A new metric for the vernacular: A WCW

One of my friends in a group chat turned me onto this keen observation, and I found that I liked it so much, I believe it’s worth integrating into my general lexicon, to casually drop into conversation and low-key hope to have the opportunity to mansplain it to anyone who risks questioning what I mean by it when I use it.

In 2001, Vince McMahon bought the crumbling remains of World Championship Wrestling for an estimated $4.2 million dollars; a tremendously far cry of a bargain, considering the company was about $30 million in the green just two years prior.  Fairly recently, in spite of my own general ambivalence towards the subject, there’s been a lot of hullabaloo over a WWE scandal in which it was revealed and continues to unearth, that Vince McMahon has shelled out over $20 million dollars over the years in hush money to hide his and his inner circle’s general sexual deviancy.

Frankly, it’s no shock or surprise that it turns out that Vince McMahon and his cronies did any of the things they’re being accused for at a rapid pace these days, because they’re rich, they’re white, they’re old money, and they’re in an industry where there are literal Playboy-caliber women that come and go.  As much as I respect Vince McMahon’s business acumen, I’m not the least bit surprised that he’s an asshole who wields his money and power for sex, because an endless parade of men in similar circumstances have been doing the same for eons now.  But when the day is over, there’s a whole lot of murky water in the sense that the money was accepted by their recipients, and in my legally uneducated opinion, I have to ask, what crimes actually occurred?

Regardless, the silver lining to it all is that the HeAT has forced Vince McMahon into the retirement that wrestling fans have been calling for, for years now, to actually occur, and in the aftermath of it, same with all of his cronies and stooges who were all implied to be complicit to his bad behavior, if they weren’t accomplices to begin with.  And with it, ushers in a new era of WWE, helmed by his more progressive daughter Stephanie McMahon and with her, Triple H is back into the fold, creating optimism and hope, considering his popularly lauded work with NXT over the last decade.

Obviously, most wrestling fans know that we’ve not seen the last of Vince McMahon, but as long as this scandal is continuing to unfold, we know there’s plenty of time for the company to move and evolve without him so frequently aboard the main cabin.

But anyway, back to the point of this post, the takeaway of it all is that the analogy was made that to date, Vince McMahon has paid out the valuation of 4.7 WCWs, in hush money for his sexual indiscretions.  WCW has become a noun, which is definable as an analogy for approximately $4.2 million dollars, and is applicable as metric in dannyhong speak moving forward.

  • Lionel Messi’s salary for 2022 is approximately 9.76 WCWs
  • Tiger Woods reportedly turned down anywhere from 166-190 WCWs from the Saudi-run LIV golf organization
  • Juan Soto rejected a 15-year/107.14 WCW contract from the Washington Nationals before they traded him to the San Diego Padres

Yep, metric checks out. Once the greatest threat to the WWE, now a unit of measurement to ironically measure stupid amounts of money to something more humorously.

I am all in for Gus Fring as Professor X

Impetus: Giancarlo Esposito reveals that he has had meetings with Marvel people for a future role, expresses desire to be Professor X

My knee-jerk reaction to the idea of Gus Fring being Professor X, was absolutely all aboard the train.  I get that aside from Captain Picard, the role of Charles Xavier was basically designed to be for Patrick Stewart, but in the age and in light of pursuing change and pursuing the future, I’m hard pressed to imagine anyone more succinctly qualified for the role of Professor X than Giancarlo Esposito.

Like many, my first real exposure to Esposito was him playing Gus Fring in Breaking Bad, and as far as characters go, he’s easily up there as some of my all-time favorites, because I love characters that are cerebral, command respect, and play the long game like a chess grandmaster.  I get that throughout his career since, he’s basically been bad guy after bad guy after bad guy, but there’s absolutely no reason to believe that he wouldn’t be capable of playing the cerebral, respect commanding, long game-player like Professor X, plus it’s not like Xavier didn’t make some fucked up choices in his life either.

