The Spotlight On A Physical WWE Hall Of Fame

Hello everyone and good morning to you. I meant to talk about this on the site yesterday but figured I would more focus on the stuff related strictly to the announcement of Wrestlemania 33 coming to Orlando. That said, the Wrestlemania announcement wasn’t the only big WWE news related to Orlando that made the rounds yesterday. Attractionsmanagement.com released a story yesterday that WWE will be opening a “museum-cum-restaurant” within the Universal Studios Orlando theme park.  According the article, which you can read in full here http://www.attractionsmanagement.com/detail.cfm?pagetype=detail&subject=news&codeID=322371, the restaurant portion of the place would be similar to the old WWF New York (later The World) in that there will be a retail section of the store where you can purchase merchandise from all of your favorite superstars and divas and then a restaurant with big screens playing WWE programming throughout the day. If this news wasn’t big enough, it’s the museum portion of the story that has everyone talking.  Many took this to believe that this means that there will finally be a physical hall of fame for the prestigious WWE Hall of Fame. 

The idea is for this new WWE attraction to open where the old NBA City location was as a part of Universal City located Adjacent to the theme park. Probably the best part of all of this is that the attraction is planning to open in March of next year. This means that the attraction will be ready for people to visit just in time for Wrestlemania in Orlando, the next month.  

I for one could not be more excited as growing up WWF New York was one of my favorite locations. Nothing beat being able to head times square after a half day in middle school or high school, go wait outside of TRL hoping that Jesse Camp would give me a pound and then ending the day with lunch at WWF New York. I had celebrated almost everyone of my birthdays with the family from about 1999 to 2003 and even celebrated my junior high school graduation there with my family and a bunch of my friends. This really was the premier spot for any WWE fan as it was the only store you can walk in and buy merchandise and the restaurant was so much fun. There were always superstars stopping by and a packed house for any live airing of Raw or a pay per view. WWF New York even aired smackdown live which I thought was so cool at the time.  

All of that said, I think that it would be really cool for WWE to bring back a restaurant and the idea of a physical hall of fame would be a long time coming. I remember at WWF New York there was a little section of the restaurant dedicated to past WWE artifacts, that would rotate in and out (similar to the set up at Axxess) but never a full museum, the likes of which you would see in Cooperstown for the baseball hall of fame. While, I’ve never been to NBA City, I got to chat with friend of the site and contributing writer, Metsgoon who went to the place just a few years ago and mentioned that it was very spacious. Being a theme park enthusiast, nothing sounds better then spending the day at Harry Potter World and then heading across the street to check out the Royal Rumble live at the WWE restaurant.  

In closing, I’d say that before we all get so excited we should proceed a bit cautiously. WWE held a press conference live yesterday for Wrestlemania in Orlando and nothing has been officially announced by them. That said, if this is being reported by Universal Studios themselves, there’s a good chance that where there is smoke there is some sort of fire. One thing is for sure, as Stephanie McMahon said yesterday, Orlando has become the second home for World Wrestling Entertainment.   

The Spotlight On Wrestlemania 33 Coming To Orlando!

Well it’s official, WWE will be returning to the sunshine state next year for Wrestlemania 33 on April 2nd, 2017! WWE held a press conference earlier today officially announcing that Wrestlemania will return to the, newly renovated, Citrus Bowl for the first time since Wrestlemania 24 in 2008.  This is huge news for vacation goers as Orlando is one of, at least to me, biggest vacation spots in all of the United States. Last year my girlfriend and I had an amazing time at Wrestlemania in California and created our own Wrestling & theme park week! Thus, I’m excited to be being able to recreate some of the grandeur of last year, next year in Orlando! Let me get into all you need to know about Wrestlemania from the press conference today.

