Posts Tagged ‘john cena’

Four Cheap and Effective Ways to Improve Pro Wrestling

June 12, 2012

The WWE has found itself in a bit of a rut recently. Injuries and suspensions have left their roster depleted, storylines and characters aren’t quite popping like they used to, and nobody on the undercard seems prepared to grab the reigns and make a name for themselves. And worst of all, these problems are sure to become more pronounced when Raw moves to a permanent three-hour format.

Now while most proposed solutions tend to delve into specifics (“Turn Cena!” “Push Ziggler!”), I’m more interested in the little things the creative team can be doing to help turn the ship around…


WWE World Champ Sheamus on Daniel Bryan’s Popularity, Brock Lesnar’s Return

April 27, 2012

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus Is Ready for Sunday's Extreme Rules (WWE)

You can’t watch a television commercial in eighteen seconds. You can’t make a bag of microwave popcorn in eighteen seconds. But at Wrestlemania 28, WWE Superstar Sheamus was able to win the World Heavyweight Championship from Daniel Bryan in eighteen seconds.

Understandably, Mr. Bryan would like a rematch.

I spoke with the Great White in the days leading up to his two-out-of-three-falls rematch at Extreme Rules and got his opinion on his opponent’s new-found popularity, the grudge match between John Cena and Brock Lesnar, and his work with the Be A STAR anti-bullying campaign…

Watch WWE: Extreme Rules, Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Gordon Holmes:  At Wrestlemania you defeated Daniel Bryan in only eighteen seconds. At Extreme Rules you’ll be facing him in a best-two-out-of-three-falls match. Is it your goal to end this match in thirty six seconds?
Sheamus: (Laughs) Absolutely. The first person to get two falls wins. Who knows what’s going to happen?
Holmes: I couldn’t tie my own shoe in eighteen seconds.
Sheamus: It wasn’t what I was expecting. Daniel Bryan beat Big Show, Mark Henry, Randy Orton…he went through a lot of guys. And he’d been using AJ or any means necessary to get himself disqualified to hold onto the World Heavyweight Championship. And the Monday before on Raw, it was me and Randy Orton taking on him and Kane and I was preparing to kick his head off when AJ figured into the match. It basically cost me the match. So, when I saw him kiss AJ (at Wrestlemania) I wasn’t sure if he would try to use AJ again, so when I saw the opportunity I kicked his head off because I wasn’t going to let him screw me out of the World Heavyweight Championship. He got too cocky and that’s what happened.
Holmes: Since then, Daniel Bryan has amassed a huge cult following with his “Yes” chants. Are you worried that you’re going to be facing a hostile, “Yes”-crazy crowd in Chicago at Extreme Rules?
Sheamus: I wouldn’t expect anything else other than a hostile crowd in Chicago. That’s what makes performing so fantastic. The crowd makes up their own minds, they’re as much a part of the show as we are.
Holmes: How does the Windy City usually react to you?
Sheamus: Chicago is a fantastic place to perform. The first time I ever got the crowd behind me was at Money in the Bank last year when I put Sin Cara through a ladder. The more unpredictable the crowd, the better. I’m expecting a hostile crowd. I’m expecting lots of “Yes” chants. I’m expecting it to be a great night, and me and Daniel Bryan are going to steal the show.

Holmes: The other big match this Sunday is of course John Cena squaring off against the returning Brock Lesnar. It seems like Cena’s had a rough run lately with a large portion of the fans turning against him and his Wrestlemania loss to the Rock. What’s your take on what he’s been going through lately?
Sheamus: You know, John raised his game in taking on the Rock. Cena’s done everything in about eight years in the WWE. He’s created an incredible foundation. People come to see him whether they want to boo or cheer him. And everybody has ups and down. But Cena always bounces back. I think he’s going to bring it Sunday against Lesnar, I think it’s going to be a great match. It’s exciting times for everybody.
Holmes: You’re excited to have Brock back in the fold?
Sheamus: I think it’s great, man. It creates a buzz around what we do. It brings attention from outside of the WWE Universe back in, like people who have strayed away, it brings them back. And I think that’s only a positive thing. People will tune in to see Brock Lesnar taking on John Cena, but guess what, there’s going to be a two-out-of-three-falls match between two of the most exciting superstars right now in the WWE, that’s Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. And we’re also two of the most hard-hitting superstars.
Holmes: John Cena had given the Rock some grief about being a part-time wrestler. The same could probably said for Brock Lesnar. When people like the Rock and Brock come back and don’t go on the big tours, is that something that bothers you at all?
Sheamus: It doesn’t me in the slightest, fella. These guys coming in are bringing attention to the WWE and attention to the product. I thought Rock coming back was great. As far as I know, I think it was the highest grossing Wrestlemania ever. How positive is that? That’s incredible. For me, it’s fine, it happens. People come and go.

Holmes: You’re in a fascinating business. You’re backstage and you’ve got people in crazy costumes and guys like the Big Show and guys like Hornswoggle. What’s been the most surreal moment for you?
Sheamus: It’s kind of funny, you see all these people and they’re kind of like family now. We see each other more than we do our families. But I remember when I first started, I came up to UK for a tryout and I remember walking back and seeing everyone from Triple H to Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Big Show…all the superstars there. It was unbelievable. It was very intimidating. You try not to say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. It’s very important to make a good first impression. But now it’s business as usual. They’re a great bunch of guys and I’m happy to be working with them.

