The Spotlight On Shane McMahon on The Michael Kay Show

Shane McMahon just wrapped up an appearance on ESPN’s “The Michael Kay Show” with Michael Kay and Don La Greca.  Here are some highlights from the interview..

– Michael Kay said it best when he noted in the beginning of the piece how big of a deal it was for them to discuss wrestling but that this was such a big deal that he felt like they had to have Shane on.  I now that Peter Rosenberg is a big wrestling fan and that Don La Greca’s brother, Dave is a host of the Busted Open Wrestling radio show on sirius but this was reallly cool to hear Michael Kay talk about wrestling.

– The interview started off with Shane mentioning how humbling it was to get the ovation that he got when he appeared on Monday.  He mentioned how Monday was a night he will never forget and that when he thanked the crowd in Detroit during the commercial break, he didn’t know it was going to air (Referring to the footage WWE put up on youtube with him stating that “he had goosebumps on top of goosebumps and his nipples were hard).  He said that he was hoping the reaction would be good but wasn’t 100% sure and said the reaction blew him away.  He compared the feeling to that of a close sports game when the crowd goes nuts and it was surreal that the reaction was all directed towards him.

– From there Shane was asked about whether he feels added pressure because he is the boss’ son and if that played a part in why he took so many risks.  Shane mentioned that he had to pay a lot of dues growing up by helping to set up the ring and being a referee.  Shane  explained that he continued to take risks because he always assumed each match would be his last so he figured why not leave it all out there.  He told a funny story from when he was 8 years old, Mr. Fuji told him to try a dropkick off the top rope.  He went up to the top with a ton of enthusiasm and when he hit the mat, he grew an appreciation for how hard the mat was and an appreciation for the punishment the superstars take. Shane mentioned that he loved growing up in the business mentioning how impressive Wrestlemania 3 was and that during that show he walked to the top of the arena just to take it all in and hoped that this year they can top the crowd that Wrestlemania 3 did.

–  He explained how the primary driving force for  him to return was so that his sons would be able to see him perform.  He explained how he did not tell his kids that he would be returning and his wife recorded a private video of his sons reaction, which was also off the charts.

– Don La Greca than asked if there was any real tension between he and Vince McMahon to which mentioned that at times there has been animosity between the two but said that it’s to be expected when you’re in any family business.

– Shane explained that kayfabe is still important to him and so he wanted to keep his return a surprise so he kept it very close to the vest.  He did explain how hard it is this day in age where security cameras can pick up your appearance and the next thing you know the story breaks everyone.  Rosenberg made a good point about how he loves the Rock but that every time he returns he puts a picture of himself on instagram arriving in the city so it gives it away.

– In regards to Wrestlemania, Shane mentioned that he’s currently doing 3 a days and really improving his cardio.  He explained that he’s currently working with two different personal trainers which he started originally training for surfing with his kids.  Shane then confirmed that he is working out with MMA trainer Phil Nurse (Trainer of GSP, Rashaad Evans and Frankie Edgar), and learning more mui tai kickboxing to improve his overall conditioning.

– In regards to his future in WWE and whether this is a one time deal, Shane said that, as of right now, he’s just focusing on Wrestlemania and will see where the future takes him after.  He said that he’s excited to have a match with The Undertaker because they’ve been good friends for 25 years and used to travel together.  He said that he’s ready to give it his all and be in the best shape of his life so that the fans will get the match they expect and knows that the Undertaker will do the same

Overall, I felt that Shane came across really well on the show.  He also spoke a bit about his love of the Yankees and how he expects them to do pretty well with the best bulpen in the game.  It was surreal to see Shane on an ESPN radio show and seeing this getting the attention that it does deserve.  It was cool to see the footage replayed of Shane’s comeback on the yes network and the footage of Shane training hard.  Overall a good piece for a Friday evening.

As for Shane, he is now on twitter @ShaneMcMahon.  I’ll have a lot more about my thoughts on Shane and how I felt about his big return this past week over the weekend.

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 the NXT Takeover: Respect Triple H Media Conference Call 10/6/2015

Tonight NXT Takeover: Resepct will air live from Orlando, Florida on the WWE Network at 9pm with a lineup as follows, WWE NXT Women’s champion Bayley vs. Sasha Banks: 30 Minute Ironman Match.Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Semi-Finals: NXT champion Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder and Baron Corbin & Rhino vs. Chad Gable & Jeremy Jordan. The Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Finals will also take place live tonight with Cody & Dustin Rhodes to presenting trophy to winners, Asuka will make her in-ring debut vs. Dana Brooke and Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews.  Yesterday afternoon, as he always does before each NXT special, Paul Levesque (Triple H) met with members of the media on a conference call.  Here were some of the highlights from that call…
Highlights:
 
