Coffee Talk #670: Help Me Understand Broken Matt Hardy

I don’t get Broken Matt Hardy. He looks stupid. He sounds stupid. And his gimmick is stupid. For reasons that completely escape me, Broken Matt Hardy is incredibly over with smart marks. While I respect and appreciate his late-career resurgence, I don’t understand why pro-wrestling fans are into Broken Matt Hardy (Matt Hardy Version 4?). Hopefully you can help me understand the phenomenon.

Let’s start with the new and not-at-all improved look. Broken Matt Hardy has a Gentile-fro…with a white streak. He was never chiseled, and at age 42 looks softer than ever. The first time I saw a photo of him in 2016, I thought it was a photo of Eugene, the mentally challenged WWE character. I can’t be the only smark that noticed the resemblance. Whatever the case, I can’t think of a reason why a pro-wrestler would want to look like Eugene, unless he was playing a mentally challenged character.

Continue reading “Coffee Talk #670: Help Me Understand Broken Matt Hardy”

Coffee Talk #668: Thank You Daniel Bryan!

The first time I saw Daniel Bryan wrestle was at a Ring of Honor show in Chicago Ridge, IL in 2006. He was still working under his real name, Bryan Danielson. My excellent friend Justin and I were there to support our buddy Austin Aries (the greatest man that ever lived). As expected, Aries killed it. The bonus was the hours of spectacular wrestling I wasn’t expecting. The guys from Japan — Genki Horiguchi, Dragon Kid, and Blood Generation — were spectacular. Delirious totally cracked me up. Most importantly, that night made me a mark for Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli. The two would go on to have tremendous success in the WWE as Daniel Bryan and Antonio Cesaro, respectively.

Last night on WWE Monday Night Raw, Daniel Bryan announced his retirement. He’s only 34-years old, but due to multiple concussions, he has to call it quits as pro-wrestler. It’s sad that he won’t be able to do what he loves. Selfishly, I’m bummed that he won’t be able to sports-entertain me any longer. Still, his short career in the WWE was a remarkable one. He connected with the fans in a powerful and unconventional way. While he was always among the best technical wrestlers in the WWE, he didn’t have “the look” or the size of a typical WWE headliner. Instead, Daniel Bryan connected with the fans with unusual honesty and earnestness. He was amazing in the ring and went about his work with a contagious joy. While I thought he would do well in the WWE, I never imagined that he’d headline WrestleMania and become the most “over” guy on the roster.

In addition to the Chicago Ridge show in 2006, I also saw Daniel Bryan wrestle in Detroit in 2007. There was so much I enjoyed about this guy. As a hair metal connoisseur, I loved that he used “The Final Countdown” as his entrance song. I got a kick out of him grabbing the mic from the ring announcer so that he could append his introduction with, “The best wrestler in Chicago this weekend.” His in-ring style was fantastic — a wonderful blend of technical wrestling and high-flying. His use of old-school moves, like the airplane spin, was outstanding. I loved when Daniel Bryan would remind the ref, “I have ’til five!” While he was still Bryan Danielson, Daniel Bryan was everything I wanted from an indie wrestler.

A photo posted by Raymond Padilla (@rpadtv) on

So yeah, those were the first two times I saw Daniel Bryan in person. The last time was in 2013. This time around, he was a full-blown WWE Superstar and a huge deal. I was doing red carpet interviews at a charity event for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Despite his crazy success, it was fantastic to see that Daniel Bryan was still a goofy, laid-backed guy. Off camera, we chatted about our mutual friend Austin Aries, as well as his suddenly-improved wardrobe. His then-girlfriend (now wife) Brie Bella gave him a fashion makeover. He was still proud of his corduroys, which he had for a long time (and totally didn’t match the rest of an otherwise slick ensemble). Daniel Bryan had made it big, but Bryan Danielson was still the guy under the new suit.

As many longtime RPadholics know, after Shawn Michaels retired, I put all my WWE hopes and dreams on Daniel Bryan and Antonio Cesaro. The latter is out with an injury and the former just retired. *sigh* I loved Daniel Bryan’s WWE run (despite the lack of “cattle mutilation“). It was probably the last time I greatly enjoyed the WWE product. While he didn’t have the longevity of many “top guys” in WWE history, his star was one of the brightest that ever burned.

Coffee Talk #665: The Best Hurricanrana

Last week while I was reading about hurricane Patricia, my mind drifted and I started thinking about hurricanranas. The first time I saw the move was in a match between two Japanese wrestlers. I couldn’t believe what I saw! At the time, mat wrestling and power moves were the norm in pro-wrestling. Jimmy Snuka’s superfly splash was as dynamic as it got. Years later, Scott Steiner popularized the move on American wrestling programs; it was the same deal — lots of wrestling fans couldn’t believe the move. These days, hurricanranas are fairly common, but they still get a nice pop from the crowd. Today’s Coffee Talk is about your favorite hurricanrana. Please let me know which wrestler you think does it best and, if you can remember, your reaction to the first hurricanrana you ever saw.