Holmes: You’ve been on the main roster for about three years now; you’ve held two WWE Championships, the World Championship, King of the Ring, Royal Rumble. All of this, and you’re still a young guy. Are you worried that there are less stories to tell or less places for you to go?
Sheamus: I don’t worry about that at all. I’ve had a lot of success early, which is fantastic. But there are a lot of superstars I haven’t really mixed it up with yet. Like Punk or Jericho really, a lot of superstars coming up from FCW like Claudio Castagnoli and Ryback. Lord Tensai has come in, Brock is back, Alberto Del Rio is back. I don’t see any shortage of stories. There will always be interesting stories. And that’s all that matters.
Holmes: Which superstars do you think have the potential to break through and be the next big thing?
Sheamus: It’s difficult to say, there are a lot of guys on the cusp. Alberto Del Rio, he’s got an incredible resume. I think you’ve got some tremendous talents like Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes has a lot of promise as well. Wade Barrett is coming back. There’s potential in Drew McIntyre too. His work is incredible. Of course Claudio, Ryback, Lord Tensai…it literally could be any one of them. Whoever steps up. All of those guys could bring it.

Holmes: You’re a super huge guy. Like a big, walking muscle with pale skin and bright red hair. What’s something you could tell me about yourself that would shock me? Do you knit?
Sheamus: (Laughs) I’m a pretty laid-back fella. I know it sounds like a cliché, but when I get home I chill out and relax, I’ve got two dogs. I like reading Celtic mythology or chilling out to music. I literally am enjoying every moment of this job because I scraped so hard to get to it. It’s funny, and this might be going off topic, but when people talk about ROH (Ring of Honor, a popular independent wrestling organization) they talk about Claudio and they talk about Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, the indie darlings and stuff like that. But funnily enough, myself and Wade Barrett and Drew McIntyre, we were on the indies in the UK. Obviously we didn’t get the exposure that they did in ROH, but we worked for free and we paid for flights to the UK and Ireland. We worked as much as we possibly could to get experience. But now that we’re here we appreciate everything we do and we’re loving every minute of it.

Holmes: You do a lot of work with the Be A STAR anti-bullying campaign. What inspired you to get involved with that initiative?
Sheamus: It’s very important to me. I volunteered for that program because of my experiences as a kid being bullied.  I didn’t always look the way I look now. I was a small, chubby kid with red hair. I was an introvert so I was an easy target. I had a tough time. I can relate to a lot of the cases that are going on now. I see some tragic stories with kids taking their own lives. I’ve met some kids at the schools, I had one kid actually who had a stroke as a teenager. He was being bullied and was pushed down some stairs by three or four guys. Having a stroke as a teenager? How tragic is that? These things are happening to kids. We feel like we have the ears of these teenagers and we’re trying to bring a positive message. A lot of bullies don’t know what they’re doing because they’ve never been in these situations themselves. So, we’re trying to educate them and we’re trying to teach kids to stand up to bullies in a non-violent way. We’re trying to tell these kids not to be ashamed of themselves because they’re not the problem.

Holmes: You recently returned from an international tour of Europe. What was it like to compete in front of your hometown crowd?
Sheamus: That was unbelievable, man. It took a lot for me to hold back my emotions. It was an incredible feeling. I used to stand in that arena, the O2 Arena in Dublin, working security or whatever. And just to see the superstars up close was like a parallel world. And to go from that to working in front of a packed house as World Heavyweight Champion, that was just a really special thing for me. It was probably one of the highlights of my entire life.
Holmes: Are Irish fans any different than US fans?
Sheamus: They did those “Ole Ole Ole” chants that were made popular by the Irish football team, or soccer team as you call it. It was incredible. I can’t tell you how proud I was.
Holmes: You aren’t a tiny guy. Those international flights have got to be rough.
Sheamus: (Laughs) Yeah, but you kinda feel bad when you look around and see Khali and Big Show. I don’t know how those guys do it.
Holmes: Not to get too graphic on you, but can you guys even fit into those tiny lavatories?
Sheamus: It’s a struggle, fella. But, it can be done.

Watch WWE: Extreme Rules, Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

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

How Do You Solve a Problem Like John Cena?

March 30, 2012

Hulk Hogan headlined his first Wrestlemania in 1985 when he was 32 years old. He went on to perform at the main event level until Wrestlemania 19 in 2003.

John Cena is 34.

Maybe the Hulkster is an extreme case, but it’s absolutely conceivable that the former Doctor of Thuganomics could be hustling, proving loyalty, and providing respect for another seventeen years. I’m sure Vince McMahon is cool with this as Cena has proven to be a reliable merchandise mover and squeaky clean front man for the company, but you have to wonder what’s next for him creatively.


A Look at John Cena’s New T-Shirt

February 28, 2012

Click to Enlarge

You’re probably wondering, “Why did you doodle an otter t-shirt on your John Cena drawing, Gordon?” Good question. What really happened was I had doodled a picture of an otter.

