Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hauling Off on the Hall

As the "Road to WrestleMania" changes routes to "Know Your Role" Boulevard and Jabroni Drive, wrestling fans worldwide anticipate the Granddaddy of 'Em All. While spring is often cited as the most exciting time of the year due to WrestleMania, an event that occurs the night before has been gaining prestigue and notoriety for seven years now. Although current headliners such as John Cena, Undertaker, and The Miz are slated to compete on April 3rd, Atlanta will be rocking April 2nd for the annual WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Honoring the rich history of professional wrestling, the Hall of Fame inducts a select class each year according to location, recent death, or political reasons. The Hall of Fame unites the wrestling community by turning Superstars into fans again for one night as they pay tribute to their childhood heroes.

In recent years, people have debated over the legitimacy of the Hall due its lack of physical existence as well as the questionable inductees such as Pete Rose and Koko B. Ware. While Paul Orndorff dismisses the Hall as a figment of Vince McMahon's imagination, J.R. designates the induction as his favorite moment in his career. Since Vintage Blogs! prides itself on celebrating wrestling's past rather than the modern sports-entertainment bastardization, I will provide my proposal for re-establishing the WWE Hall of Fame.

1. Build a Physical Museum
Cooperstown. Pro Football Hall of Fame. Naismith Memorial. Rock and Roll. Every hall of fame has a facility to display memorabilia, feature inductees, and contain memories. In addition to enshrining legacies, the facilities generate revenue by charging admission to explore. Instead of bodybuilding, films, and the XFL, Vince should be focused on catering to his most loyal audience by establishing a monument that would attract fans of all ages from all over the world. Shane McMahon has stated in the past that WWE had been storing wrestling memorabilia in a warehouse for years in case a facility is created; however, no progress has been made. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty have lobbied for the WWE to establish the Hall of Fame in Florida due to the financial stimulus that WrestleMania 24 spawned in Orlando. Since Orlando is already a tourist attraction, WWE should ride Universal Studio's coattails and appease the mayors. Other potential areas would be Long Island, Greensboro, Philadelphia, or Stamford, CT. WWE should remember: "If you build it, they will come."

2. Eliminate Questionable Inductees
As of the 2010 Class, the Hall of Fame consists of 88 members. For an empire that has existed since 1963, the Hall should include pioneers, record breakers, and former world heavyweight champions. Establishing criteria that wrestlers' careers would be judged on, the WWE would not only add credibility to its inductions but also sweep out the clutter of its personal treasure chest. Here are the members that I would eliminate:
James Dudley
Ivan Putski
"Baron" Mikel Scicluna
Johnny Rodz
Big John Studd
Chief Jay Strongbow
Pete Rose
"Cowboy" Bob Orton
George "The Animal" Steele
William "The Refrigerator" Perry
Koko B. Ware
Bob Eucker
Valiant Brothers
Chris and Mike Von Erich

Clearly, the celebrity wing would be abolished because it detracts from the sacrifice, dedication, and achievements of the wrestlers who are the reason for the Hall in the first place. Chris and Mike should earn Hall of Fame status due to their last name, and the Valiants' name doesn't belong in there at all. Rodz and Ware were glorified jobbers. Dudley was Vince Senior's limo driver. Steele, Strongbow, Studd, Orton, and Putski were featured stars in their heyday; however, nostalgia has sweetened their presence in the industry. Although they main evented occassionally, their careers do not warrant Hall of Fame glory.

3. Limit Inductions to 3 a Year
At the average of 7 inductions a year, the WWE is rushing through their rolodex at an alarming rate. Relying on superstars of the 90s as the main induction these past few years indicates that WWE is enshrining more legends than they are producing. Plus, the significance of each induction is diminshed by grouping with other members. For example, Terry Funk was inducted as a member of the famous Funk Family rather than for his iconic singles achievements which include an NWA World Heavyweight Championship reign. By limiting each HOF class to three members, not only would each inductee receive more focus but also legends would be preserved for future inductions.

Vintage Blogs! will continue coverage of the Hall of Fame as the "Road to WrestleMania" bandwagon checks into The Heartbreak Hotel.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Preview (Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers)

Names shall be etched into history, legacies will be established and most importantly a champion will be crowned. With a ton of hype and excitement, the biggest sporting of the year has arrived as the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers, at 6:30 Eastern time, on Fox.

Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday! For 22 glorious weeks, football fans across the world have been waiting for this day. Anyone who has ever played football will tell you that at one time or another they have dreamed of this moment: Playing at the biggest stage of them all (the Super Bowl is expected to be the most television event ever). After all, this is day where legends will be made, legacies will be built or tarnished, for 53 players on the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers this will be their single chance to forever etch their names in history. The words, all or nothing, have become overused in our society but the Super Bowl is an event which merits those words. For the loser, it will be all for nothing. All that work in training camp, going through a grueling NFL season/postseason will be for absolutely nothing since the majority of the populace will not remember the loser of the Super Bowl. For the winner, it's a chance to have glory. Where as the losers will be ushered off the field once the game ends, the winning squad gets to stand under the confetti and bask in the glory of accomplishment. Still doubt that it's all or nothing at Cowboys Stadium today? Didn't think so. Without further adieu, let's find out who has the advantage and which team will be taking home the vaunted Lombardi Trophy today!

