good wrestler nor did I think he had any business in the big leagues with his amazing lack of experience. But The Miz paid his dues and rose up through the ranks and is now to the point where he’s going to be a WWE Champion soon. When The Miz won Money in the Bank on Sunday that was WWE’s signal that The Miz had finally made it. Each and every wrestler who has won the Money in the Bank has gone on to be a WWE or World Champion, and The Miz will be no different.

Last night Sheamus came out and cut a promo about how he’d called a truce with Nexus and did his usual spiel about how he’s beaten John Cena and so on. On cue, out came The Miz to cut a wicked promo on Sheamus (right down to a hysterical impression of Sheamus’ use of the word “fella”). It was a shining moment for The Miz who even got a few cheers during the head-to-head confrontation.

After Sheamus beat Evan Bourne (still gaining acceptance), The Miz jumped into the ring and clocked Sheamus with the Money in the Bank briefcase. For a minute or two, it looked like The Miz was going to cash in his title shot then and there, especially after hitting Sheamus with the Skull Crushing Finale on the briefcase. But before The Miz could get the fall, out came R-Truth (continuing their budding rivalry) to prevent The Miz from becoming WWE Champion.

However, it’s only a matter of time, and y’know what? It’s well deserved. It’s obvious to me that Miz has worked his ass off to become a better wrestler both in the ring and with his promos. I don’t know when I’ve seen a wrestler improve this much in a very long time. He’s also made a big commitment outside of the ring to do whatever WWE management asks of him. Things like that win serious brownie points with Vince McMahon who is 100% behind the push The Miz is getting.

The middle part of the show was little more than filler – a Divas match that was only contested to further the John Morrison/Ted Dibiase feud and a tag match with Santino and Kozlov vs. Regal and Ryder that was pretty much a squash for Santino and Kozlov. It’s nice to see Santino actually wrestling and not being limited to just comedy bits with the Guest Host, a concept that (thankfully) has been de-emphasized.

The last part of the show was once again devoted to the ongoing battle between John Cena and the Nexus. It started with Wade Barrett defeating Mark Henry semi-cleanly (though Barrett nearly injured Henry with a botched fireman’s carry slam that probably looked even worse in person than it did on TV). The rest of Nexus came to ringside after the match, and out came a very downtrodden Cena. Barrett offered Cena a spot in Nexus, and after teasing that he might accept, Cena left the ring, seemingly with his tail between his legs. And that’s when things got interesting…

Cena once again vowed to take out each and every member of Nexus, by himself or with a little team he’d been gathering behind the scenes. And just like that, business picked up. Out comes Edge, John Morrison, The Great Khali, Chris Jericho, and R-Truth, all victims of the Nexus in the past (except for Khali, but they needed a big man, so there you go). As Cena and his team stood there, I wondered who the 7th man of the team would be. It couldn’t be Orton or Sheamus or The Miz. No way would it be Evan Bourne. Would it be someone from Smackdown? Maybe Triple H would make a surprise return. When the 7th member’s music hit, even I was shocked – it was Bret Hart.

Bret Hart’s return engagement with WWE had seemingly ended a few months ago when Bret went away after being attacked by Nexus. Rumor had it that Lloyd’s of London (the holder of Hart’s insurance policy) didn’t like him getting involved in wrestling again. Other reports said it was Hart’s fiancĂ©e who was against Bret being a big part of WWE again. Whatever the case, I really thought he was done for good this time. So, when he came out, I was pretty much blown away. Kudos to WWE for keeping his return a surprise. However, I think I’m starting to see where this angle is going.

Of the six men on Cena’s team, the only one who could legitimately be in cahoots with Nexus (and make it seem shocking) is Bret Hart. Okay, maybe Cena would be even more shocking, but that would be a terrible idea – have him continually beaten up by the very group he formed; that’s Russo-bad booking. So, right now, I’m predicting that Bret Hart will turn against Cena et al at SummerSlam and reveal that he is the brains behind the Nexus. Maybe it’s too obvious. Maybe it will turn out to be Triple H as has also been rumored. Whatever the case, we’re set up for a doozy of a 14-man(!) tag team war at SummerSlam between Team RAW and the Nexus.

