Archive for July, 2012

WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson on CM Punk, Ric Flair, and the Next Big Star

July 31, 2012

Arn Anderson (WWE)

To older wrestling fans, Arn Anderson is best known as the enforcer of the elite stable known as The Four Horsemen. If any young up-and-comer got too close to Ric Flair’s World Heavyweight Championship, it was Anderson job to stomp them down.

Today Anderson does the exact opposite. In his role as a producer, it’s his responsibility to help guide the next generation of WWE Superstars…

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from Arn, he said, ‘The WWE is not going to give you anything. The only way you’re going to get anything is if you can get these people behind you.’ And I feel like that’s been very true in my run. If you can’t get these people behind you, then you won’t be able to get to that next level.” – Daniel Bryan

I spoke with “Double A” at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con and had a chance to ask him about today’s young talent, his recent Hall of Fame induction, and the one match he wishes he had on tape…

Gordon Holmes: You seem like an old-school, no-nonsense kind of guy. What do you make of all of this Comic Con business?
Arn Anderson: You know what? It’s different. But what’s so peculiar about the deal is we just had a signing downstairs and I had a lot of dads bringing their kids to introduce them to my era. And the kids are all schooled in it, so apparently the YouTube and all this social media has caught them up to guys from my era. And I think that’s pretty cool.

Holmes: Now you’re a producer behind-the-scenes with the WWE. What does that job entail?
Anderson: It involves everything from in the afternoon still getting into the ring with these young guys. I can’t go full-speed anymore, but I can teach them enough about psychology and actual mechanics to help some of the kids. I also produce television, run live events, run international events, help creative write the shows. A little bit of everything, probably.
Holmes: C.M. Punk, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, they’re all stepping forward as the next crop of main-event names. Who else should we be looking out for?
Anderson: Those three guys are your future. Kofi Kingston, keep your eye on Kofi Kingston, he’s getting over the old-fashioned way, slowly but surely. People like Kofi. Daniel Bryan has as much talent as anybody out there. Punk has taken a leadership role. Sheamus is a bulldozer. All of those guys. But, if it was going to be someone on the horizon that hasn’t been seen…keep your eye on Mike Rotundo’s kids, both of them.
Holmes: So “The Captain” makes good wrestlers?
Anderson: They’ve got good genetics. They’re as different as night and day. They perform differently. Bo Rotundo is going to make a hell of a babyface. And the older one, who used to be Husky Harris, what he ends up being called won’t matter. You’ve got another Sheamus on your hands.

Holmes: What’s the one piece of advice that you’re sick of having to repeat?
Anderson: Have passion about this. Live it, breathe it, sweat it. Guys get in this industry too easy these days. It’s not something they’ve wanted to do their whole lives It’s kind of given to them. And I don’t mean this in all cases. I just wish people loved it as much as people from my generation that were successful did. And that’s something that I can’t instill, or coach, or force feed.

Holmes: I recently watched your Hall of Fame speech and you and Edge said something similar in that you both got out of the business due to injuries, and you both guessed that you had made the right decision. However, neither one of you seemed terribly convinced. My question is; what is it about wrestling that’s so addictive?
Anderson: If you do it for the love of what you do, and let me clarify, the money’s good. The perks are great. Getting a great table at a restaurant is a wonderful thing. But the biggest perk of all is going through that curtain, taking out your maestro stick, and waving a crowd through a 45-minute match, and taking them anywhere you want to take them. And coming back through that curtain with them totally exhausted as well as you, and know without asking anyone how it was, know that you had a great match. You know you and your dancing partner tore the joint down. There’s no feeling like that on Earth. Alcohol can’t provide it, I’d suggest drugs can’t provide it, a woman can’t provide it. It’s something you’ve got to experience. It’s a high that’s like no other.

Holmes: I spoke with Punk before the Survivor Series and asked him if he could work any territory, which would it be. He said, “I would’ve loved to work for the Crocketts.”
Anderson: He would’ve done great, as Daniel Bryan would as well. Those two guys have shown that having years of independent work and paying your dues and learning the business the hard way is important. Those guys could have wrestled during any era.
Holmes: Now my question for you is; would Punk have been the fifth man on the Horsemen’s War Games team or would you guys have been jumping him in a parking lot?
Anderson: He would’ve been on the other side. He’d be one of those guys selling tickets. He would’ve been somewhere underneath Dusty Rhodes and right at or above the Rock and Roll Express level.