THEN I doodled a picture of John Cena’s head.

THEN the meeting I was in went long and John Cena ended up getting an upper torso. It just so happened that the two works of art overlapped.

However, the catchphrase, “Hustle, Loyalty, Otters?” That’s only because the slogan “You Can’t See Me and My Two Layers of Fur That Keep Me Warm When I Swim in the Winter” didn’t fit.

Even More Whatnot…

WWE Superstar C.M. Punk Wants ‘Stone Cold’ at ‘Wrestlemania’

November 18, 2011

This year’s “Wrestlemania” is set to be one for the ages as a legend from the wildly popular Attitude Era is preparing to square off against one of today’s top stars. I’m of course, talking about The Rock going toe-to-toe with John Cena. But could the WWE be considering a similar scenario with a few other names in mind?

“I really like C.M. Punk. I think he’s one of the top workers in the ring. I love his promos. I love his style. There’s no smoke and mirrors. I like the straight-edge lifestyle stuff he does. You want to start pairing that against the beer-guzzling “Stone Cold” Steve Austin? I think you’d have an interesting feud to say the least. He would push me to the limits, I would teach that kid a thing or two, and there would be some wonderful promos going back and forth.” – “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to XFINITY TV (April 2011)

I had a chance to talk to C.M. Punk about the possibility of a “Stone Cold” dream match, the significance of his upcoming title bout against Alberto del Rio at this Sunday’s “Survivor Series,” and the diet that helps him stay so skinny/fat…

Gordon Holmes: I have some good news for you.
C.M. Punk:
Did you save money on your car insurance?
Holmes: I have, but that isn’t specifically what I was referring to. I checked out the “WWE ’12” video game last night, which is a blast, and I played a quick round as you vs. Alberto del Rio. I pulled off a win with your GTS finishing move. I think that bodes well for you heading into this Sunday’s title match.
Punk: That is good news. Thank you.
Holmes: You’re quite welcome. Now, what I wanted to ask you is; your title match at “Survivor Series” will be held in Madison Square Garden. Does the Garden still hold the same significance with today’s superstars as it did in the past?
Punk: Yeah. It’s special to me. I can’t speak for many of the other superstars, but I’m not a religious guy, and this is the closest thing that comes to church to me. This is my Vatican. It’s my synagogue. I love wrestling at the All State Arena in Chicago. That’s a very special place to me, and I’m not saying that the Garden is on a different level, it’s just different.
Holmes: You grew up in Chicago, so you didn’t grow up going to MSG. So what is it? Is it the history? That Hulk Hogan beat the Iron Sheik for the World Title there? The Wrestlemanias that were held there? Or is it the way that it’s talked about in such revered tones by the older class of wrestlers?
Punk: I think it’s all of that. I know the Garden means everything to Vince (McMahon) because the Garden was everything to his father. This is a place that they used to run twice a month. They used to sell this place out with Bruno (Sammartino) on top. It was just a magical, special place. You walk down the hallways and you see posters on the wall or pictures or signs…I recognize doorways at Madison Square Garden because of the backstage segments they used to do. “Oh yeah, this is where Hogan walked through to get to the ring at ‘Wrestlemania.’” It boggles your mind all of the moments that have happened at the Garden. To be able to even have a chance to be one of those moments is pretty crazy.
Holmes: With all of that in mind; Madison Square Garden, a title match, the 25th “Survivor Series,” do you have anything special planned?
Punk: I plan on stealing the show and I plan on winning. That’ll be special. To be the punk rock kid from Chicago, where everyone said, “You’re not going to make it,” to be able to say, “Well hey, I just won the WWE Title, not only in my hometown in July, but to turn around and win it in Madison Square Garden.” That’s pretty badass.

Holmes: You’re a guy who gets credit for being old school and having respect for tradition. Recently, you gave a nod to one of the guys who paved the way with your “Macho Man” Randy Savage tribute attire. Do you have any plans for anything else like that in the future?
I hope not, because I did the tribute to Savage because he unfortunately passed away. I don’t want anyone else to pass away.
Holmes: Understood, but to be fair you did a tribute to G.I. Joe and they’re all fine.
Punk: (Laughs) You know, I’m just a wacky G.I. Joe fan.

Holmes: You and me both. Speaking of old school, if you could have worked in any territory at any time, where would that have been?
Man, it’s unfortunate that I don’t have 90 minutes to talk to you about this.
Holmes: Agreed.
Punk: Because that is, no lie, probably the best question I’ve been asked in the last year of doing this. Wow, what a question.  I’ve had old timers tell me, “Man, you would’ve been great here, or you would’ve been great here.” Pat Patterson says I was born 20 years too late. I could’ve done Memphis.  People have told me that Bill Watts would have loved me because of my mouth because in UWF the order of the day was getting heat. Heels got heat. It didn’t matter how big I was because he would have recognized, “Holy (expletive deleted), this guy gonna get shot, they’re going to set his car on fire.” I’ve had Michael P.S. Hayes tell me that I would’ve been a great foil for the Freebirds. But where I would’ve liked to work? I don’t know if I would’ve fit in, but I would’ve loved to work down in the Carolinas. I would’ve loved to work for the Crocketts.
Holmes: Straight Edge, with the no drinking and no drugs would’ve been the perfect foil for the hard-partying Freebirds.
Punk: Absolutely.