WWE is doing an excellent job of both building toward SummerSlam and furthering the Nexus angle on RAW. At a time when WWE really needs some solid booking, it’s delivered big time. The question remains whether or not the momentum will continue between now and SummerSlam. For once, I’m really looking forward to finding out.



Monday, July 19, 2010

I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blahs

Have you ever had one of those days in which nothing specific went wrong or anything really bad happened, yet you find yourself in a funk? That was my day today. I guess you could blame it on today being Monday, but I find myself having more and more “blah” days lately.

Call it wanderlust, call it frustration with my current job situation, call it my lack of a love life, call it what you want. Whatever the reason, today was just blah, and I’m having trouble shaking the blahs.

For a good portion of the day, I sat staring at my monitors at work, longing to be “somewhere other than here” (TM Jimmy Buffett). I don’t know… sometimes I get in these moods in which I just want to run away. Well, maybe not run away per se, but at least go somewhere else other than McKees Rocks, PA 15136.

I don’t complain about the Pittsburgh area like some people do. I like the fact that it’s a “big” city with a small town feel. I like living close to any number of major shopping areas and the airport. I like the quiet neighborhood I live in. I like having 3 professional sports franchises in town (yes, I do count the Pirates in that). Yet, outside of one year in Washington, DC, and one year in Manhattan, KS, I’ve lived in the state of Pennsylvania my entire life. And now, at the tender age of 38, I’m starting to wonder if my destiny lies elsewhere.

Look, anyone who knows me knows that I have a comfort zone that’s not exactly very large. It’s very easy for me to become complacent and even downright lazy at times. But on days like today, I would give just about anything to be doing anything else other than sitting behind a computer sending email after email out to abstractors asking for order status. Is it an easy job? Oh, yes. Is it a mentally demanding and/or mentally satisfying job? That would be a definite no.

I guess for me to say that I’m bored is something of an understatement. It’s something that had started to happen to me at my old job, and it’s rearing its ugly head once again. Maybe I would have a different perspective if I were actually a full-time employee with benefits (another rant for another time), but I don’t think so.

A few months before I was laid off, I came up with this grand idea of opening up my own sports bar and restaurant – preferably not around here (Bradenton, FL, being my dream destination). I even bought a book called “Running a Restaurant for Dummies,” but I haven’t read one page of it. Now, the practical side of me knows that now is not the time to be opening a restaurant thanks to the current financial problems our country continues to have (contrary to what the White House tries to say), and that’s all well and fine, but I should at least be, y’know, planning something. Yet, most evenings I find myself watching TV or messing around online, wasting valuable time in which I should be doing something.

Am I complaining about something I actually have control over? You bet. But I just don’t feel right sometimes. Maybe I need to have my Lexapro dosage upped. Of course, since I currently have health insurance, I can’t see my doctor without paying an exorbitant fee and don’t get me started on what my monthly prescription costs without health insurance.

Or maybe I just need to do something to get me out of my rut. If it’s too hot to do anything other than lie around the house (as it’s been for most of this summer), then I should at least either read my restaurant book or get back to work on the many stories I have half written. I just hate being in such a funk. I can’t even call it depression because I’m not that down. I just want something different in my life beyond the normal muck and grind. Sometimes, when you get stuck in a rut, it’s hard to get unstuck from it.

I get in these moods from time to time, and I think the fact that since I went back to work in early March, I’ve had exactly three weekdays off – the day of the Pirates home opener, Memorial Day and July 5th – has to be a factor. I hardly count my time unemployed as a vacation. The fact that it happened during one of the worst snowstorms in history certainly added to that. I could really use a beach vacation or a golfing trip or… I’m going to stop now because I know it’s not going to happen. I’ll have to be content to wait for the day of the Buffett concert next month for my next day off. But to paraphrase Stephen King by way of Homer Simpson, “All work and no play make John something something.”