-First off, we’ll start with some important dates and locations. WWE Axxess will take place at the Orange County Convention Center throughout the weekend. While I haven’t been there myself, I spoke to a friend who lives in Orlando & he told me that the building is really nice & spacious. The Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic, will play host to both The 2017 Hall Of Fame, April 1st and Monday Night Raw the night after Wrestlemania, April 3rd. There was no date announced for NXT but with the performance center & NXT headquarters, they film most television out of Full Sail University, being right in Orlando, I’d bet NXT will have quite a prescence Wrestlemania weekend. 

– As far as the press conference today, kudos to WESH news in Orlando for broadcasting the press conference live. I was able to follow along while at work & it was really cool to see. That said, it’s a shame for those folks that couldn’t follow along live, 11AM on a Tuesday few can, that can’t watch the press conference if they wanted to. WWE has its own network & really should make this stuff available for subscribers who want to watch it. Especially if they aired this kind of stuff live, I feel it would draw more people to the livestream on the WWE Network. 
– From the looks of it Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, John Cena, Ric Flair, Charlotte, Roman Reigns and the New Day were all on hand for the press conference and joined different politicians in the local area in sharing their excitement over Wrestlemania returning to Orlando. There were also a number of NXT talents on hand, said to be greeting folks as they entered the conference, including Bayley, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin and others. John Cena acknowledged the NXT talents, who were sitting front row, and joked that they were given time off to come watch them talk.

-The biggest piece of news, aside from the announcement, was that John Cena officially announced that he will not be taking part in this year’s Wrestlemania. Cena mentioned that for the first time in a decade and a half, he’ll be enjoying Wrestlemania as a fan. I know Cena was doing all he could to return, and it’s tough he won’t be able too, but it’s for the best that he takes his time to recover.  The last thing anyone wants is for Cena to return too soon and injure himself more. 

Overall this was a nice day for WWE and a big win for the city of Orlando, which Stephanie noted has become the WWE’s second home. Wrestlemania raises hundreds of millions of dollars for any city that plays host for it and it really looked like next year was going to be Minnesota. Thus, Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer had every right to dance with the New Day! As a fan, no offense to Minnesotans but nothing beats that combination of Disney and Wrestling…I can’t wait! 

That’s going to do it for now but tomorrow morning I’ll be back as it seems that WWE may not only bringing Wrestlemania to Orlando. Tomorrow we’ll look at whether or not the rumors are true…is WWE creating a physical hall of fame?!

The Mania of March- The Spotlight On Wrestlemania 8

I’d like to start off by pointing out that as I got older, I grew an appreciation for Ric Flair. To me, he’s one of the best and most exciting wrestlers of all time. With that said, back in 1992, at the ripe old age of 5 years old…I hated Ric Flair. I didn’t understand what claim he had to the world title and I found his work boring. Back then my family family never watched WCW, so we didn’t understand why Flair was such a big deal.  We watched one WCW Clash of the Champions and we really didn’t enjoy it. To my family, WCW was just a lot of chops and didn’t have those larger than life characters that WWE had ( I realize how silly this is now by the way).   We all laughed when Flair came into the Rumble 92 at number 3 and thought, thank god he isn’t going to win. Of course, Flair would go on to win the Rumble, in arguably the greatest Rumbles of all time, but still we didn’t want Ric Flair as the world champion. At the time, we got our wrestling news from WWF magazine and from the Slammer, who wrote a quick article every Friday about the state of pro wrestling in the New York Daily News.  Thus it wasn’t like today where everyone knows Kevin Steen’s entire history and can’t wait for his first match.

I remember for Wrestlemania 8, they did a press conference where they would announce the new number one contender to face Flair at Wrestlemania for the title.  The likes of Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice, Randy Savage & Roddy Piper were all in attendance and it was made to be a big deal. You can watch it below, if you’d like

I was pretty surprised when Savage got the call as Wrestlemania really was the Hulk Hogan show up to this poing & the Slammer was telling us WWF was going with Hogan and Flair so Savage seemed a bit out of left field.

