Wrestlemania 29: IT’S IN JERSEY THIS TIME!!!

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Vince McMahon’s goal in bringing Wrestlemania to MetLife Stadium was to beat the NFL to the punch by a year. In 2014 The Super Bowl will be taking place at MetLife Stadium, though it’s still referred to by most people in the Tri-State area as GIANTS STADIUM. Tomorrow, Vince and his crew of superstars will join Governor Chris Christie in East Rutherford NJ for the official announcement that WWE’s grandest event will emanate from MetLife Stadium on April 7th, 2013.

Rumors about this have been surging the past couple of months, so this wasn’t a surprise. To say I can’t contain my excitement is an understatement. Pro Wrestling sites, Twitter, and even real live actual people are buzzing about this. Considering that the New York Giants just won the Super Bowl, that makes this announcement even more monumental. There’s no telling how the G-Men will do next year, but either way, WWE chose the right venue.

But wait! The infant MetLife Stadium has no roof! As you may know, the weather in Jersey is whacked out. The first week of April will either be freaky freezies weather, torrential downpours, or swamp-ass city 90 degree heat. We rarely enjoy a happy medium as far as weather goes. I’m not complaining, WWE obviously has a plan for inclement weather. Either way, it’s revenue and publicity for New Jersey and that’s positive.

Now if we can get WWE to stop saying Wrestlemania is coming to New York/New Jersey. If WWE was holding Wrestlemania in Madison Square Garden, that would be New York. Of course it’s still too early to tell, but the fact that Wrestlemania 30 won’t be held in MSG boggles my mind. Since the major turn to stadiums for Wrestlemania, it would seem more appropriate to have the 30th Wrestlemania at MetLife Stadium rather than the 29th, but who knows, I’m sure they have a secret master plan.

This could very well be a once in a lifetime opportunity. As a hardcore WWF/E fan since 1984, I never thought there would be a Wrestlemania held so close to where I live. Now that there finally will be, it may not happen again for a very long time so I’m definitely going to do everything in my power to be a part of it. I have the memory burned into my brain of watching Hulk vs. Andre at the Pontiac Silverdome live on pay per view with my friends and fast forward 25 years later and now it’s blowing my mind that I might be in the audience of an event of a similar scale just mere miles away from home. It’s all come full circle for me. Now if only we can assure that Steve Austin returns for one last match against C.M Punk!

Bam Bam vs. Bundy: The Battle For New Jersey!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyjgEJNePLA?rel=0]

It doesn’t get more JERSEY than this classic WWF match-up! Asbury Park vs. Atlantic City! The Beast from the East vs. The Walking Condominium! Listen for Jesse “The Body” Ventura on commentary talking about how both of these guys hail from New Jersey early on in the match. It’s amazing that The Garden State is responsible for two of the most popular big men the business has ever seen. I remember watching this on TV when I was a kid and thinking it should’ve been on a Pay Per View. Even then I was a critic! I remember being excited for Bam Bam stealing the win even though it might have been the fastest count ever. Thanks to YouTube user VinceThePinch for posting the match!

Classic WWF/WWE Event Cards From New Jersey #9: Hell in a Cell

Hell in a Cell 2009 - New Jersey

A sub par, 2 year old pay per view event is by no means a classic, but that’s the name of the column so I’ll work within it’s confines. On the night of October 4th, 2009, WWE wrestlers also worked within confines, but not of a blog column, instead they were closed inside of a 20 foot high steel cell. It all went down at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. It was the first Hell in a Cell Pay Per View event and also the first WWE PPV to emanate from the home arena of the New Jersey Devils.

