The Resident Diva Speaks

Call to action: My first match. 

So it’s been a little over 3 months of training at this point and the text comes through that I’ll be wrestling in my first match the very next day.  I’m ecstatic, excited, elated and….of course, terrified! My first thought was…“what am I going to wear?” I’m not a girly girl AT ALL…but that’s sort of an important question when you are going out and doing something in front of people. You gotta find something that looks good, is functional, and frankly, that you aren’t going to fall out of (yes, I said it).  So I decided on my trusty hot pink tank top and black boy shorts. Why hot pink? Well, for 2 reasons:  as a tribute to one of the greatest families in Wrestling history…and well…ever see someone in hot pink and NOT notice them?  Wardrobe: done.  Next Up:  the string of self-doubt questions that pop into my mind.

I’ve been working really hard in class to learn as much as I can so that things start to happen more fluidly with less thinking. Going to class twice a week hasn’t been easy, especially with all the other stuff I have going on in my life: working a full time job that is never just 9-5, working out at the gym as much as possible, SRO band rehearsal, maintaining my house…cooking…cleaning (boring!) as well as other social activities and commitments that come along the way.  The school is about 45 minutes from my house which adds to the time commitment.

Learning the art of professional wrestling is unlike anything I’ve done before.  It’s not just about having the athletic aptitude and learning the technical skills. There’s so much more!  Class aside, you have to work out on your own to get in shape enough to do this. You have to attend classes to learn not only the technical skills, but the psychology of this sport. You have to become a character who dresses a certain way (hence the panic over what to wear – who am I? do I even know?) acts a certain way while executing everything you are learning…all while thinking for yourself,  for the other person (or people ) in the ring with you, anticipating what they are thinking and going to do, what you need to do…while taking care of your own safety as well as theirs…while entertaining and stimulating the crowd of people cheering…or booing you (and NOT let that get in the way).  You have to focus on all that, at once, and in a split second ANYTHING can change or go awry…but you have to just keep on going. That could all result in one big cluster-F*ck if you ask me! I can practice the technical stuff until its perfect, but if you don’t have the mental wherewithal to put it all together safely in an entertaining manner…that will make sense to the crowd…you are not going to succeed at this. I won’t even count up how many dimensions that is because I’m sure there’s more that I’m not even aware of yet.  There’s nothing like this on earth that I’ve ever experienced.

So the day has come.  I enter the IWF Camp around 5pm to prep, stretch, review the plan for the show and the time comes.  I’m nervous as hell, the adrenalin pumping. I can do this. I know I can. I have to. I will.  There’s no turning back now. The music starts.  Names are announced….and now I’m out there feeling a little awkward.  I realize just then that I hadn’t done a real entrance before.  (Great time to think of this, right?)  Sure I’ve seen them on TV a thousand times, but when you’re actually out there doing it, 10 seconds seems to last 10 minutes…and you’d never imagine the crazy things that go through your head.  “Hey look at that kid, I’ll go over to him and slap his hand” “oh, he’s not paying attention (FAIL)”  “ugh… totally missed that high 5” “Oops, smacked that kid’s hand a little hard” “Ok, is it creepy that this adult is trying to high 5 me?” All in all I was pretty numb throughout this whole process, but I think they call that adrenalin.  I’m waving at people, shaking hands/high 5ing with kids and the crowd, smiling ear to ear…yet I’m ready for a fight.  People were cheering.  The nerves were there, but I really had no time for nerves now.  It’s show time.  My team was strong. We really thought we could do it, but the guys on the other side were sneaky. They really were! They didn’t deserve to win, they cheated, but in wrestling, I guess that happens sometimes when you have sneaky people distracting the ref. At one point all hell broke loose and the idea of this being a 6 person tag match went out the window. I saw all our guys in the ring and once Jess decided to get involved I had to stop her. I ran in and started a beat down in the corner. She got some shots in too, but then the ref pulled us apart and as I was walking back to my side unfortunately one of our guys got pinned because of the melee…but that’s when it happened…I heard it.  I heard a kid yell “come on Michele, go get her” and that was the moment I officially became addicted to this.  It wasn’t perfect, I know I still have A LOT to learn, but I got out there and conquered the fear of the unknown. Next time and every time after will be better.  It was a tough lose, those guys on my team (Johnny Angel and Jarrod Murray) gave it their all. If we meet those 3 in the ring again, we will revel in victory! 