As for this Mania itself,  I remember being really confused as to why the world title match didn’t go on last and looking back, I’m still a bit confused.   Savage and Flair had a natural story going into their match and it was a really great match, filled with a lot of passion that resulted in a clean finish and title win for Randy Savage.  To me this would have been a great way to end WrestleMania.

Instead the main event was Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice.  It ended up being the first time in WrestleMania history that the world champion wasn’t at least involved in the main event.  I want to say the reason was because it was being teased that the Hogan-Justice match was going to be Hogan’s last match in the WWF but that wasn’t true as Hulk returned to the WWF the next year.  As for this match itself, it ended in a disqualification which would then also make this the first time in wrestlemania history that the show ended without a clean finish.  Sid ended up getting disqualified when newcomer Papa Shango hit the ring and began attacking Hogan. This led to a really surprising and great return for the Ultimate Warrior who hadn’t be seen in about six months.  What’s funny is that I remember Warrior was a lot leaner and had a haircut so this led to the popular belief that the Ultimate Warrior had actually been killed and replaced by someone else, the belief was Kerry von Erich.

Looking back at this show, it’s really almost like a changing of the guard with that Wrestlemania.  Following this show, Hogan & Piper took time off.  Jake Roberts also left the WWF for several years following this show and by the next year’s WrestleMania, Flair and Warrior would be gone too.  Instead Shawn Michaels & Bret Hart were getting ready to take on more prominent roles as the years went on.

Before I close the door on WrestleMania 8, I’d like to mention a personal story from later on in 1992.

I have mentioned in the past how I’ve had a history of being afraid of some WWE superstars and storylines. Giant Gonzales, Doink The Clown & the time the Undertaker came alive in the casket and flew out of it at the Royal Rumble 1994, to name a few. Well, if there was one guy who I feared more than any other it was unquestionably Papa Shango. Shango didn’t only look creepy but he performed voodoo on his opponents and made strange black goo pour out of the Ultimate Warrior.

On September 11th, 1992, my father got he and I two tickets for the WWF at Madison Square Garden.  I couldn’t believe it as this was going to be one of my first live events, I didn’t even know what to do or think.  We jumped on the Long Island Rail Road from Bayside to MSG and it was a feeling like none other.  Everywhere  looked there were wrestling fans, everyone was wearing a shirt and holding a sign, it was great.  It would be the same feeling I would feel during every show I’d end up going to, but there was something that felt big time about MSG.

A we arrived to MSG, following an embarrassing moment where I took a leak in a potted plant at penn station, my dad told me he had a huge surprise for me.  Before he revealed that, however, my dad bought me a program which always showed the match card.  I opened it up and screamed off every big match on the card.  Ric Flair vs. The Undertaker!  Randy Savage vs. Razor Ramon!  Then my face sank…I nervously proclaimed to my dad ” Dad, Papa Shango is wrestling tonight, he’s wrestling Bret Hart”.  This only got worse when my dad revealed his surprise, which were front row seats!

I immediately began to scream as this was unbelievable and intimidating at the same time. I told my dad as great as this was we had to give the seats away.  I couldn’t sit there petrified of Shango.  I’m sure my father wanted to kill me but, being a good father, agreed to make someone’s day, by asking some fans to switch seats with us.   We enjoyed the show from the sixth row until the Hart-Shango match.  At this point, I had to use the bathroom and the only way this was possible would be to walk against the barricade and passed the first row.  We tried to do this while Hart had Shango in a headlock and we were in the middle of tiptoeing past the front row when Shango disposed of Hart and ran at the ropes as quick as possible taunting the crowd.  Well, that was it!  I was off to the races as I ran quickly into the lobby.  I had never seen my father run faster in his life as he screamed for me to stop.  I eventually did but we hung out by the souvenirs until Hart won.

