The World According to ZAH

  • WWE Network 1 million subsThe WWE Network reached one million subscribers earlier this week. Realistically speaking, this is a spectacular achievement for a network that many claimed wouldn’t come close to that number at any point within their first year of operations. On the flip side, WWE insinuated that their numbers would reach a million long before now…thus the big reason for their stock price plummeting last year. This really is an impressive feat by WWE and nobody can take that away from them. Did they lose people after the Royal Rumble? Most likely, yes. Was it some kind of “cancel revolution” like the trending hashtag made people think it was? Most likely not. One million paid subscribers is something many other cable channels would love to have…so you gotta give credit where it is due.
  • The new “teaser trailer” for the Fantastic Four reboot came out this week. Much like Ant-Man, the world collectively shrugged their shoulders and let out a very loud “Meh”. Take a look and let me know your thoughts.

  • Having only seen Havok since her debut on TNA, I’ve always found something about her to be attractive. I could never put a finger on it. This past week, though, she put a pic on her Instagram that cemented why I’ve got a crush on the monster who could probably tear me apart (literally)…

Havok

  • HHH-NXTI’m intrigued by the thought of Steve Austin having Triple H on his podcast this Monday after RAW. When Austin had Vince McMahon on the podcast, McMahon showed the world just why his critics call him “out of touch” and it spoke volumes about why the televised product looks and feels the way it does. Where Triple H is primarily responsible for the excellent NXT product that we’ve all been enjoying lately, I’ll be interested to hear his views on the newer talent and where he thinks the main roster can go over the next few years.
  • weird-al-mandatory-fun-tour-2015-officialI live in an area where there isn’t a lot of population. Because of that, the big-time concerts that come this way are few and far between. I have been fortunate enough to have seen my “Top 2 Concert Bucket List” artists, though: KISS and AC/DC. Both were tremendous live events that I will never forget. Earlier this week, though, I think I may have trumped them by snagging front row seats to one of the greatest performers of all-time: “Weird” Al Yankovic!! What’s better is that this will be an intimate concert at the local casino, so there will only be 1,000 or so folks there. I’m just super-stoked to say I’ll be sitting front row enjoying an artist I’ve followed religiously for over 30 years. Seriously…I have purchased just about every album that man released (except the compilations and greatest hits). I’m a grown-ass man and I’ll be smiling like a star-struck kid. Fuck it…it’s gonna be awesome!
  • 228681_article.0You better go to the Squared Circle in Chicago while you still can, because I have a feeling it won’t be around too much longer. From what I’ve heard, Lisa Marie Varon‘s mother is ill so she is moving to California and her husband will be running the day-to-day operations going forward. I also gathered through Twitter a pretty nasty rumour that Varon’s husband may/may not have cheated on her with an employee from the restaurant. It seemed like the Squared Circle was on the fast-track to become America’s version of the Ribera Restaurant in Japan when it came to fans and wrestlers alike. But without Lisa running things or appearing there, it’s going to die a painful death, I think. What a shame, too. Obviously, the hope is that Lisa (or another ex-wrestler) opens up something similar that is as popular as the Squared Circle appears to be. It’s a niche market, but one that certain cities could definitely make successful.
  • iMPACT WrestlingTNA just announced that Canadian residents will be able to stream full-length episodes of Impact every Saturday morning. On one hand, that’s great for me because I don’t get Destination America. On the other hand, that’s not so great because it says that TNA was unable to secure any kind of television deal in Canada. Too bad…I’m sure they could have used the revenue.
  • SuperBowl-525The SuperBowl takes place on Sunday and I’m really excited about the match-up. Really…it’s a “John Cena vs Daniel Bryan” type of situation. It could realistically go either way with the “dynasty” in New England trying to knock off the defending champs from Seattle. The only problem is that the last few times two #1 seeds met in the SuperBowl it ended up being a blow-out. I’m really hoping for a close, fun game here. Ultimately, as much as I’d love to see the Seahawks repeat…I dare say that the Patriots are firing on all cylinders right now. Final score: New England 24 – Seattle 20
  • Song of the Week: “Same damn life” by Seether

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Rusev – The Next Big Thing or Has He Peaked Already?

