The Spotlight On Wrestling Podcasts- The Lapsed Fan’s Starrcade Memorial Tour

I touched on the lapsed fan podcast a few months back here on the site but I feel like they’re worth bringing up again.  I first discovered the Lapsed Fan Wrestling Podcast almost one year ago and when I did, they were on their journey through all 30 Wrestlemanias.  Every week they would review one Wrestlemania at a time beginning with Wrestlemania 1 and all the way up to and including Wrestlemania 31 (which they did a live show immediately following Wrestlemania).  Each week they would start with their favorite moments from the show and then they would welcome in Dave Meltzer for a really unique historical perspective.  Once Meltzer was finished, they would then start their trademark “Deep Dive”  and go through each Wrestlemania from start to finish in grave detail.  The result was a podcast that lasted anywhere from 4 hours in length to, in the case of Wrestlemania 17, over 7 hours long.  People would talk about how perhaps the podcast was too long but I loved it because they paid careful attention to everything from every midcard superstar to every vignette, the lapsed fan had you covered.  I remember listening to the Wrestlemania podcasts all week long on the way to and from work and they left me both engaged and nostalgic going through each one.

Following the Wrestlemania journey, the Lapsed Fan podcast started doing listener request shows where, for a small fee, a member of the “lapsed fan solar system” would get to choose a show for Jack and JP to review.  On top of that the person who chose the show got to come onto the show and discuss the ways in which this show had effected them.  By now, you’ve read my personal stories regarding meeting certain wrestlers or having different live experiences at a variety of shows, so I really appreciate hearing different fans talk about their favorite experiences at shows.  The most recent listener request show they put up on Summerslam 1999 features a great personal story from show producer TJ DeSantis that is worth going out of your way to listen.  I had meant to getting around to donating to the lapsed fan and requesting that they review either Summerslam 2007 or Royal Rumble 2008 just because those two shows have my own personal stories that I feel are interesting but it appears that the listener request series is at least on a hiatus because…

Just a few weeks ago, the Lapsed Fan announced that Jack & JP are going on another journey, this time through all of the different WCW Starcade events through the years.  This is going to be a 17 week journey spanning from the original Starcade event in 1983 all the way through the end of WCW in 2000 (they’ve already done Starcade 1985 as a tribute to Dusty Rhodes right after he passed).  This is reay cool for someone like me because I’ve never actually seen any of the Starrcade events other than 1997.  The reason for that is because I’ve always been a big WWE fan growing up and never watched any of WCW.  My family tried to order Bash at the Beach 1994 to see Hogan and my father was unimpressed with the entire show.  Due to this, I never once asked to ever order a WCW show until Starrcade 1997, and I only pushed that because of Bret Hart.  Now with the WWE Network, I can go back and watch each one  of these events as the Lapsed Fan breaks them down, which is awesome as a new fan.  Starrcade was obviously the WCW’s version of Wrestlemania, and the original as it started 2 years prior to Mania, and is more than worthy of getting that journey treatment.  Jack and JP started their Starrcade memorial tour yesterday with the debut of Starrcade 1983.  As an added bonus, Dave Meltzer is in fact back to give that historical perspective of each one of the Starrcade events.  It’s especially cool with Starrcade because WCW is out of business so, as Jack and JP have mentioned before, they can really tell the entire story of WCW through their history of Starrcade series.

Jack and JP have made it clear that, unlike the Wrestlemania series, this may not take place every single week.  I’m glad to hear this actually as Jack and JP both have families and I’m sure that Wrestlemania series (30 episodes in 30 weeks at about 5 hours a week) had to be quite the burden on both them and their families.  The lapsed fan is also now independently owned and operated as the guys are no longer affliated with Wrestlezone.  If you’d like to support thelapsedfan podcast you can follow them on twitter @TheLapsedFan to find out how you could.  I’m excited for the new Starrcade journey to begin and would love to hear your feedback on the lapsed fan if you’ve checked it out as well.

