Spotlight Breaking News- Jake Arrieta Throws A No Hitter! 

Tonight Chicago Cubs Starting Pitcher Jake Arrieta threw his second career no hitter as the Cubs beat the Reds 16-0! Arrieta also set a new record for the shortest time between starts to pitch a no hitter, in only 9 games! 

So much for a one hitter wonder, the reigning NL Cy Young has picked up right where he left off last season. Arrieta hasn’t allowed a run in 3 of his first 4 starts this season, good for a stingy 0.87 ERA! 

Of course when you’re getting 16 runs from your offense, it can only help. Arrieta accomplished his no-no in just 119 pitches, striking out 6 and walking 4 along the way. The Cubs continue to roll as they improved to an 11-4 record, good for a tie for the best record in the National League with the Washington Nationals. 

Now it’s just a shame we don’t get a Dominono this season! 

Spotlight Breaking News- Samoa Joe Wins The NXT Title 

In a completely shocking story tonight at a live event in Lowell, Massachusetts Samoa Joe defeated Finn Balor to win the NXT world title. Balor was the longest reigning NXT Champion of all time.

This is a pretty big deal as this is the first time a title has changed hands at a live event in many years . Go out of your way to watch that 30 second video above and you can just see how excited the crowd was for Joes title win. They did not see it coming in a million years. We will have more on this story as it develops. 

The Spotlight On Raw 

Last night’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw is in the books and I honestly found that there was a lot to like on the show. Due to how packed of a show that it was, I’m not going to waste any time and instead will jump right in.  Highlights:

Shane O Mac is Back- I’m not too sure what’s going on with Shane McMahon but what I can tell you is that he’s been a real breath of fresh air to the show. It’s been roughly five years since we had a babyface authority figure (Teddy Long) and it really changes up the dynamic on the show. The one thing I loved about Shane last night was when he came out to kick off the show and really laid out the whole night of matches. This is something that WWE hasn’t really done in quite some time and I’m glad they’re getting back to it. By Shane coming out and announcing the tag title tournament, the women’s title match and the number one contender match (later he also added the unique tag match of Bray and Roman vs the League of Nations), this to me gave the viewers multiple reasons to tune in and to remain tuned in for the remainder of the night.  
Shots Fired- Last night Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, former members of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Bullet Club made their long awaited debuts on Monday Night Raw when they attacked the Usos following there tag tournament victory over the Social Outcasts. I thought this was fantastic and really made Gallows and Anderson (who won’t be going by the Bullet Club, NJPW owns that name) look like two big time stars. The crowd went nuts for them and JBL was great here in immediately putting the guys over as legit players. For me this reminded me of the debut of The Outsiders in WCW as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash looked like two badasses and you knew that they were working with someone, who eventually turned out to be Hulk Hogan and the NWO was formed. The question now remains as to who, if anyone, Anderson and Gallows are working with. Regardless, i thought this was a great debut for these guys and I couldn’t be happier for the two of them. Karl Anderson is one helluva wrestler and if you aren’t familiar, I think you’ll be very impressed with what he brings to the table. As for Gallows, who looks like he’ll again be going by Luke Gallows, he actually had a run in WWE back in the late 2000s as Festus (teammates with Jesse who was actually Ray Gordy who made an appearance honoring his father, Terry Gordy, at last week’s WWE Hall of Fame) and then later as a member of CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society. Gallows has really reinvented himself since his departure from WWE, establishing one of the best personalities in the business. I’m really excited to see where these guys go from here.  

What’s Going On With The Wyatts?- I actually really enjoyed the main event last night and have been enjoying the continued progression of the Wyatt Family as they seem to potentially be turning face. It was a really interesting dynamic to have Bray team with Roman Reigns, the guy that he once claimed he prefer anyone other than him to be the top guy in the WWE. For years now, I thought there was money to be made with the Wyatt Family embracing the fans as fans have been behind the Wyatts really since Bray’s program with John Cena back in early 20014. I think that perhaps it was the 101,000 fans at AT&T Stadium pulling out there phones in unison in support of Bray Wyatt that convinced WWE management that it may be time for that switch. If nothing else it’s different and I like it. It was such a unique atmosphere to see the LA crowd getting solidly behind Alberto Del Rio (who is always a huge favorite of the people of LA) and Bray Wyatt but solidly booing both Roman Reigns and Rusev. Go back and watch this if you have the time.  