As for me, I’m torn between two variations of the hurricanrana. First up is Dragon Kid’s Dragonrana. It’s a top-rope somersault into a hurricanrana. The move requires great timing from both wrestlers, particularly the receiver. In order for Dragon Kid to change momentum and make the move aesthetically appealing, the receiver has to executive a powerful flip. Check it out the Dragonrana below.

Next up is the tope con hilo hurricanrana. Part of me loves the move simply because I often refer to it as the Cornholio hurricanrana and imagine Beavis doing it. It’s similar to the Dragonrana, but the tope con hilo hurricanrana has the opponent on the floor and the executor starting inside the ring. Many fans think of it as a suicide senton into a hurricanrana. The tope con hilo hurricanrana is arguably more dynamic than the Dragonrana, but I find the former more impressive because the latter gives the receiver a few seconds to adjust for mistakes. Check out the tope con hilo hurricanrana below, performed by WWE Superstar Neville when he was known as Pac.

Now it’s your turn! Kindly let me know about your favorite hurricanrana and your first hurricanrana experience. In case you need a refresher, check out the clip below with ten excellent ‘ranas.

Hell in a Cell 2015 on PickSix (iOS)

The excellent people at Tether Studios have added Hell in a Cell 2015 content to the wonderful PickSix app for iOS. So in addition to virtually betting on NFL, MLB, and League of Legends games, you can bet on WWE PPV event results. If you’re not familiar with PickSix for iOS, here’s a brief writeup on the game. If you are familiar with PickSix then I triple-dog dare you to challenge me in a round of Hell in a Cell 2015 bets.

The bet questions are totally straightforward and easy to follow. You can choose individual match results by winner, pick how each match will end (pinfall, submission, DQ, etc.), make over/under bets on the length of each match, and more. There are even some wonky bets to place, like the number of tables that will be broken in the WWE Tag Team Championship match between New Day and The Dudley Boyz. There’s even a speculative bet on John Cena’s WWE United States Championship “open challenge” opponent (I’m hoping for Daniel Bryan or Samoa Joe, but would bet on something tame, like Dolph Ziggler). Since Hell in a Cell 2015 is in Los Angeles this year, there’s a chance that part-time wrestlers like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Chris Jericho will show up. Think they’ll make an appearance? Put your virtually currency where your mouth is and bet on it in PickSix!

Check out the screenshots below for some example questions. I’ll be waiting for your bets, sucka!!! (Imagine that I said the last sentence as if I were Booker T.)

PickSix Hell in a Cell 2015a

 

PickSix Hell in a Cell 2015b

 

 

Ultimate Warrior A Life Lived Forever Interview

Here’s an excellent chat between two excellent people about an excellent book. The book is Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived Forever, by my friend Jon Robinson. Jon is a longtime videogame journalist and lifelong pro-wrestling fan. We’ve been on many road trips together and I’m amazed by his transition from videogame writer to best-selling author. The interview is a PaulSemel.com exclusive. Paul is also a longtime videogame journalist and former writer for the magazine Gene Simmons Tongue.

Since many of you RPadholics are WWE fans, I thought the interview and book would interested you. The Ultimate Warrior was one of the biggest stars in WWE history, but he was also an enigma. Chosen to carry the torch after Hulk Hogan, there was a point where Ultimate Warrior was the top guy in pro-wrestling. Unfortunately, he was a bit of a nut job and bought into his own gimmick, going as far as to legally change his name from Jim Hellwig to Warrior. He could have had it all, but pretty much self destructed.

Here’s an excerpt from the PaulSemel.com interview with Jon Robinson:

The Ultimate Warrior was one of the most fascinating characters in the history of professional wrestling, and the book breaks down everything from how he started out just hoping to make enough side money wrestling to open his own chiropractic business to how he ended up headlining WrestleMania against Hulk Hogan. Everything about Warrior was intense, from his face paint to his crazy physique, and all those aspects are detailed and displayed in full color.

When Warrior was growing up, he wasn’t even a wrestling fan. I just thought that was funny because he is such a memorable character, I would’ve thought he grew up watching the greats. But he was such a comic book fan, he found his inspiration for The Ultimate Warrior in the pages of DC and Marvel instead. I think that actually helped make him stand out even more.

When you have a chance, please check out the interview. If you dig the book, please buy it here.