The Spotlight On Cesaro’s Injury

The hits just keep on coming for the walking wounded superstars of WWE.  It was announced today through an exclusive interview with WWE.com that Cesaro would be out of action for 4-6 months following a torn rotator cuff.  Cesaro explained that his injury actually occurred over two months ago but that he didn’t think it was too bad until recently.  An MRI was done for precautionary measures and it that’s when the tear was identified.

Cesaro noted that he was actually already having the surgery done this afternoon.  It’s a really tough break for one of the most consistent performers in WWE.  Cesaro was really picking up momentum with the “Cesaro Section” movement which was something that started pretty organically a few months ago in Nashville, Tennessee (Ironically enough the place of Monday Night Raw tonight).  Aside from that Cesaro was having some of the best matches in WWE over the past three years or so, most recently a number of Raw main events against John Cena.

Cesaro’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for WWE, who is already without Seth Rollins (Torn ACL/MCL) and Randy Orton (dislocated shoulder).  F4wonline.com reported last night that Cesaro was supposed to have been in the traditional survivor series match that aired during the pre show but was replaced by Titus O’Neil once his injury was discovered.  Once we hear any update on Cesaro’s health and possible return date, we’ll have that for you right here on thedailyspotlight.com .

To read the full interview with Cesaro about his health, you can do some right here http://www.wwe.com/inside/cesaro-injured-interview-28238589

The spotlight NFL Week 11 Picks Against The Spread- Monday Night Football

Believe it or not, week 11 in the 2015 NFL season comes to a close tonight as the 9-0 New England Patriots play host to the 5-4 Buffalo Bills.  We are fresh off of another 5-2 week and now have our overally record up to 59-24 on the season.  The major headline for the Patriots is going to see how they adjust to the loss of wide receiver Julian Edleman.  Whereas the headline for the Buffalo Bills is going to be can they open up a bit of distance for themselves in the wildcard race that has 1 game separating 7 teams currently.  Of course this is also Rex Ryan’s return to Foxboro as the coach of the Buffalo Bills which adds a little extra pizzazz to the matchup for sure.

Yes Rex Ryan has won in Foxboro before, and has even done so in the postseason, but that was a long time ago.   Rex Ryan actually doesn’t have a particularly good record against the Patriots (4-10) despite his insistance that he isn’t there to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings.  Ryan has also long 8 of the last 9 matchups against the Patriots including an 8 point loss to the Pats earlier this season in Buffalo.  The Bills are coming off a big win last week against the Jets but, like I said in my preview for that game, it was Rex Ryan’s Superbowl.  Also, let’s be honest, the Bills won that game moreso due to the Jets’ ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball which included costly turnovers. The Bills offense looked better by finally getting Shady McCo involved in the offense but I’m still generally unimpressed with Tyrod Taylor who threw for only 158 yards last week and who, despite an 11-4 TD-INT ratio is ranked 31st in passing yards amongst qualifying quarterbacks.

Flipping the dime on the Patriots side of things, I’m not going to say that the loss of Julian Edleman is going to be easy but, let’s face it, one of the best things the Patriots do is adjust.  I mean let’s not forget that Bill Belichick once won 11 games with Matt Cassell and we saw how good hes been ever since.  The story before the season was how the Pats would adjust with losing Darrell Revis and they may go 16-0!  They’re all about the next man up and I can see Danny Amedola playing a larger role in the offense for the Pats, sliding into the role once occupied by Edleman.

A rare night as a Jets fan when I’ll actually be rooting hard for the evil empire and sporting some blue.  At the end of the day if you ask me to choose, I’d go Brady over Taylor, Belichick over Ryan and the New England Patriots over the Buffalo Bills any day of the week.

The Pick: Patriots (-7) 

The Spotlight On WWE Week On The USA Network

Hey guys normally in this slot, I would do a spotlight on the week ahead for WWE but I thought it would fun to preview WWE week on the USA Network that will be premiering next month.  WWE sent out a press release late last week announcing that WWE week will launch on the USA Network beginning Sunday, December 20th. Let’s get into some of the highlights of what you can expect to see on WWE Week.