Holmes: One of these Mattel action figures looks a heck of a lot like you.
Anderson: I just found out about this today.
Holmes: (Laughs) Just today?
Anderson: Well, the way they came about it was by a vote online. And to still be relevant in 2012 when I retired in 97, that means they chose you. It’s an honor and I’m just thankful to be around.
Holmes: Did they get it just right?
Anderson: No, I think the swoop on the thighs should be a little bigger, the abs could be a little cleaner. But other than that, pretty close.

Holmes: Heard from Ric Flair lately?
Anderson: Nope, Ric and I haven’t really kept in contact probably for the last several years. He kind of does his own thing and when I come home off the road I kind of cocoon myself with my family. But Ric’s a survivor. He’s like a roach.
Holmes: All that’ll be left are Twinkies and the Nature Boy.
Anderson: He’ll be around when the rest of us are dead.

Holmes: If you had to pick a single match that told people everything they needed to know about Arn Anderson the wrestler, what would that match be?
Anderson: Wow…
Holmes: I didn’t fly all the way from Philadelphia to ask easy questions.
Anderson: No you didn’t, and I respect you for that. Arn Anderson with Bobby Eaton as a partner against Ricky Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes, in the Omni…Sunday night, I don’t remember the year…it would’ve been around…
Holmes: Probably 91/92 if you were teaming with Bobby Eaton.
Anderson: We went 59 minutes and 20 seconds. And buddy, I almost died. And I saw three other guys that I respect as much as anybody I’ve ever been in the ring with almost die with me. It’s one of those things where we literally gave everything we possibly had. And I don’t have it on tape anywhere, but I wish I did. It was one of the most exhausting mentally and physically matches I’ve ever been in and one of the most satisfying as well. We left it all out there.

Don’t miss WWE Summerslam – Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

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‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Vanuatu’ Episode 9

July 25, 2012

Image by @Survivor_BUFF

My Big Question: Back in 2008, Jeff Probst and I did a video segment called the “‘Survivor’ Question of the Week” where we’d debate the merits of a specific topic. One of those topics was, “Who was the least deserving winner in ‘Survivor’ history.” I chose Chris Daugherty because I felt like he was lucky that the female alliance fell apart when it did and I didn’t like how he misled people like Eliza before voting them out. The lying struck me as very unnecessary.

However, that was based on a four-year-old season I had watched before yapping about “Survivor” was my actual job. So for this rewatch, my main goal is to critique Chris’s performance to see if he deserved my worst-ever ranking.

And with that, let’s start this shiznit (as Ami would say)…

(more…)

‘WWE Monday Night Raw’s’ Top 10 Celebrity Moments

July 23, 2012
Hugh Jackman Jacks Dolph Ziggler (WWE)

Hugh Jackman Jacks Dolph Ziggler (WWE)

From Mr. T, Muhammad Ali, and Liberace at the inaugural Wrestlemania to Sean “Diddy Puffy P-Diddy” Combs and Flo Rida at the most recent one, wrestlers and celebrities have been cross-mingling for quite some time.

So, as we prepare for tonight’s thousandth episode of “WWE Monday Night Raw,” I thought it might be fun to take a look back at the ten best celebrity appearances from the show’s first nine hundred, ninety nine episodes.

Note: Stacy Keibler doesn’t qualify for this list because at the time of her many appearances she was technically a WWE Diva and not a celebrity. Otherwise, she’d be featured in at least seven of the top ten entries…