Esposito is polished, annunciates intelligently and in the manner you’d expect to hear from Professor X, and has been entrenched in sci-fi/comics long enough to where it probably wouldn’t feel inorganic or phony on his part when playing the role.  There is absolutely zero reason why he wouldn’t make an excellent Professor X.

Unfortunately, to no surprise, there are plenty of people out there that don’t agree with my enthusiasm for the idea of Gus Fring as Professor X.  And the funny-not-really-funny thing about the internet and social media and how we’re spoon-fed occasional comments, is when you see the remarks from people you know, and you’re reading words that don’t really sound that intelligent or, in the case of what I saw, were good examples of peoples’ white privilege soaking through the sponge.

Because in spite of many peoples’ best attempts to try not to be racist but not doing a very good job of doing it, the seemingly number one reason for any sort of opposition of the idea of Giancarlo Esposito as Professor X, really boils down to the fact that he’s not white.  I understand that there’s an expectation set by decades of seeing a lily-white Caucasian Professor X in comics and FOX properties, but we live in a world where change is inevitable and is happening very rapidly.  But you could go back to 1963 and change the skin tone of Professor X to absolutely any color at all, and it wouldn’t have altered the course of history one bit.

He’d still have has had his legs crushed by the Shadow King.  He still would have gone toe-to-toe with Phoenix on the psychic plane.  He still would’ve gotten shot by Stryfe and been the first guy to have the Legacy Virus.  He still would’ve mind-fucked hundreds of people and become Onslaught.  And so forth and so forth.  A black Xavier, Hispanic Xavier, Asian Xavier wouldn’t have changed the course of the character’s history one bit.  Just because he was white in six decades worth of comic books doesn’t mean he couldn’t be presented as non-white in what would be at the very most, a series of films.

But seeing people take shots at his polish, his acting ability and other reasons to criticize the guy when they’re really just objecting to the fact that his skin tone doesn’t match Ben Affleck’s, is insulting and is bullshit.  When the day is over, the right performer should be the one to get the role, regardless of the color of their skin.  I mean, look at the shitty 2003 Daredevil speaking of Ben Affleck.  The film was horrendous, but one of the few things they did get right was casting a very black Michael Clarke Duncan as the role of the historically very white Kingpin.  Regardless of skin color, Duncan is a tank of a man who commands a room, has swag and is convincingly physically invincible, much like the character he portrayed.  Naturally, there was much complaints about that as well, but to its credit it still came to fruition.

Plus, Patrick Stewart isn’t getting any younger.  Y’all remember seeing his cameo in [spoiler redaction]?  Eyes all sinking in with age, not entirely sure the wheelchair was just a prop.  When he was a layup for the role of Professor X, those Bryan Singer X-Men flicks were literally two decades ago.  Stewart is 82 years old.  Eighty-two years old.  At the very most, Professor X was probably in his early fifties in the comics, in “present” canon.  Absolutely no disrespect to Picard.  He is the living embodiment of how Professor X was originally portrayed.  But my man is getting old.  He is old.  He doesn’t need to be continued to be trotted out, and then get the digital Luke Skywalker treatment.  Let the change happen.  Change.  Is.  Needed.

Hopefully the stiffs at Disney/Marvel/ESPN/FOX will be capable of not caving into their white racist brethren when it comes time to eventually start casting for the introduction of mutants into the MCU, and make the right fucking call: Giancarlo Esposito as Professor X.

The Inevitable Unveiling of the AEW Trios Championship

On the Dynamite before the one I got to see live, the AEW Tag Team championship changed hands in a pretty exciting triple threat match.  The Dynamite I got to see live was a relative clunker with no championships defended or any surprises of any sort.  So naturally, it would be the Dynamite after the one I got to see live, AEW debuts the Trios six-man championship that everyone and their mother knew was inevitably going to happen because it was probably in some contract at the inception of the promotion that there would one day have to be a title in which the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega could hold all together.