Tickets were pricey considering that the card didn’t excite me at all. Regardless, I knew I wanted to be part of the historic event. I questioned what the hell the company was doing when they announced DX vs. “The Legacy” Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase as one of 2 main events of the night. There was no way that should’ve been the last match. Of course, DX won so it was a good ending to the show, but at least have a title match as the main event. 
What’s worse is that the Cena vs. Orton matchup happened AGAIN, since that was during the time that they wrestled on every WWE TV show, every Pay Per View, and just shoved those two guys down our throats for a freakin’ year. Orton won the title from Cena, which was a crowd pleaser, but what should’ve been the last match was actually the first match of the night. In a bizarre move that I’m sure a wrestling insider could provide me with the reasoning behind it, The Undertaker took on C.M Punk for his world heavyweight championship in the opening match. I was so pissed when I realized this match was actually happening first.
I was following this feud on Smackdown like crazy and it was one of the best story lines they had going in a long time. Punk was in top form during his promos and there was an old school Undertaker promo quality to it also. When I heard Punk’s music hit I was hoping he was just coming out to draw some heat and boy was I wrong! Since Undertaker was on the poster for the event and the fact that he’s one of the superstars fans think of when they think of Hell in a Cell, this match should’ve been last. Taker won the World Heavyweight Championship – a big win that should have properly capped off an event called HELL IN A CELL and paid respect to the phenom!
Morrison retained the Intercontinental title against Dolph Ziggler. It’s a shame that 2 years later these guys are still languishing. They are not excelling to the levels they should be, whereas a guy like Sheamus is already one of the biggest stars in the industry in a shorter amount of time. Mickie James retained her Divas championship against Alicia Fox in an abysmal, sleep inducing match. Jeri-Show beat Batista and Rey Mysterio to keep their unified tag team titles. Drew McIntyre beat R-Truth, and Kofi Kingston defeated The Miz and Jack Swagger in a triple threat match for the U.S Championship. Overall, the DVD of Hell in a Cell is a little flat, and the commentary was unenthusiastic, but offers superbly produced recaps of the events leading up to each match as WWE always does. It was a disappointing event, but hey…at least I got this cool chair that collects dust in my kitchen!

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Classic WWF/WWE Event Cards From New Jersey #8

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Damn, the WWE just doesn’t put on shows like they used to. Take note that Summerslam 1989 featured NINE matches on the card which included basically all their big stars. Of course, this wasn’t as much of a spectacle as Wrestlemania was back then, but still a lot of bang for your buck. Tomorrow, Summerlam 2011 will feature a mere 5 matches. And I don’t want to hear about how much better the wrestling quality is now, because at the end of the show, all that matters is how much was I entertained. I could care less if Daniel Bryan pulled off a near perfect surfboard maneuver. Hell yeah I want to see action, but moreover, I want to see controversy. I want Summerslam 2011 to be so damn good that it will make me want to call up my friends and actually converse with them over the phone – something I try my damnedest never to do. I’m hoping CM Punk pushes the boundaries even further this time.

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As a kid I remember being so surprised that Wrestlemania 4 was going to be live from Atlantic City New Jersey. The following year, Wrestlemania returned to A.C! You could imagine how much more shocked and pumped up I was to hear the announcement that Summerslam ’89 would be emanating live from The Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, NJ. That was back in the days when it was actually called The Meadowlands. Selling the name of an arena to make millions of extra dollars in revenue is obviously a smart way to monetize an establishment but The Meadowlands Arena is what it still is to many of us in Jersey, not Izod Center. Shit, I’d prefer Brendan Byrne Arena, after all, that’s the guy who had his name plastered on the arena for the majority of my childhood.

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I worshipped Coliseum Video as a kid. 
Their P.O Box was in Fairfield NJ!

Regardless of what the former home of the New Jersey Devils is now called, back then, having Summerslam take place live merely 20 miles away from me was a real kick. Seeing Hogan and Beefcake tag up was awesome, but actually, Summerslam 89 was just OK. Even back then when I was a kid who loved every bit of it, I didn’t think 89’s Summerslam surpassed the original previous year’s edition fittingly held at MSG. Although, lots of these young punk “smarks” as they are referred to, think Summerslam ’88 sucked. Well, this old school wrestling fan says they don’t know shit. And yes, I’m drawing the heat. See you at Summerslam?