The Piven Body Press
Things don’t always go smoothly when celebrities agree to be a part of the insanity of “Monday Night Raw.” The best results tend to happen when the celebrity is willing to check their ego at the door, dive in, and have fun. Jeremy Piven did just that during his August 3rd, 2009 guest hosting stint…literally.
Pee-Wee Is Rubber, Miz Is Glue
The exact opposite of the Piven visit took place during Pee-Wee Herman’s November 1st 2010 appearance. The then Mr. Money in the Bank Miz got to have some signature “Play House” fun as he kept accidentally saying Pee-Wee’s secret word and got into a classic “I know you are but what am I?” exchange.
The Big Red Machines
The bizarre Pete Rose/Kane feud was one of highlights of the Attitude-Era Wrestlemania events. On March 22, 2010, Kane reignited this rivalry quipping, “Your luck has changed? Don’t bet on it!”Note: This photo is from their Wrestlemania XIV encounter.
The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Vickie
From Vickie Guerrero and Miss Piggy’s “Excuse Me”/”Excuse Moi” debate to Sheamus rescuing his long-lost family member Beaker, the Halloween 2011 edition of “Monday Night Raw” was heaven for any kid of the ‘80s.
Mr. Britney Spears Defeats John Cena
Say whatever you want about Kevin Federline’s music career, but you’ve got to admire somebody who’s willing to make fun of their own public persona. The self-proclaimed “America’s Most Hated” milked the audience’s contempt like a classically trained bad guy and even managed to earn a pinfall victory over the former Doctor of Thuganomics on New Years Day 2007.
Shaq Vs. Show
It’s always a tricky thing when a celebrity tries to step into the ring. If it’s played for fun like Seth Green or Kevin Federline, I can appreciate it for the joke that it’s supposed to be. When it’s taken seriously like Jay Leno or Dennis Rodman, then I get nervous. However, when Shaquille O’Neal stood toe-to-toe with the Big Show during the July 27, 2009 episode of “Raw” I got excited. Every few years there are rumors that Shaq wants to wrestle. I’d be all for it.
Captain Kirk Takes on Double J
For anyone who thinks celebrity involvement on “Raw” is a relatively new phenomenon, let’s turn the clock back to January 16, 1995 when the former captain of the Starship Enterprise stood in the corner of Bret “Hitman” Hart. Fifteen years later, the two Canadians would reunite during Shatner’s guest hosting visit.
The Woo-Woo-Wolverine
It’s not every day that you get decked by an A-List movie star. (Well, unless you’re a member of the paparazzi.) But, Dolph Ziggler experienced just that when he found himself on the wrong end of a Hugh Jackman right cross on the September 19, 2011 episode of “Raw.”
Y2J, Come On Down!
“The Price Is Right” icon Bob Barker had the WWE Universe in the palm of his hand during his September 7, 2009 guest hosting stint. The highlight of the evening was clearly the way Barker put Chris Jericho in his place during a pricing game, even threatening to take the “Best in the World” over his knee at one point. (And kudos to Jericho for hilariously wearing the name tag on his chest.)
The Most Important Celebrity Appearance Ever
Steve Austin was the hottest act the WWE had seen in years and was the company’s best chance to overtake the WCW “Nitro” juggernaut. All he needed was that little something to put him over the top. That something was “Iron” Mike Tyson. On January 19, 1998 the two participated in a pull-apart brawl. The next day the event was talked about on every news outlet in the country. The “Stone Cold” era was born.Years later, Tyson would return to become buddies with Hornswoggle. That’s probably not as important as tilting the balance in the Monday Night Wars, but it’s something.

Don’t miss the 1000th episode of “WWE Monday Night Raw,” Monday, June 23, 2011 at 8 p.m. ET.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

WWE’s Daniel Bryan: ‘I Want to Be at the Point Where (John) Cena Is At’

July 20, 2012

Daniel Bryan and AJ (WWE)

Has Daniel Bryan proved that he can make it to the top tier of WWE Superstars? Has he had several amazing matches with a wide variety of opponents? Has he created a catchphrase that millions are screaming at the top of their lungs?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Will his wedding to WWE Diva AJ go off without a hitch during the 1000th episode of ‘WWE Monday Night Raw’?

That remains to be seen.

I spoke with the master of the Yes Lock in the days before his proposal at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con. While there we had a chance to discuss his unexpected rise to the top, his luck with the ladies, and his ridiculously positive catchphrase…

Gordon Holmes: Everybody has said you don’t have the right look or the right size or the right personality to make it as a WWE Superstar. And yet, here we are. How does it feel to stick those doubts in people’s faces?
Daniel Bryan: I’ve never thought about sticking it in people’s faces…
Holmes: I would.
Bryan: (Laughs) Yeah! But I don’t have that kind of personality. For me it’s always been about pursuing what I enjoy doing. And I’m actually a little surprised by my own success because I know I’m very good at what I do, I just doubted that the machine would get behind somebody like me. Because, they haven’t in the past. So, that’s my biggest surprise.