So no real surprises here, but obviously if there’s any blets involved, it piques my interest because I am a connoisseur of belts awarded to sweaty men for choreographed meat slapping.  Eventually, AEW would have to unveil some blets that I didn’t think were silly and/or looked crappy enough to warrant me to possibly want one for my collection, even if it meant inflating their general count of blets shown on AEW programming to 28 different blets but considering their roster is like 156 people, they kind of need them, even if they only have three hours of actual television programming to show any of them.

Anyway, the Trios Championship: yeah, not really that impressive, design-wise.  Better than Ring of Honor’s Six-Man Tag Championships, but only mostly because gold is nicer looking than silver.  Red Leather, the designer of all of AEW’s titles to my understanding, clearly has an aesthetic that harkens from the old NWA/WCW days, and there’s kind of this retro-feel to it that’s kind of cool, but at the same time, it’s basically a massive spooge pattern of swirls and embellishments that don’t really make much sense other than fluff and artificially ornate.

The font selection of World, Trios and Champion looks odd to me, and I think I would’ve went with a sans-serif font, but considering the pattern around the rest of the design, it kind of trapped them into using it.  Like, of all of AEW’s native blet designs, I still like the Tag Team ones the most, because it feels bold and modern, but between the All-Atlantic not-Intercontinental, the surprisingly quick redesign of the women’s and the Trios blets, I have a feeling that they’ll nix the only cool blet design in order to be more cohesive aesthetically across the board.

It’s hard to make out the side plates, but it kind of looks like a silhouette of the Young Bucks delivering their 69th superkick of a match.  Which means the silhouette in the middle is most definitely Kenny Omega, and it should be of absolutely zero surprise that the side plate design would be of the Bucks and Omega, considering these blets were basically created for them.  To some capacity, they’re basically a trio of Taz’s FTW blet during his ECW heyday, where he just introduced his own title and then it somehow made its way into the circulation.

Overall, the design of the blets isn’t horrible, but they’re also not awe-inspiring either.  They’re safe and vanilla, but definitely not something I see and think oh shit, I need to get that for the collection.  The pattern work will make them extremely hard for Pakistanis to counterfeit, and if AEW wants to actually manufacture and sell replicas, they’ll probably be way too much for what I’d be willing to spend, so all in all, I’d consider this another flop in the blet portfolio of AEW, destined to become lost in the shuffle, and once it’s not being held by a member of the Elite, relegated to being defended on Dark: Elevation.

However, until that happens, there are bound to be some really fun matches to be had while this is in its honeymoon phase.  Inevitably, Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks will be Trios champs, and they will collide with Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, and that match will undoubtedly be a fun one.  Death Triangle and the House of Black will also make for some top tier trios, but once the honeymoon phase is over, it’ll be some rando mish-mashes of singles guys trading the blets around like 1999 WCW all over again.

Thoughts on my first ever AEW live event

Despite the fact that I don’t shy away from criticizing AEW, when the opportunity arose for me to get to go to an AEW taping for free, I was excited and didn’t hesitate to commit to it.  When the day is over, going to a live wrestling show with good company is always welcome, and I was hoping that the live experience would be different in-person than what I see on clips of the internet because I don’t have the time to watch AEW or any wrestling for that matter anymore.

I’d heard from those who have gone to them before and general internet scuttlebutt that the events had the tendency to become long-winded, depending on the nature of the agenda; AEW has been known to tape multiple shows in one evening, and contrary to popular belief among wrestling fans, I do believe that there is such a thing as too much wrestling, especially the older one gets with responsibilities commensurate to age and state of life.  But at the same time, if the show(s) were going good and the quality of the matches were strong, then it shouldn’t feel like such a drag, and considering AEW had made much of their name throughout the years of being a place where surprises and highlight matches happen fairly regularly, I was hoping that I would be privy to seeing some cool shit in person.