RusevLike many of you, I was surprised to hear that the planned WrestleMania match of John Cena taking on Rusev was being bumped-up to next month’s PPV, FastLane. After a quick “pull-apart” backstage at the Royal Rumble, the match was made and announced on this past Monday’s RAW.

The immediate reaction to the match announcement was basically: Why give it away already?

I think there is a method to the madness. We all know that John Cena is going to beat Rusev at some point, handing the Russian (Bulgarian?) the first pinfall loss of his WWE career and defending the honour of the United States.

Sigh.

Rusev champHaving said that, I think it’s actually a pretty smart idea to have them face at FastLane first. I mean, with no real build-up at this point it makes sense to have the Russian either win via DQ or count-out, thus setting up some kind of stipulation match at WrestleMania with people thinking that Rusev actually stands a chance of pulling off a victory (he doesn’t).

I’ve been a fan of Rusev for quite some time now. His in-ring performances have been really good given his size and gimmick. He’s obviously no Bret Hart inside the squared circle, but he’s more than competent and ready to move up to the main event slot. His character is great as he plays the part extremely well. People just want to boo him for his pro-Russia stance. But here’s the thing…he rarely cheats to win, so there is a growing contingency of fans who want to cheer the man simply because he’s so good.

LanaLana, his manager, has been absolutely spectacular in her role as the “Ravishing Russian”. Sure, she’s drawing upon the old-school tactics to get “cheap heat”, but it’s working. She could easily be laughed out of the building for being too cheesy, but instead normally has the crowd eating out of the palm of her hand.

These are performers that John Cena can easily play off of. Will the matches suck? More than likely, yes…but there should be a lot of things they can do to build-up the eventual WrestleMania rematch.

Rusev & LanaSo while, on the surface, it looks like WWE is trying to pop a rating for the PPV by throwing this match at their fans a bit early, they’re really trying to do some long-term build-up to the big show. They don’t always seem to know what they’re doing, but then there are other times where you need to give them a tip of the cap.

Is Rusev a flash in the pan? Will the peak of his career be a match with Cena at WrestleMania? Far from it. There is a very long future ahead for him in WWE. I truly believe he’ll be a main event player for the next several years.

Rusev & Lana

5 Albums Your Children Must Listen To

Some of you may have kids; some of you may not yet. I can tell you that as a parent, there is little else out there that can shape a child’s future than musical influence at a young age. And with the musical landscape changing so much on a weekly basis, I thought I would go back in time and pick out the five albums that I want my son to listen to.

  1. Double Platinum by KISS.

KISS Double PlatinumNow this might not be popular with everybody, but this is the album that influenced me as a young boy. And quite frankly, this is as close to a definitive KISS collection as you’re ever going to find on one album. Released in 1978, the album itself went platinum that year and has gone on to sell over five million copies worldwide.

Standout tracks? Well…they’re all standout tracks to me, but the best of the best include “Rock & Roll All Nite”, “Strutter ‘78”, “Firehouse”, and “Detroit Rock City”. If I were ever stranded on a desert island and could only bring one album with me to listen to in eternity, this would be it.

  1. Back In Black by AC/DC.

ACDC Back in blackIt’s crazy to think that people so quickly embraced Brian Johnson after the death of Bon Scott. That’s not a dig, either…it’s just something that boggles my mind. It’s a very rare thing in this world when a band loses their lead singer and then goes on to bigger success without him.

Is there a bad track on this record? That’s a very debatable question. If you ask a true-blue AC/DC fan, this album may be the height of not only their popularity, but of their perfection. In an era where artists have a difficult time selling 100,000 copies of a cd, AC/DC has sold over 50 million copies of Back In Black worldwide since its release in 1980.

Standout tracks include “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Hells Bells”, “Shoot To Thrill”, and “Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”.

  1. Pyromania or Hysteria by Def Leppard

Def Leppard PyromaniaI’d be okay with my son listening to either one of these albums, to be honest. Pyromania was the beginning of the British “new wave metal” scene of the early 80’s. It was raw and gritty, yet blended vocal melodies over pop riffs that most hard rock songs didn’t have at the time. Standout tracks include the incredible “Rock of Ages”, “Photograph”, “Foolin’”, and “Too Late For Love”.