Holmes: I talked to Sheamus yesterday, and we discussed how nice it was that you guys got to follow Wrestlemania up with that great match at Extreme Rules. He went so far to say it was his personal best match of all time. That’s got to be a point of pride that your peer’s favorite matches is against you.
Bryan: Yeah, it’s a sense of pride, but Sheamus and I have always had good matches. And the reason why is because both of us have very physical styles. And we’re both not afraid to go in there and really hit each other. There’s some people who don’t want to wrestle me. But, everything I do is safe. And I’ve had fans at live events who’ve said, “Man, when you and Sheamus were out there, you were really hitting each other!” And they’re almost taken aback.
Holmes: My goodness, there’s violence in my wrestling.
Bryan: (Laughs) So yeah, I’ve always taken pride in the matches Sheamus and I have had.

Holmes: Now, it’s one thing to be a former WWE Champion. But, it’s quite another thing to have Mattel go to great lengths to properly sculpt an accurate beard for your action figure. Do you think they nailed it?
Bryan: Yeah. I was pretty stoked to have my first action figure in general. Because now guys want to be in the video game. I understand that, they’re video game people. I’m not. I’ve never been into video games. So, for me action figures are like, “Holy cow! I have my own action figure!” And now they have several of them! And some of them have my t-shirt? And they’re so correct with my gear and stuff. And now the beard? It’s pretty cool.
Holmes: Is it weird having a little you or do you still get a kick out of it?
Bryan: I get a kick out of it, like I’ll be in Target and I’ll see one of my figures and it makes me laugh that someone like me has an action figure. It makes me think less of other people who have action figures. I guess it’s not as hard as it looks.
Holmes: (Laughs) Yeah, I thought Batman was cool until…
Bryan: (Laughs) Right! Until I had my own, now I don’t think he’s so special.
Holmes: You’ve got to be hoping for a Daniel Bryan Brawlin’ Buddy plush doll.
Bryan: Oh yeah, I had the Macho King Randy Savage Wrestling Buddy. I’d love to have something like that. Those things are really cool to me. And an ice cream bar, too.
Holmes: But then what would be left for you? You’ve been a champion, after you have the buddy and the ice cream bar it’s got to be all downhill.
Bryan: I want to be at the point where (John) Cena is at. He hasn’t been WWE Champion in a while, but he’s still the main event of every pay per view. He’s the guy. He’s the first guy on the poster. He’s the guy people are paying to see. That’s what you’ve got to go for. I’ve always tried to be the absolute best.

Holmes: You’re in the midst of a huge storyline love triangle between yourself, AJ, and CM Punk. What’s that like for you? Because you’re more known for getting it done in the ring than during an episode of “Days of Our Lives.”
Bryan: It’s interesting because I’ve never been known for this, I was always known for just wrestling. So, it’s been fun for me to go out there and do it. And from all accounts, people are pretty happy with what I’ve done, from within the company. So, I feel like I’ve been doing it OK, you can always do it better and I’m always striving to do better because that’s always been a weakness for me. When I was in high school I’d stand up and give a book report and I’d be shaking. I’ve never been somebody who’s good at acting. But it’s fun to go out there and be a real jerk. (Laughs) And be a lying, conniving kind of person.
Holmes: From what I understand, AJ is into geek culture. Is she going to be upset that you’re at Comic Con and she isn’t?
Bryan: She’d be more jealous that Alicia Fox is here who doesn’t know about that stuff. Alicia Fox came dressed as a Ninja Turtle, she didn’t know which Ninja Turtle she was!
Holmes: What color was her mask?
Bryan: Red, so she was Raphael.
Holmes: This isn’t the first time you’ve been involved with Divas. I remember you were involved with the Bella Twins and Gail Kim. Is there some kinda ladies man swagger about you that we don’t know about?
Bryan: (Laughs) No, no, no. You know what I think it is? I think it’s that I’m such the antithesis of a ladies man that the writers think it’s funny. So, it constantly comes up.