Holmes: You kind of set the world on fire this summer with your original “Pipe Bomb” interview. Was it tough keeping the momentum going after such a big moment?
Yeah. I think comparatively speaking, getting to the top of the mountain is way easier than staying there. And that’s a great choice of words; I set the world on fire. And it’s hard to keep a fire burning that long, that bright, whatever. I keep my ear to the ground, I listen to what a lot of hardcore wrestling fans say, and they say, “Oh, they dropped the ball with the Punk thing. Man, he could’ve been the biggest superstar, blah blah blah.” Well, if you look where I was at this time last year and you look where I am now, I’d say that they haven’t dropped anything. Could they have done things differently or better? Of course they could have. Everyone’s an armchair booker and has their wishlist of how they wish things could have went. I have my wishlist too. I’d be wrestling Ricky Steamboat if it was up to me. When I went out there and delivered that interview, it was so shocking and eye-opening. But, if you do that every week it ceases to be eye-opening and shocking. It’s hard to maintain that same level and I don’t want to maintain that level because every day it becomes mundane. You have to have peaks and valleys so the awesome moments seem like awesome moments.

Holmes: Now I understand there’s a Go To Sleep Pizza?
There is, there’s a GTS pizza brought to you by the wonderful pizza people at Ian’s Pizza.
Holmes: Now, what is on a GTS pizza?
Punk: The GTS pizza is…man, I’m going to get this all wrong…there’s smoked turkey, swiss cheese, some drizzled onions. It’s sort of like a Thanksgiving oriented thing because turkey has the tryptophan in it which supposedly puts you to sleep. Very clever. It sounded pretty weird to me at first, but then I had it and it is absolutely awesome.
Holmes: How do you stay so skinny/fat if you’re eating this concoction?
Punk: (Laughs) That’s why I stay so skinny/fat because I eat a steady diet of Chicago pizza.

Holmes: “Survivor Series” is generally the time of the year where the WWE starts the ramp up to “Wrestlemania.” Any talk of what you’ll be doing?
I’ve broken through to new heights in my career, and I’m this crazy new top guy, so everyone’s expecting me to have this awesome “Wrestlemania” match. And I have no idea who I’m wrestling. People think I’m wrestling the Undertaker, people think I’m wrestling (Chris) Jericho. People are still crossing their fingers that Steve Austin is going to fight me. I really don’t know. I know who I want to wrestle, but I don’t know who it’s going to be.
Holmes: Who do you want to wrestle?
Punk: Steve Austin. I would love to poll everybody who’s either going to “Wrestlemania” or buying it on Pay Per View and ask them; who would you rather see? Dwayne (The Rock) vs. (John) Cena or Austin vs. C.M. Punk. I’d be so interested to see how that’d turn out.

WWE Survivor Series” airs Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

“WWE ’12” will be released for the Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3 on November 22, 2011.

Any Questions? Drop me a line Twitter: @gordonholmes

WWE’s Adam ‘Edge’ Copeland Cleans Up Syfy’s ‘Haven’

August 5, 2011

Whenever I interview a pro wrestler, I always ask them how they prefer to be addressed.

Adam Copeland is the first to request his real name.

I didn’t think much of it at first until we started talking about his sudden retirement due to injury. It was then that I realized that he’d been Edge for over a decade and was now forced into being Adam.

During the interview we discussed his transition from wrestling to acting, how working on “Haven” has helped him deal with an emotional time, and when it’s appropriate for Canadians to use baseball analogies.

Gordon Holmes: You seem to suck at retirement. You only retired a few short months ago and you’re already back working in Syfy’s “Haven.”
Adam “Edge” Copeland:
It was kind of one of those happy accidents. Like you said, I’d retired and got a call from WWE, I think it was within like three days, and they asked if I’d be interested in flying out to Nova Scotia and doing an episode of “Haven.” I thought it’d be fun. I figured I’d go and try not to be too horrible at it. We did one episode to test the waters and they liked the character, or what I did with it, and then they brought me back for three more episodes.
Holmes: What can you tell us about your character Dwight Hendrickson?
Copeland: He’s the clean-up hitter. If things go strange or need to be swept under the carpet he’s the guy that comes in after the fact and takes care of that kind of stuff. So that the strange happenings of “Haven” don’t make it past the people that already know.
Holmes: Clean-up hitter? Are Canadians allowed to use baseball analogies?
Copeland: Well, we’ve got the Blue Jays. (Laughs) The catcher for the Twins is Canadian. He’s pretty good.
Holmes: Joe Mauer is Canadian? OK, I’ll accept that.
Copeland: I should’ve used a hockey reference. I guess you could say I was a goon. But Dwight does more than just fight.