…’til next time!
 

Through the eyes of a wrestler…uuuuum, er….sort of… 

Well, I’m not officially a wrestler (yet), but after my first few hours of IWF Camp wrestling training I was hooked and couldn’t wait for more!  I’ve been a wrestling fan for a while and I know a decent amount about the sport from the fans view and from dabbling in the business as producer of The Ken Reedy Show from the “media” side…but let me tell you, once you are in that ring; all bets are off!!

What made me think I could get into the ring in the first place? Well, why not? I have set goals in life and when I set my mind to something, I often accomplish it. So let’s be real here, I don’t pick things that I know are impossible or that I will fail miserably at…so, say….for example, I’m not going to win any Nobel Peace prizes anytime soon…well, hmmmm…let’s not write that one off just yet...so, let’s pick something else….like Basketball, I’ve never in my life thought “hey, I think I can be point guard for the NY Knicks”…See …that, would be….ridiculous! I’ve studied dance, spent many years as a competitive and team cheerleader, played many years of softball as a child and adult, studied Kung Fu…but that wasn’t enough…I decided a few years ago that I would tackle power lifting. Why? I don’t know, because I’m oddly strong for my size and I went to a meet and saw some little girls (and by little, I mean around my size) lifting things and thought “if they can do that, I can do that” so I did…Deadlifted 200lbs with minimal training…moved on to set a NY State Record in my age/weight class of 251lbs. So why stop there??

I’m not really a “talker”. I don’t sit around day dreaming, running my mouth about things that I would, should, and could be doing (other than leaving it all and moving to Key West). What I mean is; I am pretty responsible and realistic. I’m not going to talk a big game and then do nothing. I have talked about getting into the wrestling ring for the past few years and even spent an hour or so in the ring once to experience it…but then Ken Reedy called me out on it and got me lessons for my birthday. There was no backing down now. I was scared. I am still scared, but the challenge was made and I accepted!
One thing I’ve learned so far is that facing those fears is a big  part of this. I fully believe that there are people out there that don’t have the “fear gene” as I call it… I…unfortunately…have  that fear gene…so throwing my body around in the ring for entertainment, doesn’t exactly come totally natural to me…mentally and at times physically.

I’ve been watching wrestling for several years.  Do I have a photographic memory of every match of all time? NO. I am not an encyclopedia, I will not claim to be, nor will I claim to be an expert on every move ever invented.  I have been exposed to a lot (new and old) and I appreciate it and I am learning from it every day.
The Difference…Now…Even after my limited experience in the ring, I am noticing that I am watching every match in such a different way…I’m paying attention to the subtleties …the actual moves, what they are called, how they are executed…what I can pick up on, what I can learn…what I can realistically do…planning, plotting, listening, looking and learning.

The Journey has been great so far and I’ve only scratched the surface. My first official match is scheduled for May 2 at the Nutley Rec Center IWF’s Loud and Proud Relay for Life Fundraiser, but perhaps – perhaps – I will be dabbling in a few other things at the IWF School before then!!

Stay tuned…
 
 

Twice in a Lifetime: The Diva’s thoughts on Mania 29…as of now… 

Yes, yes, we all get it…John Cena vs. The Rock was supposed to be “Once in a Lifetime”. We own proof of that in a Cena vs. Rock “Limited Edition” Mosaic poster that sits proudly in TKRS Studio. The Mega Powers pixelated so perfectly in our “Rise Above Hate” shirts smack dab in the middle of….John Cena’s neck. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look up the mosaic poster. 