Def Leppard HysteriaOn the flip side, Hysteria is as polished a rock album as you’ll ever find in history. Every single song was smooth as silk, designed for hits, and is considered one of the best selling rock albums of all time. Standout tracks include “Animal”, “Armageddon It”, “Love Bites”, and the massive rock-anthem “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

  1. Dookie by Green Day

Green Day DookieGreen Day spoke to me at a time when no other band understood who I was. Being similar in age certainly helped understand both the lyrics and the anger behind the power chord arrangements. From the moment I heard “Basket Case” I was hooked. The video only made the love affair stronger.

When mainstream radio picked up “When I Come Around” and threw it into rotation, Green Day became megastars. The album became a “must –listen” because these guys were the very definition of “modern punk”. Standout songs also include “Welcome To Paradise”, “She”, and “Longview”.

  1. R.E.V.O. by Walk Off The Earth

Walk Off The Earth REVOOkay, so this one comes at you right out of left field. About four years ago, I was a fan of the Gregory Brothers and how they would “Auto Tune The News” (which they now call “Songify The News”). They had one called “Backin’ Up”, which was covered by Walk Off The Earth. I was immediately hooked but then, as most flash-in-the-pan-memes go, I moved on.

Fast forward one year and Walk Off The Earth did that incredible cover of “Somebody That I Used To Know”. It make them uber-famous. I decided to go back through their musical catalogue and was blown away by their cover songs and also their original material.

They released R.E.V.O. (which stands for Realize Every Victory Outright) as an EP in 2012 with “Red Hands” and “Gang of Rhythm” being the lead singles. The full album came out in 2013 and had two more new singles (“Shake” and “Speeches”) to go along with their Gotye cover and two previously released singles (“Money Tree” and “Summer Vibe”). That, along with their incredible title track and the hippy-trippy “No Ulterior Motives”, created one of the most completely top-to-bottom incredible debut albums I’ve ever heard in my lifetime.

The music is soft, melodic, and singable. Their videos are ALWAYS entertaining and are one of the biggest reasons they’re gaining in popularity. I’m not sure how they plan on topping their debut with a new album in 2015, but this is definitely one album I want my son to listen to. You can’t listen to the same genre of music your whole life…you need to mix things up. THIS certainly does that and does it in an extremely enjoyable way.

 

What about YOU? What album would YOU want to have you child listen to?

RAW Thoughts

B8UW7JFCAAATB4Q.jpg largeOn the heels of a very controversial Royal Rumble, we’re actually snowed-out tonight!! Wait…really? No live RAW to watch at all? What will WWE put on the air in its place?

Triple Threat– After some brief silliness between Michael Cole, Booker T, and JBL, we were treated with last night’s World championship triple threat match. I haven’t yet had the chance to watch it, so this is a pretty incredible RAW event. I understand that there isn’t a live RAW tonight, but this is crazy…putting a PPV’s main event on RAW the following night. LOVE it.

– The first couple minutes of the match were incredible, with Brock Lesnar throwing around both Seth Rollins and John Cena like they were rag dolls.

– I hate that Cena doesn’t sell beatings. I mean, after multiple suplexes  and being dominated by Lesnar, he perked right up when facing off against Rollins one-on-one. This is why people hate Cena so much. It isn’t that he wins all the time, it’s the whole “Super Cena” nonsense.

– Thankfully, Lesnar was booked to be an unstoppable monster. He took a shit-ton of punishment yet still got up…much to the announcer’s surprise. The crowd was cheering hard for him and the match was booked to show Lesnar as the super-attraction that he is. And the thing I loved the most is that through it all, he still sold better than Cena did. Lesnar is just THAT good.

– I’ll give credit where it’s due, though. The whole “Brock Lesnar is injured” angle was fantastic. People legit believed that he was seriously hurt on that incredible Seth Rollins elbowdrop.