Highlights:

Santa’s Little Helper- We mentioned on our “The Week Ahead For WWE” piece last Monday, that the latest WWE Studios release was going to be released this past Tuesday, November 17th. Well now Santa’s Little Helper will air on the USA Network from 8-10PM on Sunday night December 20th. Santa’s Little Helper is actually the third Christmas film released by WWE Films and stars Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, WWE Diva Paige & former 90210 star, Annalyn McCord. I’m always a fan of Christmas flicks and I can tell you that you can absolutely expect a review on Santa’s Little Helper once it airs on the USA Network.

The Slammys Are Back- Sadly the Slammys won’t be a black tie affair nor will Todd Pettengill be hosting the show but the Slammys will return to Monday Night Raw on 12/21. The Slammys are always a good time. I remember back in 2009 they actually started the build to the Wrestlemania rematch between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker at the Slammys. Most of the old Slammy Awards Shows are available in the on demand section of the WWE Network if you’re looking to get excited for this year’s big show. Once the ballots are released, we’ll be back with our picks here on the site.

Live Smackdown- WWE Week will continue with a live Smackdown on December 22nd and it will take place on the USA Network, not the SYFY network. I always enjoy when Smackdown goes live and will be tuning in that night for sure. Smackdown will officially premiere on the USA Network regularly beginning on January 5th and so I’m sure this will be a good promotional tool for the show. Even though Smackdown being on Thursday spaces out the WWE television programming throughout the week, I would love to have back to back live WWE programming. I just feel like anything can happen when you’re live.

Tribute To The Troops- The annual WWE week concludes with the traditional Tribute to the Troops special that WWE has been doing over the last decade plus. This year WWE will be heading to the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. They will also have the band Train on hand to perform for the troops. I can’t say enough about how cool I think it is that WWE continues to bring their product to the men and women who make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. You don’t see the NBA, NFL or any other sports and/or entity bringing their product directly to our troops. To me this is the single most important event of the year for WWE and there’s something about this special that I find synonymous with the holidays.

Closing Thoughts

Obviously this will be a pretty big week of programming for WWE as they close out the year. Pretty much right after this week, it’ll be time to prepare for the Royal Rumble.  I should also add that WWE superstars and divas will be appearing live during USA’s daytime programming from 11AM-3PM Monday thru Friday. My word of advice would be that, l if you’re only interested in the WWE programming, DVR the block of programming and fast forward through it all so that you can catch the interviews with WWE superstars and divas.  That’s going to do it for me today but I’ve attached the official press release below if you would like to check it out for yourself.

“WWE® WEEK” TO KICK OFF DECEMBER 20TH ON USA NETWORK, FEATURING THE 2015 WWE SLAMMY AWARDS AND WWE TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS®

NEW YORK and STAMFORD, Conn., – November 19, 2015 – USA Network and WWE will kick off the holiday season with an action-packed “WWE Week.”  The week begins Sunday, December 20 with SANTA’S LITTLE HELPER, followed by MONDAY NIGHT RAW®; the 2015 WWE SLAMMY AWARDS on Monday, December 21; a live SMACKDOWN® on Tuesday, December 22; and a two-hour WWE TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS special on Wednesday, December 23. The week will also include a daytime roadblock featuring interviews with WWE Superstars and Divas.

On Sunday, December 20, from 8pm-10pm ET, USA will air SANTA’S LITTLE HELPER, an original comedy from WWE Studios and 20th Century Fox.  The film follows a fast-talking businessman who is given the opportunity of a lifetime to become Santa Claus’ second-in-command.  SANTA’S LITTLE HELPER is directed by Gil Junger and produced by Richard Lowell and features WWE Superstar The Miz® and WWE Diva Paige®.  AnnaLynne McCord (“90210,” “American Heiress”) and Eric Keenleyside (“Godzilla,” “The Interpreter”) star.