However, it would be just my luck that the show I went to was kind of a clunker, with no title matches save for one FTW Popeye’s Championship defense by Ricky Starks, despite the fact that the company has about 17 belts floating around.  There were no trademark Tony Khan surprises at all, no shock debuts, no mind-bending swerves or former WWE guy appearances.

Mind you, this particular evening featured a taping of Dark: Elevation, followed by a live episode of Dynamite, which was then followed by a taping of Rampage, so there were plenty of opportunities for some interesting shit to happen, but like I said, it would be my luck that I would be at a show where basically nothing of any importance happened.

If I had to name any particular highlights, it was probably the really drawn-out squashing of Darby Allin, at the hands of Brody King; I kept telling my friends that Brody was getting all of the offense so he looked strong, but would still job to some surprise defeat because Darby is one of the protected pillars of the company, but then Brody would just beat the shit out of him and then pin him after a brutal looking Greetings From Asbury Park-looking driver move.  And as someone who’s never been impressed with Darby or his accused deviancy, I was satisfied with that match.The main event of Dynamite was a painfully predictable blow-off match between Chris Jericho and Eddie Kingston, and I knew in two seconds after not seeing Sammy Guevara get put into the Discovery® Shark Week™ cage, that Jericho was 100% going to win with the assistance of Sammy.

I was really hoping to see guys like Pac and maybe a defense of the not-Intercontinental title, but nope no Pac.  Cesaro Claudio Castagnoli cut a promo on Jonathan Gresham but didn’t wrestle.  No Thunder Rosa and the women’s title, Jade Cargill and the TBS title were mired in tag-team action to further hide Jade’s green-ness, Keith Lee and Swerve the new tag team champions were in a comedy segment and didn’t wrestle, and the AEW interim champion Jon Moxley was also mired in tag team action, teaming with ROH Pure Champion, Wheeler Yuta.  It really was astounding that a company that has so many titles in play managed to chew up four hours with not a single one of them actually defended.

And much like many have opined before me, by the time we got to the taping of Rampage, a third of the crowd had left, and my company was getting tired or bored or concerned over the time in which the show would be over, and we actually ended up leaving early.  We stuck around for one more match as we were planning on leaving because it was Britt Baker, and she’s still relatively in a class of her own within the company as someone who can work, entertain and have presence, and it was a pleasure to see her live, but then we bounced immediately afterward, because most of us were dads, and we all had jobs, and staying out until midnight on a school night just didn’t seem like a very good idea.

One amusing-to-me observation I made, was that it really seemed like the event stacked all of the women’s action into Dark: Elevation, as the first three matches we saw that evening were all the women performers, working on their D show, even quality talents like Toni Storm.  Owner Tony Khan got into a little warm water with accusations of his misogyny when he threw a poor-optics hissy fit over the money he invested into NWA: Empowerrr the women’s-only event, and front-loading his taping with all the women’s matches as if to get them out of the way doesn’t help the optics of his perception of women’s wrestling.

So overall, my thoughts on the AEW live experience weren’t that impressed.  I think I caught a real dud clunker when the company has set a general bar that every episode of Dynamite should expect some surprises, bangers, and/or title matches.  Either Atlanta isn’t as AEW rabid as the company hoped the home of WCW should have been for them, or they just got unlucky, but when I left that evening, I was kind of disappointed.  Sure, the injury bug has hit AEW pretty hard, taking guys like Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole and ReDragon, Kenny Omega and other notable names off the table, but the promotion has a roster of nearly 120 talents, that someone should be able to grab a ball and run with it.

I was hoping that my friends and I would’ve experienced a killer show, to where I could gain a little better perspective of the charm and appeal of AEW, but as I walked out of the arena and to my car, I was left with no real change in opinion, and for a company that so many on the internet think is this savior of the business, I think they’re nowhere near as mistake-proof as the WWE is.