B8UcZ_FIcAAvGSW.jpg large RR15_Photo_160-2128080008Lesnar wins– The final five minutes of the match were absolutely fantastic, and even though I knew that Lesnar won the match I was still popping for the false finishes. Just a spectacular match.

– They announced that Daniel Bryan will take on Kane in a Casket Match on a live Smackdown this Thursday. They need to find something else for Bryan to do after this match and quick.

Rollins interviewSeth Rollins was interviewed by Michael Cole about the match last night. They ran through the match and Rollins basically proclaimed that he was robbed of the title at the Rumble. It was a decent enough promo by Rollins, but the interesting part came at the end when Cole said that Lesnar would be speaking next. Rollins said that if Lesnar wanted his interview seat, then he’d have to move him himself.

I believe youre in my chair– Not much to the “confrontation” between Rollins and Brock Lesnar. And really, there wasn’t much to the interview, either. It was interesting to see Lesnar speak on his own, but thankfully Paul Heyman was also there to make things watchable. At this point, there was no animosity between Lesnar and Roman Reigns…so it was set-up to seem like this will simply be a battle of two mastodons. Lesnar congratulated Reigns on his victory at the Rumble and said that he’d stick around so he could meet him later in the show.

– We were all then treated to the Royal Rumble match in its entirety.

Yeah…you just keep telling yourself that.

– I think we all realized just how much of a snooze-fest this could be when we were treated with Miz vs Ron Killings as the first two men in the Rumble. Of course, as soon as I say that they REALLY treat us by giving us what makes the Rumble so great: a surprise entrant.

Bubba Ray Dudley– I was pumped to see Bubba Ray Dudley make his return to Philadelphia, as was the crowd. I was a little disappointed, though, because I was hoping Dudley would make his return to WWE under a different gimmick (a la Bradshaw turning into JBL) because, quite frankly, Dudley is a world-champion quality heel. Oh well…it was fun while it lasted.

Wyatt eliminates Bryan– I think the star of the Rumble was Bray Wyatt. He delivered about a half dozen eliminations while being in there for over 40 minutes and was responsible for eliminating favourites Dudley and Daniel Bryan. There was always the possibility that he could win this thing because let’s face it: he is deserving of the spot. Of course, he wasn’t alone in that description.

– Speaking of Daniel Bryan, though…I don’t know how you could watch the Rumble and not see that Bryan was CLEARLY the overwhelming favourite by the fans to win the whole thing. I just don’t understand how Vince believes that putting him over isn’t good for business. The fans spoke last year and they are speaking again this year. Yes, Vince…you’re out of touch.

– I gotta admit…I didn’t really pop for the surprises of seeing Boogeyman or Dallas Page. I mean, DDP looked blown up after making his way to the ring. Sure, it was nice to see the occasional Diamond Cutter…but meh. It didn’t do anything for me. The Philadelphia crowd was really nice to him.

DDPRumble 2015– As I watch Daniel Bryan’s elimination, I’m just baffled at the booking of it all. I mean, he was barely in there. The crowd was legitimately shocked, and not in a good way. The wind got taken out of their sails and their enjoyment of the PPV was gone at that point. There was a way to overcome this hatred, though…there were still a lot of favourites left to wrestle.

MizdowDamien Mizdow came in to a thundering ovation. He was immediately booked to get thrown out of the ring after hitting two moves. The wind, again, was taken out of the crowd’s sails. Dean Ambrose entered the Rumble soon afterwards. The crowd was chanting for him. Good sign, right? Heel favourites like Bad News Barrett and Cesaro came out too late to really show the world what they had to offer. The final entrant was Dolph Ziggler and the place exploded. So how did WWE book them? They not only got beat, but were destroyed and dumped out by the Big Slow and Corporate Kane. The crowd reaction HAD to be expected at that point, didn’t it?

Super Roman– The booking of the finish was classic Vince. I mean, if this was 1985 and it was Hulk Hogan eliminating King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd it would have been perfect. Outnumbered by the two biggest men on the roster, Reigns dumped them both out single-handedly before spearing Rusev out of his trunks and winning the 2015 Royal Rumble. The problem was that he was booked like “Super Cena”…and people are SICK of this style of booking. It’s nothing that Reigns has done wrong…he’s been working his ass off. But the booking of the final few minutes just pissed off a ton of people that could see the finish coming from a mile away and weren’t happy about it at all.

