Kicks Out At 2 1/2

Salutations all! As most of you might have heard, ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair is currently being hospitalized, in a medically induced coma, and is awaiting surgery from what I hear is organ failure (Please don’t quote me on that though). Honestly, I’ve been kind of confused from all the stories that have been coming out but i digress. I’m writing this here post to share what kind of influence Ric Flair had on my life. I’ll try to keep it short.

As long as I can remember, while watching WWF or WCW. I’ve always been a fan of the “heel” or the “bad guy” if you’re unfamiliar with wrestling insider terms. Growing up, there was no better heel than Ric Flair. The 16x World Champ was extravagant, cocky, brash, and villainous during his in-ring career. He bragged about his skill in and outside the ring, how much money he had, and how much better he was than all of the fans in attendance and watching at home. All these qualities and traits that would make me absolutely HATE any other man, didn’t apply to Flair. He made being the bad guy ‘cool’.

“I’m every woman’s dream, and every man’s nightmare”

– Ric Flair

In a world (of wrestling) filled with ‘Do gooding’ gigantic tanned meat heads in ripped shirts. Flair stood alone, looking proper in his gator shoes, perfectly quaffed hair, and custom tailored suites and robes. He was unique in every way. Watching Flair break the mold of what a Wrestler should look and act like changed me. I didn’t want to be like everyone else. I didn’t want to like what everyone else liked. I didn’t want to dress how everyone else did. I strived to set myself apart from the people around me at a young age and that’s definitely something I still do to this very day. Sure I became a little bit of a snob or as some of you would call it “a hipster” but being that way helped me develop appreciation for originality in all walks of life. I loved being different, the feeling was freeing to me. I credit Ric Flair for teaching me something that most people don’t get until their late 20’s. Now I know I could have totally misinterpreted what Flair was all about when I was young. if so, it was probably the best mistake I’ve ever made.

I’m Hoping and praying that he pulls through this ordeal. Me and the rest of SSB would love to see him recover and strut out of that hospital and straight into a limousine. 

J2S

Rarely ever do I post any tee designs from so called “upcoming” fashionistas or artists. I don’t think I’ve actually ever spread light on any newcomers. That’s genuinely not because I don’t want to give someone a chance, or because I think I’m too big to post about it. It’s because I just never felt like this was the proper venue to do strictly designer posts on artists that I didn’t actually know. If I had any friends that were trying to get into the clothing game I would do what I can to help those I know on a personal level but only when I can support the product. Lucky for me, we have one of those cases.

I like doing posts on my peoples projects without them asking. So that they (just like all of you) get the experience to wake up. If you don’t know, I’m a huge wrestling fan. Anything from mainstream WWE to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Ring Of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Wrestle Circus. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw that someone mashed my two worlds together (Wrestling & “Streetwear”) and brilliantly put it on a shirt.

Above is just a few of his tee designs and color variations. Sorry you already missed the special preorder price and Yeah, that’s MF Tama Tonga rocking Joel2Sleep’s Bullet Ape Tee in that picture.

It’s a pleasure to see someone pour all of their energy and hard work into a project, smart money would say don’t bet against him even in a densely over crowded clothing game. Check his site out to see all he has to offer and spend some money. That’s the end of today’s diatribe. Enjoy the visuals and go follow Joel2Sleep on EVERYTHING.

Website: Joel2Sleep
Twitter: @Joel2Sleep
Insta: joel2sleep

Remembering “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

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[via http://www.ign.com] Wrestling hall of famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper passed away today at the age of 61. Born Roderick George Toombs, Piper was one of wrestling’s all-time great personalities and talkers. Known worldwide for his signature bagpipe music and kilt, The Rowdy One was beloved for his antics as both a dastardly villain and as a fan favorite icon.