Watch Full Episodes of “Haven” on Your Computer

Holmes: With your wrestling background, I’m sure you have to deal with a lot of surly characters. Did that help you with your motivation for Dwight?
Yeah, and that was one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. The storylines are kind of dark and creepy with all of those supernatural things going on. And I’ve always gravitated toward that kind of thing whether it be WWE and the larger-than-life aspects of that or music. It was a natural for me once I got on the set. “Haven” has a little bit of a comic book element to it that I really enjoyed.
Holmes: You’ve been in the WWE for quite a number of years. We won’t get into the exact number.
Copeland: Thanks. (Laughs)
Holmes: You’re a young retiree. We’ll leave it at that. But when you’re wrestling you have to be big to sell it to the cheap seats, where in television your head could be 10-feet tall and every movement is magnified. Was making that transition tough for you?
Copeland: It was because I have a naturally big head anyway. (Laughs) That’s been the biggest challenge in anything I’ve done so far. I’m so used to going over the top, and like you said, getting the point across to someone who could be 70,000 people away. Now the camera picks up every little nuance, every eyebrow raise. And because you can’t see yourself, thankfully I had some really good directors. They really helped me along with “OK, pull back here some.” But at the same time, I think it’s easier to pull back than to push forward.
Holmes: I’ve always heard it’s the actor’s job to go out there and the director’s job to pull him back.
Copeland: Yeah, and for me…this is all new to me. So I was kind of hoping that would be the case. In this one episode Jason Priestly was the director and I asked him if I was doing OK. He said, “If you weren’t, I would tell you.”
Holmes: Jason Priestly is Canadian right?
Copeland: Yes he is.
Holmes: I’d bet I’d get hockey analogies out of him.
Copeland: (Laughs) There were a lot of Canadian jokes because Lucas Bryant grew up 20 minutes away from me. He plays Nathan. So, there was a lot of Southern Ontarian humor.

Holmes: Your wrestling retirement was extremely sudden. How hard was it on you to be defending the title at “Wrestlemania” one day, and then out of the business the next?
It was an interesting time. The first couple of days I went through that period of feeling sorry for myself. I was, “What? What are you talking about? I know better than you, surgeon.”
Holmes: (Laughs) Well played.
Copeland: (Laughs) But then what I said in my retirement speech was true. I talked to Christian and he said, “Sit down and think about it. Get past everything else.” And in that respect, it’s actually a pretty good way to go out. Because of the fact that it was because of injury is frustrating. I haven’t missed doing it yet. Also, with “Haven” falling in my lap, it’s helped the process. It wasn’t 120 to reverse. Now it’s 120 to like 60. It was nice to gently dip my foot into retirement.
Holmes: Christian has been given a chance to step up in your absence. Does that help ease the transition?
Copeland: It does. He deserved the shot whether I was there or not. And one regret, well, I won’t even say regret, but we were building to him and I going against each other. Which for us would have been fun. But, if any positive can come from me leaving, it’s them realizing that they’ve got to give him a shot. And I know now that he’s got that shot he’s going to kick the door open. He always has. The fans have always seen him there. They’ve always understood that he deserves to be there. But I think it was going to happen regardless of if I was there or not.

Holmes: There seems to be a new direction with Triple H becoming the COO and C.M. Punk taking off. What’s your take on that?
You know, I haven’t watched “Raw.” One of the things I need to do in the process of getting away from it has really been getting away from it. I’m just not ready to sit down and watch it, well, I’ll watch (Christian’s) stuff.
Holmes: You are going to be in Los Angeles for “SummerSlam” though, right?
Copeland: Yes, and I probably won’t watch it. (Laughs)
Holmes: So you’re not ready to enjoy it on that level?
Copeland: I’m not ready to watch it and not do it. Not yet. I don’t know when yet will be. You’ve seen guys who can’t turn it off, and they can’t not be the character that they played. I’ve always really tried to make sure that isn’t the case. And I think part of that is stepping away from it.

Holmes: It looks like they’re building up to John Cena vs. The Rock at this year’s “Wrestlemania.” Not a lot of people have worked both of them, but you have. What’s your take on that bout?
I think it’ll be good for business. I don’t think there are many instances where you can take guys who are at the forefronts of different eras.  I think the last time you got that was Hogan and Rock. And you saw how that turned out. I think match quality-wise it’ll be better. And I know both guys’ attitudes, they want to go out there and leave it out there, as cliché as that sounds. I may watch that. I’ll probably be down there for “Wrestlemania.” Maybe by “Wrestlemania” time I’ll be able to sit down and watch an entire show.
Holmes: I understand.  It’s like you want your ex-girlfriend to do well, but you don’t want her to do too well.
Copeland: (Laughs) You just don’t want her to do better than you.

Watch “Haven” on Syfy, Friday nights at 10 p.m. ET.

Follow me on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Hulk Hogan on C.M. Punk, ‘Saints Row,’ and His Reconciliation with Randy Savage

July 27, 2011

He smashed attendance records and opponents in the world of professional wrestling. He body slammed the box office (and Sylvester Stallone) as he rampaged his way through Hollywood. Now he has set his sights on the video game industry.

He’s the “Immortal” Hulk Hogan.

I had a chance to go toe-to-toe with “The Hulkster” at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con. While there we talked about overcoming the depression caused by his divorce and his son’s accident, C.M. Punk’s sudden rise in the WWE, and his video game alter-ego, Angel de la Muerte.

Gordon Holmes: How are you enjoying Comic Con?

