Friday, April 27, 2007
As I mentioned in my first post of the day, I am now done teaching in China. This means that I must say goodbye to my wonderful home away from home away from home away from home away from home away from home (those homes represent: Trenton, Middle Stewiacke, Wolfville, Dumfries and North Bay respectively). Since I spent 5 years in Wolfville, which has been dubbed Wolf Vegas, and a considerable amount of time near Belleville, which has copied the copier to say Belle Vegas, have decided to call Nanning, Nan Vegas (I know that I called North Bay, North Vegas a couple of times, although I never used the term Dum Vegas...).
So I must say goodbye like a Sherryl Crow song. I'm a wee bit sad about that since Nanning is such an amazing city with so many wonderful people here. I wish that I could have spent more time with my students and seen more of the town, but alas I must move on.
Tomorrow we are going to be leaving very early in the morning for Vietnam, where we will spend time in Halong Bay and Hanoi. To say that I'm pumped will be an understatement. I hope that you are all ready for me to talk about Charlie and say "Back in 'Nam..." for the rest of my natural life.
On Tuesday, we return to Nanning for one night, and then my adventure really begins. My friend Steve and I are going to be aimlessly traveling the country. Our plan is to make our way to Hong Kong where we will be hopefully meeting Carrie (sidenote: Carrie, E-mail me back, ahhhhh!!!!) and rocking out accordingly before flying back with her to Shanghai to spend a couple of days there. After that, we're really not sure. I want to go to Xi'an, and I was told that a Yangzi River Cruise is the trip of a lifetime (and with the Three Gorges Dam due to be completed in 2 years I may never get a chance to see it the way it is now) so that may happen for sure.
After that, our flight leaves Beijing on May 25, and then a three day lay over in Vancouver to see a variety of old friends and then I shall be home on May 28th.
I won't really have a ton of time unfortunately to post on here but I will do my best. If you want a status report then check me out on Facebook where I will be posting pictures as frequently I can. Judge that I am having a good time by how obnoxious my smile is and how many peace signs I'm busting out in each album.
But until then, I must be off on yet another adventure. I look forward to getting the opportunity to tell many of you about it in person.
Until next time, (whenever the heck that may be!!!)
Well the time is now.
I just finished giving my last lesson as a Student Teacher and boy do I ever feel strange now. Already I can feel the terror of adulthood coming my way. I have to start looking for jobs, I have to start thinking about my pension, I have to start thinking about my life in more than one year increments.
But I really don't want to!!!!!
I know that all of my NipFriends back in Canada still have another week to put off this surreal moment but not us over in China. We got to finish a week early which sounds great, but right now I really would love to have another week to hide my head in the sand for just a little bit longer.
My dad has always said that he will die of Eternal Peter Pan Syndrome, he says that he "may get old but will never grow up". I guess the older I grow the more I realize that I am like both of my parents (how is that for a scary thought!!!!), and in this case the apple has fallen directly below the tree.
In the last post I said that I should stop counting down the Days until Spiderman 3, I should get rid of my Superhero pillow case and I should stop making Black Eyed Peas references when I'm teaching.
You know what, to hell with all of that!!!! Just because I'm out looking for jobs and pensions and everything else does not mean that I need to stop having fun. I have the rest of my life to grow up, why should I start now? Why should I start ever for that matter.
So it's decided, I'm putting my adulthood off for an indefinite amount of time. Perhaps the job and pension thing will have to be a little different though....
Until next time,
Thursday, April 26, 2007
For those of you who read the last entry will notice, that I am far superior to Troy (which of course you all know). I decided that we would keep score, and we would get 1 point for each right series and another 1 point for predicting the right amount of games a series goes.
The Score after the first round was:
Glen: 8 (I correctly predicted that Buffalo, New Jersey, Atlanta, Anaheim, Vancouver and San Jose would move on. Plus I get two more points for calling the correct amount of games in took Buffalo and Anaheim to win)
Troy: 6 (He correctly predicted that Buffalo, New Jersey, Anaheim, Vancouver and San Jose would win. Plus he called Vancouver needed 7 games to defeat Dallas.)
Moral of this story, Glen > Troy.
Onto this round...
The first round in this conference was quite a surprise that's for sure!!! I thought that the Thrashers would at least show up against the Rangers, same with the Islanders against the Sabers. Also, Ottawa, come through in the playoffs? What kind of a world do we live in!!!
Ok...so I said Atlanta would beat The Rangers and I was right. But in a more accurate way, I was wrong. Very wrong. It wasn't even a series, it was a disaster. But to add a little perspective, this was Atlanta's first trip to the playoffs so good on them for that. Unfortunately though that isn't going to lessen the sting of being slaughtered by the Rangers. Anyway, on to round number deux.
Buffalo vs. New York Rangers
Who called a Rangers upset? Yeah I'm pretty awesome like that. Man ohh man are some heads ever going to roll in Atlanta!!! Both of these teams will be really well rested in this series since they both made really short work of their first round opponent's. I know that the Rangers are getting that whole Ducks '03 vibe going with them right now but I just don't feel it. I know that Shanny will get them realy going, but I just don't see them dethroning the Sabres. They may just put the fear of God into them though. Sabres in 7.
This should be a pretty good series but this is another New York team I don't see Buffalo having much trouble with. I think Shanny will lead the way for the Blue Shirts but unfortunately Drury and Briere will lead the way for Buffalo. Buffalo in 6
New Jersey vs. Ottawa
Well who saw that Senator win? I know that I sure didn't!!!! The Sens looked really, really good last round but now they come up against the best playoff team of the last 12 years. I'm sorry but I don't like their odds. I think that the Devils are just going to manhandle my beloved Senators. New Jersey in 5.
Well my arch nemesis thinks NJ will take this one easily so perhaps for no better reason than spite I will take Ottawa. I will use the famous Ottawa cliche and say that this year the Senators will do well in the playoffs. They played very well against Pittsburgh, better than they have maybe ever played in the playoffs and I think they can take NJ. Although if NJ wins in the first round, they tend to win the cup so I may be losing this prediction. But alas I am stubborn. Ottawa in 7.
Well the first round sure had a lot of drama from Nashville's utter humiliation, to Calgary not being able to recapture the Alberta magic of the last two playoffs, to Vancouver almost collapsing. It was a pretty interesting first round and I expect the second one to be pretty similar!!!
I'm a big fat jerk face who has a big butt and I like to kiss my own butt (EDITOR'S NOTE: That may not have actually happened)
Detroit vs. San Jose
The Red Wings are so incredibly lucky that the Calgary Flames are A) Incapable of winning on the road and B) Terribly coached. Seriously at the beginning of the season Calgary was being discussed as a top contender for the Cup and it was hard to argue against them, plus they were playing against the most over rated team in the NHL, President's Trophy or not. Sorry, I needed to get that off my chest, onto this series. As you can probably guess from that opening rant I don't have much faith in the Red Wings and if you have been reading my blog form the beginning (which you damn well should be!!!) you will know that I have been picking the Sharks to be in the Finals all season, making this an easy decision. San Jose in 6.
I hate Detroit. It sucks that they beat Calgary but with the way Calgary played on the road they did not deserve to win that series. However Detroit will have their hands full with San Jose and I think Detroit will fold against this team. Detroit (as my veggy buddy quite correctly pointed out) is terribly overrated. I'm going to go one better than Glen. San Jose in 5.
Anaheim vs. Vancouver
Did the Canucks ever dodge a bullet in Game Seven or what? Man I thought that they had this series after the first four games but two solid performances from Turco (who normally CHOKES in the Playoffs) made me worry. As expected, Anaheim made a joke out of the Wild and probably let them win one game in order to give them more time to practice together and one more home game. I've been saying that the Western Final will be Anaheim vs. San Jose all year and you know how I feel about changing my mind, this should be a good series though. Anaheim in 7.