Piper began his wrestling career at the age of 15 after running away from home a few years prior. Throughout the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Piper made a name for himself wrestling for the various wrestling territories of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Following his classic dog collar match with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine at the first Starrcade event in 1983, Piper joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

In 1984, Piper’s ever popular interview segment Piper’s Pit debuted. On one infamous incident, Piper interview Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. After insulting Snuka’s Polynesian heritage, Piper smashed a coconut over Snuka’s head leading to long feud between the two.

Another infamous feud would involve 80’s pop star Cyndi Lauper, WWF manager “Captain” Lou Albano, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, Hulk Hogan, and Mr. T. Dubbed the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection”, this period would mark a turning point in WWF’s mainstream popularity and lead to the company’s unprecedented success for years to come. On December 28, 1984 Lauper presented Albano with an award that angered Piper. In turn, Piper attacked Albano which led to Hogan coming in defense of Albano and Lauper. This would lead to a WWF World Title championship match between Hogan and Piper on February 18, 1985 at an event called “The War to Settle The Score”. This match up would be broadcasted on MTV and would show Hogan defeating Piper via disqualification after Orndorff interfered. With the odds uneven, Mr. T would enter the ring in defense of Hogan. This all culminated in a tag team match up at the very first Wrestlemania between Piper and Orndorff vs. Hogan and Mr. T. A year later, Piper would have another high profile match with Mr. T at the 2nd Wrestlemania, but this time in a boxing fight.

Following, Wrestlemania 2, Piper would go on to become a fan favorite, won the WWF Intercontinental Championship, and even served as interim WWF President. In 1996, after a memorable “Hollywood Backlot Brawl” at Wrestlemania XII, Piper would leave the WWF and make a surprise debut at WCW’s Halloween Havoc to challenge Hogan. In a non-title main event match at Starrcade 1996, Piper would go on to defeat Hogan. Piper would go on to make several more appearances in WCW until 2000.

Throughout the early 2000’s Piper would make sporadic appearance in both the now WWE and Total Nonstop Action (TNA). Then finally, in 2005, Piper was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame. Since his induction, Piper made several on and off appearances on WWE TV, including numerous Piper’s Pit segments. And each time Piper would demonstrate time and time again that he still had it on the mic. Roddy Piper is survived by his wife and four children.

On a personal note, Roddy Piper was to me a true icon in the wrestling business. He was one of the first wrestlers I saw to really grab my attention at a young age. Every time I heard this man speak, I would stop whatever it was what I was doing and paid attention. The man truly had a gift to entertain as a villain and as a fan favorite. Watching him on old WWF Coliseum Home videos or on WCW Monday Nitro during the Monday Night Wars are some of my favorite wrestling memories. One of biggest regrets is not taking advantage of the two opportunities I had to meet the man. Fortunately, last year I was able to watch him do a live recording of his podcast. Roddy, we will miss. Thank you for all of the classic moments and memories. I’m going to close this with my favorite Roddy Piper match.

 

 

Remembering “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes

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via tumblr.com

Yesterday, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes passed away at the age of 69 years old. Born Virgil Riley Runnels Jr., the future Hall of Famer made his debut in professional wrestling in 1968 teaming with fellow legend Dick Murdoch. But it wasn’t until 1974 when Rhodes would become a fan favorite and break out as a superstar. “The Son of a Plumber” would go on to captivate audiences with his undeniable charisma in the ring and on the mic. His signature move, the bionic elbow, is often still used today in tribute to Rhodes, and his iconic “Hard Times” promo is unquestionably one of the greatest and most influential of all time.

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via http://wtvr.com

On August 21, 1979, Rhodes would go on to defeat then champion the great Harley Race and capture his first of three National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight Championship reigns. In later years, Rhodes would have a memorable feud with “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen culminating in the creation of the WarGame match at The Great American Bash 1987. Rhodes created the match himself after watching the film Beyond Thunderdome.