Source

Foot Locker’s Week of Greatness Commercials Completely Rule

The ad campaign for the Foot Locker Week of Greatness is exceptional — easily one of the funniest and most entertaining series of commercials I’ve seen in 2014. Taking athletes and sports entertainers from boxing, basketball, and WWE, these commercials poke fun at the stars they feature. There are currently four ads in rotation and I love three of them, while the other…well, you’ll see.

Let’s start with the Manny Pacquiao commercial up top. It has two guys training in a boxing gym and chatting about the Foot Locker Week of Greatness. The dude hitting the heavy bag says, “The people wanted it and Foot Locker made it happen.” Pacquiao, training in the ring, overhears that last bit and thinks the two are talking about the much-wanted Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fight. This spot cracks me up for several reasons. First, Manny’s Filipino accent is just funny (all my uncles sound like that). Secondly, this fight has been discussed for years and is way past the point where it matters anymore (aside from the huge money involved). While this would have been an incredible fight four or five years ago, boxing fans know that both fighters are past their primes and the fight wouldn’t be significant on an athletic level. Oh well, at least the preposterous negotiations gave us a funny commercial.

Next up is a spot that features Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden. While Harden’s offense has exploded since being traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder, his defense has regressed. While it’s not nearly as bad as some make it out to be, there’s no doubt that his defensive efforts aren’t what they used to be. In the ad, Harden takes umbrage at being called defensive, saying that he’s never defensive and that he’s the last person you’ll ever see being defensive. It’s funny and I really like that Harden isn’t afraid to make fun of himself.

The commercial above is an NBA two-for. You get Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose and San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan! While it would have been hilarious to see Derrick Rose pretend to injure his knees due to excitement over the Foot Locker Week of Greatness, D-Rose is merely there for the assist. The real star of this commercial is Tim Duncan. Making fun of his reputation of being stoic and emotionless, Duncan expresses his excitement for the Foot Locker Week of Greatness in a wonderfully deadpan way. The part where he (not really) knocks over the plant kills me every time I see it.

Wrapping it up is a Foot Locker Week os Greatness featuring WWE Superstar John Cena. It makes fun of pro-wrestling being fake. It’s a cute spot and Cena has millions of fans…but I’m not one of them. He’s a super-nice guy, but I’ve never enjoyed Cena as a performer in WWE and I didn’t enjoy seeing him in this ad.

When you get a chance, check out all four Foot Locker Week of Greatness ads and let me know which one you like best (please!).

Foot Locker Week of Greatness

Bret Hart’s “Who Are You to Doubt El Dandy?” Promo

As great as WWE legend Bret “The Hitman” Hart was in the ring, few pro-wrestling aficionados would say that he was stellar on the mic. For the most part, The Hitman cut dull promos that weren’t particularly interesting, inspiring, or memorable. Sure, he had his moments as the anti-American Canadian babyface during the Attitude Era, but compared to guys like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, etc., Bret was a bit boring.

Then there was Bret’s WCW run, which was pretty lame compared to his WWE work. His ring work was uninspired, he was given dumb angles, and Goldberg ended his career with a botched spot. With that in mind, it’s surprising that one of The Hitman’s best and funniest promos took place in WCW. I’m talking about the legendary “Who Are You to Doubt El Dandy?” promo.

The promo starts off slowly, so skip ahead to the 1:22 mark. That’s when the magic starts to happen. “Mean” Gene Okerlund tries to put over Booker T as a worthy challenger for Bret’s US Championship title. The Hitman scoffs at this and rattles off some wrestlers he deems worthy. Bret tries to put over cruiserweight luchador El Dandy. After Gene protests, Bret delivers the awesome line of, “Who are you to doubt El Dandy?” Next, he tries to suggest Psicosis, but erroneously calls him Hypnosis. Ha! It’s hilarious stuff from a guy that’s usually not very funny.

Check out the promo below and let me know what you think of the shockingly funny Bret “The Hitman” Hart promo. After you’ve done that, ask yourself one question — who are you to doubt El Dandy?!?

Special thanks to my pal Lorie for inspiring this article with this Instagram post.

Lex Luger Looks Like Gollum

“The Total Package” Lex Luger was known for his Herculean physique and high-impact power moves. His strength and appearance were so impressive that Luger was once tabbed as the heir apparent to Hulk Hogan by Vince McMahon. These days, he looks more like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. I’ve been watching The Monday Night War on WWE Network and seeing modern Lex Luger made me sad. Years of performance-enhancing and recreational drug abuse combined with a spinal stroke have left Luger a shell of his former self. The Total Package looks more like The Disheveled Packaged and seeing him on The Monday Night War was mildly disturbing. Check out the photo below to see Lex Luger’s uncanny resemblance to Gollum.