I've been picking Anaheim to be in the final all year long and as much as I want to, I can't change my mind now. Vancouver will not be easy though but I just think Anaheim has too many offensive weapons and we all know Vancouver isn't exactly the Oilers of the mid-eighties when it comes to scoring. Not to mention Anaheim has two of the best D-men ever in the game in Pronger and Niedermayer. I want so badly to choose Vancouver for two reasons, A) They're Canadian, B) Glen picked Anaheim. Unfortunately though I don't see Vancouver pulling this one out. They will make it interesting though. Anaheim in 6.
Anywho, that raps this one up. I'm going to be a bit of a wandering hobo for the next couple of weeks so I'm not sure if I will get to post a prediction for Round 3, I shall do my absolute best though!!!
Enjoy the Second Round!!!
Until next time,
Monday, April 23, 2007
Saturday night in Yangzhou we went out to this spectacular show. I don't really know how to describe it other than by saying that it was on a water stage and it included some of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen. There was a call and answer love song between people waving massive torches, a row of 15 or so plastic tarps that people did an elaborate boat dance, a stage built on the water for people to walk on while wearing glowing suits (it seriously looked like a deranged techno video), a woman dancing on what looked like the moon, and a stripping scene. Ohhh and it was directed by the same guy who will direct the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics.
After the show I was still trying to process all of the stimulus and I ended up losing out on my group. I did the logical thing and went back the way that we came to look for the bus and the rest of my group. Silly me, thinking that logic will apply in this country.
I get to the front gates and see nobody. I wonder around for a bit and still see nobody that I know. I realize that they probably went out the side gate so I attempt to run back through the park but somebody tells me that all of the buses have left. I shrug and go back to the front gate and plan on walking back to the hotel, remembering that it wasn't that far of a trip.
After a day of walking I realize that maybe I should seek alternative transportation. Lucky for me I notice a motorized rickshaw and decide that maybe that would be a better bet. I ask the driver how much and he tells me 10 Yuan. I look and say that I would sooner walk (a wonderful bargaining technique in this country is to appear completely disinterested) and then he yells out six. I decide to take him up on the offer and get in the back. He says something in Chinese to his friends and they all have a good laugh.
After driving off for a bit he pulls over, looks back at me and says "Massag-ie, Massag-ie" and my heart drops a bit. I look at him confused and just say "West Street", which is close enough to the hotel I was staying at. He takes his left hand and puts his index finger to his thumb making a circle, and then takes his two fingers on his right hand and begins ramming them through the circle and makes some grunting noise and then says "10 Yuan". I realize two important things at this point. First off, some expressions are universal, and secondly he didn't say six, oh no, he said sex. No wonder he was laughing with his friends.
Lucky for me, I happen to know how to say no in Chinese which I say repeatedly and keep saying West Street. He starts to drive again but slows down as we pass a few run down buildings, which I assume to be brothels, where he makes the gesture again and says "Massag-ie, Massag-ie" some more.
After what seemed like forever we get to our hotel, I tell him to stop right here. I give him a 10 Yuan note and run hearing him yell "Massag-ie, Massag-ie" in the background.
I thankfully arrive back at my hotel to find our group leader and my profs who had just gone back to look for me. They say that they were not too worried about me, and said that if there was anyone who it would be ok to loose it would be me. I'm not sure if that was a compliment or not.
Olive, the professor with us, looks at me and says "Fall behind, left behind".
Until next time,
Pretty unreal eh?
I spent so much time asking myself if what I was seeing was real. The limestone karsts (those weird looking hills) looked so fantastic that I felt that there should be faeries and dragons running around.
The highlight came on Saturday when we took a very relaxing bamboo raft ride down the river. On the way down the river there were people set up with booths or rafts of their own trying to sell tourists a variety of food and drinks. So I got to spent 5 Yuan (about 85 cents in Canada) for a 600mL bottle of beer. I fucking love China.
Don't get me wrong, there were some ugly sides as well. Yangzhou in particular is an absolute tourist trap. It always bums me out to see beautiful places get ruined by mass tourism. It reminded me so much of Niagara Falls, so much beauty amid so much cheese.
Worst of all though was the bike ride to the bamboo raft. While it was absolutely amazing to get out into the country and ride by some rice fields, it made me really sad. I saw an incredible amount of poverty along the way. It made me so very sad to see people covered in dirt with no shoes on begging for money. The houses were so run down I wondered what purpose they even served. It always makes me sad when people are so poor around such beautiful areas, like Cape Breton or the Scottish Highlands but magnified immensely.
What made me even sadder was to think about how much worse other people have things. As far as developing countries, China is probably the richest one there is. I could only imagine how much my heart would be breaking in a less fortunate country.
Anyway, I don't want to end on a downer so here are a couple more pictures of the unreal Li River Scenery. If any of you are planning on going to Asia, you need to make this a priority, you will not be disappointed!!!
Until next time,
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I am of course talking about the Virginia Tech. Shootings of earlier this week. I honestly don't know what to say about this but I feel that I should say something.
First off, I need to say I'm sorry. If any of you out there in Cyber Space know anyone who was at all affected by these tragedy my heart goes out to you. I am sorry that there is not more that I can do right now other than give these hollow condolences.
The news filled me with a mixture of shock, anger, sadness, frustration, terror, and most of all confusion. How can things like this keep happening? Especially in the richest country in the world.
I was in Grade 11 back in 1998 when the Columbine Shootings happened and I was scared. Here there was violence in a High School just like mine. Now here I am at the tail end of my University career and here we have a shooting at a Post Secondary Institution. It scares me to think that this type of thing seems to be following me wherever I go. But what scares me the most is that it could have just as easily happened to me.
Sure you may say that I live in Canada and not America so these things don't happen to us. Well the people of Taber, Alberta or Montreal, Quebec would beg to differ.
I just don't get it. We North Americans have some of the highest quality of life in the world and we are so quick to throw it all away. Sure this guy was from South Korea, but the vast majority of earlier school shootings were done by people born and bred in our very own backyard.
Why does this always seem to happen?
Why are always so quick to provide grief but so quick to move on and forget?
Why can we never accept some of the blame ourselves?
What's that last part? Well all of these school shootings from the Montreal Massacres to Columbine to the tragedy at the Amish School back in October to this week all of something in common. They all happened in North America. These things do not happen to often elsewhere in the world, sure there is the occasional Dunblane Tragedy but those are few and far between. The one commonality here is North American culture, which we are all a part of. There is something about us, which I really don't know, that makes this happen. Some blame the parents, some blame the media, some blame video games, it doesn't matter what the cause is, we all buy and sell it all the time.
So you say that the killer may be from South Korea, but I say that every one of us somehow has blood on our hands. How can we wash it off? I really don't know, but there has to be some way. If you find out please let me know.
Until next time,
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
The locals were all running for cover, but as usual, I got a perverse enjoyment out of this nice warm rain. Funny thing though, we had to walk some 20 minutes across campus to get to a ceremony at this time. So I put my rain coat on, refuse to hover under an umbrella and walk over to the building.
When we arrive for the ceremony (where we Canadians are going to give them some money that we raised before we left) we find out that due to the sudden storm, it is going to be postponed. All of the Chinese students, and some of the Canadian ones were huddling in the shelter and waiting for cabs to take a cab back to the residence.
I thought that this was a terrible idea, I was already wearing my flip-flops, and decided, along with my friends Karen and Sarah to walk back to residence in the rain. Best part, no hoods or umbrellas allowed. Just us and the rain.
Let me tell you, this was an amazing experience. I jumped in just about every puddle that I could see, and routinely kicked water at my friends. The locals were completely amazed at this, as I'm sure many Canadians would have been to.
None the less we continued, with every puddle I jumped into, I felt a year of maturity splash away from me. I absolutely loved it.