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Via cagedseats.com

During this period, Rhodes was also the booker for Jim Crockett Promotions (the forerunner to World Championship Wrestling) and was notorious for what would be known as the “Dusty finish”. The “Dusty Finish” is when a fan favorite wrestler appears to win a big match or championship, only to have that ruling reversed due to some kind of technicality. This type of booking technique is still used today, as recently as last month’s WWE Elimination Chamber match when it appeared Dean Ambrose had captured the title from champion Seth Rollins only for Rollins to retain the championship due to disqualification.

In 1989, Rhodes made his debut in the World Wrestling Federation as the yellow polka-dotted “Common Man” where he would go on to have feuds with The Big Boss Man, The Honky Tonk Man, and “The Macho Man” Randy Savage. In 1991, Rhodes would team up with his 20-year old son Dustin (later Goldust) against “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase. However, shortly after, Rhodes would leave the WWF and his career as a full-time wrestler would come to an end.

Following his time with the WWF, Rhodes would go back to booking and commentating for WCW, have a brief stint in the New World Order (nWo) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), serve as head booker and writer for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), then finally return to the now WWE in 2005 under a Legends deal and as a creative consultant. In 2007, Rhodes was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his sons Dustin and Cody.

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via WWE.com

Recently, Rhodes served as a trainer in WWE’s developmental system, NXT. Several NXT stand outs including Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Sasha Banks credit Rhodes for being a mentor and helping each of them significantly evolve into better performers. Below is a link to a fantastic post Sami Zyan wrote about his time with Dusty Rhodes.

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1smklsp

On a personal note, I just wanted to say that I was introduced to Dusty after watching old WWF coliseum videos in the early 90’s. Back then I was entirely unaware of the NWA and all of Dusty’s past accomplishments. It wasn’t until the mid-90’s when I began watching WCW programming that I was introduced to the true legacy of Dusty Rhodes. And with his DVD release in 2006, and the advent of Youtube, I was able to take a deeper look into his entire career. It’s been a fortunate experience watching all of that old footage, and one I truly appreciate. Especially his promos, Dusty had a true knack for capturing your attention with his words. Whether those promos were light-hearted or serious, he was always able to convey both convincingly. Thank you Dusty for everything you gave to the business, to your peers, to your students, and to us the fans. We will miss you.

Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling

Max Landis (writer of Chronicle and The Death & Return of Superman) has released his newest short film titled “Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling”. Beginning with his debut in the WWF in 1995 as a Connecticut Blueblood to his current role as Chief Operating Officer and leader of The Authority in WWE, Landis recounts all of the major arcs in Triple H’s career over the past 20 years. Furthermore, Landis uses this film to demonstrate that while wrestling may not be “real”, wrestling is something much more grand. As Landis states, “Wrestling is melodrama. Wrestling is mythology. Wrestling is action. Wrestling is comic books. The only thing wrestling isn’t is wrestling.” Check out the video below and be on the look out for all of the amazing cameos.

State of the WWE – Post WM30

It’s been a hellacious of a couple weeks in the WWE. Now that we are two weeks removed from Wrestlemania (in the Silverdome, brother! lol), enough time has passed to gather my thoughts and see what the programming may/may not have in store for us. Here are some key thoughts I had:

First, let us reflect on the passing of the Ultmate Warrior. He is perhaps the most enigmatic superstar of all time. Just as it seems he buried the hatchet with Vince McMahon… His chilling RAW speech the Monday after which was most intriguing. Warrior almost certainly foretold the end of his own legend and told the fans how to maintain his legacy. My heart goes out to his family, especially his young daughters. He is an icon for all the ages. We’ll always have your cryptic promos.

Was there ever any doubt about Daniel Bryan? No. That’s all. He’s a great worker and they built up to this so well (and almost for too long). Evolution is back and they will have their hands full against The Shield. All that left is to turn Hulk Hogan “Hollywood” again and bring back the nWo to partake in this stable feud.