So last year was the trip of trips. Wrestlemania 28 in Miami Florida…”The Magic City” as we (or STARZ) like to call it. What a culture shock…Miami to New York/New Jersey…uh, my….uh…”hometowns”. As a Jersey native recently converted to New Yorker, I am still thrilled to be going to Wrestlemania and all its festivities. I am thrilled be on vacation for a week…but let’s face it…Houston (which left a lot to be desired for a big city, but was the Silver Anniversary of Mania and home to one of the greatest matches of all time, IMO, Taker vs. Michaels I)… Phoenix (where it’s a dry heat, but the resort was amazing…I could’ve floated down the lazy river for days) to Atlanta (where it took forever to get a drink, but it is Hotlanta after all…and we were hob knobbing among greats like Rick Flair, Ricky Steamboat and Paul Bearer ‘RIP’) to the sunny shores of South Beach where the crowds go out to dinner at 1am and party til the break of dawn…to this year, less than 10 miles away from my office building, NY/NJ…and the city that never sleeps (or so they say, but have you ever been to time square around 2am??) Let’s just hope the product backs the hype!

I’m looking forward to Brock vs. Triple H, but I have to chuckle at the “career is on the line” stipulation and jokes we’ve heard “Coming out of retirement for a retirement match”. I’m sure whatever the stipulation is or would’ve been…that match will deliver. A brutal beat down. Brock is good for it. Trip is good for it. Let’s do this!

The Shield Vs. Sheamus, RKO and Big Show. I’m a Sheamus gal so as long as the match lasts longer than 18 seconds, I’ll be enjoying this. Personally the Shield’s antics and the rivalry between the group is dragging out IMO, but let’s get a nice old fashioned brawl going and I think that will suffice.

Del Rio Vs. Swagger. This one’s getting a lot of heat. Who would’ve thought after Swagger’s lack luster “OMG, he looks horrible” return and arrest antics, he’d be able to create such a character that is working for him – with much credit to Zeb Colter, of course. In this case, I give major props to Del Rio for being able to be whoever he’s asked to be. He’s been the heel, he’s been the face…he’s been sort of in the middle where you aren’t really sure, but has proved to me to be talented in the ring and good at the psychological stuff. He’s got an entertaining side kick as well. This one should be good.

Team Hell No vs. Ziggler/Big E. You’ve got a nice mix of brute force and high flying technicians in the ring. It’s going to be interesting to see what Big E has to offer…we know we’ll get something solid from Bryan and Ziggler and Kane is just the man. He’s been one of the most consistent “deliver-ers” when it comes to the big stage. Wait, now I sound like an analyst (and I’m making up words!!). I might have to go back and edit this or just keep moving from here. I’ve always liked Team Hell No and Ziggler/AJ has that Edge/Lita kinda “if I have to see them make out one more time, I’m going to vomit” appeal. Aside from AJ’s impending Diva title quest (and blatant thievery of the Resident Diva’s Chuck Taylor collection), we’ll see where they are left after the bell has rung.

Jericho vs. Faaaaaaaan-daaaaaan-gooooooo, sorry I think I was getting too caught up on the N. Normally I’d say “WTF?” “SERIOUSLY?” “REALLY?” but I’m looking forward to see how this pans out. We haven’t seen FDG wrestle but he seems to be put together and has some intensity. The dancing gag is kinda lame, but a coupla beers in people at Met Life, and I’m sure they’ll be salsa-ing in the aisles…or at the very least, a poor man’s attempt at Salsa. And we know Jericho can deliver. This should be a very good “wrestling” match. Huh, interesting…I used the word wrestling…

Miz vs. Barrett. At this point, this Diva couldn’t care less and really doesn’t want to waste keystrokes on this match. We’ll see. We have a week to go. We at TKRS…at least 2/3 of us…tend to be anti Miz. (And as it happens this is the pre-show match, which I did not know at the time of this blog’s origination.)