There is something amazing and wonderful about acting so immature sometimes. I figure that I have my whole life to be a grown up, why should I start now? Sure I'm not getting any younger, but why should I be forced to get older?
My father always says that he will die of Terminal Peter Pan Syndrome, he says "I may get old, but I will never grow up". Sometimes, the apple falls directly below the tree.
I felt so refreshed yesterday. It was so wonderful to feel the rain on my skin and innocence in my heart. I have spent most of this year thinking and worrying about growing up, it was wonderful to put all of those thoughts away for one childish walk.
So this is a special shout out to my NipFriends who are no doubt as worried about applying for jobs, interviews, OCT, and pensions as I am. Take a moment and let yourself be a kid, it will give you some much needed clarity.
Until next time,
P.S. Just in case some of you may be worried that I have caught a cold or something, afterwards the three of us (plus plenty more) gathered to have a tea party to warm us all up. We even had biscuits, and I made sure to drink with my pinky finger extended. Unfortunetly our stuffies were unable to attend the event.
Monday, April 16, 2007
I had wanted to make my 100th Post a Special Description of my thoughts as a blogger, and also I figure it is as good of a time as any to bring back my irregular feature of "Why I Love...". I first started this blog in October and have had quite the experience since then. Some of the highlights are...
1. Giving Me a Mountaintop -- It's no surprise to people who know me that I tend to like being the centre of attention. I love that there is this entire site dedicated to me and my thoughts. I like to be able to rant about whatever is on my mind from sports to politics to my own random thoughts. I love that I can just come here and post about whatever the heck I want.
2. Easier than E-mail -- Yeah I'm getting pretty lazy these days. This blog is a super easy way for me to keep people updated on what is going on in my life as opposed to e-mailing them or heaven forbid actually talking to someone.
3. Generating Discussion -- It hasn't happened too much, but occasionally there have been some excellent discussions that come from one of my post. It happened so much so that I made this post about replying to comments, which give me a great chance to hear other people's opinions.
4. A Chance for Creativity -- I really like to write. I may not be all that great but I think that I am improving at it with every post that I make. In particular, I feel that I have made improvements in my ability to creatively explain some things which may appear mundane at first.
5. Something Permanent -- That's right, however strange this may sound, I am glad that I have this blog to serve as something permanent that I have done. I can always look back on this to know just what the heck I was thinking at any given moment. It really has made me think twice about what I type, just in case.
6. Compliments -- I know I'm vain, but I love it whenever anyone either compliments or even just comments to me on something that I blog about. It makes me feel like I matter a wee bit, which as you all know, I dig.
Anywho, there are a lot more things about Blogging that I love, but that is about all that I could think about. I just thought that I would share right now. I had best be off now, it's dinner time in this crazy country.
Until next time,
While I have planned and delivered many lessons before, this one was different. Not only was it going to be my first time in front of an entire group of Chinese ESL students, but I had a difficult topic, Parliamentary Democracy. To make it even more challenging, my AT suggested that I include some sort of activity in my lesson. I knew of only one way to do this. Stage a mock parliament.
That's right, the foreigner planned on staging an election in an oppressive communist country on my first teaching day.
I spent the first 40 minutes of the lesson discussing the different groups of Parliament and how they interact (i.e. the Monarchy and House of Lords/Senate do pretty much nothing). And
I described how a bill becomes a law. Then the fun started.
I had them all take a small political survey that I made up to figure out which party they would be in and then I had them divide into three groups to stage the debate. Interestingly enough, both classes had a fairly even split between the Centrist and the Leftist (Liberals and NDP for those of you who don't know that that means) with very few Right Wing members of the class. I even had the parties select a leader to represent them, and giving our class a Prime Minister.
The first Bill we discussed (I came up with it) was that we should ban Cell Phones for anyone under the Age of 21, which was met with genuine disgust. However some students proposed amendments to the Bill with the first group lowering the age to 18 and the second lowering it to 16. Also the first group suggested that we make it illegal to talk on the phone and drive at the same time (a motion which failed).
The second Bill I proposed was switching all of the food at the cafeteria to Western Style Food, saying that it was more cost effective. This was turned down as well but some students suggested that they change some of the cafeterias to Western Food, and many saying that it was less healthy. One bright students said that we weren't asking the students what they wanted so if the students did not like the food than nobody would eat at the cafeterias and they would loose money. It was absolutely brilliant.
All in all it was a really good day of teaching for me thus far. I have the mixed pro and con of teaching the same thing nine times throughout the week, so I'm looking forward to refining this activity and finding some more stories.
I was impressed at how well they responded to Democracy, they got the concept fairly quickly. Hopefully I won't get a stern talking to for this one. If you don't hear from me in the next little while then please just call the Embassy.
Until next time,
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Myself and two friends, Steve and Jarrod, went to a near by park called Blue Mountain Scenic Area and did we ever have ourselves an adventure. First off it took us a really long time to get there, since the bus we were taking just sort of stopped and we had no idea where we were going, so we kept asking for directions (lucky for us my guide book has things written in Chinese or we would still be wandering!!!!). Once we got there though we were rewarded with some amazing views of Nanning and the surrounding area.
There were these amazing pagodas in the middle of the forest, the worlds longest bamboo corridor (it was 512m!!!!), a beautiful Buddhist temple that you could smell the incense from a mile away and this unreal lookout tower on the top of a mountain. Of course there were mini-buses going everywhere which we refused on many occasions. We were trying to get to a separate tower that we could see off in the distance and were wandering over towards it.
At this point I should point out to people that I haven't mentioned it to already. Foreigners are treated like rock stars around here. We get constantly gazed at and many, many people randomly say hello to us and giggle whenever we talk back. Life is good.
Anyway, back to reality. We were wandering around to find this tower and started walking through this field and this family (a mother, father and son that was maybe 4 years old) stopped to say hi to us. They then wanted to take our picture with their son, which we gladly obliged.
After we got to the end of the field we stopped to have a seat, as the sun started to quickly set. I was wondering just how nice our view would be in the dark and how long these mini-buses were running until, when the family came by again. Through a series of elaborate hand gestures the mother ended up offering us a drive. We were amazed and of course accepted.
They began to drive us out of the park and we really had no idea what to say (not that they would have understood anyway). They pulled over and the mother got out and started bargaining with this old lady on the side of the road. After a few minutes the father got out too, leaving the three of us foreigners alone in their new car, with their child and the keys in the ignition. Now where would you see that level of trust in North America?
They get back in with a back of star fruit and the mother turns around and gives us each one. I was spell bound I mustered out the best xiexie that I could and felt myself tearing up a bit. We communicate to the family to drop us off at the bus station (a couple of minutes from where we are) and I end up taking their picture as a memento of something that I don't think that I could ever forget.
I was so touched by this random act of kindness. Here we were as far away from home as we could ever be, in bot the literal and figurative sense, and we were treated to an act of true generosity. It made no difference in their lives I imagine to offer us a ride but it made all the difference in ours. It really goes to show me more that this world we live in is not so bad after all. One of my old high school teachers once said that "there are millions of good people out there just dying for you to ask them a favour" and I would like to add if I may "but there are few great ones who don't need to be asked". Well thousands of miles from home I met some pretty darn great ones.
I guess I need to find someway to make another deposit or two before I go into overdraft.
Until next time,
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
First off, may I remind you all just who called the final three spots in that intense Eastern Conference dogfight? Yeah I'm awesome...although I'm really sad that Montreal didn't make it to the big dance, especially since I had them pegged for the conference final at the middle of the season.
Oh how sweet it is. My team is eliminated by Toronto, and then the next night Toronto is eliminated by, of all teams, the New York Islanders. Gotta love it.
1 Buf vs 8 NYI
Well I have been calling the Sabres as cup champions since the start of the season and I see no reason to go back now. I'll give the Islanders credit to sneak one win out. Sabres in 5.
