If the wrestling news and rumor sites are accurate, it’s been reported that CM Punk is now officially a “former WWE Superstar.” I still have a slight amount of hope that it’s all part of storyline though. Whether Punk ever returns to the ring or not, he still deserves a vacation. His woman, WWE Diva AJ Lee, begged him to go to Wildwood this summer, and becoming a softy in his old age, Punk gave in. Ordinarily he wouldn’t be caught dead in Jersey, but the irony is that he WAS almost caught dead there. Watch the Sexy Armpit news brief above for all the details on this near fatal occurrence. Later in the news brief is a video montage of The Sexy Armpit and Dinosaur Dracula’s trip to the Wildwood boardwalk! Music by The Brigantines. See them live playing shows this summer! Listen to a Free track at their official site: www.thebrigantines.com
Upon his debut in 2013, NXT Superstar, “The Certified G” Enzo Amore, made a big impression on me not only because he exploits his Jerseyness, but also because he’s a natural showman. He’s so savvy on the mic that he sounds like he’s been in the business longer than a lot of the guys on the main WWE roster. After recovering from a broken leg, Amore returned to the NXT ring in late June 2014.
At first, it’s easy to think that he’s simply a caricature of an obnoxious jersey shore loudmouth, but Amore does it with a lot more style and pizzazz. His knack for comedy, gift of gab, and on-screen antics lead to many amusing bits with his friend and tag team partner Colin Cassady. Referring to themselves as the realest guys in the room, this duo makes me laugh and they’ve definitely won over the NXT crowd as well.
Amore a.k.a Eric Arndt, was born in Hackensack and attended Waldwick High School while Cassady hails from Queens, New York. These guys have known each other since high school and it translates to their presence on NXT. Their impact on the NXT universe has warranted their first official t-shirt which is a sure sign that Amore and Cassady have already scored a pretty decent degree of success in the wrestling business.
Although, one thing makes me scratch my head a bit about this tee. Since I do own this shirt, as a fan I’ll be wearing it and essentially calling myself SAWFT. That’s a derogatory term that Amore often calls his opponents. I’m going to stop questioning it and just be thankful that Amore and his shtick is making it in the business. Forget headed for the main roster, that’s a no-brainer, this guy could eventually become a WWE legend.
Straight from the WWE Shop Zone T-shirt description:
Dubbing himself “Jersey’s finest,” Enzo Amore reps the Garden State “like 225 on a barbell, 10 pounds of hair gel, steadily working on his swell.” The realest guy in the room everywhere he goes, Enzo Amore is a straight shooter. He speaks his mind at all times and at an incredible rate.
After floating around on the card aimlessly for a while with no true storyline, the multi talented WWE Superstar Damien Sandow is finally coming into his own, well not really his own.
Sandow has been getting over pretty big ever since he’s been impersonating other characters. He’s been showing up as everyone from X-Men villain Magneto to Davy Crockett. This week on Monday Night Raw was his biggest highlight yet as he showed up as Vince McMahon himself barreling down to ringside.
Tonight at the Prudential Center in Newark, during a live Smackdown taping, Sandow showed up as none other than New Jersey’s rock and roll icon, The Boss BRUCE Springsteen! Now I can’t wait to watch the broadcast this Friday on WWE Smackdown!
We thanked our good friend Kenny for the tip and photos on this since he was reporting live from Smackdown and he replied back just as Sandow would with a sarcastic…YOU’RE WELCOME!
Even if you’re not a wrestling fan, you might have heard about the WWE Network. It’s like Netflix for the WWE. After spending over a week with it, I can honestly say it’s one of the most awesome things ever. At the risk of sounding like a commercial, for only $9.99 a month, you get the option of watching any WWE, ECW, and WCW pay-per-view ever (including the latest monthly events) along with a ton of other programming. I’ve been glued to it every single day since it premiered on 2/24. This brings me to the t-shirt of the day which is perfect for fans of New Jersey and WWE.
If you are indeed a WWE fan, it’s a pretty damn cool time to be one. Monday nights have been pretty interesting as the company is building up for their biggest event of the year: Wrestlemania 30! Get ready to feel old: Monday Night Raw, the WWE’s live 3-hour show, has been airing for over 20 years (even more sick: I’ve been watching WWF/E for over 30 years!) You could imagine that being able to sit around and relive all these great memories has been quite amazing. The only thing better would be sitting around in an appropriate t-shirt.