The Case for the Packers -
They are the team that everyone expected to be here back when the season started. Then as the season moved along and the Packers suffered an inordinate amount of injuries, they are the team that got written off. Yet, when it's all been said and done, the Green Bay Packers made it to the Super Bowl. Now, they stand one victory away fro being the first sixth seed, from the NFC, to win the Super Bowl. Oh yes, the Packers have a chance to make history and they are fully aware of it. In addition, the Packers' QB, Aaron Rodgers, has a chance to do something that very few Quarterbacks have successful done: replace a legend. To put into perspective, a few years Brett Favre was a beyond a legend in the state of Wisconsin. The Old' Gunslinger could do no wrong, he could retire and come back and it was never an issue. That was good until the emergence of Rodgers, and then all of a sudden Favre was gone. Now, Rodgers has a chance or replacing him and creating his own legacy. Without his splendid play over the last few weeks the Packers wouldn't be here, which is why you should have your doubt about picking against Rodgers and Green Bay.

The Case for the Steelers -
If Ben Roethlisberger had not made some crucial plays at critical junctures, the Steelers were not likely to be playing Dallas today. In a way, it's quite ironic just how similar these two Quarterbacks are in their play. They are both capable of making big throws but it's their ability to make plays with their legs (whether it's buying extra time or running for a big first down) that distinguishes them from the rest of the league. The aforementioned abilities will be severely tested with spectacular defenses on both sides. However, when ti comes down to it, the experience of Ben Roethlisberger will prevail. Besides, with a victory here, Big Ben has a chance at coming up in the discussion of just who is the best QB in the NFL along with Brady and Manning. He si unlikely to miss out on it.

Winner - Pittsburgh Steelers


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February Movie Preview

After a dismal month for new releases in January (in terms of quality), Hollywood looks to rebound in February. Usually, one would expect an onslaught of romantic comedies to hit a theater near you in the month of love. However, it seems as if the movies releasing this month are intent upon making you forget about wine and roses. Instead, the focus seems to be back on action as Hollywood relies on the time tested genre to produce some financial successes. Whether the film is based in a contemporary setting or a historical one, features a high name actor, or involves aliens, it’s all about the action this February. Which ones will be worth spending money on?


Releases February 4th

The first weekend of February starts off with Sanctuary, a film based of a true story about the experiences of a cave diving team that underwent a crisis as they attempted to explore the least accessible cave system in the world. The only things this movie has going for it is that James Cameron’s (Avatar) name is attached to it as an executive producer and it has 3D. After that, it’s all downhill as early reviews for the film indicate that while the film has excellent visuals, it suffers from the dreaded combination of bad writing and terrible acting.

The Eagle

Releases February 11th

Directed by Oscar winner Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), The Eagle tells the story of a Roman soldier Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) attempting to regain his family’s honor by retrieving the Golden Eagle (emblem of Rome) of the Ninth Legion. Twenty years ago, Marcus’ father, Flavius Aquila, was the commander of the 5,000-strong Ninth Legion. It was under the elder Aquila’s command that the legion, along with the Eagle of the Ninth, completely vanished. Years later, the Eagle has been sighted in the rebellious tribes of Caledonia (modern day Scotland) and it’s up to the Aquila heir to recover the Eagle of the Ninth and his family’s honor. Accompanying him on his perilous journey through the savage highlands is a slave, Esca (Jamie Bell), whose hidden loyalties and past maybe connected to the very answers that Marcus seeks. In addition to the the expected sword fighting, the film hints at a pretty strong theme of a clash between cultures, which marks The Eagle as more than standard fare.

I Am Number Four

Releases February 18

Based on the novel by Pittacus Lore (pen name for two authors), I Am Number Four is a science fiction flick intended for the teenage audience. The protagonist, John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is an extraordinary (read = superpowers) teenager, who has been on the run for most of his life from a dangerous enemy. John’s fugitive status is due to the fact that he was one of nine infant aliens who escaped from their home planet due to a conquering species. Each of the nine aliens was assigned a number and a guardian, who will help them harness their unique talents. As John and his guardian (Timothy Olyphant) move to another new town (Paradise, Ohio), the aloof teenager experiences his first love. Just as he is on the verge of settling down, news comes that Numbers 1, 2, and 3 have been killed by Commander (Kevin Durand), an alien leading the hunt for the escaped aliens. I Am Number Four is one of those rare movies which can appeal to several different demographics with it’s blend of action, romance and science fiction. Combine it with the fact that Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg served as executive producers, and I Am Number Four maybe a surprise hit.


Releases February 18th

Audiences across the world have been waiting for this ever since 2009. After all, that was the last time, they got to see Liam Neeson kill half of Europe (without any police interference!) in Taken. Not one to keep his audiences waiting for too long, Neeson returns for another film, which will feature him being a one man army as he battles identity theft and assassins. The premise of the film sees an ordinary man (Dr. Martin Harris) wake up after a car accident in Berlin only to discover that his wife suddenly no longer recognizes. As if that wasn’t bad enough for Dr. Harris’ ego, he also learns that another man has taken on his identity. Ignored by the skeptical authorities, Harris finds himself thrown into a deadly mystery that forces to him to question his very sanity. After his success with Taken, audiences should flock to see Neeson in another action thriller.

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