This is a no brainer. If New York wins any games is will be because of Ryan Smyth and no other reason. Buffalo in 4.
2 NJ vs 7 TB
I'm kind of torn, I like the way that Tampa has been playing and when their big four are hot they are one of the best teams in the league, but they are facing the best goalie in the league and one of the best ever. Plus betting against Jersey in the playoffs is just plain stupid, should be a good series. Jersey in 7.
I don't see NJ having much of a problem with TB. Check out this stat, NJ is one of the most defensive teams in the league, which arguably the best goalie in the league and guess how many games Tampa won this year when they scored fewer than 3 goals. Give up?? ZERO!! NJ in 5.
3. Atl vs 6 NYR
I'm really interested in seeing how the Thrashers will do in their first playoff appearance. I have criticized them heavily for the Tkachuck trade and I really wonder if Kovalchuck has the kind of heart needed to play in the spring. Also I think that Jagr's contract is tied to the Rangers winning a playoff series or two. I'm going to go for the upset. Rangers in 7.
This should be a relatively tight series but in the end I think the youth and energy of Atl will help them over the hump. Atlanta in 7.
4. Ott vs 5 Pitt
As a Senators fan I don't like the looks of this series, but as a hockey fan I think that it will be amazing. I think that Crosby and co. could not have matched up against a better team for their playoff debut. Sorry Ottawa, but you just can't compete. Penguins in 5.
This should easily be the best series of the first round. It pains me to say this but I don't see Ottawa pulling this one out. I think Crosby is going to steal the show. Pittsburgh in 6.
Well the race to the finish was not nearly so tight as it was out east, but make no mistake about it, these 8 teams are really, really good, I think that anyone of them could stand a chance of walking out of the East with relative ease. It sucks for the fans of all of these teams that half of them won't be playing in a few weeks, but it will will make for an amazing first round.
Nothing because he's a stupid head whose opinions don't matter.
1 Det vs 8 Cgy
I think that we all learned last year that Detroit is overrated and benefits from having the easiest schedule in the league. Calgary on the other hand has one of the toughest schedules out there. Plus we need at least one lower seed Alberta team pulling out a first round shock or it just wouldn't be April now would it? Calgary in 6.
Two seasons ago Calgary beat Detroit in the first round in 6. Last season Edmonton beat Detroit in the first round in 6. So can it happen again this year? I'm hoping so. Kipper steals the series. Calgary in 6.
2. Ana vs 7 Min
Little known fact: Since they changed the playoff format in 1994 to its current state there has always been at least one seventh seed upset a second seed. I really don't see that happening this year. Anaheim in 5.
This should be another good series but I think Anaheim will be much too much for Minny to handle. Anaheim in 6.
3. Van vs 6 Dal
I spent most of the season doubting the Canucks, well they have made a believer out of me. Also, Turco is one of the worst playoff goalies out there. They couldn't have lucked out more than that. Vancouver in 5.
I picked Vancouver to be strong right from the start because of only one thing, Luongo and I'm not giving up on him yet. Vancouver in 7.
4 Nash vs 5 SJ.
That brings us to the only rematch from last years playoffs. Last year the Sharks spanked the Predators in the first round. The Preds have gotten better over the year with some big additions, but so have the Sharks. Last year Nashville won a game over San Jose, this year I'll give them a second one. San Jose in 6.
This should be sweet. But in this case I'm picking experience over youthful exuberance (excluding Forsberg cuz he's like 70) so I'm picking SJ to take this one. SJ in 7.
Well that concludes our picks for the first round, I am standing by my final of Buffalo over San Jose and Troy has changed his mind yet again to Buffalo over Anaheim.
I hope you enjoy the playoffs, be sure to watch a game or two for me!!!
Until next time,
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
After being in Beijing for just a day, we flew to Nanning. After a four hour flight we were greeted with a hero's welcome by a group of students who were very keen to talk to us. I made many new friends with the Chinese students who were so very curious about my life and eager to practice their English.
One student, William (I can't remember or pronounce, let alone type is Chinese name) was extra friendly to me. He asked me and a few other guys what we thought of the Chinese girls and kept telling us tips on how to impress them. He also told me that he thought most American women were too fat for his liking. Also, we all went to a Supermarket to buy some things and I was looking for toilet paper (I'll talk about my toilet related experiences later I'm sure...) and he sent me down the tampoon aisle, laughing the entire time. I've cleraly made great friends already...
They call Nanning "The Green City", and let me tell you, it lives up to its name! The streets are lined with trees and there are parks everywhere. I honestly think that the town planners for every city in the world should come and take notes here. It is absoutely unreal just how much plantlife there is here. I will have some pictures to follow I'm sure.
I have had numerous interesting cultural experiences here already. Ordering food is quite the challenge, thankfully at one of the 10 cafeterias here there is an English menu which is great for pointing at. And mom, don't worry, there is plenty of vegan food here so your little boy is not going hungry. Also, there is a collection of about 20 basketball courts that all had games going on at once and full crowds, quite the site to see. When I was walking around I also saw a man get thrown to the ground by the cops and someone else (a civilian) kicked him a few times before strolling off. I'm not sure that would happen in Canada. Also, I have a new favourite extreme sport: Crossing the street.
Anywho, I meet my AT tomorrow and start this whole teaching thing soon after that. I'll let you all know how that goes, plus post some pictures and more stories in the days to come.
Until next time,
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
My flight leaves Saturday morning from Toronto and arrives Sunday afternoon in Beijing (by the way trying to figure out times when crossing the International Dateline is beyond confusing!!!) and I start teaching at Guangxi University in Nanning sometime next week. I will be teaching Western Civilizations to 2nd Year University Students until April 27th. After that, Team China (20 odd of us) are going to be going on a 4 day Bus Trip to Vietnam (prepare for me to begin every sentence with "Back in Nam..." for the next year or so after that) and then the real adventure starts. Me and my friend Steve (and possibly Lindsay if I can convince her over the next couple of weeks...) are going to be wandering rather aimlessly around the country. We have no real plans per say until May 25th when our flight leaves Beijing. I want to get to Macau/Hong Kong rather badly, and an old pal from Acadia, Carrie, has offered a couch in Shanghai which I would be rude not to accept. Also the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an are on my Top 5 Things to See Before I Die list, so I would be a fool not to make it there someway.
I will do my best to post some pictures/stories/confirmation that I have not been placed in a forced labour camp as often as possible, but I doubt I can make many promises.
Just to give people some perspective before I go, here is a map of China with Nanning highlighted.
So anyway, I hope that you all have an awesome couple of months and don't be shy about dropping me a line/comment, I would love to hear from you!!!!
Until next time, (whenever the heck that will be...)
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
On Sunday, I went to the theatre in North Bay with my friend Josh to watch the show. As you can all probably imagine, I was very excited to watch the big event. Sure some of the matches looked bad, I didn't care about anyone getting their head shaved, but all in all it looked like a great card.
It started out with the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. While I wondered why they were putting a big match with three former world champions at the top of the card, I understand that they wanted to get the crowd going from the beginning, so I understand the decision. The match started out crazy enough as you would expect any match with 8 wrestlers and a ton of ladders. I loved the opening bit when everyone tried to climb the ladder only to get pushed off by someone else. It really made a lot of sense since that is the whole point of the match, but usually never happens in ladder matches.
An early contender for Moment of the Night came when Jeff Hardy jumped off a giant ladder in the ring onto Edge who was lying on a ladder that was suspended between the ring and the barricade. I found this poor quality video to share, it will blow your mind...
Crazy eh? Note how Edge does not move at all after that. He stayed perfectly still while the stretcher came and took him out of the ring. I was seriously scared for him, but it turns out that his injury was planned (thank GOD!!).