21-1: The Streak is over. Oh yeah, spoiler alert. Brock Lesnar beat the Undertaker into a severe concussion on the greatest stage of them all. If there is anyone worthy of it, it is the former NCAA and UFC champ Lesnar. What interests me most is how the WWE capitalizes on it. Who will Lesnar face next? Batista has already become a victim of bad booking. Maybe Lesnar takes a break until next Wrestlemania because Cesaro is also a Paul Heyman guy and may finally receive his more than well-deserved push (eh negatron3000?).

Let’s face it, with the world watching, CM Punk was (and still is) a no-show. Maybe we have seen the last of Phil Brooks. It would have been the perfect time for him to surface, even for an instant. Alas, Stone Cold mentioned on his podcast that he’d regret not being there and time will tell if that’s true. However, Rob Van Dam is back and stars from NXT like Paige, EmmaRusev, Adam Rose and Bo Dallas have bigger parts on the main roster. Triple H, you did well by revamping the developmental system. Now if only they’d let Big E Langston do the five count… The world keeps turning and the WWE doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

P.S. Bray Wyatt and John Cena. Best promos ever.

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Video clips taken from WWE YouTube channel. Articles from Bleacher Report WWE and eWrestlingNews. WWE wrestler images were taken from WWE.com and screencapped from WWE programming.

CM Punk: Best in the World…at Walking Out?

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WWE /  via http://cmpunk.com/

On Monday, January 28th CM Punk took his ball and went home.  The longest reigning WWE Champion of the modern era is no longer with the company he wanted to make “cool” again just 3 years prior. While there has be no official confirmation as to why Punk quit, the main reasons making the dirtsheet rounds have been the injuries he’s been dealing with , that he’s burnt out from the road, and his placement on the upcoming Wrestlemania 30 card where he would have squared off against Triple H. TMZ is going as far as reporting that Punk is specifically upset with the fact Batista (who just returned to the WWE two weeks ago after a four year hiatus) won the Royal Rumble and is already going on to main event Wrestlemania despite not being in wrestling shape.

Below is an excerpt from a 2011 interview CM Punk gave to WWE Magazine just a few short months after he almost left the company the first time:

This anger with your job has been festering for a while. Was there one moment backstage when you felt you’d had enough?

“I can name one off the top of my head. How about main-eventing a pay-per-view as the World Heavyweight Champion against Undertaker and then, a few months later, being in a dark match against R-Truth at WWE TLC? That’s pretty ignorant in my mind. This is the problem. We do this too many times to too many Superstars. It’s a startstop kind of thing. The company likes to spotlight certain people. Like, “This week, Kofi’s cool,” and then, the next week, “We changed our minds we like Dolph this week.” It flip-flops back and forth ad nauseam, and the next thing you know, the people couldn’t give a crap about either guy.”

Given the current state of WWE where the company refuses to push its biggest organically made superstar Daniel Bryan; where the “starstop kind of thing” mentioned above still has not changed; and where the man who was WWE Champion for 434 days was passed over in consecutive years so we could see the twice in a lifetime match-up between The Rock and John Cena, it’s difficult to argue against Punk choosing to part ways with his employer.

In fact this situation bares some similarities to the infamous incident in 2002 when Stone Cold Steve Austin walked out on WWE due to creative differences. Specifically, Austin was opposed to the idea of losing cleanly to then newcomer Brock Lesnar on a free and unadvertised edition of Monday Night Raw. Austin felt that after all he had given to the company and his main event status at the time that it was a bad business decision. And so Austin told Vince McMahon on the telephone that if that was the plan he would not be showing up to Raw. When McMahon didn’t budge Austin flew back home to San Antonio.

12 years later, however, Austin stated on Chris Jericho’s podcast that that incident remains his biggest regret in his Hall of Fame career. In retrospect, Austin says that he would have flown to Raw that night and spoken to McMahon face to face to deal with the issues at hand. Furthermore Austin stated, “It was stupid, Chris, because you have to own up to some responsibility and accountability and show up. Honor your deal. You’re packed with the boys and your job. So I should have showed up like a man, come up with a solution. Could have been a different solution, could have been just don’t even do the match, but show up and talk to Vince face to face, solve the problem in some way or fashion, and get through it like a grown man.”