Holmes: Now, it seems like what got you to the dance was your in-ring ability.
Bryan: Right.
Holmes: But with Raw and Smackdown these days, sometimes you only get three or four minutes to put on a match. Did that concern you that you weren’t going to get an opportunity to show what you can do?
Bryan: I was and I wasn’t. I always felt like I don’t need much time to showcase what I can do. And if I’m given any chance whatsoever I’ll go out and do a good job at it. So, maybe once every few months you can get a ten-minute match and you can really do something that nobody else can really do. And I’ve always believed that my wrestling could make me popular.

Holmes: I walked by your autograph signing earlier and was nearly deafened by a legion of fans screaming, “Yes!”
Bryan: I honestly was just doing it to be annoying and that’s all I ever thought. And what’ s interesting is it started to pick up before Wrestlemania. We had done a show in Seattle, and I’m from Washington state, but there were a bunch of “Yes” signs. And then at some of the live events there were people chanting “Yes” in pockets. And then the Monday Night Raw right after is where it really hit. After that they came out with the t-shirt. And I think it’s just fun to chant.
Holmes: You’re hearing it everywhere now. Even at non-wrestling sporting events. What was it like to come out in front of that huge crowd at Wrestlemania to that kind of support?
Bryan: I just thought it was really cool because I literally had zero to worry about. All I had to do was go out and just enjoy the moment. The most important thing was not to trip over my robe.
Holmes: And you did a fantastic job at that.
Bryan: (Laughs) Yeah, thank you. But that thing was right at my feet. I was terrified.

Holmes: A few weeks ago you and Punk were wrestling. He went for a spinning backfist and came up short. You followed it with a running knee to his chest. Was that an intentional tribute to our friends in the UFC?
Bryan: Listen, just because (Chael) Sonnen went for that spinning backfist and (Anderson) Silva hit him with that knee and then coincidentally, CM Punk who’s friends a friend of Sonnen just so happened to go for a spinning backfist and I followed it up with a knee? I learn from what I watch, right? So, I knew the best thing to follow up a missed backfist was a knee.
Holmes: That’s amazing that you could integrate that into your strategy so quickly after having just seen it.
Bryan: (Laughs) Yeah! Yeah! That’s why I have an action figure.
Holmes: Precisely. Screw Batman.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Vanuatu’ Episode 8

July 18, 2012

Image by @Survivor_BUFF

My Big Question: Back in 2008, Jeff Probst and I did a video segment called the “‘Survivor’ Question of the Week” where we’d debate the merits of a specific topic. One of those topics was, “Who was the least deserving winner in ‘Survivor’ history.” I chose Chris Daugherty because I felt like he was lucky that the female alliance fell apart when it did and I didn’t like how he misled people like Eliza before voting them out. The lying struck me as very unnecessary.

However, that was based on a four-year-old season I had watched before yapping about “Survivor” was my actual job. So for this rewatch, my main goal is to critique Chris’s performance to see if he deserved my worst-ever ranking.

And with that, let’s hop into this…

(more…)

WWE’s Brodus ‘Funkasaurus’ Clay: ‘I’m More of a Wallflower’

July 18, 2012

Brodus Clay (WWE)

“Unstoppable,” “monster,” and “fall of humanity” were a few of the horrifying terms used to describe Brodus Clay before he made his re-debut last winter. What we got instead was a funky fedora-wearing, talon-bearing, dancing machine.

Who knew the fall of humanity would be so much fun?

I met up with the man from Planet Funk this past week at San Diego Comic Con. While there we discussed his debut swerve, his wrestling influences, and more…

Gordon Holmes: You kinda took the world by surprise when you debuted as the Funkasaurus a little over half a year ago. Seems like everyone was expecting you to come in as a no-nonsense, derriere kicker. What was your reaction the first time you were pitched the Funkasaurus idea?
Brodus Clay: Actually, I’m more like the Funkasaurus backstage then I was the angry dude. So, when the boss saw me like that he said, “Why don’t you just do that?” I looked at him like, “Are you crazy?” But, my biggest problem was the dancing because I don’t know where cracking jokes and smiling and being silly and stuff had anything to do with dancing. But somehow they came together. The hardest part was the dancing because I’m more of a wallflower than an actual dancer.
Holmes: And who’s responsible for the talons?
Clay: (Laughs) That was me. There was some influence on that “Teen Wolf” and “Thriller.” But I have talons where they had claws. And they are furry and I am not.