Mourning The Macho Man Randy Savage: My Macho Memories

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Sexy Armpit & Miss Sexy Armpit (top) Macho Man (bottom)

I’M IN MACHO MISERY RIGHT NOW. The news of the passing of Macho Man Randy Savage has wrestling fans and the entire world buzzing right now. Savage was not only an icon of sports entertainment but a fixture in popular culture for many years. Describing Savage as a hero of mine is an understatement. I’m sure there will be an outpouring of tweets, blog posts, and YouTube tributes, and rightfully so, but this post will serve as a collection of my own Macho Memories.

Many of my Macho Man memories involve Miss Elizabeth. She was such a huge part of his mystique after he hired her as his manager. It was a controversial move to hire a sexy female valet who many thought had no mastery of the wrestling business. As we all know, they were a match made in heaven and hopefully they’ve met up so Savage could hoist her up on his shoulders once again for old time sake.

I had been into wrestling for about 2 years at that point. During that period in the WWF I remember everyone buzzing about Macho Man and Elizabeth. They were a hot topic and the couple grabbed the attention of everyone, not only wrestling fans. When the Miss Elizabeth LJN action figure first came out I remember wanting it so bad. I waited and waited and finally I got a special opportunity from my parents on Christmas Eve that year. They let my sister and I open each others gifts. After ripping open the paper I was so excited to see that my sister got me the Miss Elizabeth figure! Now Macho Man would walk the aisle with some arm candy.

Some people look back fondly on the greatest moments of their life. Some cite winning a high school football championship, getting married, or winning a huge sum in the lottery as random memorable life moments. Believe it or not, some of the greatest moments of my life involve WWF and Macho Man Randy Savage. His heel win to become I-C Champ, Savages feud with George the Animal Steele who was in love with Elizabeth, Savage vs. Steamboat at Wrestlemania 3, all the events that lead to the formation of The Mega Powers, The Wrestlemania 4 tournament which concluded with Savage winning his first WWF World Championship and sharing the greatest moment of all time in the WWF with Miss Elizabeth and The Hulkster in Atlantic City NJ. Then the Mega Powers exploded in the same venue at the next Wrestlemania. Years later he was in memorable feuds with Jake The Snake and Undertaker, Flair, and Ultimate Warrior.

savage WWF magazines

Life was so simple back then. Who cares if I sound old! On sunny and hot summer days I would walk down the local Rite Aid or ask my Dad to bring me to Quick Check and scan the magazine racks for the official WWF Magazine. A couple in particular made me literally explode with excitement. My sister dropped by while I was at a neighbors house to bring me the July 1988 issue with Savage on the cover. I nearly went into convulsions. I don’t think kids get this excited anymore over a magazine, but it made my month back then. I’d worship the pages and read the same articles over and over. It sounds incredible, but I can remember the exact moment I got most of them. I still have those magazines too.

Growing up, my best friend Frank and I were immensely influenced by Macho Man. It was easy for two best friends to call themselves The Mega Powers, but it was another to start filming themselves wrestle at a time when taping yourself wrestling wasn’t en vogue at all. At least in my neck of New Jersey, taping backyard wrestling matches wasn’t something that people we knew ever did. Leave it to us to spend our Friday and Saturday nights recording promos and matches while our friends went and “socialized” with each other. In our first match ever, we chose to explode the Mega Powers yet again just for the hell of it.

I know a lot of people claim that their parents are the greatest, but My Dad is seriously in the Dad Hall of Fame. He’s always been a fan of WWF right along with me. The fact that he interacted in my little obsession with me meant more than anyone could ever imagine. Through the big wrestling boom in the ’80s and then through the times when WWF fans got made fun of for still liking it well after it’s popularity surge was over – it was so cool to be able to share those moments with him. Of course he used to watch Saturday Night’s Main Event with me and bring me upstairs after I fell asleep on the couch, but there was one time in particular years later that will always stick out in my mind.