– Once the match was over, Byron Saxton sat down to interview Roman Reigns. I’ll be honest, he was asked a couple of questions that I wasn’t expecting…particularly about being “hand picked” by upper management. I thought Reigns was eloquent and intelligent with his responses, and THIS was what Reigns had been missing over the past couple of months. No “Vince promo” nonsense…just a well-spoken individual.

Rusev vs Cena– They announced that the planned WrestleMania match of John Cena vs Rusev will now take place at the new PPV next month, FastLane. Of course, the WWE Network will probably be free in February so they’re trying to hot-shot Network numbers before Mania. I’m a bit surprised at this but anticipate a non-finish to set-up Cena pinning Rusev at Mania in a rematch.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is going into the “Celebrity Wing” of the WWE Hall of Fame.

Dean Ambrose apparently hitchhiked his way to WWE HQ just to give a weird promo. Good for him, I guess.

Renee interviews BryanRenee Young interviewed Daniel Bryan next. He basically tried to put over Reigns and take “the blame” for not winning the Royal Rumble himself. Will it work? Well…it wasn’t a blatant “cheer Roman” promo, but it was close. Thankfully, Bryan delivered his promo in a believable way so it didn’t come off too cheesy.

Reigns vs Lesnar and Heyman– Next up was supposed to be an interview by Michael Cole with both Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, but Paul Heyman ended up in the interviewer spot asking Reigns questions. Heyman ended up delivering a spell-binding promo that made Twitter go silent. It really spoke volumes about how this whole match will be set-up: Heyman will MAKE this match.

To end the show…

So here’s the question: did WWE do enough to undo the damage of the Royal Rumble? I’d dare say that they did…at least if enough people tuned in to watch. I guess we’ll find out over the next few weeks how this situation unfolds.

What did YOU think about RAW last night?

The World According to ZAH

  • 2015 Royal RumbleI’m intrigued by the possible outcomes at this Sunday’s Royal Rumble. With the addition of Daniel Bryan, it’s really an up-in-the-air situation. I mean, last year the crowd turned on the product HARD when Roman Reigns was eliminated and Batista. A month ago it looked like Reigns was the front-runner and the internet crowd was turning on him. With Bryan back, my guess is that the crowd will be VERY much rooting for him to win. If he doesn’t and a babyface like Reigns or Ambrose wins, the crowd very well may crap all over it.
  • Seth RollinsAnd as much as I’d love to see Brock Lesnar retain the WWE at the PPV, I’m very interested in the possibility of Seth Rollins walking out with the title. I think you could have a couple of hot months with Rollins as champion leading up to WrestleMania. Plus, with Rollins winning, it really does open up the door to anybody to win the Rumble itself.
  • Kim-Kardashian-Wears-A-fur-Bikini-LBI hate the Kardashians. Every last one of ‘em. I mean, would we even know who Kim Kardashian even was if it weren’t for her fucking Ray J in that sex tape a few years ago? Don’t get me wrong…a tip of the cap to the family’s ability to become celebrities for no reason whatsoever. Perfumes…clothing lines…television shows…it’s ridiculous. I hate “celebrities” who haven’t actually done anything of note to reach that level of celebrity.
  • bill-belichick-deflategate-memeThis whole “DeflateGate” is getting out of control, with mainstream media jumping all over the “Patriots cheated” bandwagon before the facts have even come out. It’s been reported that 11 out of 12 balls were “deflated”. At this stage in the investigation, that’s inaccurate. The balls were UNDERinflated. There is yet to be evidence that the Patriots organization deflated them during the game. At this point, though, “league sources” have confirmed that the footballs were properly inspected and approved by referee Walt Anderson 2 hours and 15 minutes before kickoff. The 11 balls were reinflated at halftime and used again in the second half. The Colts balls had no discrepancies. This isn’t what we needed the week before the SuperBowl.
  • Speaking of DeflateGate, a local Boston Common Coffee shop was selling “DeflateGate cookies” for a dollar each.
  • Captain America and Star-Lord made a SuperBowl bet. Seriously…this is one of the best celebrity bets I’ve ever seen. Each not only for humiliation, but for a good cause. A tip of the cap to them both.

