Posts Tagged ‘Comparisons’

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Vince McMahon announced the XFL’s unexpected return to widespread shock and disbelief in 2018, and while the controversial football league isn’t set to restart until February 2020, new details have emerged on how much the WWE Chairman intends on paying his top stars.

Per Dave Meltzer in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the XFL will fork out up to $300,000 per annum for the league’s quarterbacks.

The organisation will look to attract “eight high-profile QBs” (one for each of the announced host cities) before long, and hope to have them, along with every head coach, signed by March’s end. The idea is that this will give the XFL 10 full months to advertise and get ready for the upcoming season.

As expected, this number is but a fraction of what a top NFL QB can earn, with Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers pocketing a salary of $66.9 million in 2018. Therefore, it remains to be seen how McMahon’s group will compete with the world’s top American football league.

The XFL’s previous run was an unmitigated disaster. Whether the revival succeeds where it failed remains to be seen, but at least McMahon has a plan in place.

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One of the biggest differences in pro wrestling today than during the 1980s and 1990s is the difference in characters. The Golden Age of Wrestling and the New Generation had many over-the-top characters like Earthquake or Doink the Clown in addition to flamboyant personalities like “Macho Man” Randy Savage and The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels.

Sheamus is someone who longs for those old days and misses the characters in wrestling. He talked with solowrestling.com about how pro wrestling has evolved over the years and moved away from these eccentric personalities.

“Today a very different product is offered,” said Sheamus. “I think we’re missing some characters. Yes, I believe it. I think we are leaving the creation of characters a little abandoned. Any important series like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead base their product around the characters and their background. I think the athletes and wrestlers that we have today are the best in the history of the business, although in turn I think the business has changed to what people want to see.”

WWE still has some characters but they aren’t highlighted as much as they were in the past. Sheamus pointed outfellow countryman Finn Balor as someone with a unique character that is often forgotten about.

“Then you see Finn Bálor with his alter ego from The Demon, you also have the Bludgeon Brothers – there are a lot of characters, but I think they should be reinforced a bit more,” stated Sheamus. “Perhaps one of the most popular characters that WWE has right now is the prodigy of NXT, The Velveteen Dream. He is a 23-year-old star, talented and with an arrogant character who is destined to do great things in the future.”

Sheamus declares himself to be a big fan of “The Dream”, and insists on re-introducing flashy characters on television drastically.

“I do not mean characters like The Berzerker or Papa Shango,” said Sheamus. “I do not mean unrealistic characters. I mean things about which people can feel identified. But that’s one thing that talent should do itself, and it’s taking the opportunity to show fans a personal side. Although I reiterate again, we have never had as many talented stars as we have today.”

For the past five years or so, WWE has trended more towards a “reality era” in part due to the influence of social media and the internet. Real-life personalities are moving to the forefront, but Sheamus thinks there is still a place for flashy characters in today’s wrestling.

Sheamus was then asked about his favorite wrestling characters and it would be hard to find many fans who disagree with him.

“As for personality, without a doubt my favorite of all time is Macho Man Randy Savage,” stated Sheamus.

“As for character, there is no doubt that the greatest of all time is The Undertaker, right? Look at all the time he has spent in the business and everything he has achieved. He is one of the greatest in history and I will remember him forever.”

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WWE Hall of Famer Booker T was a guest on Busted Open Radio. Among the topics discussed, Booker reflected on how much the independent wrestling scene has progressed, even claiming that it’s perhaps the hottest it’s ever been.

Booker has recently been investing in to his own independent wrestling school, Reality of Wrestling, where he actually wrestled against the ROW Heavyweight Champion, Rex Andrews in a one-on-one match this past Saturday at ROW The Last Stand. Booker recognizes that with a promotion of his own, along with the newly formed All Elite Wrestling, established promotions like Ring of Honor, New Japan, and Impact Wrestling, and other organizations that stay just beneath the mainstream radar, professional wrestling has an abundance of opportunities right now.

“It’s rich right now, I mean the independent world is rich,” Booker explained. “Oversees the money is good right now, small businesses, like myself, are flourishing because we’ve got social media and we can actually stream our stuff online without actually having to go and pay some big network and stuff like that. So the wrestling business right now is at its hottest that it’s perhaps ever been, not just in two decades, perhaps it’s ever been.”

Booker would go on to compare it to the days when WCW, WWE, and ECW were in a heated competition for ratings, saying that now-a-days, things like wrestling cons and the independent wrestling scene have taken it further than the days of the Monday night wars. Booker would also add how wrestlers no longer need to be involved with WWE to maintain financial stability.

“Even in the WCW, WWE, ECW wars,” Booker added. “Literally, from the independent scene on up, it could be the hottest it’s ever been with the wrestle cons and stuff like that going on. It’s huge right now. Guys don’t need to be in the WWE to make a living anymore. That’s saying something.”

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Minnesota Timberwolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders has looked a lot like his late father Flip through his first two games in charge, whether he’s conducting his pregame radio interviews on the court or running 5-52 Twist, one of his dad’s favorite plays.

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, who’s gotten to know Saunders since his father’s death three years ago, favorably compared the 32-year-old to the late coaching legend before the teams clashed Friday.

“Since his dad passed, Ryan and I have spent a lot of time together talking basketball, talking about the league, his career, a lot of things that I learned when I was his age being around great basketball people like Chuck Daly, Bill Fitch, Larry Bird,” Carlisle said, according to The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski. “You never know what’s going to happen, but this opportunity is something that is great for him. He’s built so similarly to his dad in terms of his character, in terms of his amazing way with people, in terms of his positive view on things that I know this arena is going to be a zoo tonight.”