Would I go again if they’re in town and I’d have a hookup for free tickets again?  Absolutely.  But I definitely would temper my expectations a little bit lower, because even the fresh and supposedly mistake-proof AEW is more than capable enough of throwing up a clunker too.

Oh, Georgia #354

/stevecarrellwinceface.gif – Cobb County elementary school unveils new logos, immediately likened to Nazi symbolism, results predictable

Seeing as how mythical wife is an educator, I’ve become more familiar and cognizant of many schools in the Metro Atlanta area by osmosis, and I actually know of this particular school in question.  East Side Elementary is right off of GA-120 which is a pretty major thoroughfare, and I pass by it regularly, despite not knowing what the name of said school was until I read about where it was located.

But man, talk about a major, major, major fuck-up from this rebranding.  Whatever designer(s) they utilized to come up with this inflammatory design really needs to be scrutinized from a character standpoint, because either they’re some deep-repressed bigots, bigots that think they can pull the wool over the public, trolls who thought it would be a real gas to sneak in Nazi symbolism, or a little bit of all of the above.  However, seeing as how it was still government work, it can probably be safely assumed that the degree of creativity wasn’t particularly high.

When mythical wife showed me these logos, I immediately recognized the red flag, because when I was a wee lad, I played a lot of Wolfenstein on my 486, because it was about the only game it could handle, and Nazi eagles were all over the place.  Imagine my mortified and amused surprise to see something so close to Nazi symbolism, being used to represent an elementary school.

The best part about the trio of logos that they moved forward with, the only element that remained consistent between them all, was the Nazi eagle in the middle of it.  Complete with a monogram that replaces one of the S’s in SS with an E, to suddenly stand for East Side.  Like they were very insistent that of all the elements to be concrete, it had to be the Nazi eagle.  Font, shape, dynamic, all flexible, but nah dog, we GOT to keep that Nazi eagle intact.

To add insult to this embarrassingly ironic design faux pas is the fact that East Side elementary is literally next door to a synagogue.  Like very literally; not down the street literally, or catty corner literally; the school parking lot, if you go straight out of it, you will run right into a synagogue literally. 

Furthermore, this is about one of the whitest parts of East Cobb there is, and that’s saying something considering just how white East Cobb already is.  The neighborhood has “country club” in the name and is flanked by a golf course, and I’ve driven through and picked up cheap/free shit that rich white people were peddling on Facebook marketplace, so I’ve seen first-hand how elevated white it is compared to the rest of the town.

None of it helps feed the narrative of a lily-white community being so dense and ignorant as to not notice their neighborhood elementary school adopting Nazi imagery to be a part of their logo.  In the end, I don’t think the school or community is really that Nazi, so much as the person(s) who developed these logos, probably have some explaining to do.  But what’s done is done, and the internet never forgets, so it’ll be etched in stone that there was a school in Cobb County that was almost branded with Nazi eagles.  hashtagGeorgia hashtag’Murica

Liv Morgan and what I still enjoy about wrestling

For the first time in my life, I went to an Impact! Wrestling show, as they had dates in Atlanta, and were also taping out of Center Stage, which is a fantastic venue to watch wrestling, and has a lot of history within the industry.  The tickets were cheap, and I was able to get seats basically three rows behind the ring, so it was a no-brainer to go see what is basically the #3 promotion in America.

And it was a pretty decent show, all things considered.  I got to see a lot of guys I’d mostly just heard of or seen just clips of, like Josh Alexander, Mike “Speedball” Bailey, Chris Bey and Ace Austin, and there was no shortage of names that I already knew from their days in old TNA or former WWE talents, like the Motor City Machine Guns, Mike Bennett, Eric Young, the Good Brothers and Mickie James.  Despite the general lack of respect Impact! gets, the promotion has a degree of polish that is missing from a lot of the lesser-known indy shows I’d been getting into over the last few years, and when the night was over, I was very pleased with my evening and money well spent.