To make matters worse, I then pleaded with my dad to run up to the barricade to see the Undertaker up close.  That’s right, the deadman was fine but Papa Shango was the problem!  As for what happened to ole Papa Shango?  Well, he had to retire as he soon realized that “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy!”

That’s gonna do it for now but next time I’ll be taking a look at the WWF in 1993.  Wrestlemania the album is released and WWF head’s to Ceasar’s Palace for Wrestlemania 9!

The Mania of March- The spotlight on Wrestlemania 7

Wrestlemania 7 was the first pay per view that my family ordered as we had gotten cable television not long before this… As a matter of fact, we tried getting the Rumble before this but had a problem with our cable connection as it had just been installed so we got the tape (remember those?) of the show the next day. Thus, I was pretty excited about the idea of watching a WWF pay per view live. Understand that the early 90s was during a period of time in which there wasn’t Monday Night Raw every week with high profile matches pitting main eventer against main eventer. You had Saturday Night’s Main Event every other  month or so but other than that, WWF television consisted of Saturday and Sunday morning programs, as well as prime time wrestling, centered around promos and preliminary matches. This made the pay per views feel so much more important as their were only four a year & they were your only real chance to see high profile matches.

The main reason why  I was so excited that we were going to be getting Wrestlemania 7 live on pay per view was that this meant that I would  finally get  to watch the countdown show, I’d get to see the matches as they were happening and I wouldn’t have to wait until they got the event at Blockbuster or depend on my father’s friend, this was amazing! This was also the beginning of watching WWF Pay Per Views together as a family, a tradition that continued for many years.  My dad would spend the day bar be cuing, my mom would make dessert and it would be the one night my sister and I were able to have candy and soda.

At the time, I was a huge Hulkamaniac, as I assume any four year old would be.  It seems looking back that Hulk Hogan was probably a bigger star in the 80s but in 1991, at least in my eyes he was still all the rage.  I remember Hogan was also everywhere, I distinctly remember that there was a special that ran on Nickelodeon at the time called “Stories From Growing Up” and it played constantly.  The special was about Hulk Hogan and how he used to be fat and got made fun of growing up.  It was ridiculous but I feel like I watched it every time it was on TV. You can watch that at the link below.

I also remember in 1991 being stuck in a Kids R Us with my mom as we had a flat tire and so we were stuck there for hours.  On the television, they kept playing all of these little commercials promoting items in the store.  One of the commercials featured Hulk Hogan and was a little of the Real American music video and then Hulk showed up to shill the WWE merchandise they had which included an awesome bedding set that I got later that year.  I had an absolute blast being stuck in the kids R Us because of this commercial and I remember doing everything I could to do my best Hogan impression I was entertaining customers and store security the whole day.

Thus, going into Wrestlemania 7, I was really happy to see that Hulk Hogan would be coming to his country’s defense against the evil Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter.  I remember i thought Slaughter’s win at Royal Rumble that year came out of nowhere and I hated seeing a bad guy walk around as the WWF champion.

I remember my father saying as that show began, “Wait what happened to the LA Coliseum?” which was a good question because WWF was really pushing the Coliseum hard especially at the Rumble that year.  I don’t recall it ever being revealed that Mania 7’s location was going to be changed to the LA Memorial Arena.

As for the show itself, I believe this was the last year for a while that they still put a ton of matches on the card in an effort to get everyone on the show, with an insane 14 matches.  That said, I did think that the matches helped the show fly right by as no match seemed to go too long. This also was during the period of time where the Rockers were kicking off most WWE shows and getting the crowd hot with a great fast paced match, similar to the ways that the Usos are used today. On this night they faced Haku and the Barbarian, a match I love to this day.   Aside from the top two matches, Warrior & Savage and Hogan & Slaughter, I remember being most excited Virgil vs. Ted Dibiase, believe it not.  I felt that they did a great job in, again, letting a long story unfold, that this match had a ton of heat behind it.