Wrestling t-shirt gurus Barber Shop Window offer all kinds of funny and ironic wrestling tees that depict wrestlers and slogans spanning from the present to as far back as you can remember. It’s hard to log on to their site and not want to buy at least 5 or 6 shirts in one shot, but who has that kind of money besides The Million Dollar Man? I can help you make a decision though. If you look forward to watching live wrestling on Monday Nights, and you have pride in your state, go with their “Your State is RAW!” series of tees.
This t-shirt series will bring you back to wrestling’s territory days because they feature the shape of your state in the style of the WWE logo! Pictured above is the New Jersey version (obviously) and it will make you chant and scream in the loudest possible register, just like the fans at the Izod Center did the night after Wrestlemania 29!
These tees may soon become nostalgic in their own right. The front of the shirts use the same WWE “scratch logo” design which seems like it’s slowly being phased out in favor of the newer and much more sleek WWE logo that premiered with the Network. Don’t let that stop you from representing your pride in the business and your state at the same time.
It’s been the mission of every crowd at televised WWE events to try to one-up the rowdy RAW audience following Wrestlemania 29. Not only was that the same night that The Sexy Armpit’s article was shown on RAW, but it also reminded the crowd that they hold the power. After all, we are the fans and we’re the people keeping the WWE in business.
The 2014 Royal Rumble crowd last month was formidable, but people are still talking about the rambunctious crowd at IZOD. At least we’re good for something here in Jersey. Loud and obnoxious is in our DNA. The big question is, with the Extreme Rules Pay Per View coming to IZOD Center on May 4th, 2014, is WWE trying to make lightning strike twice? WWE sure as hell likes to go back to the same well pretty often. Look at sequel matches like HBK/Razor in the Ladder Match 2, and even most recently, Rock/Cena 2, why not IZOD CROWD 2?
Extreme Rules is one of the few of the “filler events” as I refer to them meaning anything not the big 4 that I actually enjoy. There’s usually some exciting and often insane stuff going on in the matches, but is Batista really their big selling point for this event? This guy gets ALL CAPS? Personally, I really hope the whole CM Punk thing is a big work. The WWE isn’t the same without him. One thing is for sure, Extreme Rules will need to be a superior show to make up for his absence.
Extreme Rules will be available on the new WWE Network and also Pay Per View. Until the option of ordering the event through your cable company ceases to exist, the term Pay Per View will remain, but it’s already becoming antiquated with the Network subscription model. Extreme Rules will eventually just become an “event.” Can the crowd in East Rutherford make it into a truly memorable one? That will be determined on May 4th!
It also sounded great to the crossover fans. In fact, just thinking back to when The Demon wrestled in WCW, as much as I didn’t enjoy WCW’s product, it was pretty thrilling for me to see a Gene Simmons gimmick in my other favorite universe, the world of professional wrestling. With all the lame gimmicks in wrestling through the years including a garbage man, a plumber, and a rooster, having a KISS Demon was actually far from lame. To those who weren’t familiar with KISS at the time, they probably thought the Demon was supposed to be some Satan worshipping fiend from beyond the gates of hell. Both are appealing in their own way.
Meanwhile, the Mountainside, NJ-born Dale Torborg’s wrestling career began after meeting Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage on a flight to L.A. Early on, Torborg wrestled as the MVP (Most Violent Player) gimmick in the AWF, WWE and WCW. He played an evil baseball player inspired by the film The Warriors that also tied into his own baseball experience (his father Jeff managed several MLB teams and Dale’s own minor league baseball career ended with a fastball to the face.) Then, in 1999, during the first couple of Demon appearances in WCW, Brian Adams a.k.a Crush played the character, but he never actually wrestled as the gimmick. Soon Torborg was chosen to become the Demon character because Gene Simmons thought he looked most like him.
Visually, The Demon was badass. Torborg portrayed Gene Simmons in a more authentic way than Brian Adams. Torborg was such a KISS fanatic that he knew how to mimic all of Gene’s stage mannerisms. “I don’t think there was a Halloween that I didn’t dress up as one of the members of KISS” said Torborg in an interview with ESPN. For any member of the KISS Army, it had to be a real kick to be playing one of his rock and roll superheroes. Torborg mentioned that his choice to take on the Demon character wasn’t popular a one with his mother who “…hates two things, wrestling and KISS, and I’m doing both” he told ESPN. Regardless of what his mom thought, Torborg loved being The Demon .