Hulk Hogan: It’s cool. The energy is over the top. Anyone that’s into animation and these kinds of vicarious characterizations, they have this crazy imagination that runs wild. So to go in there and to get that energy and to be around them was really cool. I’ve been here a few times and realize how grateful I am that they still care about Hulk Hogan. A huge shot in the arm. The problem is 95% of the fans are men. The other 5% are good-looking women who don’t bring food.

Holmes: For all the ladies reading this, I understand that Hulk Hogan is a big fan of dark chocolate.

Hogan: You’d like to kill me? Then bring as much chocolate as you can, because I will eat every bit of it.

Watch Full Episodes of ‘Impact Wrestling’

Holmes: I’ve gotta admit, I’m still not used to you having tattoos.

Hogan: (Reading his tattoos) “I am that I am.” That’s the first time God talked to Moses. God said, “I am that I am.” (Pointing around the room) “I am that, I am that.” It just means that God is everywhere. I’m on this whole religious, crazy, spiritual, scientific trip that just changed my life.

Holmes: I read your book (“Hulk Hogan: My Life Outside the Ring”). It was particularly tough reading about the dark place you ended up emotionally after your divorce and your son’s accident. But seeing all those fans, you’ve gotta know that people care about you.

Hogan: People are good, man.

Holmes: I’m glad you made it through that.

Hogan: Thank you, brother. No, it’s cool. It all happened for a reason. The divorce, the wreck my son was in. My ego was always present, I thought it was the worst thing that’d ever happened. But as soon as my ego became dormant, and I had this God space that I function in that I call “The Sweet Spot,” I realized everything happened for a reason. That’s my Bible thumping for the day, brother!

Holmes: You’re doing a video game, “Saints Row the Third.” I’ve seen a video of it and it looks insane. You play Angel de la Muerte. What can you tell me about him?

Hogan: It’s pretty crazy because they’ve taken the best of the wrestling community and plugged it into some superhero character. We’ve got the standard good guy/bad guy story; his partner Killbane turned on him.

Holmes: Was it tough making the transition to a video game voice actor?

Hogan: When I got into the vocal booth I had a bunch of help from the people who created the game. And once I found that sweet spot where Angel should be, I think I beat it up pretty good. But I laugh because now these guys are going to have to keep using me. But the character is great, and there seems to be a ton of interest. He has the knee brace on the same knee that I hurt originally. These guys are the best of the best at what they do. I think they’re on to something.

Holmes: Your character Angel de la Muerta was turned on by his partner Killbane. That seems like Wrestling Feud 101.

Hogan: The conflict is pretty easy. It’s the storyline driven stuff that makes wrestling work. Some of the new writers and new breed of wrestlers try to make more out of it than what it is. They’ll elaborate on the storylines, but the people don’t remember that. All they remember is the good guys go like this (holds his fists up) and the bad guys go like that (cowers in fear). Good guys go forward, bad guys go backward.

Holmes: I know you have a history of partners turning on you with Paul Orndorff, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, “Macho Man” Randy Savage…

Hogan: I think the ultimate act of betrayal is when a friend or a partner turns on you. Even more so in real life, because I have had someone, who was a good friend, turn on me. Macho Man did. And thank God, right before he passed away we started talking again.

Holmes: How did that reconciliation take place?

Hogan: It was really cool because I was going on my seventh back surgery and I couldn’t pass an EKG because my body was so stressed out from all the anesthesia. The doctor was trying to see what I could do to get this back surgery, I was sitting there with my new wife Jennifer and all the sudden the door bangs open and we hear, (imitating the “Macho Man”) “Hey, what’s up, brother? Oh yeah!” And I thought, “Oh my God, it’s Randy.” And my wife Jennifer didn’t know who he was. But, just the fact that we got back together after all of that conflict and him turning on me…and he turned on me on a personal level. He thought I was responsible for his divorce and his business deals and stuff. He confided in me that he felt bad for all the things I went through with my problems. And he said, “I feel so bad that I was such a jackass.” And he was really cool and we talked.

Holmes: So there’s hope for Angel and Killbane to patch things up?

Hogan: I can’t wait for the day where he begs for forgiveness and repents. This is the artform of life, brother, and it works. And that’s why this game is going to work. And that’s why it’s always worked; good vs. evil.

Holmes: Does Angel de la Muerte bust out any of your classic moves?

Hogan: He uses everything, brother. They have the technology to make him drop legs, suplex Killbane off of the top of the cage like I did to the Big Bossman back in the day. He can do whatever he wants in there, brother, because he doesn’t have any injuries except for that weak knee.

Holmes: Who wins in a fight; Hulk Hogan or Angel de la Muerte?

Hogan: I’ll put him over (wrestling slang for letting someone win).

Holmes: That’s good for the game. Makes Angel look strong.

Hogan: That means we get to go again, right? It was a fluke, brother!

Holmes: You slipped on a banana peel.

Hogan: (Laughs) I slipped on a banana peel. The sun was in my eyes. I just need to know if you were better than me on that day. You’ve gotta put him over. That’s why I don’t understand the (John) Cena thing. The first one was free; two good guys, him and the Rock. You don’t have to turn him heel yet (wrestling slang for becoming a bad guy).