As for the two top matches, Warrior and Savage really stole the show for me.  The fact that Randy Savage hit five top rope elbow drops and they still weren’t enough to put the Ultimate Warrior away, just made Warrior seem so unstoppable.  If you couple that match with the excellent post match reunion between the Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth that left members of the crowd crying,  I’d say that this would be the type of match & moment I’d suggest anyone to watch if they were wondering what makes Wrestlemania so special.

Of course though, in the end, I was just happy to see the Hulkster back on top as the WWF World Heavyweight Champion after a full year away from the belt.  On paper this may not read as a classic but if you go back and watch that match, Slaughter was so good in his role, especially with General Adnan in his corner, that he had so much heat.  Further than that, Sgt. Slaughter does a great job bumping his ass off and really selling for Hogan.  Thus, maybe it’s just the nostalgia of this being my first ever Wrestlemania I saw on pay per view or what, but I loved this match and really enjoyed this Wrestlemania.

Next time we’ll take a look at Wrestlemania 8 which really brought a lot of change to the WWF.  Plus I’ll throw in a fun story about my first WWF live event and how scared I was about Papa Shango.

The Spotlight on Mick Foley’s 2016 Wrestlemania Dream Vacation

Over the past few years one of the cool things to come along with WrestleMania each year is WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley’s WrestleMania Dream Vacation.  These vacations are a heck of an opportunity for any wrestling fan whatsoever but the purpose for the vacation makes it mean that much more.  100% of the proceeds from each Dream Vacation go directly to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).  This is a cause that means a lot to me personally and Mick’s work for them has been extraordinary through the years.  When I saw Mick’s comedy show at Caroline’s back in 2013, he was doing a Meet and Greet and donating all of the money made through merchandise directly to RAINN as well.  Mick has mentioned that last year the dream vacation raised over $400,000 and that the goal of this year’s raffle will be to surpass the half million dollar mark.  I strongly urge everyone to purchase a few raffle tickets, they really aren’t very expensive.  The price per raffle ticket are as follows 5 entries: $10 ($2 each), 10 entries: $15 ($1.50 each), 25 entries: $25 ($1 each), 75 entries: $50 ($0.67 each), 150 entries: $75 ($0.50 each), 400 entries: $100 ($0.25 each), 1000+ entries: ($0.15 each).  The sweepstakes is now officially open and runs until March 15th.  Let’s get into to what you stand to win.

  • Winner and guest will receive round-trip air transportation (this includes two economy-class seats from winner and guest’s closest major U.S. or international city, to an airport within 25 miles of Arlington, TX)
  • Winner and guest will receive round-trip transportation between airport and hotel
  • Winner and guest will receive five nights lodging at the Comfort Suites in Arlington, TX from Thursday, March 31 — Tuesday, April 5, 2016 (single room, double occupancy)
  • Winner will receive $1,000 in spending money
  • Winner will receive an original 20×32 Rob Schamberger piece of art featuring the wrestler of his or her choice
  • Winner and guest will join Mick Foley for dinner
  • Winner will receive two ringside tickets to WrestleMania
  • Winner will receive two tickets to the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
  • Winner will receive two tickets to Monday Night Raw
  • Winner will receive two tickets to WWE AXXESS
  • Winner will receive two tickets to WWE NXT
  • Winner will receive two tickets to WWE Ring of Honor + a meet and greet

Talk about a dream vacation, Mick really has you covered in virtually everything you can thing in a package worth nearly $5,000!  Kudos have to go out to WWE, NXT, ROH and all of the other companies for assisting in putting together such a great package.  In the past I know Mick has continued to add to the package right up until the deadline which has included everything from tickets to Jim Ross’ One Man show, Tickets to Evolve, A Hug from a TNA Knockout and a further trip to Walt Disney World which included a guided tour of the park with Scotty 2 Hotty! Thus, keep checking in to see what else he adds to the package.  If you’d like to purchase tickets for the raffle you can do so right here https://rainn.org/wrestlemania!