After Monday Night Raw premiered in 1993 I made it a big TV event. It was the highlight of my week. I set up my TV chair and grabbed my drink and snacks. Occasionally my Dad would watch with me, but other times if he was busy he would tell me to let him know if something good happens and he’ll come watch. That’s the kind of thing that meant a lot to me. I didn’t toss the baseball around much, I didn’t have much interest in sports or fixing cars, my world was all about WWF. He was a big fan of Macho Man and Razor Ramon at that time.

savage crush

In 1994, prior to Wrestlemania 10, Randy Savage and Crush began a feud that was pretty hardcore in WWF at that time. My father and I were shocked as we witnessed Crush turn on Savage. Crush pressed Savage up over his head and dropped him onto the steel barricade, lacerating his tongue. We were both in awe of how this played out in a very realistic way. Since that was just before the computer era really took off, there were no spoilers or dirt sheets to ruin the storylines, so it was a vivid and surprising night on Raw. The feud culminated at Wrestlemania 10 in a falls count anywhere match, just over the river at Madison Square Garden in NYC. It was Savage’s last appearance at a Wrestlemania.

armpit and jane

In recent times, Savage has kept a low profile but I’ve kept his spirit alive as much as I could. I’ve dressed up as Macho Man twice in the last couple of years. The first time was for a Halloween Costume Party at Asbury Lanes and my girlfriend dressed up as Miss Elizabeth. You can read more about that in this post. The next time I went with the classic lavender Macho Man T-Shirt and matching bandanna for my friend Jane’s surprise ’80s style birthday party. Each time it was a big hit and everyone was complimenting me on how good I pulled off the look. I even won runner up in the costume contest at Asbury Lanes.

I will miss you so much Macho Man, you were larger than life to me and no one will ever come close to having your unique blend of electric charisma and ring skills of a king. I hope the Fink announced you into heaven with Pomp and Circumstance echoing throughout the universe. “We’re gonna climb that mountain together and we are together forever Oooooh Yeah!” Elizabeth…DOWN THAT AISLE!

Legends of the Ring 12

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The Northeast’s largest Pro Wrestling Convention will take place tomorrow at The Crowne Plaza in Monroe, NJ. This is an excellent chance to get autographs and pictures with your favorite wrestlers past and present all in one shot! Appearing at LOTR will be Dusty Rhodes, Sunny, MVP, Tugboat, Road Warrior Animal, Chyna, Kurt Angle, Dawn Marie, Angelina Love, Vader, Ken Shamrock, Raven, Ron Simmons, Balls Mahoney and so many more. Check out their website for more details: www.legendsofthering.com

Saturday 9AM – 3PM
Exit 8a off the NJ Turnpike

Arcades In The ’80s – We Went OUT To Play Video Games!

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 Chuck E. Cheese’s in New Jersey – 1984 (Photo from Sulaco99)
I found Sulaco99‘s photo in the Flickr Pool: Growing Up In Arcades 1979-1989

It’s impossible not to sound super old when talking about arcades. Kids nowadays get a big laugh out of the fact that we used to actually go out to an arcade to play video games. Even though most of us eventually had an Atari home system growing up, we still blew our pocket full of quarters in the ominous looking Star Wars Arcade game at the local Space Port in the mall – at least I know I did! The ultra high tech, home based and portable video games of today are no longer the multi-faceted sensory ritual they used to be in the ’80s.

Even though video games have evolved so much from a technical aspect, they are no longer the full blown experience they once were. Sure, new games can immerse us into the creepily realistic world of a first person shooter on X-Box or PS3, with 3-D graphics that will make us question whether we’re in our living room or some chemical plant fighting bad guys, but it’s not the same. Nothing can compare to the feeling I used to get before hopping into the Space Harrier arcade game at RazMaTazz in Sayreville, NJ!

In the arcade, so much care was put into designing the game cabinets that housed the screen, joystick, and buttons. If the artwork on the side panels wasn’t elaborate and eye catching enough, we might’ve passed right by it. You don’t have to slip quarters into your home console or your tiny portable, you don’t even have to go to a store to purchase a game anymore! At this point in time we can beam a game directly to our home console in literally under a minute.

The communal aspect of physically being in the same dark room and hearing the same fusion of sound effects from various games around the room with button tapping and click clacking as the back beat, and even gaining an occasional crowd to root you on has evolved into a primarily home based adventure. This transition is much like the way Netflix and Redbox have made some of us opt to stay home rather than go to the movies.