On Monday, December 21, from 8-11pm ET, USA will air MONDAY NIGHT RAW, live from Minneapolis, MN, featuring the annual fan-voted SLAMMY AWARDS, the WWE’s biggest awards event of the year, honoring the best of the year with its own golden statue.  On Tuesday, December 22 from 8-10pm ET, USA will air SMACKDOWN live from Des Moines, Iowa. Both RAW and SMACKDOWN  will showcase a star-studded cast of WWE Superstars and Divas, and deliver a shot of adrenaline to viewers with over-the-top action, feats of athleticism and high- octane drama.

On Wednesday, December 23, from 8-10pm ET, USA will air the 13th annual holiday special, WWE TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS.  In the tradition of Bob Hope, WWE brings together the best of sports entertainment and pop culture with celebrity appearances and performances from music’s most popular acts — performed for our servicemen and women, to honor their commitment and dedication to our country. This year, Grammy Award-winning rock band Train will perform.  WWE TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS has become a holiday tradition and is considered TV’s most patriotic and heartwarming show of the year.  It will chronicle WWE’s visit to Florida’s Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena for military personnel and their families stationed at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Naval Station Mayport and Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base.  While in town, WWE Superstars and Divas will spend the day giving back to those who serve and their families with visits to each base, a Be a STAR anti-bullying rally, and military outreach.

WWE also takes over USA DAYTIME from 11am-3pm Monday, December 21 – Friday, December 25, as host Cat Greenleaf conducts interviews from her iconic stoop with WWE Superstars and Divas.

MONDAY NIGHT RAW on USA is the most-watched, regularly scheduled, year-round program on cable, with a live three-hour block every Monday night, 52 weeks a year.  RAW has been a cable mainstay for more than 20 years and is consistently a top ten show on television. The three-hour block on USA averages 1.9MM P18-49, 2.0MM P25-54 and 4.3MM total viewers P2+.  RAW and SMACKDOWN have reached 48.2 Million viewers in 2015.

With more than 800 original episodes, SMACKDOWN is the second longest-running weekly episodic program in U.S. television history, only behind MONDAY NIGHT RAW. Over the past 15 years, SMACKDOWN has been broadcast from 170 different venues, in 148 cities, in seven different countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Iraq, Japan, Italy and Mexico.

Follow the social conversation with #Troops on @WWE @TRIBUTETOTROOPS @USA_NETWORK.

 

The Spotlight On Today’s Sports- 11/23/2015

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I’ve gotten a good amount of feedback from folks who have mentioned that they enjoyed the old Spotlight on Daily Sports Posts that I used t do when I first started the site so.  Well, I like to consider myself a man of the people and so your wish is my command!  I can’t promise the sports update will be every single day but let’s say most days for now and we’ll see where we go from there.  Today’s update is going to focus entirely on Week 11 in the NFL and what we learned from the week.  Let’s get right into it…

The New York Jets…Not a Playoff Team-  I’ve showed a lot of faith in the Jets throughout the season and I have predicted that they were going to be one of the teams representing the weak AFC as a wildcard and while I can’t tell you which one of these mediocre tems in the AFC will make the playoffs, I can tell you it won’t be the Jets. If the Jets are going to make the playoffs they need to get to 9-7 which mean they have to go 4-2 over the final six games and I just don’t see it.  This week’s brutal loss to the Texans was a real setback for the Jets because now they don’t get to face a FREAKIN WIDE RECEIVER AT QUARTERBACK anymore but instead get Tony Romo, Eli Manning and Tom Brady, the rest of the way..  Do you see this Jets defense stopping any of those three?  I don’t either but let’s say you’re optimistic and say they can beat Eli, fine then do you see the Jets going into Buffalo week 17 and beating the Bills because that’s the other option.  As much as it pains me to say it, I’d be much more willing to believe that the Jets will finish 7-9 then 9-7.