The Continued Expansion Of NXT:  One of the main things to come out of the conference call was the continued success of NXT as it’s own entity.  Levesque mentioned how NXT recently took part in the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville this past weekend.  I for one think this is a great idea as few things go hand in hand more than Rock & Wrestling.  I remember going to Ozzfest back in 2002 and meeting WWE superstars and divas throughout the day and the same with Warped Tour a few years after that.  With the killer lineup at Louder Than Life mixed with NXT, I considered heading down to Kentucky for the first time in my life this past weekend.  Levesque continued that NXT continues to have success with the sales of all of their dates in London, which includes the next Takeover special after tonight’s by the way.  He then also touched on the new docuseries coming to the WWE Network entitled NXT: Breaking Ground which will be debuting on the Network on October 26th and that the series is going to be similar to the NXT 24 special that aired this past Monday night (I was taken over with birthday craziness yesterday so I haven’t been able to catch that just yet but I heard it was great and I should have a piece up on that tomorrow).  Lastly in regards to Breaking Ground, Levesque mentioned that they were constantly filming material for that show while NXT tours, so that’s something to really look forward to. In the end, I liked that Levesque was also honest in saying that sometimes he’s had to pull back a little on some opportunities awarded to NXT in order not to burn out the talent and production team and keep everyone honest.
The Relationship between NXT and Evolve: There has been ongoing rumors that there was a working relationship between NXT and Evolve Wrestling, in particular the head of Evolve (and former Ring of Honor booker) Gabe Sapoloski.  While Levesque denied reports that Sapolsky had been brought in as a member of the writing team for NXT, he did mention that he has a lot of respect for Sapolsky and how he does view Evolve as sort of a feeder system for NXT.  Levesque continued by saying that he felt that the wrestling business needs smaller independent federations like Evolve and put over the job that everyone does down there.  He explained that if there were a talent that he felt needed to work on something or if there just wasn’t a spot for them currently in NXT, he wouldn’t hesitate to send them down to Evolve for extra training and he would like to support Evolve in any way that he can.  I can tell you from experience, and I’ve been going to there shows since 2010 when Daniel Bryan went down there between his WWE runs, Evolve puts on some great shows.
Vince Mcmahon’s Role in NXT: One of the more interesting tidbits to come out of the call was when Levesque confirmed that he, not Vince McMahon, has the final say over the booking decisions in NXT.  He explained that Vince did attend the NXT show at the Barclay’s Center but made sure that he didn’t step on any toes and simply watched the show from the gorilla position as a fan.  He explained that Vince fully supports NXT and while he wouldn’t be at the Takeover show tonight, couldn’t wait for the Ironman match this evening.
Closing Thoughts:
 
Overall I thought this was a great listen as all of these calls are.  I personally would have liked someone to ask Levesque about the status of the different Takeover specials as to whether they are now at a point where we can expect them bi-monthly or if we’re going to even get to a point where there specials will be monthly.  
That said, the call breezes right by in just over 40 minutes and includes a lot more than listed above.  If you’d like to listen to the call Prowrestling.net has (as usual and thanks to Jason Powell for it) posted the call online for free on their podcasts page right here 
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet/2015/10/06/1006-prowrestlingnet-podcast–triple-h-talks-with-the-pro-wrestling-media.  Other topics covered during the call is the importance of the Bayley-Sasha main event tonight, why the match is called an ironman match and not an ironwoman match (and who made that clarification), a funny story about Finn Balor posing in front of TNA offices and so much more.  We’ll have coverage on the NXT special at some point tomorrow but until then, take care.  
 

The Spotlight On The Taz Show: Bodyslams & Beyond 

  Tomorrow is a big day for wrestling podcast listeners around the world with the debut of The TAZ Show on CBS Radio’s Play.It. The show will be the first podcast hosted by a former pro wrestler to air five days a week at 10AM EST. What’s really cool about the show is that it’s also going to air live from 7-9AM and will feature live call ins. 

I’m really excited for this show as I’ve always thought it would really cool to have a morning show focusing on all things wrestling. I also think that Taz is the perfect guy for the job.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again when Taz first launched his podcast I had a bit of hesitation. There are so many wrestling podcasts out there and already a good amount hosted by wrestlers that I thought this one, honestly, would get lost in the shuffle. That said, I decided to try out Taz’s Human Poscast Machine and I couldn’t  have been more happy to be so wrong. First off, Taz is histerical and the banter between he and producer, Seth, is off the charts funny. But the thing about Taz that can’t go unmentioned is that he is both knowledgeable and reputable. When Taz has an opinion you listen because he’s made so many sacrifices in the pro wrestling business, including breaking his neck, and Taz is also so honest. It’s obvious that Taz has respect for everyone in the wrestling business but also doesn’t hold back how he feels in fear of offending a wrestler or company.  