Not long after that Finlay's leprauchan Hornswoggle came out and tried to grab the briefcase for Finlay only to have Mr. Kennedy (....KENNEDDDYYYY) climb the ladder and give the midget the Green Bay Plunge off of the ladder in an homage to King Kong Bundy attacking Little Beaver at Wrestelmania III (pay attention because there are a lot of those throughout the show!!!). Soon after that, CM Punk and Kennedy would compete over (...KENNEDY!!!) the case only for Kennedy to smoke Punk in the face with a ladder and grab the briefcase to end the match (KENNEDY!!!!).
While I wanted my Rated RKO co-winners, I thought that this match was seriously spectacular and a great way to start the show. Kennedy will do awesome with the brief case (....KENNEDY!!!!) and his post-match promo about being Mr. Money in the Bank....Bank was aweomse. I give it a solid 5 broken vertabrates of awesomness!!!
Glen's Mania Predictions: 0-1
Next up we had the first of many "All Grown Up" moments that have been playing over the past several weeks...ugggh. But the moment was saved when they did an incredibly pointless, but incredibly awesome dance party with the Extreme Expose, Cryme Tyme, Eugene, Slick, Dusty Rhodes, I.R.S., and Ricky F'n Steamboat (in the site of his greatest WWF Victory at you guessed it...Mania III).
The next match was Khali-Kane, which as expect was bad. They had a cool bit where Kane struggled to bodyslam the Great Khali in a tribute to, wait for it...Wrestlemania III. I wish that he had tried for a leg drop right after, that would have been pretty awesome. Anyway, Khali wins with his choke bomb finisher and I get a much needed bathroom break. I give it two steel hooks of boredom.
Glen's Mania Predictions: 1-1
Next up we have the US Title Match, which I really think should have oppend the show. Just as I said, this match was surprisingly very good, with MVP (Who got an awesome entrance with cheerleaders and such!!!) working over Benoit's shoulder which prevented him from locking on the crossface. Benoit pulled out some nice roll up counters as a nice tribute to Steamboat-Savage from...Mania III. The match was short but the guys packed a lot into it and Benoit won with the diving headbutt, something that he hasn't won with in a long time. My only concern with this match was that it wasn't quite long enough, and the fact that most people kick out of the diving headbutt made MVP look a little week. A roll up finish would have been more effective I think. Still, I give it a solid 6 German Suplexes of technical mastery!
Glen's Mania Predictions: 1-2
Then we get a wee bit of a surprise as the World Title Match comes out in the middle of the show. I understand that they wanted to space out the three Main Events, but it surprised me that this one went before the Hair vs. Hair match...although it probably shouldn't have. Anyway, this match went well beyong my expectations as both men pulled out all of the stops. While I have seen him do it every year, I am always in awe of the Undertaker pulling out a no hand suicide dive over the top rope...I mean the dude is damn near 7 feet tall and over 40 years old. Also the running powerslam from one announce table to another one by Batista was really creative and actually had me wonder if the streak would get snapped. In the end though, Undertaker became the first person to kick out of a Batista Bomb and went on to hit a tombstone for the win and the title.
Great match, with the right winner. Batista didn't snap like I thought, but it could still happen in the coming weeks to build to a rematch. I give it three powerbombs of big man goodness!!!
Glen's Mania Predictions: 2-2
Next up we have the ECW 8 man match. I've got to say that I had really high hopes for this one and was rather disappointed by the fact that it only got 6 minutes. Still it was nice to see the right team go over in a pleasant surprise. Dreamer looked genuinely touched to perform at Wrestlemania throughout the match.
Glen's Mania Predictions: 2-3
Then we got the very anticipated and over hyped Hair vs. Hair match. This was a really fun match to watch due to the people involved. Austin played his part of ref perfectly and Umaga looked extra crazy going after Austin, especially after his handler was injured (I wonder why none of the announcers mentioned that part...). Shane McMahon ran some great interference hitting the Van Terminator on Lashley to try and cost him the match. Trump then attacked Vince to a huge pop, even though they may have been the worst punches ever. Austin then recovered, hit a stunner on Umaga, allowing Lashley to get the spear and the win. McMahon's reaction to getting his head shaved was priceless and seeing Donald Trump take a stunner was perversely entertaining.
I'll give this one two razors of head shaving good times.
Glen's Mania Predictions: 3-3
We then have the Women's Match...uggh. Now I am normally a huge supporter of the Women's Division, I loved the match last year of Trish and Mickie James. But Ashley and Melina are no Trish and Mickie that's for sure. This match was really short and really bad. And what's with the clean heel win? There were a ton of Lumberjills out there who could have easily interfered on her behalf or at least done something other that stand there and giggle. I'll give this one five aprons of pointless objectification.
Glen's Mania Predictions: 3-4
My hopes of salvaging a .500 record was all hinged on the main event. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels. While I had predicted Cena I was really hoping for Michaels. I predicted that this match would be great, and I was not disappointed. These two really brought their game. It started out a little slow, but that's ok, it helped the build to the finish. Cena had his knee worked over for an extended period of time, but then like the Superman that he is he just shook it off (which is really my only real complaint here). The fast and furious ending to the match was simply amazing. HBK went for a crossbody but Cena rolled through to set up an FU, only for Michaels to flip out and go for a superkick. The two went at it hard at the end only for Cena to lock Shawn in the STFU for the submission victory in a really epic match. I do wish that they had played off the knee psychology a bit more especially if Cena wasn't going to win with the FU (he could have tried but collapsed under the pressure on his injured knee...that woudl have been awesome). But I don't want to knit pick, this was a really great match which I highly recomend that you go out and watch!!! I give it 8 Ricky Steamboats of excitment!!!!
Glen's Mania Predictions: 4-4
All in all I felt that this was a good show. I wouldn't call it great since the huge crowd was pretty quiet (especially after the Taker match) and there was no big "Moment" to speak of. But on the other hand, 7 out of the 8 matches ended cleanly, which really gives the event a certain finality that most events lack. If you see this event pop up on-line I recomend that you give it a watch. At least see the Ladder Match, The US Title Match, and both World Title Matches. The Hair vs. Hair is fun so you may want to give it a view as well.
I'm going to make a bold (and perhaps stupid) prediction for a couple of the matches at Wrestlemania 24:
Triple H vs. John Cena
Edge vs. The Undertaker
Batista vs. Lashley
Ric Flair in a retirment match of some sort
Hmmm that's shaping up to be an alright card already...
Until next time,
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Ohhh yeah, I am enough of a wrestling geek to have everyone's Wrestlemania Record posted with each wrestler...
United States Title Match:
Chris Benoit (c) vs. MVP
These two men competed with Finaly in a Triple Threat Money in The Bank Qualifying Match and both ended up losing to the fighting Irish Man. The next week, MVP complained that he deserved to be at Wrestlemania and so he challenged Benoit for the US Title. Never one to back down from a fight, Benoit accepted. MVP has spent the past few weeks warming up against champions from other countries including Hondourus and Liechtenstein in some pretty entertaining squash matches.
Glen says: The WWE is really high on MVP, and if they want him to look like a million bucks on a grand stage then they are making the right decision putting him in the right with Benoit. I have read accounts of MVP's earlier matches from ROH and DSW (where he wrestled as Antonio Banks) that he has a lot more wrestling ability than he has ever used. Apparently he can bust out a Springboard Shooting Star Press. I expect both men to pull out all the stops here, but just like last year I see Benoit dropping the US Title.
Winner: MVP via feet on the ropes
Kane vs The Great Khali
Khali moved to RAW from ECW back in January, but showed up on Smackdown! to cost Kane his Money in the Bank Qualifying Match at the request of King Booker. The two have been attacking each other on both shows for the past several weeks, and Kane has even been carrying hooks and chains like his character in See No Evil.
Glen says: The WWE loves Khali due to his freakish size. Kane is rumoured to be taking some time off to heel some injuries. Expect a five star classic.
