Thanksgiving, Spotlight Videos & More- The Daily Spotlight for 11/30/2015

Hello everyone and happy Monday! Ok ok we all know that today is much more of a slow and plodding Monday following an extended weekend but alas we’re all here so let’s make the most of it and get into some updates for the day.

Thanksgiving:  I really hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  My family and I went down to the Milleridge Inn in long island, New York.  The Milleridge Inn is always a great time as there’s something about taking the classic photos outside of the inn and checking out the stores that remind me so much of Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season.  I also went down to the Macy’s Day Parade for the first time ever on Thanksgiving.  The folks down at the parade were more than accommodating in letting us know the best areas to view the parade and tips for getting up close to get the best content possible. I’m working on a video and piece about the parade that should be up tomorrow.

Black Friday: I used to be the guy that used to gather up a group of family and friends and really get into Black Friday.  If doors opened at 4 am, my friends and I would meet up and head straight to Best Buy and wait on line to get in there and would often continue shopping until 12 noon or so where we would make our way to the food court at Roosevelt Field Mall, have lunch and then head back home for some much needed shuteye.  Black Friday 2009 is probably one of my fondest memories because it was my reintroduction to coffee.  My original introduction to coffee occured back in 2004 when I was dating a girl who would drink cups and cups of coffee a day and it was strong Serbian coffee, no milk and no sugar.  Well from that moment on I convinced myself that I hated coffee and so I drank tons of mountain dew every day in order to get that jolt of energy.  It was completely ridiculous and very unhealthy.  Well that night in 2009, at the Milleridge Inn my father fixed me up a cup of coffee with milk and sugar and convinced me to try it.  I tried it and loved it back!  Nowadays Black Friday doesn’t have the same appeal to me.  I still went this year and got some good deals but my girlfriend and I didn’t get started until around 1 pm.  I think what killed it for me was the idea that Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving.  As much as I love a good deal, I value my time with my loved ones a little more.  By starting Black Friday at 4pm Thanskgiving Day, it just kills the holiday for me and isn’t worth it.  Today is finally the end of the bargain shopping with Cyber Monday.  I will say that hands down the best site I’ve seen today has to be Abercrombie which has a 50% off sitewide sale.  While Abercrombie isn’t really my cup of tea, kudos to them for really going above and beyond.  Target also deserves a kudos for their 15% sitewide sale although everything I noticed being good seemed to already be sold out and their site traffic is at a premium.  Of course, my favorite Cyber Monday site is Amazon who continue to lure me with their lightning deals throughout the week.

Site Updates:  I got some great feedback on the first video we launched on the official daily spotlight YouTube channel on Thanksgiving Day.  That video, for those who’ve asked was shot during my annual tradition on Thanksgiving Eve in which a few out of town buddies and I gather at Aunt Bellas Restaurant. It’s always a great time and as you can see at the end of the video, everyone really got into it.  If you haven’t done so you can check out our first video right here! The plan with these videos is to roll them out 3 times a week to start on Tuesdays, Thursdays and at some point over the weekend.  There will be a definitive focus on Travel type videos that I’ve shot over the last three years.  The plan for this week’s videos is to roll out my video on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Tuesday, a video on the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting (which I will be attending live on Wednesday night) on Thursday and then a video on Dubai’s historic Burj Khalifa this weekend.

We’ve also gotten a ton of great feedback on a few posts we did last week on the Lapsed Fan Wrestling Podcast’s new Starrcade journey and on a look at the WWE’s 2002 appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  It’s been a lot of fun interacting with a number of wrestling fans and wrestling legends over on twitter @tommyonthespot or @daily_spotlight.  I have plenty of fun posts on the way this week including a sports update that I’m finishing up right now looking at one of the crazier weekends in all of sports this past weekend and a movie review on The Night Before, which I thought was fantastic.  Until then I appreciate all of your support and hope you all have a kick ass week.