The concept could’ve went far, but it was just the wrong time in the wrestling business. To help debut the Demon wrestler, KISS performed live on WCW Nitro . According to various wrestling sites and Wikipedia, the performance turned out to be a very low rated segment, which dispels my friends theory about the KISS/wrestling crossover. Fans of WCW, especially at the time, were bombarded by WWE Raw and WCW Nitro, and they wanted wrestling, not Mr. Simmons’ Wild Ride so to speak. WWE was coming very close to buying out WCW. Eric Bischoff lost his job and The Demon kept getting buried and losing most of his matches. WCW was contractually obligated to feature The Demon from then on, but they weren’t required to make him soar to new heights within the company though, so he wound up blacklisted.
From a personal standpoint, I really loved Torborg as The Demon. It was a cringe inducing moment for many wrestling fans at the time, but just the idea of two of my favorite things colliding nearly melted my brain, in a good way. Younger wrestling fans may not have been familiar with KISS at the time, but The Demon was still so imposing that it didn’t really matter if they knew KISS as a band or not.
Dale Torborg was a perfect choice to play The Demon. I appreciated how he was a lifelong fan of KISS. As far as wrestling ability goes, he’s a big athletic guy at 6’7″, had a good physique, and was better in the ring that many of the guys on the WCW roster at that time. My only complaint was his finishing move (Cobra Cluth Slam a.k.a The Love Gun) didn’t capture his power or match his look.
Torborg is proud of his days as The Demon as he told WWE.com in their column Where Are They Now? posted on August 3rd, 2011. After WWE bought out WCW, Dale Torborg went to work in the MLB. Since 2004, Torborg has worked as the conditioning coordinator for the Chicago White Sox, and he dabbled in wrestling again, making appearances in TNA for a couple of years starting in 2005.
Not every wrestling fan was as pleased with this KISS/Wrestling combo. Prorasslin.com took the stance of the non-KISS fan-wrestling fan by stating that “This gimmick was bad” and that Torborg was “rightfully condemned to jobbing for the rest of his professional career” in their column Ghastly Gimmicks. It’s unfortunate that The Demon gets lumped into the pile of failed gimmick wrestlers. Naturally, I question why he was written to face the guys that he did and lose. If he was around after the WWE takeover, it would’ve been cool to see him in feuds with guys like Goldust or Kane, both would make memorable programs for sure.
It would probably never happen, but if Gene Simmons were to allow his likeness to be used again, any number of up and coming wrestlers could take on The Demon gimmick. Vince McMahon would never bring him back though because he couldn’t make any money off a character that he didn’t own the rights to. It would have to be changed to something like The Shemon and she’d squash all the ladies in the Divas division.
*Dale’s father Jeff was born in Plainfield, NJ and went to Westfield High School, played baseball there, and then went on to play at Rutgers.
The Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ never really got much respect. I always felt that New Jersey got the shaft when it came to getting killer WWE/F events. It doesn’t make much sense either since the Meadowlands has always been a huge supporter of WWE. The arena indeed held WWE events and pay per views, but not many of them are considered classics.
As a guy who’s spent his entire life as a WWE fanatic, it’s a pleasure reading about all the great WWE moments that happened at the Meadowlands through the years. The problem is that the 10 best WWE Izod Center moments are probably, well, ALL OF THEM. The good stuff rarely happened in Jersey – they usually saved it all for the Garden, and rightfully so.
The tri-state area has always been WWE’s central location to run shows. I’ve read articles through the years in WWE magazine that barely acknowledge Jersey as one of the WWE’s hotbeds for live shows. Simply an outrage. New York fans will travel to Jersey for an event and vice versa. There’s also fans coming in from Pennsylvania and Connecticut as well, so it’s not a place that people despise going to. Just because the Meadowlands Arena building itself is not as prestigious or as historic as The Garden doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be a venue where big stuff happens.
Yes, it was certainly cool to have Wrestlemania 29 here in Jersey, not New York like most of the advertising materials would leave you to believe. ‘Mania wasn’t at Izod Center because Vince McMahon set his sights on stadiums for the big event long ago, so, Izod’s big brother, Metlife Stadium was home to the event. Izod settled for housing WWE’s Fan Axxess. We’ll take what we can get.
Back to the article I’m pointing you to at The Bleacher Report. It’s far from being a favorite site of mine, in fact, I can’t stand the site. Websites that presents every article as a slideshow and make you click NEXT to continue to the next part piss me off. It’s not the fault of the writers, because they do a bang up job, it’s just the site in general tries to be so elite and they come off as too mainstream for my taste. I prefer more fan-based coverage when it comes to pro-wrestling, not a football writer assigned to report on wrestling.