Fraud, Fraud, Fraud-  The only good news as a Jets fan is that at least my team didn’t have the biggest collapse since the beginning of a promising 4-1 season.  No way, that distinct honor goes to the Atlanta Falcons.  The Falcons have suddenly gone from 5-0 to 6-4 and they’ve done so in the ugliest of ways.  It’s bad enough that you let Blaine Gabbert come into your building and beat you before your bye but now yesterday the Falcons allow 106 year old Matt Hasslebeck to beat them in their building as well.  To make matters worse, the Falcons were up  by two touchdowns and let the piss poor Colts defense hold them to a scoreless second half at the Georgia Dome! I really hope someone rises to the occasion and knocks the Falcons out of the playoffs because they are as fraudulent a winning team as can be.  Too much talent to keep losing games the way they are.

The worst thing that could’ve happened to Peyton Manning-  is that the Broncos went into Chicago with Brock Osweiler and left the windy city with a victory.  The league was already ready to bury Peyton Manning and label him as washed up.  Everyone has seemingly forgotten about how good of a career Peyton has had and instead all you keeep hearing was that he was done, that the Broncos playmakers and defense have been carrying him all season.  Well, the fact that these same Broncos were able to go into Chicago with Brock Osweiler, making his first career start, and beat a Bears team that was playing good football, won’t stop any of that chatter.  Now the question turns to if Peyton is able to return at some point this season, do the Denver Broncos even want him back?  You would think the Broncos were 2-8 as opposed to 8-2.

The Cowboys Are Alive- Truth be told, the New York Giants are still the favorites to win the NFC East but the Cowboys now sit two games back and they have their Quarterback back!  Even though Tony Romo looked a little rusty in Miami, the Cowboys were able to pick up their first win in 8 tries.  Darren McFadden, of all people, rushed for 131 yards and you have to figure that if Matt Cassel was in at QB, he may not have even had 30 yards. Just the threat of having Romo back, opens up the Cowboys running attack because you expect them to pass every down.  Just look at Demarco Murray last season as compared to how he’s looked without Tony Romo.  The further good news for the Cowboys is that the Eagles were crushed by the Bucs at home and look lost with Mark Sanchez under center and the Redskins were embarrassed by the 10-0 Panthers.  The bad news for the Cowboys is that now they welcome those same undefeated Panthers into their building in just four days in a must-see Thanksgiving matchup. Put the turkey on the snack tables because that is a game you won’t want to miss.

A Win’s A Win…But At What Cost?-  This just isn’t the year for the Baltimore Ravens.  Just two weeks after losing Steve Smith for the season, the Ravens lost both Justin Forsett for the season due to a broken arm and Joe Flacco for the season due to a torn ACL.  That pretty much completes the laundry list of injuries to the Ravens this season and ends their disappointing year.  The cherry on top?  Matt Schaub will now be starting for them for the rest of the year.

Sweet Revenge- Just when it looked like the Bengals were going to push their matchup with the Cardinals to overtime, Carson Palmer drove his team right down the field in just a minute and three seconds to put them in position to seal the game with a field goal.  It was an elite level performance by Palmer who sent his team to the number 2 seed in the NFC and sent his former team into a virtual tie with the Denver Broncos.  How sweet it is!

And Then There Were Four?!?!-  I know I know, there are only two undefeated teams left the 10-0 Panthers and 9-0 Patriots but there are actually 4 undefeated (with at least two starts) quarterbacks this season.  Those four quarterbacks are Tom Brady, Cam Newtown, Tony Romo (3-0) and Matt Hasslebeck (3-0). Obviously the shocker of the bunch is Hasslebeck who has really turned back the clock off the bench for the Colts.  Whether he’ll be able to do it for the next 5 weeks, while Andrew Luck is out injured, remains to be seen but he goes to show the importance of having a cagey veteran on the bench.

Well that’s going to do it for today but I’ll be back tomorrow with another sports update where we’ll have no choice but to turn our attention to a team streaking in the NBA and bringing back interest in the NBA altogether at the same time.  Until then, what were your biggest takeaways from Week 11 in the National Football League.  Let me know in the comment section below or on twitter @Daily_Spotlight