There’s plenty of gamers much older than me who have moved with the ever changing technology. Personally, I’ve never played a game against someone online and I don’t think I ever will. I don’t want to wear a headset while playing, nor do I care to hear people talking video game trash in my ear. If they were physically beside me in a black lit room, eyes transfixed on the action on the glowing screen, playing a finger numbingly competitive game of WWF WRESTLEFEST, I would welcome the trash talkin’. I think my days of video gaming are tucked away with my memories of my beloved Sega Master System.

Santino Saturday Night!

santino saturday
From The WWE Fall Preview 2007: “From Paterson, NJ”

“Wrestlemahnia” as Santino Marella pronounces it, is upon us! Whether you’re a wrestling fan or not, it’s the Super Bowl of sports entertainment. That isn’t some cliched pop culture analogy either, it’s true. No matter how many cringe worthy moments there usually are at Wrestlemania, I still get excited for the event after all these years. And I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Snooki from Jersey Shore will attempt to channel her fiery cat fighting skills as well as her horrific fake tan to help John Morrison and Trish Stratus subdue Dolph Ziggler and Lay-Cool at Wrestlemania 27.

In honor of the funniest man in WWE, Santino Marella, I’ve dubbed tonight Santino Saturday Night. I’m sure you can guess what tomorrow morning is! Why would I dedicate an entire post to The Tortellini of Temptation? Aside from constantly making me laugh, when Santino was first introduced in WWE he hailed from Paterson New Jersey, which is spelled with one T contrary to it’s spelling in the picture above. Nowadays, he’s announced as being from Calabria, Italy, but he was actually born in Canada. No matter what, I still fondly recall the days that the WWE writers got a kick out of claiming he was from New Jersey. Tomorrow, Santino will team up with his partner Vladimir Kozlov, The Big Show, and Kane to take on I-C Champ Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, and Justin Gabriel.

Birthday Nostalgia

Dukes of Hazzard Cake 1

“DUKES!” was my answer to everything for a long time when I was a kid. I was talking about Dukes of Hazzard, a show that I was obsessed with as were many other boys my age. My mom would ask me what I was going to ask Santa to bring me for Christmas and I’d reply “DUKES!” super loud. “Yes, but what Dukes thing do you want, Jay?” “A DUKES CAR!” I said to her, strangely in a thick New York type accent. When I was a little kid I had a hard time pronouncing my R’s which lead people to scratch their head when I said words like SMAWF and BAWN which actually meant SMURF and BURN. This is an issue you’ll hear many kids struggle with but usually grow out of. Occasionally that problem comes back when pronouncing the word BREWERY. To me that is the hardest word to say. I don’t remember having issues with the word BIRTHDAY, and what do you know, today is mine!

Dukes of Hazzard Cake 2

In this post you are looking at a few photos from a couple of birthdays from when I was a kid. The first one is circa 1982 where you can check out the awesome Dukes of Hazzard cake that was made for me. Back then the world wasn’t as obsessed with the insanely intricate gourmet cake decorating that we are today. Now we have Cake Boss and other shows like it and there’s no cake that can’t be created! Back then this cake was pretty f’n awesome. Through the years I’ve had a bunch of awesome cakes made for me such as Batman cakes,  and a Sexy Armpit cake made by my awesome girlfriend.

Sexy Armpit Cake
Jay Getting Bobby Heenan Figure

The above photo was several years later after my I was a full blown WWF addict for a long time. You can see how excited I was to receive the Bobby Heenan action figure. I was so anxious to amass the Heenan Family and without it’s manager they were nothing so I was pumped. Anytime I got a WWF action figure I remember yelling so loud as if it was Silver Banshee’s sonic scream. I still get excited about things but I tend to be more reserved. Nowadays I don’t think I would shriek like that unless I won $47 million dollars. So, times have changed in some respects, but many aspects of my birthday remain exactly the same. For instance, this year I already bought myself a few hot wheels cars (not a General Lee), a couple of action figures, and my birthday weekend will include a TNA Wrestling show in Rahway NJ!