Holmes: Are you paying attention to what’s going on in the WWE?

Hogan: Yeah, man, they’re saying my name every week.

Holmes: What does it mean to you when you tune in and hear them talking about you?

Hogan: It’s a huge compliment for them to say my name. It’s a huge compliment that they’re open-minded. It makes me realize that I’m Terry Bollea and I’m very humble with how nice people are to me, but there’s really something to this Hulk Hogan character. That’s why I had “Immortal” tattooed on my back. The religious thing is that I’m going to live forever because I’ve accepted Christ as my savior, which is the main reason, along with the fact that the Hulk Hogan character is going to be a part of history. The character is going to be immortal. Just like TNA’s alive again, getting ready for the red and the yellow, it makes me realize that no matter what happens in the WWE Universe, I’m part of that history package. So, it’s really cool when they name drop me.

Holmes: There have been moments that have changed the modern era of the wrestling business. One was when you defeated the Iron Sheik for the WWE (then WWF) title.

Hogan: (Imitating the Iron Sheik) I can’t believe you, jabroni!

Holmes: (Laughs) Watch your language if you’re going to do a Sheik impersonation.

Hogan: (Laughs) I know, brother. I’m not going to mention Brian Blair.

Holmes: (Laughs) Other moments are the formation of the nWo and Steve Austin’s “Austin 3:16” speech. Some are saying C.M. Punk’s interview has this potential. Did you have a chance to catch the episode of “Raw” a few weeks ago where Punk vented about the state of the WWE?

Hogan: Yeah, as soon as Vince deregulated wrestling in the ‘80s and told everybody that it’s entertainment and the finishes are predetermined, he decided that it’s a better move not to insult the people’s intelligence. We’re not out there saying “It’s real, brother!” I mean, it’s not fake because of all of the injuries. So, even though Vince has deemed it entertainment, people still want to believe. And when C.M. Punk did his thing, I think people just want to believe. Even on my Twitter account, people are saying,  “Hey, are you going to hire C.M. Punk? If John Cena gets fired he says he’s coming to your company!” I think it is so cool that people, even if you tell them that it is predetermined, that the art form, when done correctly, people can still get sucked into it. They still want to live vicariously through the wrestlers. It makes me realize that wrestling will always be around.

Holmes: Do you think Punk has what it takes to be the next big thing?

Hogan: It depends. It’s not Punk’s decision, it’s Vince McMahon. When he was on TV the other night and said he could make ten John Cenas, that’s true. When Vince McMahon says he can make another Hulk Hogan, that’s true. Everybody’s replaceable. It’s the power of the TV, it’s not the power of the wrestlers. Now, if you’re given the football, you’ve got to be able to run with it. Cause a lot of guys were given the ball. The Rock ran with it a certain distance. Stone Cold ran with it a certain distance. Hulk Hogan ran with it a certain distance. We all have our run. But it’s really the power of the TV. TV is the star.

Impact Wrestling” airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV.

“Saints Row the Third” will be released for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 on November 15, 2011.

How I’d Book Money In the Bank

July 17, 2011

How I Think Money In the Bank Will End
The popular theory has Punk winning the world title, but dropping the belt to a Money In the Bank Winner (probably Alberto Del Rio). This sounds about right. As Chicago is booing the crap out of the ending, they’ll be able to pretend it’s because people are upset that the hated Del Rio is the champion, while they’ll be booing because Punk won’t be leaving with the title. Also, this allows them to avoid the “Fire Cena” stipulation.

Now let’s take a look at how I’d do it…


Introducing the C.M. Punk Ice Cream Bar

July 12, 2011

C.M. Punk truly has his finger on the pulse of today’s wrestling fan.

During last night’s live in-ring contract negotiation, he tried to convince WWE head Vince McMahon to bring back the beloved WWE Ice Cream Bar. For those of you who know nothing of this tasty treat, it’s basically an ice cream bar with chocolate on one side and a cookie featuring the image of a WWE superstar on the other.

Make this happen, Vince.

And God bless you, C.M. Punk.

Even More Whatnot…

‘WWE Extreme Rules’ Results

May 2, 2011

Hope you’re ready for some Wrestlemania leftovers! We are live and in high definition from Tampa, Florida. Our hosts for the evening are Josh Matthews, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T.

Last Man Standing Match: CM Punk wasn’t able to answer the ten count after Randy Orton and his five o’clock shadow gave him an RKO off of the top rope.

Wait, is Orton’s five o’clock shadow ripping off Kurt Angle? Uh oh…

Before the match, the anonymous Raw General Manager banned the New (and not terribly improved) Nexus from ringside, thus robbing Randy of the opportunity to single-handedly wipe them all out again. Kendo sticks were the flavor of the match with both guys taking some violent shots. Other highlights included Punk side-Russian leg sweeping Orton onto a steel chair, Orton RKOing Punk onto the announcer’s table (which didn’t break), and Punk giving Orton the GTS onto the steel ring steps. Overall a decent match, but the crowd didn’t seem that into it.

Afterward, Teddy Long, (Holla!) told Sheamus that he’d be defending (and I assume losing) his U.S. championship against Kofi Kingston in a table match. Sheamus isn’t cool with this as he doesn’t think Kofi is from the United States. He wants to see Kofi’s birth certificate. Well, Sheamus’s hair is as ridiculous as Donald Trump’s.