And then when you factor in the fact that I’m about to become a first time homebuyer of a house that I don’t even live in (yes, you did read that right, and yes, it is that confusing), you get a whole other layer of stress and annoyance that is weighing on me. But that’s life, I guess, and it’s part of the reason I just want to go away and hide some days – like today.Anyway, that’s what’s on my mind today. Let’s hope that the blahs go away soon because days like today are way too high on the Number of Frustrated Sighs Index.

I'll be back later on this week with a (hopefully) less blah post.



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wrestling Jeopardy

The answer: A beginning, a middle and an end.

The question: What should all successful wrestling angles have?

The biggest angle to hit the WWE in years is the group that's known as "Nexus." For those of you who aren't aware, the members of Nexus are all of the season one NXT rookies (minus the since released Daniel Bryan). In tactics not seen since the heyday of the nWo (more on them later), Nexus has run roughshod over most of the RAW roster over the past month. Even Vince McMahon wasn't spared as he endured a beatdown of epic proportions at the hands of Nexus. John Cena has been their personal whipping boy taking a beating seemingly every week on RAW.

I applaud WWE for giving the newbies such a prominent role in the company so early on in their respective careers. The exposure the Nexus 7 are getting can only benefit them in the long run. However, as past angles have shown, invasion angles have to be booked very carefully. You don't want the outsiders to seem invincible, yet you don't want the wrestlers being targeted to turn the tide within a matter of weeks.

Let's go all the way back to when the nWo took over Nitro back during the Monday Night Wars of the 1990s. In the beginning, it was one of the most controversial and compelling angles ever attempted by a wrestling company - taking two ex-WWF wrestlers (Hall and Nash) and pairing them with arguably the most popular wrestler of all time (Hulk Hogan) to form a heel group the likes of which hadn't been seen since the Four Horseman. When the nWo started to add members and gain even more strength, the angle just got hotter. And that's when things started to fall apart.

The nWo seemingly never lost. The WCW roster almost never got the upper hand. Week after week it was an nWo beatdown of a popular wrestler followed by the inevitable spray painting of "nWo" on their backs. For me, anyway, it got real old, real fast, especially when seemingly every other wrestler started to join the nWo. Heck, I think that I might have been a member of the nWo at one time. Okay, maybe not, but it sure seemed that way when mid-card jobbers like Scott Norton joined the group. And don't get me started on how the Sting-in-the-rafters angle was botched. I blame it all on the massive egos of Hogan and Eric Bischoff, but that's another post for another time.

The worst part of the nWo angle is that it really never had a real ending, even though it went on for years longer than it should have. Eventually, the nWo just kind of went away. Oh sure, it kinda sorta came back every now and then, but it had become a cliche by then. The angle should have had a definitive ending - WCW triumphs and vanquishes the nWo. Period. That's how it needed to end.

When the WWF had it's Invasion angle that's how it was ended - the WWF being victorious over the WCW/ECW Alliance. Yes, I do realize that as a whole, the angle was royally botched (also another column for another time), but at least it had a definitive beginning, middle and end.

Getting back to Nexus, I think we can all agree that some of the following things might start to happen in the coming months: 1) there will be some sort of dissension in the ranks; 2) a surprise member of the RAW roster will join Nexus; 3) the group's leader will be revealed; 4) there will be a big PPV match between Nexus and a team of RAW wrestlers, face and heel. Whichever of these happens, WWE has to keep its eyes on the ending of the Nexus angle. And most importantly, they can't let it drag out beyond this year. If we're still talking about Nexus this time next year, then the angle will have entered nWo territory, and that's not a good thing.

No matter what, though, the RAW roster has to start to chip away at Nexus. I think Cena has already done that by taking out Darren Young (temporarily or otherwise). The invincible group thing can only go on for so long before it starts to get old.