Winner: The Great Khlai via one of the three moves he knows how to do
Lumberjill Match for the Women's Title:
Melina (c) vs. Ashley
Ashley is the most recent Playboy cover girl. The amount of promotion and publicity Ashley has received has enraged Melina. On a recent epsiode of RAW, Melina was defending her title agasint Mickie James (where she almost broke Mickie's neck, may I add as an editorial) and Ashley came from Smackdown! to serve as the guest ring announcer. After the match Ashley and Melina got into a heated exchange and this match was signed. Melina has spent the past couple of weeks wrestling the other Playboy cover girls, Torrie and Candice. On the latest episode of RAW it was announced that this match would be a Lumberjill Match, so the other divas will surround the ring and are able to attack either of the wrestlers who leave the ring.
Glen says: Ashley is defiently on the rise and I think that the WWE sees her as the new Trish Stratus ( don't think that there will ever be a new one!!!). Melina on the other hand is apparetnly in some hot water due to her bad attitude and sloppy in ring work. The fact that Melina has made so many enemies tells me that one of the divas will interfere.
Winner: Ashley via divaterference, hopefully from Mickie who can then go on to be obsessed with Ashley like she was with Trish last year, I miss crazy Mickie a lot.
ECW Originals (RVD, Sabu, Dreamer, The Sandman) vs. The New Breed (Burke, Cor Von, Striker, Thorne)
RVD is 3-0, everone else 0-0
In January, Vince McMahon made his first apperance on ECW on Sci-Fi and ran down the stars of the old ECW and said that the future of ECW lied with a new group of stars. After this the battle lines were drawn and the four ECW Originals have been competing with the four members of The New Breed in a series of matches. Many of these matches were marred by interefrence from one side or another (usually The New Breed) and in order to settle ths score this match was signed.
Glen says: Seeing Sabu, Dreamer and The Sandman perform at Wrestlemania will be very, very surrel. I wish that the WWE would shell out the money to Metallica for the rights to use "Enter Sandman" like they did for the first One Night Stand. That would be a Wrestlemania Momeny and then some. But as for the match itself, I really think that this will go for the young guys. Some of these guys (especially Elijah Burke and Marcus Cor Von) have some serious potential and so I expect to see them go over here. Plus RVD and Sabu are from Michigan, so they will more that likely follow the "Faces in their hometowns always loose" rule that the WWE loves to follow.
Winner: The New Breed via PPPPPPPPPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUU
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Edge vs. CM Punk vs. King Booker vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Kennedy (....KENNEDY!!!) vs. Matt Hardy vs. Finlay vs. Randy Orton
5-0 0-0 1-3 0-3 0-0 1-4 0-1 1-2
(Records listed in same order as competitors)
This will be the third year in a row where we have a Money in the Bank Match at Wrestlemania, however, this year it is slightly different since there will be 8 participants as opposed to 6. Edge won the first one at Wrestlemania 21, while Rob Van Dam won it last year. Both wrestlers cashed it in to win the WWE Title from John Cena. Just like last year there were a series of qualifying matches for people to earn their spot in this big match. They went as follows: Edge defeated RVD, CM Punk defeated Johnny Nitro, King Booker beat Kane, Jeff Hardy put away two-time participant Shelton Benjamin, Mr. Kennedy beat Sabu in an Extreme Rules Match (...KENNEDY!!!), Matt Hardy beat Joey Mercury, Finlay defeated Chris Benoit and MVP in a triple threat match, and Randy Orton beat Carlito and Ric Flair in a triple threat elimination match (after the initial Carlito-Flair match was thrown out after The Great Khali attacked both wrestlers). This has the most amount of Money in the Bank veterans, as Edge, Finlay, and Matt Hardy have all participated in preveious versions of this match. Also, this version has three former World Champions involved (Edge, Orton, and Booker) making it perhaps the biggest Money in the Bank Match yet. There have been two major stories that have been focused on, Edge constantly ducking out of matches and teasing confrontations with partner, Randy Orton, and the fact that Matt and Jeff Hardy are going to be facing one another in a ladder match for the first time.
Glen says: The way I see it, there are three favourites, CM Punk,Mr. Kennedy and Edge. The first two are quickly emerging future stars who could use a big win on a grand stage. The third though is on a very hot heel role and is a former Money in the Bank winner. Also, he is undefeated at Wrestlemania and this would be an anti-climactic way to end that streak, however the teased turn on Orton has been a long time coming, and I see them stretching it over. As a result, I'm going to make a bit of a bold prediction, they will BOTH win it by grabbing the case at the same time. This could set up an interesting feud between the two, or they could rule that they have to use it for a Triple Threat Match. There's a solid 6 months of storylines in there
Winner: Edge and Randy Orton via duel climb and fall.
Hair vs. Hair Match
Special Referee Steve Austin
Bobby Lashley (w/Donald Trump) vs. Umaga (w/ Vince McMahon and Armando Estrada)
Vince McMahon and Donald Trump argued and took shots at one another. Donald Trump showed up on RAW and challenged Vince to a match at Wrestlemania. Vince said no, but instead said that he would choose a representative and Donald would choose one as well and they could have a match. Trump added the stipulation that it would be a Hair vs. Hair Match since Vince had made fun of Trump's famous coif. In the following weeks, Vince announced that his representative would be Umaga (who went on to win the Intercontinental Title that night) and Trump announced that his would be Bobby Lashley, ECW Champion. It was then announced that Steve Austin would be the Special Guest Referee. Since then Vince has been booking Lashley in unfavourable situations but Lashley has came out on top more often than not. This match has been gaining a fair amount of main stream media attention and is one of the most heavily promoted matches in recent Wrestlemania history.
Glen: A lot of people on-line are saying that this is going to be a terrible match, but I beg to differ. Lashley has had some good matches recently and Umaga is really very good considering his size. Plus the agents and veterans, including Austin, will make sure that this match goes down well. As for the outcome, they are clearly grooming Lashley to be one of the companies cornerstones, so I can't see him loosing.
Winner: Lashley via Austin Stunner
World Title Match
Batista (c) vs. The Undertaker
Back in January The Undertaker won the Royal Rumble, gaurenteeing him a shot at a title for Wrestelmania. He spent the next week teasing that he may switch shows. However, he went with the expected challenge on Batista when he choke slammed him on on episode of RAW. Tensions have been building between the two. Especially at No Way Out when Batista attacked The Undertaker and cost their team a match against Cena and Michaels. The two wrestlers have literally been throwing other people at one another during this feud and attacking each other periodically. The Undertaker of course brings his legendary Wrestlemania winning streak into this match pitting it against Batista's World Title.
Glen Says: Batista is not the man to end the streak. Taker could really use one last run with a World Title before he hangs it up in the near future. Besides I really want to see a Streak vs. Streak match between Edge and Taker at Wrestlemania 24. Ohhh and Batista should totally snap and go ape shit on Taker after he looses setting up a heel turn.
Winner: The Undertaker via a Tombstone or two
WWE Title Match
John Cena (c) vs. Shawn Michaels
After The Undertaker decided to challenge Batista at Wrestlemania it left WWE Champion John Cena. Shawn Michaels won a Triple Threat Match against Edge and Randy Orton to secure a shot at Cena. After that, Michaels and Cena maintained an uneasy friendship, even winning the World Tag Titles along the way. There were many cases where Michaels teased that he would turn on Cena but never did. The WWE did an amazing job of showing Michaels history of turning on people from Marty Jannetty to Hulk Hogan to further build dissension. Finally on the last RAW before Wrestlemania, Michaels superkicked Cena in the middle of a tag match against Undertaker and Batista (in a rematch from No Way Out) to further add to the match.