Table Match for the United States Championship: Kofi won the United States championship after putting Sheamus through a table with a boom drop off of the top rope. It felt something was off with the color on my TV as I’m not used to seeing Sheamus wearing red, white, and blue, and Kofi looked like a pack of Hubba Bubba with his hot pink/florescent green attire.

Wait, are Sheamus’s USA colors ripping off Kurt Angle? Uh oh…

Some cool stuff included Kofi doing a double foot stomp onto Sheamus’s chest, Kofi managing to keep himself from going through a table by straddling it, and the final boom drop off of the top rope to the floor was pretty awesome. But again, a decent match with a silent crowd. Weird.

After the match, R-Truth visited Todd Grisham to let him (and us) know how he feels about being pushed out of the main event. As you’d imagine, he’s not happy about it. He thinks it’s a conspiracy. He tries to spell conspiracy, but only gets halfway through before deciding to move on.

Tag Team Country Whipping Match:
Michael Cole and Jack Swagger won after Cole was able to schoolboy Jim Ross. Michael Cole wore bubble wrap at the beginning of the match in an obvious nod to The Cat. (Yes, I’m aware that that joke dates me.) That didn’t last long though as Jerry Lawler quickly ripped it off of him. The story of the match revolved around Lawler and Ross trying to get their hands on Cole, but Swagger kept cutting them off. When Ross was eventually able to get ahold of Cole, what followed was pretty brutal.

Oh, that’s brutal as in sloppy, not as in violent.

This whole match was a bit of a trainwreck, and with Cole winning, sadly I think we’re in for more of this feud.

Note: WWE has a history of making matches with non-wrestlers entertaining, this just isn’t one of those times.

Next up Jonathan Cena had some interview time. He let us know that his long 10-month title drought ends tonight.

Falls Count Anywhere Match: Rey Mysterio defeated Cody Rhodes with a  springboard splash after a 619. Before the match, Cody Rhodes had his representatives hand out paper bags to the uglier members of the audience. This bout went everywhere like an old-school Hardcore match. At one point they even ended up in a concession stand. Cool moments included Rey dropping the dime off of the rampway, Cody wheelbarrowing Mysterio onto the steel steps, and Mysterio spraying Cody with a Great Muta-esque mist. Pretty good match and the crowd seemed into it. One odd thing though, what’s the point of a falls-count-anywhere match where the fall takes place in the ring?

Afterward, Layla apologized to the other Divas for being rude to them. The Divas forgave her because for as much as they don’t like Layla, they like Michelle McCool much less.

Loser Leaves WWE Match:
Lay-Cool explodes, brother! Why isn’t this the main event? It was the main event when Shawn Michaels retired!

Anywho, Layla won the match after reversing a pin out of the Faith Breaker. Not much to call attention to here. I guess the best thing I can say about it is it was way better than any match involving Michael Cole and Jim Ross.

When it was over, Kharma (who for those of you who are unfamiliar with the former Awesome Kong should know is HUGE) destroyed McCool with a double-underhook face breaker.

Next up, Alberto Del Rio is giving his personal ring announcer some tips on how to announce him as the new champion.

Ladder Match for the World Heavyweight Championship:
Christian claimed his first World title after Edge drove into the arena in a jeep and distracted Alberto Del Rio. At one point it looked like Christian was on his way to victory, but Brodus Clay snuck in and swiped the ladder out from under him. Big moments included Christian being pushed off of the top rope, landing on a standing ladder on the outside and hitting Del Rio with a crossbody, Del Rio hitting an armbreaker off of a tiny Hornswoggle-esque ladder, Christian hitting a spear in honor of his buddy Edge, and Del Rio nearly killing himself by missing a legdrop off of the top rope and through a ladder. Really good match, and the crowd really heated up toward the end.

After that we meet up with The Miz and Alex Riley. Alex is annoyed that the numbers are against The Miz in his Triple Threat Cage Match. The Miz isn’t interested in what Riley has to say. That makes two of us.

Lumberjack Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Kane and the Big Show defeated Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson after Wade Barrett tagged himself into the match and ate a Show chokeslam. Not much to call home about here in this very short match, but it was impressive to see Ezekiel Jackson bodyslam the Big Show.

Triple Threat Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship: John Cena won his 53rd World Championship by pinning The Miz after an Attitude Adjustment off of the top rope. At one point R-Truth interjected himself into the match, keeping John Morrison from escaping the cage. He also hit Cena with an axe kick. Memorable moments included Morrison and Cena (Johnx2) suplexing Miz off of the cage, Morrison hitting a C4 on Cena, and Morrison hitting a Starship Pain from off of the top of the cage. Decent match here, but I’m sorry if seeing Cena with the belt for the 10th time doesn’t inspire much interest from me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Cena hater, but after he lost it the last time, he didn’t seem that concerned. So, why should I care when he gets it back?

Final Thoughts: The show boasted some really solid matches that may have been held back by a quiet crowd. And, what was bad was relatively short. Worth checking it out on a replay if you get the chance.

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

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