My favorite indy promotion, CHIKARA, is having its own invasion angle this year. The BDK is running roughshod over the promotion with the rest of the roster (heel and face) seemingly unable to do anything about it. Since winning the promotions tag team championships, Ares and Claudio Castagnoli haven't even lost a fall during their title defenses (title matches in CHIKARA are 2/3 falls). Eventually, a team is going to have to rise through the ranks to at least take a fall from Ares and Claudio, if not win the tag titles outright (my money is on The Colony). This angle had been building for at least two years, so I do hope that it will be brought to a successful conclusion that makes even the worst fanboys applaud.

Y'see, it's really all about a battle of good vs. evil - in the beginning, evil gets the upperhand and looks invincible until good finds its inner strength and eventually triumphs. This is the basic formula of most wrestling angles, but getting from point A to point B is the tricky part.

Even the all-but unwatchable TNA is about to run its own invasion angle, this time with a bunch of washed up ex-ECW wrestlers, most of whom are well past their primes (with the notable exception being RVD). The beginning of the angle won't air on TV until tomorrow night, so I won't spoil anything. I will say that if TNA President Dixie Carter is expecting Paul Heyman to come in and be the lynch pin of the angle, she shouldn't hold her breath. Heyman won't go to TNA unless he gets total control of the promotion (and a suitcase full of cash). However, even without seeing how the angle is played out, I expect it to be a total disaster. After all, it is TNA, y'know, the same promotion that built up a seemingly big angle between Sting and Christopher Daniels only to blow it off after on PPV match. Now there's an example of angle that didn't have a middle. What happens in the middle will determine how many people stick around to the ending. That's what doomed the nWo - the middle just fell apart somewhere between the "Crow" Sting angle and the nWo black and white and the nWo Wolfpack coming back together. By then, most people had had enough of the nWo. Let's hope the same thing doesn't happen to Nexus, because I am legitimately interested to see where this angle goes.


Friday, July 9, 2010

LeBron James Meets Barnum and Bailey

So, were you also suckered into watching "The Decision" on ESPN last night?

I'll admit - I watched it. Even though pretty much everyone knew or suspected that LeBron was going to announce his intention to sign with the Miami Heat, I still felt compelled to watch if only to see if it was going to be as big of a joke as I expected. And it was a joke - a joke on the people watching, the city of Cleveland, ESPN and the media as a whole. We were all stupid enough to be captivated by a pro athlete announcing what team he's going to play for in a one hour TV special. That's gotta be one of the most egotistical displays in the history of ever. Yet the second King James made the offer to ESPN, the four-letter couldn't have said "yes" fast enough.

Look, I'm sure that last night's show (because it was strictly entertainment - no sports involved) probably did boffo ratings for ESPN. Really, what else are they gonna have on at 9pm on a Thursday night in July? WNBA? Poker? Billiards? Aussie Rules Football? Believe me, ESPN will be laughing all the way to the bank, but it doesn't mean they can't be embarassed by what went down last night.

LeBron was supposed to make his big annoucement within the first 10 minutes of the broadcast, but it didn't end up happening until about 9:30. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. I was also incredibly annoyed, especially because I had to listen to Schtu Scott, Chris Broussard, Jon Barry and Michael "How can anyone take me as a serious journalist anymore?" Wilbon drone on about a decision that wasn't a surprise. And who did LBJ have conducting the interview? None other than "The Always Exciting" Jim Grey, perhaps one of the most uncharismatic sports journalists in the history of the medium. What bugged me even more was that instead of just coming out and asking James where he was going to play, Grey asked a bunch of meaningless questions building up to the big announcement.

I don't begrudge LeBron for wanting to leave Cleveland. I don't even begrudge him for obviously being in cahoots with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to all go to Miami as the new Big 3. But I do begrudge how he did it.