Glen says: I think that this match should be a classic. Cena performs well in big match situations and has improved a lot in the past year or so. Shawn Michaels, is of course Shawn Michaels. Perhaps the best performer in big match situations that this industry has ever seen. No matter who walks out of this match with the title the fans will be big winners here. I think that when it boils down to it Cena needs this win a lot more than Michaels does. Shawn is already a legend and a big win by Cena over Michaels would put him on track to be one himself.
Winner: Cena by a crazy finishing sequence that may even involve a top-rope F-U.
So in conclusion, I think that this card has a chance to surprise. I am a little bummed out that some of my favourites like Flair and Carlito do not have a match, but it should give us more time for the ones that they already have. I expect Cena-Michaels to really steal the show, with the Ladder Match giving us some amazing "Holy Shit" moments for years to come. A lot of people on the internet are saying that this is going to be a terrible show, but I'm excited none the less.
It is what we wrestling geeks live for after all.
Until next time,
I don't think that I need to give you any intro here, you've already gotten enough here.
We get an the first of a McNutt two part here, by getting his thoughts on one of the bravest athletic performances ever...
March 29, 1998
WWF Title Match - Shawn Micheals vs. Steve Austin
This Sunday at Wrestlemania 23, Shawn Michaels will be challenging John Cena for the WWE Championship. Unless you’ve followed wrestling over the years, you probably have no idea how shocking this is.
It’s not just that Shawn Michaels is still a top-tier talent in the company twenty years after he first started wrestling for them, surprising because of his age – he’s 42 this year – and also because he’s been suspended, has temporarily quit or has been on bad terms with management so many times. But the real shocker is that after a back injury he suffered at the 1998 Royal Rumble, few thought he would ever wrestle again.
Facing the Undertaker in a casket match, Michaels took a body drop to the outside, smashing his back on the roof of the casket. The result? One disc in his back was completely crushed, leaving two more herniated. He finished the match (somehow), but his doctors made it very clear that his career as a wrestler was at an end. But standing in the way of that sunset was one last order of business: handing off the title to the icon waiting in the wings.
To his credit, the Heartbreak Kid didn’t use his injury as an excuse to avoid losing his title in the ring (as he had done before) or to change the existing storyline. Wrestlemania XIV was designed as the coronation of Stone Cold Steve Austin, the foul-mouthed anti-hero who had become the WWF’s biggest fan sensation since Hulk Hogan. Having returned from a potentially career-ending neck injury to win the Intercontinental Title, Austin had vacated the title to go after the WWF championship, earning his shot like everyone did at the time by winning the Royal Rumble.
It was more than just the ascendancy of Austin as a star that was at stake for the WWF, as their product was beginning to climb out of a deep, dark hole. For the first time years they were not only beginning to compete with the television ratings of competitor WCW, but they were generating some genuine mainstream buzz. Capitalizing on this, Vince McMahon arranged for the baddest man in all of sports, Mike Tyson (yes, this is post-ear banquet) to serve as the special guest enforcer for the match. The move was a media coup, ensuring that more eyes were focused on the WWF and on Wrestlemania than in any of the years since their mid-80s heyday.
So what on earth could Shawn Michaels do? He was in no condition to wrestle – in fact, while he regularly made TV appearances to build the feud with Austin, HBK never wrestled or defended his title in the two months leading up to Wrestlemania; the risk just wasn’t worth it. But he also was in no position to try and weasel out of his obligations again, not with what was at stake. Would he be able to even compete at the biggest event of the year, and possibly the biggest night for the WWF in years?
The answer was a resounding yes. I have no idea how he did it, but Shawn Michaels not only managed to get in the ring and go toe-to-toe with Austin but actually put on a hell of a show – we’re not talking a ***** classic here or anything, but at least a **** match to remember. Perhaps it was the crowd that was so excited to see their hero Austin prevail that drove Michaels to suffer through what must have been some of the worst pain of his life, I don’t know. But as someone who followed wrestling enough at the time to know that this might be Michaels last match, I could see the discomfort and outright agony with every move he did. And yet, he kept going far above and beyond what was expected of him given his condition.
After almost half an hour, the match came to an end. Michaels, after somehow gathering the strength to make a top-rope elbow drop, went for his Sweet Chin Music finisher. But after a series of reversals, Austin hit HBK with his Stone Cold Stunner and, despite an unconscious referee, Tyson came in to make the three count(Tyson had aligned himself with Michaels’ DX stable, but in the end was revealed to be in Austin’s corner all along). The crowd went bananas as the WWF Attitude era began with its most iconic figure finally ascending to the top of the ladder.
Watching the ending of the match all these years later, I can’t help but be struck with the look of relief that comes over Michaels’ face as he hits the mat and is pinned for the title. During the entire post-match celebration, Michaels just lays there in the middle of the ring. Later, we learned that this wasn’t an act – he literally couldn’t move. Every ounce of adrenaline had been used to keep his body going for one last match, and it finally gave out on him. After the credits rolled and as the fans were leaving the arena, officials and friends helped a hobbling Michaels get backstage.
Shawn Michaels did wrestle again, obviously: he healthily returned to action in the summer of 2002 and has been competing near the top of his game ever since. In fact, the WWE has used him extremely wisely these last few years, giving him dream matches against their best and brightest stars and Michaels has time and time again brought his A-game to the table (he seems to have matured nicely in his old age). But this late-career run was never necessary to establish his legacy; had he never wrestled again after WMXIV, he would have gone out on one hell of a high note.
Next up, Travis chimes in with the first of a two match installment that came from the second Wrestlemania to come from Toronto...
March 17, 2002
No DQ Match - The Undertaker vs Ric Flair
Ric Flair, the greatest professional wrestler of all time, would return to WrestleMania ten years after his last appearance (discussed in my previous post). He had wrestled the last match in WCW Nitro history, losing to Sting on March 26, 2001. He had a very lengthy absence from wrestling, returning to television in November of 2001 as the co-owner of WWF. The storyline had Flair purchasing the WWF stock of Stephanie and Shane McMahon prior to their purchase of WCW & ECW.
This led to Flair’s first match since his return to WWF television, against Vince McMahon at the Royal Rumble. A bloody Ric Flair would force the genetic jackhammer to submit to the figure-four leg lock in the street fight. On the same card, in the Royal Rumble match, a young Maven would eliminate the Undertaker. This greatly angered the Dead Man who would go on to eliminate Maven from the match.
On an episode of Smackdown! the Rock brought up Taker’s embarrassing elimination and the two began a feud. This would see Taker causing the young Maivia to lose his #1 contendership for the undisputed title, and the Rock costing the Undertaker a match against Maven for the Hardcore title. The two future Hall of Famers feuded up to a match at No Way Out. Following interference from Ric Flair (you knew this was coming in somewhere, right?) the Rock emerged triumphant.
The Undertaker would then challenge the Nature Boy to a match at WrestleMania 18. Initially Flair wanted no piece of the Dead Man, declining the offer of a match. The Undertaker was not about to take no for an answer, though, and during several weeks on Smackdown! he would assault those close to Flair, including the Enforcer Arn Anderson and Flair’s son, the ruddy-faced David, in a fine television moment I remember to this day. Flair finally accepted the challenge and Vince McMahon subsequently gave the match a No DQ stipulation.
The build to this match was epic. No one cuts a promo like Flair, who would bring up the Undertaker’s impressive record at the Mania, and his segments during this time were excellent. In his special lisp, Flair vowed to give the Undertaker “WrestleMania moment after Wrestlemania moment.” Great stuff. Having Undertaker go after Flair’s friends and family only added to the tension leading up to this match. It’s amazing the difference that solid storytelling can make in building a match.
Say what you want about the in-ring abilities of the aging Flair, but at WrestleMania he wrestled the longest match of the night. He put his body on the line, bled like he did in his heyday, and put on a brilliant hardcore encounter with the already legendary Undertaker. We all know who won this one; the Undertaker put Flair away following a Tombstone piledriver at just about the 19-minute mark.