The Spotlight On WWE on Thanksgiving

OK so most of you know by now that WWE used to hold their annual Survivor Series on Thanksgiving Day.  But did you know that the WWE Superstars and Divas once took part in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City?  In 2002 a whole host of WWE Superstars, Divas and announcers took part in the Macy’s Day Parade complete with a state of the art mini ring float (that featured a commentator table, ladder and ring).  Aboard the float for WWE was Vince McMahon, Triple H, The Hurricane Shane Helms, Sergeant Slaughter, Victoria, The Coach, Lillian Garcia and of course JR and The King.  The video is worth a watch if for no other reason than to hear Al Roker’s bad butcher job on Jerry Lawler’s name.  I remember, as a fan, thinking this was the coolest thing ever.  For year’s the Macy’s Day Parade would promote “The Big Red Machine” appearing later in the show and I would hope it would be Kane, of course it was Santa.  Well, in 2002 it was cool to see some representation from a few of my favorites, especially the Hurricane, who was my guy!

Even though this was the only appearance, I can remember, from WWE at the Macy’s Day Parade, there were two appearances at the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade by former WWE Superstar CM Punk.  In 2008, Punk made his first appearance for the parade while one half of the WWE tag team champions.  It’s a cool appearance for Punk, who joked that the CM in CM Punk actually stood for Cookie Monster!

34 Seconds In For Punk

In 2012, while in the midst of his historic 400+ day run as WWE world heavyweight champion, Punk would return to the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade, this time as the grand marshall!

With WWE having such a big presence on NBC Universal, it’s surprising that WWE hasn’t returned to the Macy’s Day Parade.  I know I can’t be the only one who would get a kick out of it.

The Spotlight NFL Week 12 Thanksgiving Picks Against The Spread 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! As promised on Thanksgiving Day we were going to launch the next phase of our website…the video portion! The spotlight videos are going to debut on our official YouTube channel and  then within the next couple of hours you’ll be able to watch those videos right here on! The videos are going to consist of a good portion of travel videos that I’ve built up over the past 2 years or so. However, I’m also going to be filming videos dedicated to my weekly NFL picks. The plan is to film my picks at a different location every time, so without any further ado lets get into them.

This week I’m going to start with a video breaking down the three games that will be played today, on Thanksgiving! Now yes we’re 60-24 this season and have simply been tearing it up but use a little caution here. This is a tough slate of games here, so tough that I likely would have passed on the three games if they were a part of Sunday. I feel much better about my Sunday games by the way and I’m excited to get into those games later this weekend. If you’re unaware of the schedule today the (3-7) Detroit Lions will host the (4-6) Philadelphia Eagles at 12:30 PM EST on Fox. From there the (3-7) Dallas Cowboys will welcome the (10-0) Carolina Panthers at 4:00 PM EST on CBS and then tonight the (7-3) Green Bay Packers play host to their bitter rival, the (4-6) Chicago Bears on Brett Favre day at 8:30 PM EST on NBC. I break down all three of the games in the 2 and a half minute video below. Check it out and I wish all of you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

The Spotlight on the Survivor Series Pt. 4- 2002

2002 has to be the most under rated year for WWE, you had the debuts of John Cena, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar, you had the in ring returns of Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels and you had one of the most impressive mid cards ever to take place in the WWE. 2002 was also a year in which I attended my first live WWE pay per view when a buddy and myself went to the SummerSlam 2002 at the Nassau Colliseum (which you can read my recap of in the August archives) I’d say it was the year that I also got really into live pay per views because to me there was nothing like a live pay per view. It was just such a great atmosphere. Thus, when I turned 16 that October I was pleasantly surprised when my parents got me two tickets to the 2002 Survivor Series! This would be my first pay per view ever to come live from Madison Square Garden and to say I was excited was the ultimate understatement. The only question left was who I would take with me to the show. I was heavily involved in my own basement wrestling federation (sad I know) at the time and I already had a blast at SummerSlam with my buddy jimmy but I was suddenly now torn over a few buddies who wanted to come with. After much deliberation, I asked my father to come with me. My father’s interest in wrestling had started to wane but he had taken me to my very first wrestling show at Madison Square Garden so I thought he’d be the perfect person to attend my first pay per view at the garden with.