Holmes: The Funkadactyls are the nicknames for your lovely dancers, am I correct?
Clay: Yes, yes.
Holmes: Did they have any advice on any moves you should be trying out?
Clay: They do a lot of crazy stuff and I let them do their thing. And they give me a lot of hints and tips. But I tend to stick to the two things that I know that I can do well. I let them be the technicians of dance. Because Naomi used to dance for the Orlando Magic and Cameron used to dance in a lot of clubs. So between the three of us…those are dance clubs Cameron dances in. Like with her and her girlfriends.
Holmes: Gotcha. This is a family site.
Clay: Yes, let me rephrase.
Holmes: So, we’re not going to see any full-on splits from you?
Clay: If you do, you only get it once.

Holmes: Were you nervous that you weren’t giving the people what they were expecting? Because all of the previews were like, “Look out, Brodus Clay is gonna come getcha.”
Clay: We threw the old 360 on them. One of my big influences, the Road Dogg, he was in my ear quite a bit. And the waiting to debut was the toughest part. We were in Memphis and he says “It has to be here, it has to be in Memphis. You don’t want to go to Corpus Christie with this. They’re going to hate it!” And sure enough they decided not to go ahead with it. I looked at him and said, “Corpus Christie?” And he said, “They’re going to love it there!” But when I first came out, I went through that curtain and there were a lot of mouths wide open like they saw a car accident. Some fans had some choice words for me, thus coined the phrase, “My bad.” The fans yelled and me and I said, “My bad” and everyone kinda liked it. I was nervous but each week it got more and more comfortable and more and more of me started coming out.
Holmes: I was one of those people at home with my mouth open, until you said, “Shall I get him?”
Clay: (Laughs) Yeah.
Holmes: And then I was on board.
Clay: I was just feeling it out there. Nobody ever talks to the crowd. What’s wrong with that? If you’re going to trash talk, trash talk loud. Let them get involved in it. They’re great about letting you know.
Holmes: Bubba Ray Dudley used to yell at D-Von to get the tables. That kind of stuff was huge.
Clay: People would go nuts! And why not? We got away from that.
Holmes: Your character is so fun loving, is there any difficulty flipping the switch and turning up the intensity for a big match?
Clay: A perfect example is if you notice when the bell rings I become more serious and more aggressive. I think up until that point, that’s part of the confidence. Mohammed Ali used to do all that showmanship and clowning around before the bell rings. But when the bell rings it’s time to go to work.

Holmes: You mentioned the Road Dogg as someone who helps you out backstage. Who else do you look to for advice?
Clay: Double A (Arn Anderson), the American Dream Dusty Rhodes, Fit Finlay, Dean Malenko, Jamie Noble, there’s quite a few. There are so many brains back there and everyone has their expertise. If I have a question about showmanship, I go to Road Dogg. And Triple H has made himself available and even the Big V, who is about as good a dancer as I am, is there for advice.
Holmes: The Big V?
Clay: Vince McMahon, the boss.
Holmes: For some reason I thought you were talking about Viscera.
Clay: Well, he did that smooth daddy thing for a while.
Holmes: And Vince swiped your moves for a bit.
Clay: When I was banned from Raw he did the dance with the ladies. And he did a good job.
Holmes: You’re not allowed to argue with the boss when he borrows your gimmick.
Clay: No, and he dances just a little bit worse than I do, so I’m OK with that. He didn’t reinvent the dance wheel that night. So I’m safe.

Holmes: So, Mattel just unveiled a new Brodus Clay action figure complete with all of your funky gear. What goes through your head when you see something you see in the mirror every day shrunk down to about six inches?
Clay: Um…wow! No way. Wow, this is really happening? I’m very excited as an action figure collector to have one of myself. It’s very humbling. I had to take a moment when I saw it.