In this case, writer Robert Aitken does an excellent job putting together an in-depth look back at some of the most historic WWE moments that took place at the Meadowlands area, then known as Brendan Byrne Arena, later Continental Airlines Arena, and presently Izod Center. It’s all information that can be found around the Internet, but it’s nice to read it all in one spot. The article takes us from Saturday Night’s Main Event all the way through 3 Summerslams and various other events along the way. There goes the rest of my old school WWE content! This article pretty much uses it all up. Thanks Bleacher Report, you jerks!
Until I found this article, I thought I’d be the only one around to be compelled to write something like this, since Izod Center is not even a bastard stepchild of MSG, it’s more of a third cousin with a limp. I’ve actually attended many of the events that Aitken writes about and, if you are so inclined, you can also check out my column about WWE/WWF Event Cards from New Jersey, one of which I even made custom for the article! These posts highlights event card sheets from WWE house shows, TV tapings, and other events I attended through the years.
WWE comes to Izod Center on September 7th, 2013
For more info click here.
Darren Young coming out seemed like a shock to the wrestling world, but it really wasn’t. Many of the WWE Superstars were well aware that one half of the Prime Time Players was gay and it didn’t change his position in the company either way. In fact, it may even give his career a big boost.
The story broke recently via TMZ, as all these tabloid stories usually do. Even though Young has been with WWE since signing with NXT in 2009, he’s still a relative newcomer to the big time. And now, for reasons beyond his in-ring ability, people are becoming familiar with his name. Just last night on Monday Night Raw, Young was prominently featured in a tag-team match.
Although billed from Miami, Florida, Young, whose real name is Fred Rosser, was born in Union, NJ and began his wrestling career at IWF in West Paterson, New Jersey. After several years of wrestling on the indy circuit, Rosser signed with WWE developmental. The NXT rookie was mentored by CM Punk and soon after Darren Young appeared on WWE TV as part of the brash Nexus faction.
Young was even referred to as the black John Cena by some fans. He had the right look and physique and would’ve gotten a push, but I’d wager to say that Young wouldn’t have announced he was gay if he felt it would be detrimental to his success within WWE. If anything, revealing his personal sexual preference has only brought him more notoriety. In some ways this seemed like a strategic business move – one that was probably passed through the corporate hierarchy in WWE before Young broke the news to TMZ.
Can’t you just see Vince McMahon’s reaction if he was opposed to Young coming out while still on the active roster? It probably wouldn’t be long before Young heard that famous growl:”You’re FIIRRRREEED.”
If Young did in fact make the announcement on his own, without WWE’s knowledge, I give him credit for being brave. Either way, WWE would be accused of sexism and discrimination if they retaliated against him in any way, or worse, let him go for making the announcement without their knowledge. As supporters of their Be a Star bullying campaign, WWE would look like super hypocrites.
Never put it passed WWE to see dollar signs in Young’s courageous admission. In our diverse culture, sexual preferences shouldn’t make a difference, but in the wrestling world there’s been several gay wrestlers through the years who kept it to themselves. For some of those WWE Superstars their decision for it to remain a secret had a lot to do with personal reasons, the views on sexuality in the country, or for others, it was the fear of losing their highly sought after position in the company.
If WWE approves of Cameron from the Funkadactyls discussing her option to get breast implants on Total Divas to show that not all women need to have them, WWE may have even encouraged Young to come out to exploit the fact that they are a non-discriminatory company to work for. After hearing of all the wrestlers dying WWE needs as much ammunition to tout as they can get.
I hate reading TMZ and all the tabloid/gossip sites, but this relates to 2 of my favorite things – New Jersey and Pro-Wrestling!
Brock Lesnar, the monstrous pro-wrestler turned UFC fighter turned pro-wrestler, was just a little bit hungry after Monday Night Raw this week. After tossing CM Punk around the ring area to kickoff a feud between them leading to Summerslam, Brock took his wife, former WWE Diva Sable, to Fresco, an Italian restaurant in Montclair, NJ. The gigantic feast he partook in cost him over $500 dollars, and he supposedly shared only two items with his wife. Below you can read what he ordered.
- Ahi tuna with asparagus (shared)
- Margherita pizza (shared)
- Chicken Parm.with triple-extra chicken
- Full bowl of parpadelle bolognese
- Slice of cheesecake for himself
Sometimes what life hands us down is a lot to process and blogging winds up falling down the priorities list. When that happens my online activity dwindles, but I always know that I will be back as soon as possible. Just like when a TV station is having technical difficulties, I always return shortly.