 Closing Thoughts

 I may have hit on the big highlights to come out of Raw but I din’t even get a chance to touch on the matches. AJ Styles and Sami Zayn had a terrific 16+ minute match that was so much fun. The finish made sense as Styles is the guy who they need to build up for his match with Roman Reigns and so it made sense for him to get the win. Charlotte and Natalya had another really strong match in which I didn’t mind the DQ finish because it will now set up a rematch for the Payback pay per view. Lastly, I thought that Kevin Owens and Cesaro had another great match, as they always do, and I loved seeing both men lay it all out there for a shot at The Miz’s Intercontinental Title, as it made that title seem that much more important. Thus, with these three matches coupled with the really unique main event, you had four strong matches on Raw that i feel you should go out of your way to see.  

It was overall a really good episode of Raw and I’m liking the direction they’re heading in with Shane being the guy to run the show. They seem to be really making an effort to put together fresh matches and introduce new talent and the idea of having a babyface authority figure allows for cleaner finishes and less nonsense. For example, I loved Shane having Kevin Owens escorted from the building to make sure that Sami Zayn would finally be able to get his shot. There is definitely a place in WWE for the heel authority figure but we’ve been seeing that now for nearly 3 years and so this is a welcome change.  

That’s going to do it for me here but we are in the midst of our live perspective Wrestlemania week featuring a different event from Wrestlemania broken down with photos each day. I currently have a fun photo gallery up of our time spent at the Wrestlemania store and tonight will have some photos and a breakdown of NXT Takeover:Dallas. Keep your eyes open for that! A reminder that we are also now on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thedailyspotlight so give us a like and tell all of your friends! Thanks for all of the support!  

The Spotlight On The Sights and Sounds Of Wrestlemania Week

The Sights and Sounds of Wrestlemania! 

Nothing like seeing a Wrestlemania Banner at Baggage Claim!

This is the first time over the past three years in which I’ve been flying to Wrestlemania that I was able to get down to Wrestlemania on a Thursday and I can honestly say that this is the day to come down if you’re going to do it.  For one, most fans arrive on Thursday and so you really feel like you’re all heading to Wrestling Haven together.  Everywhere you look fans are wearing wrestling t shirts and carrying memorabilia for the show.  My girlfriend made me a really cool Chad Gable towel that I carried around with me at the airport and was a big hit with the other fans attending the show.  Unfortunately, the security checkpoint was horrendous at Laguardia Airport.  Seriously people need to learn how to take off their shoes, belts and have their laptops ready for stowing prior to getting up to the checkpoint.  I realise that when you travel as much as I do you become Geroge Clooney (In Up in the air) esque in being able to fly through the airport but really some people really slowed us down.  We were so delayed that we almost ended up missing our flight altogether and had to jet to our gate once we finally got through. When I finally got there I let out a big sigh of relief and I heard a familiar voice greet me by saying “That’s ok let it out, you made the flight and now it’s officially Wrestlemania, nothing else matters!”.  It was WWE hall of famer Howard Finkel who happened to be on our flight (You can go back and read my post about meeting Howard at a Dean Ambrose signing to get an idea how big a fan of his I am).

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Nothing Says Wrestlemania more than the sight of the Wrestlemania City Banners! 

Once you arrive in the city, it’s all about Wrestlemania! In the past the airports have been decked out in WWE decoration.  It literally feels lke if you’ve ever flown into Orlando and taken the Magical Express back to Disneyworld except instead of the world of magic, this is the world of wrestling.   I’ll never forget when we landed in New Orleans a couple of years ago and were greeted by a brass band playing John Cena’s theme song.  Or last year when we were greeted at the airport by Dean Malenko.  This year, we ended up flying into a smaller airport in Dallas so there wasn’t as many Wrestlemania signs at our airport but enough to let you know that you arrived and it was Wrestlemania.