Holmes: Your theme music makes a repeated request for someone to call your mama. How does the real Mama Clay feel about her son’s success?
Clay: She always wanted her son to be a biologist, so this is a tough transition for her. But she’s supportive. I think she likes it. She’s always telling me things I need to work on. She said, “Next time Big Show grabs your leg, you need to move.” I say, “OK mom, I’ll do that.” But you have to understand for her, ever since I was a kid my entire existence was wrestling. So, she’s kind of up to here with it.
Holmes: Biologist?
Clay: I went to a magnet school. I was kind of a brainiac when it came to zoology and animals and stuff. And I’m still an Animal Planet, National Geographic buff to this day.
Holmes: I feel like you could make the argument for biology, archaeology, Funkasaurus…it’s all in the same ballpark.
Clay: (Laughs) It’s all connected.

Don’t miss the 1000th episode of WWE Monday Night Raw this Monday, July 23, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

WWE’s Zack Ryder: Kane and Eve ‘Basically Killed My Career’

July 17, 2012

Zack Ryder (WWE)

It was the feel-good story of 2011. In a last-ditch effort to save his job, Zack Ryder, the long-forgotten, fist-pumping bro from Long Island had turned his tiny YouTube show into an Internet sensation. He rode that wave of popularity to a thunderous ovation at the Survivor Series and a United States Title victory over Dolph Ziggler at TLC.

Then he was destroyed by Kane and dumped by Eve Torres.

Wave hits wall…feel-good story turns bad.

But things are looking up for the self-professed “Long Island Iced Z.” At the Great American Bash a few weeks ago he made Eve look foolish and ousted Kane to win a battle royal.

I recently had a chance to sit down with the Internet’s favorite Broski at San Diego Comic Con to find out what he plans to do next, the fate of his Internet Championship, and more…

Gordon Holmes: At the Great American Bash you were finally able to get revenge on both Eve and Kane. Was it nice to finally get some closure on those issues?
Zack Ryder: I needed that redemption big time. I was on such a roll at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 and the whole Kane and Eve thing killed my momentum. Basically killed my career. So, to turn that around and get revenge on them was something I needed. Hopefully it’ll get the Ryder Revolution back on track.
Holmes: What’s next for you now that that’s behind you?
Ryder: The United States Title, I had that for a hot minute. I’d love to get that back. In 2011 I think I proved to people that I’m not a joke, I can be taken seriously in the ring. And hopefully by the end of this year I’ll have a major championship.
Holmes: A lot of guys when they make the step to the next level, they feel the need to shed some of the…I don’t want to say goofy…but some of the more fan-pleasing parts of their personas. I’m thinking of The Hurricane dropping his superhero ways and Rikishi dropping the dancing…
Ryder: Right.
Holmes: Is that a concern for you? Is that a direction you’ll head into?
Ryder: I think maybe in time, I can’t be the same old guy forever. But that doesn’t mean I’ll have to drop all of the parts of my character to get to the top. I think eventually I’ll evolve. If you’ve followed my career I was a Major Brother, then an Edge Head, now I’m Zack Ryder, I’m sure in three years I’ll be completely different.

Holmes: In coming up with these questions I thought of a merchandise idea for you.
Ryder: Sweet, let’s hear it.
Holmes: Remember the foam Steve Austin “What” voice bubbles?
Ryder: Yeah.
Holmes: We need some “Woo Woo Woo” bubbles.
Ryder: That’d be sweet! I’d take it.

Holmes: Your story is kind of amazing. You weren’t getting any attention, so you took matters into your own hands and figured out how to make social media work for you. Do they ever come to you for advice on how to make social media work for other guys?
Ryder: No. It’s funny though, now they have meetings about how to use hash tags or whatever. And I’m like, “Are you serious, bro?” All this stuff that I’ve been doing for years, not saying that I originated it, but I’ve been doing it best. It’s cool though, I’m glad WWE is finally embracing social media.