What was also cool about that birthday was that I had also got an autograph ticket from my family to meet Shawn Michaels in Howard Beach at Video Game Central the night before the Survivor Series. This time my mom was coming with as Shawn was always her favorite wrestler. This was Shawn’s first title match since his return to WWE at summerslam of that year and, to me anyway, he was the focal point of that event. It was crazy to have Shawn at this autograph signing only 30 minutes from my house and was one of the truly starstruck moments of my life. I remember it was pouring rain and blistering cold out in the November New York weather. Despite this and despite my mother just getting out of surgery, my mother stayed on that line with me and my buddy for three hours to meet Shawn.  Ever the professional, I distinctly remember Shawn telling me after I wished him luck, “Thanks bud, many think I’m nuts to compete in such a big match and honestly I don’t know how many more of these I have in me.”  He went on to wrestle for another 7+ years.

As for the event itself, I remember that this was the first show I had attended at the Garden since 9/11 the year before and the security was insane.  I had to remove my hat, people were being asked randomly to remove their shoes and my dad was asked to remove his cell phone and flip it open (remember flip phones?) for some reason.  It took forever to file into the Garden that night, but once we finally did get in, it was sure worth it. The guys at Busted Open Radio (which airs 2-4pm Monday, Tuesday and Friday on Sirius/XM 92) actually did a live tweeting of this show last year and it reminded me of what a great show this was, despite the fact that there weren’t any traditional survivor series matches on the show.

From the beginning, the crowd was in an absolute frenzy as Jeff Hardy did one of his famous swanton bombs off the rafters through a table and then later in the same match the Dudleys reunited to great fanfare.

One of the other big things about this show was the debut of Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner who debuted for the company that night following the expiring of his contract from WCW (18 months after WCW closed it’s doors I might add).  I know that Scott’s WWE career as Big Poppa Pump didn’t really go anywhere but go back and watch this debut, he was over huge.  Surrounding that debut was also a lot of fun I remember going nuts because I was a huge Matt Hardy fan (always one of my favorites to this day) and I also loved the RNN News skits which featured Randy Orton promoting his return, he was so good even at 22 years old.

From here ya can’t talk about this show without talking about the Smackdown Six.  This was the peak of the smackdown six,to me, which featured Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, Edge, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero.  This, in my opinion was the peak of the WWE midcard in any era and it breaks my heart to think two of the six have tragically passed and 5 of the 6 have mostly retired at this point.

If there was one man in WWE in 2002 that defined the year, it’d perhaps be the same man who’s synonymous with WWE in 2015…Brock Lesnar.  I remember the Garden crowd being so into Brock and at the time he was the WWE champion and still undefeated.  This obviously was the night in which he lost due to Paul Heyman turning on Brock.  That turn stunned the crowd and I remember after Brock hit the F5 people started celebrating thinking it was over only to have Paul yank the referee. To this day, it still amazes me whenever Brock lifts the Big Show with such ease.

In the end, I remember being really excited for the Elimination Chamber as it was the first Chamber match in history on this show and look at the six men in the match.  A who’s who of hall of fame level talent in Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Kane, Booker T and RVD.  This was the match in which RVD landed a five star frog splash and crushed Triple H’s larynx.  I also remember, other than Shawn, Booker T may have been the most over man in the match.  My father and I had a great time doing the “5 Time!” routine in the crowd with our entire section.  In the end, Shawn Michaels (proving to me he was in fact playing me the night before, which I couldn’t be happier about) won what would end up being his final world title in WWE.  As the confetti rained down on Shawn it was probably the best live moment for me as a fan until I was live for Wrestlemania 30.

All in all just a great and enjoyable show from top to bottom that more than holds up today as so much happened on that show it’s unbelievable to even think.  The show for me is memorable as it was the last show I attended live with my dad who’s interest in the product had really fell off then so it was the end of a 16 year era but what a finale we had.  That’s gonna do it for my journey through Survivor Series 2002, next up we’ll time travel nine years in looking back at survivor series 2011.