The Mavs defeated the T-Wolves 119-115 on Friday evening. Minnesota (20-22) is in a three-way tie for 11th place in the Western Conference, just 2.5 games back of a playoff spot entering Saturday’s play.

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Yesterday brought news that the emergence of All Elite Wrestling has turned many a disenfranchised WWE talent’s head, with several considering talking to the upstart promotion towards the end of their current contracts. Now, it looks like AEW are targeting one of the biggest names in the game.

It is anticipated that Cody and The Young Bucks will actively pursue former WWE Champion AJ Styles when his deal expires latest this year, with the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer claiming they’ll offer ‘The Phenomenal One’ similar terms to those that Daniel Bryan enjoys in WWE.

November 2018 brought news that Styles was negotiating a new WWE contract with fewer dates. He’s yet to re-sign with the company, and Meltzer notes that he may be tempted by the reduced AEW schedule, even though it’s yet to be determined.

As one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, AJ would obviously be a huge get for All Elite. He has history working with the Bucks as part of Bullet Club, and would give their company their second major star after Chris Jericho’s signing, though it’d still be a huge surprise to see Styles walk away from the biggest stage in the world.

Mark this one down as speculation for now, but keep an eye on it. Anything is possible in this chaotic labour market.

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Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge has a hunch as to why LeBron James declared himself the greatest player of all time after winning the 2016 Finals: self-promotion.

“His career’s not over,” Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” Thursday, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Darren Hartwell. “I’d just like to – why he’s saying that, I don’t know. Maybe he thinks that that sells. Maybe he’s taking the Donald Trump approach and trying to sell himself. I don’t know.”

James certainly has some stake in the GOAT debate. After all, through 16 seasons, the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft has averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists for his career – with three titles, six additional Finals appearances, and 14 All-NBA selections for good measure.

“Obviously LeBron is in every conversation with who is the greatest player of all time,” Ainge added. “But time will tell. I don’t know if anyone knows who the greatest of all time is, because the years are so different.”

One thing Ainge is certain about, however, is that LeBron has passed his former teammate Larry Bird in the all-time rankings.

“LeBron went to the Finals,” he said. “I would have to say (he’s better than Larry Bird), just because he was able to have more durability and play at a top level of his game for longer.”

E&C’s Pod Of Awesomeness recently returned from hiatus with none other than special guest WWE Hall Of Famer Shawn Michaels. Among many other interesting topics, Michaels talked about why he agreed to return to the squared circle after eight years. Also, Michaels discussed whether he would consider wrestling again.

According to Michaels, he will not be wrestling again. Apparently, ‘The Showstopper’ only agreed to tag with Triple H to take on The Undertaker and Kane at WWE Crown Jewel because it was essentially a special request for the pro wrestling legends to perform their “greatest hits”.

“I’m glad to say that I did it, but I don’t want to try it again.” Michaels explained, “negative. Yeah, yeah, so, look, the one upside is… again, you’re always just curious, ‘can I do my stuff?’ So, technically, yeah, I could go in there and do my stuff and have the young guys work around me and all of that. But the 100% only reason I said, ‘yes’ to this one was, one, it was a special request by other people. And, again, it was a chance… I looked at it like someone is asking the Stones and KISS to come over and just play their greatest hits. That’s it.”

While many people speculated that Michaels returned at Crown Jewel for the big payday, he noted that he would have made more money wrestling a single’s match at WrestleMania. In the view of ‘HBK’, there was less anxiety working with Triple H, The Undertaker, and Kane than wrestling a performer he has not tangled with in the past.

“Unfortunately, everybody feels like it was all about the money and this, that, and the other. And I mean it respectfully, of course, but, technically, I’d make more money doing a single’s match at WrestleMania. Do you know what I mean? Because that brand is bigger. I’m charging more for a single’s match! Do you know what I mean? But I didn’t feel like I was put in a position in this particular match to be that guy. Do you know what I mean? And everything else about working with a younger guy at WrestleMania puts me in a much tougher, more difficult situation performance-wise. And that’s something I had been consistent about over the last eight years. I didn’t want to be put in that position because I’m good with the performances that I’ve had at WrestleMania. I wanted to end those the way that I ended them.” Michaels added, “[Crown Jewel] just happened to be a special thing that again in a million years I didn’t think would come up, but it did and that honestly is the only reason why I said, ‘yes’.”

Also during the podcast, Michaels claimed that he is held to a higher standard for his in-ring work than Ric Flair when ‘Naitch’ was wrestling in his 50s. ‘H-B-Shizzle’ averred that fans gave ‘Naitch’ a pass that he would not be afforded.

“I go out at 53 [years old] after eight years and I think it’s passable from everybody’s standpoint.” Michaels recalled, “I don’t care what anybody says. When I came back in 2002, I mean people saw my first match back and immediately, I mean, it took one day to go back to them holding me to the standard that they held me [to] in ’96 when I left. Do you know what I mean? The only thing is that, and it’s a good problem to have, I wouldn’t get held to the same standard that Flair gets held to. If he doesn’t do everything spot on or perfect, that’s fine. They still give him some grace, and some mercy, and all of that. [Edge and Christian] know as well as I do that I won’t get that. I miss a step, I do one thing [incorrectly] and they’d be all over me, so it just doesn’t work. And I don’t say that bitterly. It’s just one of those things that, and, again, it’s flattering. Yeah, I’m held to an unfair criteria and I’m one with that, but I’m also not going to try to live up to it either because I don’t think any man can.”