Holmes: You’re obviously a huge fan of toys and pop culture, what with all the references you make on your YouTube show, so what was it like the first time you saw a Mattel Zack Ryder action figure?
Ryder: It was great. I’ve been a wrestling fan all my life and I’ve collected wrestling figures my whole life. So, of course a dream of mine was to be in the WWE and to have my own figure. When I got my first Mattel action figure I was ecstatic. I’d always check on the Internet and try to see the new lineups. When I saw the prototype image, it was one of the best moments of my life.
Holmes: I had intended to ask you if they were ever going to make an Internet Championship for your figure, but they just announced one is on its way.
Ryder: Yeah!
Holmes: You created that. That came out of your brain.
Ryder: What’s crazy is the Internet Championship is something I created for my YouTube show and I’m not allowed to bring it out on WWE TV. Yet, it’s on this WWE t-shirt I’m wearing here. And now it’s on the action figure. So, someone’s telling you no, but you still get to do it. It’s ridiculous. I love it.
Holmes: What is the reasoning behind not allowing you to wear the title on television?
Ryder: I don’t know. As soon as I got it made I showed it to some people and they were like, “Absolutely not.” I’m not going to put up a fight about it, if they don’t want to use it, they don’t have to use it.
Holmes: Cause I’m an old-school fan, and I know for a fact that Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Title was never a sanctioned WWE championship and it was on TV all the time.
Ryder: That was my argument! It’s just like the Million Dollar Title, it’s a gimmick. Obviously I wouldn’t be defending it. Unless of course Wrestlemania 29, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Zack Ryder against Dolph Ziggler for the Internet Title.

Holmes: The next big thing from Mattel is their Brawlin’ Buddies plush dolls. Now, when I was a kid there were Wrestling Buddies…
Ryder: Yes, Wrestling Buddies, I had those too.
Holmes: Is that the next step?  A Zack Ryder Brawlin’ Buddy?
Ryder: I don’t know if this is a spoiler…
Holmes: Oh, you’re going to get us in trouble.
Ryder: (Laughs) I recorded sayings for the Buddies so I’m hoping I’m in the next lineup. You know, the “Argh!” and “Errr!”

Holmes: Are you going to get a chance to see any of the sights here at San Diego Comic Con?
Ryder: Yeah, I definitely want to get out and see the Star Wars stuff and the Ghostbusters stuff. I’ve always wanted to come here as a kid.

Holmes: Edge had some heartfelt words for you and your former partner Curt Hawkins during his Hall of Fame speech. What did it mean for him to take the time to address you during his big moment?
Ryder: Edge, whether he knows it or not, saved my career, saved Curt Hawkins career. We were the Major Brothers at the time, doing nothing on Smackdown. And we’d pitched this idea to be Edge’s cronies. He didn’t have to say yes. But he put the green light on it and along the way we learned so much from him. And for him to retire and to talk about us and give us words of encouragement, it was very humbling. It was great.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Vanuatu’ Episode 7

July 11, 2012

Image by @Survivor_BUFF

My Big Question: Back in 2008, Jeff Probst and I did a video segment called the “‘Survivor’ Question of the Week” where we’d debate the merits of a specific topic. One of those topics was, “Who was the least deserving winner in ‘Survivor’ history.” I chose Chris Daugherty because I felt like he was lucky that the female alliance fell apart when it did and I didn’t like how he misled people like Eliza before voting them out. The lying struck me as very unnecessary.

However, that was based on a four-year-old season I had watched before yapping about “Survivor” was my actual job. So for this rewatch, my main goal is to critique Chris’s performance to see if he deserved my worst-ever ranking.

And with that, let’s get this party started…

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‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Vanuatu’ Episode 6

July 4, 2012

Image by @Survivor_BUFF

My Big Question: Back in 2008, Jeff Probst and I did a video segment called the “‘Survivor’ Question of the Week” where we’d debate the merits of a specific topic. One of those topics was, “Who was the least deserving winner in ‘Survivor’ history.” I chose Chris Daugherty because I felt like he was lucky that the female alliance fell apart when it did and I didn’t like how he misled people like Eliza before voting them out. The lying struck me as very unnecessary.

However, that was based on a four-year-old season I had watched before yapping about “Survivor” was my actual job. So for this rewatch, my main goal is to critique Chris’s performance to see if he deserved my worst-ever ranking.

And with that, let’s get into this business…

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Nine Things You’re Guaranteed to Hear at San Diego Comic Con

July 3, 2012

It’s once again time for Hollywood’s heaviest hitters to descend upon the San Diego Convention Center in an attempt to win over the pale, sweaty masses. As a member (somewhat) of the entertainment media, I’ve been to quite a few of these fiascos. And while the franchises change, some things never do. So, for those of you who only ever experience this annual event on G4 from the comfort of your couch, here are nine things you’re guaranteed to hear at SDCC…

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