This brings us back to the current situation with CM Punk. Whether you agree with what Punk did or not, the man is contractually obligated to remain in WWE until July of this year. Instead he told his boss he was “going home” just 2 months before the biggest show of the year.  He is disappointing his peers and, more importantly, his fans with this decision. Personally speaking, I was genuinely looking forward to seeing WWE live in 2 weeks because it was my first chance to see him wrestle since the Match of the Year contest he had against Brock Lesnar last year at Summerslam.

Overall, I too am frustrated with the current WWE product. And I’ve certainly been frustrated with Punk’s placement on the card since losing the WWE Championship to The Rock one year ago. And while he hasn’t necessarily been “buried”, I don’t believe he’s been given the main event opportunities he deserves. I truly feel no one in wrestling is as good as Punk as he is collectively on the mic and in the ring.

However, unless there’s a legitimate health reason for walking out, the fact of the matter is that Punk quit on his employer, he quit on the men and women in the locker room, and he quit on the WWE Universe. Nonetheless, here’s hoping that the “Best in the World” returns sooner rather than later to do his job and to prove why he’s earned that moniker.

Have you seen us WWE?

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FACT:
Daniel Bryan was glaringly omitted from the WWE Royal Rumble this passed Sunday. CM Punk lasted over 50 minutes in the Rumble but did not play any significant elimination role.

Daniel Bryan was recently in a short-lived (and somewhat strange) feud with the Wyatt Family. Had the story drawn out longer, the WWE creative team may have looked like geniuses. Unless WWE creative is deaf and can’t hear the YES! chants, the fans want a relevant Daniel Bryan storyline. Fans know crap when they see it and Batista was infuriated with the reaction to his Royal Rumble victory. Bryan dropped the belt to Randy Orton and his career has not been the same. His gets a title shot at Elimination Chamber but I doubt it’s gonna matter. An Orton/Batista story leading up to Wrestlemania may be the obvious path and may involve WWE legend Ric Flair.

The path is not looking as good for CM Punk. This above apology from Kane pretty much sums up the company’s attitude. His recent lackluster feud creating cracks in The Shield (pun intended) left him practically beaten into a vacation. After an amazing 434-day title run, during which he was the most hated person in the company, outsold everyone but John Cena in merchandise and helped put The Shield over, Punk dropped the belt to The Rock without proper build up. Ever since then, his bright star has been all but put out. Instead of working toward a CM Punk vs. The Authority angle and bringing in anti-establishment legends like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Rowdy Roddy Piper, breaking news this morning says CM Punk was sent home and pulled from future WWE promotions. No one knows if this  means he’s released or if he’s going on hiatus. Sure, he’s obnoxious but a guy like Punk can create great storylines and build other guys.

In other news, Batista and Brock Lesnar are back! However, with the long list of greats returning part-time for diminished roles, the lack of push for the WWE current roster is disturbing. Where are guys like Antonio Cesaro, Fandango and Dolph Ziggler with real in-ring skills? I mean, God bless Big Show, Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus but build up other dudes instead of having them job for bigger names…

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THE VERDICT: WWE Creative… what are you thinking? Give the people a little more of what they want… If you’re concerned about selling merchandise, give guys in the locker room some proper gimmicks and story lines. You wasted the indestructable Ryback and a handful of other great talents just to unify both belts and put it on Randy Orton without anyone on the current roster worth facing. Hell, they can’t even find anyone worthy to push against AJ Lee (yeah, I said it).

I know we’re still going to watch Wrestlemania but let’s hope the WWE is saving something better for us because I feel like I’m watching Total Divas.
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Video clips taken from WWE YouTube channel. Articles from Bleacher Report WWE and eWrestlingNews. WWE wrestler images were taken from WWE and  WwePhotomontagePNG on deviantART.