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My girlfriend Eri, excited to see the boss get her own Wrestlemania city banner

What we do each year is start our week off at the  with a trip to the Wrestlemania store.  We did this on Friday morning and it was a lot of fun.  If you have time to set aside for the store, I suggest doing it as a separate time then axxess.  If you’re like me, you’re pretty tired after Axxess and the store is so big that there is more than enough to do there to spend an hour of time there on it’s own.  As we walked up into the Wrestlemania store, every nearby street post had a different superstar banner hanging proudly.  Everyone from the Rock to The New Day to Charlotte were represented proudly.  By the entrance of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center, there were a number of larger banners with every superstar you can think of taking up their spot on the walls of the building.  These are always great for some photo ops and to go and see all of the different decorations.  The KBH center was the home for all things WWE this weekend and there were just loads of fans everywhere.

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Fans from all over the world take to the WWE Superstore

As we made our way upstairs into the actual store, there was a large WWE painting booth featuring the great work of WWE artist Rob Schamburger.  Rob is always on hand at Axxess working hard creating his next masterpiece.  Even though he’s hard at work, Rob is always very gracious and down to earth.  He’ll always stop to talk to you and is glad to sign any painting that you purchase of his.  Rob started out as a fan and has been embraced by WWE for his talent but is still a fan at heart and just an all around great person.

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WWE Artist Rob Schamberger paints for the fans outside of the WWE Superstore

The store itself is a sight in an of itself and a reminder to us long time fans of what the old WWF New York Store used to be like back in the day.  There are different types of shirts everywhere you look, whether it be related to the members of this year’s hall of fame, the NXT Roster, the premier matches on the wrestlemania card or Wrestlemania event specific shirts they have everything you can think of.  The people working the store are also generally pretty cool about letting you pose for photos in the different masks (who woudn’t want to take a photo as Asuka or a couple photo as Gold and Stardust?)  or hats.  Decked on the walls of the store are different images of the WWE superstars and divas wearing all of the different memorabilia for sale, which always reminds me of the old superstar catalogs in the old WWF magazines.  The store also has some rare pieces of merch that you won’t find anywhere else like the new Sting Defining Moments figure that won’t be released for months or the new John Cena coffee table book(my favorite are always the replica Slammy and replica Undertaker’s Urn).  Lastly in the center of the store is your high end pieces of merch that can go from anywhere from $90 to $3500.  These range from signed figures to plaques featuring event used mats or even a replica winged eagle scale belt.  While it’s not realistic to expect everyone to have the dispsobable income to afford such pieces, they are great to look at.

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Eri channeling her inner boss

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Checking out the NXT section of memorabilia, surprised they didn’t have one of these Chad Gable towels on sale, which my girlfriend was nice enough to surprise me with before going.

When in Texas…

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Two great couples, eh?  The Authority & Tom/Eri…by the way you all know what a huge fan of Shane McMahon I am but could he look more awkward on the wall of the superstore here?

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Eri is a proud resident of Suplex City! By the way, I can’t believe Brock agreed to pose in his T shirt for the store.  Pretty cool!

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The Black and White Wyatt masks are two of the more popular items available for sale at the Superstore!

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It doesn’t get much cooler than these high end plaques which will run you $1500!  That said, such a badass replica belt and Wrestlemania 12 Tribute! 

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If you noticed that we look a little different, good job this was taken last year but nothing beats a Dust couple photo and the Rhodes masks join the Wyatts and Kalisto as the most popular this year.

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At some point I will justify dropping the $40 for one of these urns and yes this photo is here because my girlfriend can do picture perfect Undertaker Eyes and I think that’s pretty cool!  

One frustrating piece was that the wristbands for the free superstar signings were given out randomly 2-3 hours prior to the signing but there was no way of knowing that ahead of time.  Thus we showed up at 11:30 hoping for a chance to see Sheamus or Kane (one of my girlfriend’s favorites) and were told we needed a wristband to wait on their line and the bands were all given out before 10AM.  That said, it was still cool to see both Sheamus and Kane on hand in the store, who were in years past VIP only signings at Axxess.