Lex Luger Gollum

Coffee Talk #642: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan

One of the most frequent arguments I’ve heard between wrestling fans is about “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan. Both are cited as the biggest WWE Superstar of all time and there are compelling arguments for both wrestlers. Naturally, I want to hear your opinion on the matter. Several of you are longtime smarks and I’m sure that you’ll make excellent cases for both WWE Superstars. Before you make your pick, let’s take a closer look at the Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan issue.

Fans that pick Austin as the greatest WWE Superstar of all time point to the fact that he was the top guy during the most popular era in the business. He has sold more merchandise than any other pro-wrestler. Working a program with boxing great “Iron” Mike Tyson, Austin was part of the biggest crossover angle in wrestling history and garnered a ton of mainstream coverage. He has had all-time great matches with Bret “The Hitman” Hart, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, The Rock, and more. His mic work and sketches are some of the best in WWE history. I’ll never forget the awesome sight and sound of Steve Austin smashing a bedpan on Vince McMahon’s head.

On the downside, Austin’s career was cut short due to a number of injuries. In addition to having knees that were beat up to hell, he suffered a serious neck injury from a botched piledriver delivered by Owen Hart. While the injury helped Austin develop his character on the mic and through sketches, it probably shaved of a decade or so from his in-ring work.

Hulk Hogan supporters point to the fact that the man took wrestling to the mainstream. He was the top guy for a ridiculously long time and paved the way for future WWE Superstars. He’s had dozens of iconic moments, perhaps none bigger than when he bodyslammed Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III. His interviews were legendary and he was a master at getting fans charged up. Unlike Austin, Hogan was a main-event guy in both WWE and WCW, selling out arenas around the world for both companies.

Hogan detractors point to the fact that he was never all that good in the ring. His work in TNA Wrestling (arguably) tarnished his legacy. While Austin’s in-ring work had to stop because of injury, Hogan kept on going…and that resulted in some really ugly matches. Austin fans say that Hogan never achieved the merch and ratings numbers that Stone Cold did.

Now it’s your turn! Kindly vote in the poll below and make your case in the comments section. It’s Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan time — fight!!!

[poll id=”194″]


Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the alarming rumors of a Nutella shortage, Curt Schilling battling mouth cancer, or Mick Foley’s daughter getting hot, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Coffee Talk #632: On Samoan Thor

I finally watched Fast & Furious 6 and, as expected, had a marvelous time with the movie. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of the series. The late Paul Walker’s acting was mesmerizingly bad, but in a deceptively entertaining way. Vin Diesel gets my support for being the Iron Giant and Groot, as well as for being the biggest Hollywood star that play Dungeons & Dragons. As a lifelong WWE fan, I try to support all of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s movies. In addition to those three talents, the Fast & Furious series is just good, dumb fun.

While the vast majority of the movie was predictable, there was one scene that totally caught me off guard…continued

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, dissecting the 2014 NBA draft, Hope Solo’s attractive insanity, or Shawn LeBeef’s getting arrested during a performance of Cabaret, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I finally watched Fast & Furious 6 and, as expected, had a marvelous time with the movie. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of the series. The late Paul Walker’s acting was mesmerizingly bad, but in a deceptively entertaining way. Vin Diesel gets my support for being the Iron Giant and Groot, as well as for being the biggest Hollywood star that play Dungeons & Dragons. As a lifelong WWE fan, I try to support all of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s movies. In addition to those three talents, the Fast & Furious series is just good, dumb fun.

While the vast majority of the movie was predictable, there was one scene that totally caught me off guard. Tej Parker (awesomely played by Ludacris) receives a phone call on his (completely product placed) Nokia. It’s from “Samoan Thor.” At first I thought it was some odd bit of Nokia product marketing infused with dry Finnish humor that was too smart for me. Then Tej says that it’s Hobbs (The Rock’s character). That short bit totally cracked me up in a true laugh-out-loud moment. Samoan Thor is a stellar nickname for any character portrayed by The Rock.

The bit was certainly funny, but it wasn’t that funny. Still, it’s odd that the Samoan Thor gag was one of my biggest takeaways from the movie. It totally killed me at the time and it’s something that I’m still thinking about days after I’ve watched Fast & Furious 6. The bit as even influenced my daily life. I recently added “Asika Hot Legs” to my Google Contacts. I’m thinking of nicknames for all of my friends and colleagues on my phone. While none of my puns or gags will be as funny as Samoan Thor, perhaps I can come close.

Anyway, I wanted to see if any of you have had Samoan Thor moments recently. Was there a bit in a movie that was “only” funny objectively but you found completely hilarious? Please share your tale in the comments section.