When Kobe Bryant reupped with the Lakers, there wasn't any primetime TV special or anything like that, and Kobe has 5 championships to LeBron's none. The team just issued a press release the next day like it was no big deal. To put a Pittsburgh perspective on this, can you imagine Sidney Crosby doing something like this. Yeah, I know there are a lot of Sid bashers out there, but I don't know if any of them would think he'd pull a LeBron. It was all about stroking LeBron's ego and all of his "team" telling him how wonderful he is. Too bad LeBron's on camera charisma doesn't exactly match up to someone like Magic Johnson.

I'm telling you, I half expected Vince McMahon's music to start playing during the show last night and for LeBron to announce he was going to join WWE. It was a spectacle worthy of the inventor of Sports Entertainment. Maybe if The Miz had come out and cut a promo on LeBron (The Miz is a Cleveland native after all), it would have saved what was otherwise some of the worst TV this side of Big Brother.

Look, it was clear to anyone who's even a semi-NBA fan (such as yours truly) that LeBron was never going to win a championship in Cleveland. He never had the supporting cast he needed. For Kobe's 5 titles, he had Shaq and Pau Gasol to be his number two men. Jordan had Scottie Pippen, a Hall of Famer. Who has LeBron had? Mo Williams? Anderson Varejao? A well past his prime Shaq? Overrated Antawn Jameson? In Miami he'll have one of the best big men in the NBA and a guy who's already won an NBA title. They could and should win a championship going away. But they'd better win because the Heat have put all of their eggs in the LeBron/Bosh/D-Wade basket. It's going to be the Big Three and the Seven Dwarves.

The reaction in Cleveland has been expected - anger, cursing, rebuking, threats - and that's just from Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. Gilbert has every right to be angry, but he comes off like a total jackass in his missive to Cavs fans. Unless LeBron promised that he would never, ever leave Cleveland, then I don't see how he's betraying the city of Cleveland. Pro athletes are mercenaries, plain and simple. Some do manage to rise above it, but most follow the money, the chance to win a championship or both. And for Gilbert to claim that the Cavs will win a title before LeBron does... um, has he taken a look at the Cavs roster for next season? They'll be lucky if they make the playoffs. Of course, wouldn't it be so ironic if the Cavs ended up meeting the Heat in the playoffs next season? I'd pay to see that. I also can't wait to hear how much heel heat LeBron draws when he returns to Cleveland for the first time as a member of Miami. It could be Vickie Guerrero-level heel heat.

Now does this whole debacle make me any more interested in the NBA? Nope. Of the four major sports, my interest in the NBA ranks fourth. Heck, if you factor in college football, it ranks fifth. On some days, I'd put it below NASCAR and the PGA Tour. Yeah, I'll watch when the Heat travel to Cleveland just to see LeBron get booed out of the building every time he touches the ball (ala Jaromir Jagr in Pittsburgh), but my interest will quickly wane. I just don't like basketball that much.

I am glad of one thing - now that LeBron has finally made up his mind, all of the endless speculation can now stop. Sure, there's going to be tremendous hype and build up to LeBron's first game as a member of the Heat, and ESPN is going to make me nauseous with how much it will make it seem like it's the greatest event in the history of ever, but I can and will do my best to ignore it. At least this part is over. Yet, why do I keep hearing circus music in my head?

Have a good weekend, folks!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A not-really shameless plug

Hey all... I want all of you to check out my friend David Kincannon's new blog Wrestling With Wrestling. Much like yours truly, he's a big wrestling fan, and he'll be offering his take on the world of pro wrestling, the good and bad, the ups and downs and everything in-between.

And along those same lines, this blog will become more of a wrestling-related blog, but don't worry, I still have lots of things to say about non-wrestling subjects, such as:

Why I'm a Conservative and proud of it.
Comics books you should be reading.
The LeBron James circus.
Does anyone really think Lindsay Lohan will change because she's going to jail?
Why the term "purple drank" makes me laugh out loud.
Steelers Training Camp preview.
Penguins free agency and what else they need to do before the season starts.
Does anyone really care about the MLB All-Star Game?

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on the Nexus angle that's currently dominating Monday Night RAW as well as my thoughts on if the NXT brand has been a success or failure halfway through it's second season.