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“The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus awaits the fans at the Wrestlemania Superstore 

That’s going to do it for me for right now but I want to take a minute to thank WWE and the folks running the superstore for letting us run around the store like kids and try on a number of the pieces for sale.  Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at WWE NXT Takeover, one of the best events of the entire weekend.

 

The Spotlight On The WWE “Attitude Era: Volume 3” Unrelased Matches DVD Set

Over the last week our friends over at WrestlingDVDNetwork.com have released the full content listing for the brand new WWE “Attitude Era Volume 3” DVD Set that is scheduled to be released this upcoming August. For those that haven’t heard WWE is planning on making this particular release a set filled with previously unreleased matches. Below is the complete match list (no word on whether or not this includes blu ray exclusives) and I think it’s really interesting. Check it out…

— WWE Championship Match

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels

Kuwait City, Kuwait • May 12, 1996

— Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker
Madison Square Garden • August 9, 1996

— Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Goldust

[Non-Televised] In Your House: It’s Time • December 15, 1996

— Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H
Anaheim, CA • March 13, 1998

— The Nation of Domination vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie

[Non-Televised] RAW • December 29, 1997

— WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock

Anaheim, CA • March 13, 1998

— Stone Cold Steve Austin & Cactus Jack vs. The Rock & D’Lo Brown

Madison Square Garden • January 10, 1998

— Stone Cold Steve Austin, Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie vs. The Rock & The New Age Outlaws

Meadowlands, NJ • February 22, 1998

— The Ultimate Warrior vs. Owen Hart

Madison Square Garden • May 19, 1996

— Yokozuna vs. The Sultan

Sun City, South Africa • September 14, 1996

— Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship

Shawn Michaels vs. Bret “Hit Man” Hart vs. Sycho Sid

[Non-Televised] RAW • February 3, 1997

— Long Island Street Fight

Dude Love vs. The British Bulldog

Uniondale, NY • October 24, 1997

— The Hardy Boyz vs. Lo Down

Wall St, New York City, NY • October 25, 2000

— The Undertaker vs. Mankind

[Non-Televised] In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies • April 28, 1996

— The Undertaker & Bret “Hit Man”” Hart vs. Owen Hart & The British Bulldog

Kuwait City, Kuwait • May 12, 1996

— The Undertaker, Goldust & Ahmed Johnson vs. The Nation of Domination

[Non-Televised] RAW • March 17, 1997

— Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship

The Undertaker vs. Bret “The Hit Man” Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

Anaheim, CA • June 28, 1997

— Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker

Madison Square Garden • June 26, 1999

— WWE Championship Match

Shawn Michaels vs. Goldust

[Non-Televised] In Your House: Buried Alive • October 20, 1996

— Shawn Michaels & Triple H vs. The Legion of Doom

Uniondale, NY • October 24, 1997

— Triple H vs. The Big Show

Madison Square Garden • June 26, 1999

— Dog Collar Match

Road Dogg vs. Mr. Ass Billy Gunn

Meadowlands, NJ • July 31, 1999


Closing Thoughts: 

This set is a must buy for me personally. I love that they’ve included a set of matches that you can’t just pull up on the Network & view everything right there. This is a set where you’ll have to go out of your way to purchase the blu Ray to see a rare collection of matches. I love the rare matches that were either dark matches (Shawn Michaels vs Goldust from the Buried Alive pay per view especially) or matches from overseas or completely unique like the Hardy Boys match from Wall Street. Also, as a New Yorker I am loving the matches from New York as I went to so many live events as a kid and remember witnessing some of these live. 

Overall, this is going to just going to be cool to watch these matches for the very first time. Some of the triple threats, for example, took place before WWE did triple threat matches regularly and will be cool to see. I’m also glad that they weren’t so strict with the attitude era timeline & included some matches from 1996, especially a rare Ultimate Warrior-Owen Hart match as they’ve only had one tv match, to the best of my knowledge, and it was a short throwaway match with a non finish. I am curious,however, if there will commentary on these matches as watching matches without commentary is always a little odd for my personal taste. 

In the end, this set proves that even with the Network, with WWE’s huge video library, there is a still a market for blu Ray releases. We’ll have more on this set when it is released this summer!