On a card that featured Rock v. Hogan, this match really shone. It was nothing short of two legendary performers giving it their all. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of both Flair and Taker, and to see two of my favourites collide on the biggest stage of all was truly a treat. The Undertaker cemented his record at 10-0 and Flair would prove that he could still go, even if “the yard” belonged to the Dead Man.
Despite it being a dream match, it really didn’t impact WWF storylines that much. Following the official brand extension experiment, with McMahon running Smackdown! and Flair RAW, and the WWF being changed to the WWE, Flair would eventually lose his stake as owner. McMahon defeated a bloody Flair with the aid of Brock Lesnar on the June 10 episode of Monday Night RAW. Following this would come the dark ages of NWO on WWE television and many a night of horrible programming. It’s nice to look back on Mania 18, though, to remember the night that not only had the Great One and the Immortal One, but also a classic encounter between the Phenom and the Nature Boy.
McNutt concludes my two previous teasers by posting his second match of this entry and giving the other Wrestlemania X8 Dream Match...
March 17, 2002
Icon vs. Icon - Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock
From all that I’ve read about wrestling over the years, “passing the torch” is a really big fucking deal. There seems to be one heck of an honour system in wrestling, so when a big name star is willing to lie down and lose to an up-and-comer, it’s taken as a huge sign of respect and a recognition of the new guard.
Hulk Hogan makes for an interesting case study. Despite serving as WWF Champion for two years previously, his match at Wrestlemania III (which was already discussed in a previous post) was considered the moment where Hogan received the torch. Since then, Hogan has been something of a torch-hogger. Sure, at times he has been willing to pass it off briefly – most notably to the Ultimate Warrior at WMVI – but usually ends up wiggling his way into the spotlight again and stealing it back. At other times, he’s been completely unwilling to give it up – he refused to lose the title to Bret Hart before leaving the WWF after WMIX and his contract with WCW gave him a booking veto that allowed him to remain torched through most of his time there (his only big loss to a newcomer was losing the belt Goldberg…but he got it back soon afterwards). Hogan was also with WCW during a time where it created very few new stars (outside of Goldberg), which ameant that torch-passing opportunities were rare to begin with.
But all of that changed when the WWF bought out WCW. Vince McMahon now had control of all of WCW’s property including some of their biggest trademarks and brand names. And although it had been driven into the ground by WCW, the idea of a reunited nWo was too much to resist. In early 2002, rumours begin to run rampant that the original nWo trio – Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash – were going to return to the WWF. And while Hall and Nash were good and all (when the latter was healthy and the former was sober…which in both cases was quite rare), what excited fans the most was a chance to see Hulk Hogan, THE defining wrestler of the 1980s (and a good deal of the 90s) face all of the superstars dominating the WWF in the 00s, few of which were even around when Hogan left eight years earlier.
Hogan and the nWo returned as heels, and Hogan targeted third-generation superstar and HUGE fan-favourite The Rock for his first target (Steve Austin might have been the more obvious iconic choice, but rumours suggest that Austin wasn’t on the best terms with Hogan or WWF management at the time, so he declined the storyline and faced Hall at Wrestlemania instead). Billed as “Icon vs. Icon,” Hogan and The Rock would stare each other down at Wrestlemania X8 at the Skydome in Toronto, the site where 12 years earlier Hogan first tried to hand off the torch to the Warrior.
The match was decent, all things considered, but like most things involving Hogan, the wrestling wasn’t the reason it’s remembered. In this case, Hogan/Rock stands as one of the most fascinating crowd reactions and storyline reversals in WWF history. In the weeks leading up to the show, Vince and the writers had done everything in their power to make Hogan out to be a vindictive monster who had it in for the Rock. But all the plot devices in the world couldn’t convince the Toronto crowd to boo their former hero on his return to the ring. From the moment the wrestlers walked down the aisle, the crowd was firmly behind Hogan and, if only for opposing the Hulkster, The Rock was the subject of boos and jeers.
If anyone involved in the match saw this coming, they did a great job of acting surprised. Some of the match’s best moments were when Hogan did such stereotypically ‘bad guy’ moves like a back rake and hitting The Rock with his belt…and the crowd cheers, CHEERS! Hogan looks absolutely shocked, but soon both him and The Rock realize what is happening and smartly reverse rolls in the middle of the match.
This fascinating reversal also changed the match’s ending on the fly. The Rock, rightfully, was always supposed to win, and so he did, but it took two Rock Bottoms and a People’s Elbow to put Hollywood Hogan away. Hogan had rightfully allowed a younger superstar to defeat him cleanly in the middle of the ring (which, as many know, is something Hogan doesn’t do very often). But everyone involved improvised a new post-match storyline, having Hogan and Rock shake hands and embrace at the end of the match and fight off the attacking nWo. This gave Hogan a full-blown face turn, allowing him a chance to posedown for the 70,000+ crowd to their delight.
Alas, as fantastic as this moment was, its legacy has been kind of tainted by how Hogan’s newfound popularity was handled, the WWF rushing him into a title reign that just seemed stupid and completely wrong for how his character should have been used. During a time in his career where he should have been handing off the torch during one last glory run, Hogan found himself once again holding fire in his hand. Oh well – at least he got WM18 right.
I chime in with the last of the Mania Matches here. I also put in a huge dream match from Wrestlemania XIX (man I missed those Roman Numerals!!!!). On a card that featured Angle-Lesnar and Hogan-McMahon, you may be surprised which match I consider the dream...
March 30, 2003
Shawn Micheals vs. Chris Jericho
First off, let me get something out of the way. I am a HUGE fan of both of these men and this was a mach that I had been dying to see for years. When back injuries made Shawn Micheals leave wrestling in 1998, I thought that this match would never happen.
So you can imagine my joy when a feud between this two started to brew in January 2003. It started out simply enough, Jericho began to claim that as the First Ever Undisputed Champion that he was the best ever and there was nothing that he hadn't done. Who should interrupt this, but Mr. Michaels. He claimed that Jericho had never won the Royal Rumble from entering at number one. Jericho, the consummate egomaniac (hmmmm no wonder I like him so much), decided that he would enter the Rumble at Number 1 only to find out that Shawn Michaels had beat him to it. Jericho entered in at number 2 and through hook and crook was able to eliminate Michaels in one of the most shocking eliminations in Royal Rumble history. A few months of attacks and beat downs later and here we are. A match that I had wanted to see for so long but never thought I would be able to.
The match itself was a thing of beauty. Jericho spent the early parts of the match working on Shawn's back. An ode to his previous back injury and the fact that his trademark Walls of Jericho targets the back as well. Jericho spent the match doing many of Shawn's trademark moves such as the elbow drop and the kip-up. It is one of the few times when watching a match that I was genuinely rooting for both men. However, that changed at the end. Shawn was down and out. Jericho began stomping on the mat to "tune up the band", just like Michaels has done time and time again. He went in for a Superkick and even did a small "Ali Shuffle" in the middle before planting HBK with the most beautiful superkick I have ever seen. He went for the pin and I got really, really excited. ONEW-TWO-THRRRRRR...NO!!!! Shawn's shoulder went up and my heart dropped. A short roll-up later and Shawn was declared the winner.
This match would mark one of the last times that Jericho would serve as a feature performer for a big card, other than his awesome feud with Cena in 2005. I can't help but feel that they blew their chance with this one. A Jericho win would have vaulted him into legendary status, but he was soon sacrificed to Goldberg and then thrown in a boring feud with Kevin Nash before falling farther down the card. Poor booking and hindsight aside, this is still a match I look back at very fondly, a chance to see two of my absolute favourites from two different eras go one-on-one in a match for the ages. That is what Wrestlemania is all about.
And that concludes it for our Shades of Wrestlemania. I will chime in at some point before the big show with my predictions.
I hope that you all give the show a chance tonight. Who knows what future memory you may just find out tonight...
Until next time,