  • WALKING-DEAD-5I’m anxiously awaiting the return of The Walking Dead. Knowing the comic storyline a little bit, my guess is that they’re heading to Washington in spite of Eugene being full of shit. I think we’ll find our group of post-apocalypse survivors finding a little bit of salvation along the way…along with a side storyline that the writers throw in for shits’n’gigs (i.e. the whole Atlanta hospital storyline). Regardless of what happens, the show is still on a roll and I’m loving every episode.
  • Speaking of Walking Dead, the new spinoff is in the news because of a leaked script. Apparently…and take this with a grain of salt…the new series will explore the world from the beginning of the zombie outbreak, NOT during the timeframe that Rick Grimes & Co are living in. This means we get to see how the world handles the outbreak, which could be fantastic or end up being over-the-top ridiculous. Either way, I’m intrigued to see what they do with the concept; not going for shock value of zombies alone but trying to provide as realistic a world as possible.
  • I’ve never been a big fan of Amber Rose and I’m not one of those “giant ass” lovers, but damn, girl… Amber-Rose-on-Balcony
  • Song of the Week: “First Kiss” by Kid Rock

CM Punk in UFC

CM Punk UFC 2It’s one of those topics that’s been debated and talked about for a few weeks now. CM Punk in UFC. Does he deserve the spot? Will he win a single fight? There are a ton of articles out there with a lot more insight than mine making their opinions known. This post is different because it comes from a “general public” point of view.

Y’see…I’m not much of a UFC fan. I’m not much of a fan of MMA in general. I’ve seen the occasional fight over the years, but the last time I sat down to watch an entire live MMA PPV was…never? Having said that, I’m a massive wrestling fan and have been for over 30 years now.

Because of that, I think I’m uniquely qualified to provide a “casual fan” point of view on this whole CM Punk thing.

Regardless of whether or not Phil “CM Punk” Brooks (as he’s going to be billed) wins a match or even throws a landing punch in his first UFC fight, the numbers are going to be through the roof for UFC owner Dana White.

CM Punk UFC 3Why? Because wrestling fans like me, people who don’t hate MMA but aren’t normally ones to buy PPV’s, will end up dishing out money to see what Punk can do. Not only that, but people who hate Punk and think he’s a bum who doesn’t deserve to be in UFC to begin with, will probably end up buying the PPV just to get the satisfaction of watching him fail.

If you’re UFC, it’s a complete win-win situation.

I don’t even care that Punk has never been in a sanctioned MMA fight. He’s dabbled in training for a few years now and feels as though he’s qualified to step into the octagon. Obviously, Dana White believes that, too, or else he wouldn’t allow him to do it.

CM Punk UFCBecause let’s face it…if Dana White didn’t think CM Punk could fight his way out of a paper bag, then he wouldn’t even be considering this idea because it would end up being a “one-and-done” fight and a failed experiment.

It still might end up that way, but not everybody within the mixed martial arts community believes that.

Cole Miller: “CM Punk is going to surprise and kick somebody’s ass”

Of course, you’ve got jack-offs who think they’re “all that” and want to make a name for themselves by facing off against a pro wrestler like it’s some joke…that feel like this somehow all reeks of “Celebrity Boxing”.

“Green Power Ranger” Jason David Frank: “CM Punk either doesn’t want to give me credit or he’s scared.”

Jose Canseco says he could beat CM Punk in an MMA match

But Punk is taking this very seriously. He certainly doesn’t want to be laughed at and doesn’t want to take this all as a joke. And if you feel that way, he’ll call you out on your shit:

I don’t know enough about MMA to know if Punk has a chance, one way or another. But I do know that I’ll be glued to the TV when he makes his UFC debut, rooting for a guy I followed throughout his professional wrestling career. I’m a fan, win or lose…but UFC should hope he wins if they want to see more money come out of MY pocket.