I came home that evening and remembered that the WWE had a, well, pay-per-view event the same night, and considering the ease of being able to watch a replay on Peacock, I figured I’d try and watch at least the Money in the Bank ladder matches, while I still had no idea who won them yet, and before the internet would spoil the fuck out of them if I went on any social media channel.

Despite the feeling that I had a prediction that she would win, like my old Wrestling Oracle™ days, I was still very pleased to see that Liv Morgan won the women’s ladder match.  Admittedly, I bought into the Liv Morgan story of the diminutive underdog who has persevered throughout the years, and in spite of the support of the fans, just couldn’t quite reach the top of the mountain.  And by virtue of winning the Money in the Bank briefcase, Morgan was basically a shoo-in to eventually become a women’s champion, as the women’s short history of the briefcase has yet to have a single failure.

A little surprising to me, was the fact that WWE Creative didn’t wait long with Liv, and had her cashing in immediately, the same night.  I say I was surprised, because just the way Morgan had been established, I didn’t think there would be any real hope for her to have any chance of beating either Bianca Belair or Ronda Rousey, seeing as how she’s undersized and overwhelmingly out-powered by both of them.  But I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, seeing as how women’s MITB winners have held the contract collectively maybe a total of like, three days over the last four winners.  And despite my skepticism of how Liv Morgan would topple either champion, I was still very pleased and happy to see her pin Ronda Rousey and become the new Smackdown Women’s champion.

And thinking about this moment, and some other isolated moments within the last year, made me come to the realization of why I still enjoy watching wrestling, even though it probably seems like I have an endless amount of criticism and complaining to do about the business: I really enjoy seeing when wrestlers I respect, and have admiration for their work ethic, actually succeed and get the hard-earned spotlight.

Continue reading “Liv Morgan and what I still enjoy about wrestling”

The best day of the year

For Bobby Bonilla, that is.  The day in which the New York Mets pay him his annual installment of $1.2M dollars, as part of a legendary deferment plan back established in 2000, where the Mets would be absolved of paying $5.9M then, but agreed to pay $1.2M every single year for twenty-five years starting in 2011.  Obviously it doesn’t take a math genius to know that $1.2M x 25 is substantially larger than $5.9M, and that baseball organizations clearly play by a different set of rules to where somehow this is a justifiable and acceptable alternative to paying money owed in the present.

I’ve posted about this day numerous times on my brog or social media, so I’ll save myself the trouble of re-writing something I’ve taken amusement for a day of every summer since 2011, and just cut to the chase to really the impetus of this post coming to fruition in the first place: the collision of fandoms, where pondering the coming of this year’s Bobby Bonilla Day, as well as recently watching wrestling where Miro, formerly known as Rusev, and thinking about his old gimmick that he miraculously got over with the fans, Happy Rusev Day, and merging it with Bobby Bonilla, and how to him, Bobby Bonilla Day must be the greatest day of his year, every year.

The idea to remake the old Happy Rusev Day in the image of Bobby Bonilla took off pretty quickly to the point where I actually expended a little bit of energy and time to make the above graphic; obviously it is fake, but I bet I could manage to move a few of these if I actually produced and sold them, but I don’t feel like dealing with any C&Ds from the Mets or the WWE.

But here we have it, the graphic, on the shirt, of the greatest day of the year, for Bobby Bonilla.  I like to imagine that he’s one of those degenerate former professional athletes who has no idea how to use or manage his money, and is basically broke by October, and is counting down the days until the next July, to when his next $1.2M paycheck will be coming from the Mets.

For the record, despite not having played a game in like 15-16 years, Bobby Bonilla is getting paid more than eight current active players on the Mets, and countless other players in Major League Baseball who are on league-minimum deals or anything resulting in under $1.2M bones.

And this is going to continue to be the case for 13 more years.  God bless the Mets and their silly business practices, and Happy Bobby Bonilla Day for another year!