Thus, im really excited for Taz’s new daily show and not only for the wrestling talk but also for the “Beyond” portion of the show. Taz is very knowledgeable in the world of sports & has numerous other interests so it’ll be great to hear him talk about those as well. Taz has also promised that both Jim Ross & Mike Tenay will have weekly spots on his show, which is great. Taz and Tenay have done some really good countdown episodes on a number of wrestling topics so I’m interested to see if he’ll incorporate that. Taz also said that the show will be streamed via video as well, which is unique, but that won’t start right at first. The best part of Taz’ new show is that it’ll be available on demand at 10 AM every day. This way you can listen to Taz’s show anytime in its entirety and it’ll be there when you need it. The biggest problem with wrestling podcasts, for me, is that they generally aren’t the most consistent as to when they’re posted. This is different, it’s Internet radio by CBS so you know they’re good for what they’re advertising. 

Well that’s going to do it for me but make sure you check out the Taz show airing Monday-Friday from 7AM-9AM and available on demand each day at 10AM. If you do check it out, Id love to hear what you thought. 

The Spotlight On WWE Tough Enough Episode 8

 Last night the final five of WWE Tough Enough were revealed when Giorgia Priscina (GiGi) was sent home by receiving the lowest amount of votes from the WWE Universe. From the beginning, I would say that Gigi had to be considered one of the favorites to win the show. Gigi won many of the different physical competitions and also showed a good amount of personality and character development. That said, she also began showing signs, over the past few weeks, of being overly arrogant. As seen in past weeks with Patrick and Gabi, it’s obvious that the WWE Universe is turned off by arrogance. In the end, the Universe gets the final say here and they chose to save Sara and Tanner over Gigi. I believe that Gigi was someone who really wanted this and if she works hard can make it to WWE someday as it was obvious that the judges and trainers liked her. With that out of the way, let’s get into some of the highlights from the show.


Highlights

1) Y2J Baybay!!!!!- Chris Jericho is one of the biggest stars in the history of WWE and so when I heard he was going to be the host of this season’s Tough Enough, I felt he was a natural fit. Honestly, I feel he’s done well in his role but I felt that he could offer so much more to the show. Well, that really happened this episode as Chris Jericho was awesome last night.  Right from the start of the show when Jericho greeted the contestants with pizza and alcohol as a reward for making it this far Jericho was just on fire. I loved when Jericho challenged the contestants to a drinking contest and drank the 20 something year old contestants under the table only to then show up looking chipper to wake up the hungover Tanner the next morning.  From here, Jericho was great in actually getting in the ring with the contestants to show them how to put together a match. Chris has one of the best minds in the business and I feel that if he wasn’t so busy with his in ring career, his podcast, Fozzy and all of his other endeavors, he’d make one helluva trainer. I was glad to see Jericho prominently featured and I hope it continues the rest of the series, he’s such a valuable asset.
 2) Big Match John Is Back-  From a WWE perspective, the biggest news to come out of Tough Enough is that John Cena returned to WWE television for the first time since his injury.  Cena , honestly looked pretty good as he delivered a passionate speech to the Tough Enough contestants. He actually made a great point in saying how we’re able to see each contestant from the beginning of their careers all the way through. Then the big news was revealed when John Cena confirmed that he will be back for Summerslam. The title vs. title match between Seth Rollins and John Cena is a go! I was surprised how many people across the internet were actually questioning whether or not Cena would be able to return.  Let’s not forget that this is the guy who made it back from a broken collar bone in a few months back in 2008 so that he’d make it back for the road to Wrestlemania.  John Cena is truly as tough as they come.

3) And Then There Were Two-With GiGi being voted off of the show tonight, this now means that the finals of Tough Enough for the females is down to Sara Lee and Amanda. One of those two women are going to win the $250,000 contract to be the next WWE diva. I expect that this means that one of the 3 male contestants, ZZ, Joshua or Tanner will be going home next week to set up the finale. While it hasn’t been 100% confirmed that the final vote will be determined by the fans, I would assume it would be since every other vote has been. If that is the case, I think that Sara Lee will win that fan vote in a landslide. Sara has been the one female contestant to realize that in order to do well in this competition you really need to be likable to the fans, Amanda hasn’t done that at all.

Closing Thoughts

In closing, I again enjoyed this week’s Tough Enough. I’ve felt that the show has really picked up steam over the past few weeks (It may honestly have to do with the addition of the Miz as a judge). Next week will be really interesting as it will likely be one of the male contestants going home and I feel each one of the remaining three contestants have their strengths. The wildcard in everything is that Daniel Bryan still has a save, he looked so tempted to use it tonight but he has been able to keep it until the end. It’ll be interesting to see if that save will dictate the result next week.

Well that’s going to do it for me for now but I’ll have a spotlight up later today on this week’s newsworthy Total Divas. Until then, who’s your picks for the final five contestants left on Tough Enough?

All Photos Courtesy of WWE and The USA Network