Do I really care about The Funkasaurus, his entourage vs. Road Scholars and the Bella’s? Eh, I’m sure we’ll enjoy the little song and dance but Sandow most likely won’t get time to rip on the “mouth breathers” in the crowd, so on the surface this one will end up being about entertainment and not really wrestling, but we’ll see how that pans out.

Mark “Somebody’s Gonna get their @ss kicked” Henry vs. Ry-FeedMeMore-Back. This is sure to provoke a pop across the stadium. FEED ME MORE because THIS IS WHAT I DO. Welcome to the Hall of Pain!

Oh yeah, then there’s that other big headlining match: Taker vs. Punk. Do we really think it’s going to be 20-1. I think not. 21-0 here we come…we’ll get our lightning bolts, our crashes of thunder and some sort of flames shooting out of somewhere. Taker will pay tribute to Paul Bearer and all will be right with the world. I have softened for Punk a little bit over the past year…although I’ve always thought he was a creep…I guess his rivalry with the Rock actually gave me something to go on here, but I still can’t really get behind the greasy, drug addict looking, although straight edge, Punk. “Hit the gym and take a shower” Kevin Nash said it best. So for taker, I expect him to deliver…this could be a really good match. You got Taker a few years older than Mania 25’s delivery of one of the best matches, IMO, of all time…and you got Punk in his prime. If ‘in ring’ psychology comes through and their skills add up to where they should be. This could be an equation for brilliance in the ring….um, too much?? 21-0.

So the big one, as John Cena somehow managed to say about 100 times 2 RAW’s ago in the long drawn out Q&A session that could’ve been 10 minutes instead of close to 30! Don’t get me wrong, the last 5 minutes or so of Intense Cena got me searching through the t-shirt collection to find the perfect Cena shirt for the occasion, but let’s face it, The Rock not being around much has hampered this year’s juice for Rock/Cena. Did they gain that back in the last 5 minutes of Raw last week and their solo promos this week? I’m not so sure, but it definitely brought me closer to looking forward to this match of matches…or twice in a lifetime bout…I’m not going to go to on and on about my dislike for the Rock…and frankly at this point, I don’t really know where this blog is going…and I’m a little too tired to find out…but I guess all said and done, I don’t feel the last few weeks of RAW and Smackdown have really built the story line hype in the way I usually feel they are built during the Road To Wrestlemania, but on paper, most of the matches seem legit and should be entertaining.

In conclusion (look at me wrapping it up all official...) Wrestlemania is “COMING HOME” and this Diva is looking forward to another weekend to remember. This weekend is more than just a pro-wresting event. It’s a life changing experience…Join me in watching this event unfold before us… as they talented Superstars BRING IT HOME for Wrestlemania 29…and by bring I home, I mean “May Cena win and turn heel” :-) #TEAMCENA

#TeamPunk??? 

So the question was posed on TKRS last week..."Punk Vs. Rock...who do you root for?" Well, if you know me at all, you'll know I've been Team Cena 100% for a while now so this one is going to be tough! I'm sure you've heard my story, over and over...because any time someone will actually listen to me when I tell the tale of Wrestlemania 28, I make it clear that I was not happy with the Rock's return...well, I was happy when he returned - but I was quickly disappointed and felt hoodwinked by the man who claimed he would "never leave us again". So as the road to Wrestlemania 28 was paved, I was sitting on the side of the bus yelling "Let's go Cena!"

Well, we all know what happened at Wrestlemania 28 and as quickly as that was such a huge disappointment another character that I was less than thrilled with came back for his big return. Brock Lesnar. Who cares? Well, I didn't, but quickly that rivalry picked up some steam and then ultimately, I enjoyed the transition back to a less than corny, intense John Cena. Rise above Hate right? Well, there was bloodshed and one of the best endings to an episode to RAW that I can remember in recent years. The Extreme Rules PPV definitely lived up to the hype and all was right in the world of the WWE again - as far as Michele DeG was concerned.

Fast forward a few months, a lot of hype and "omg how many times do we have to hear that Monday Night Raw is the longest running episodic TV show in history"? Episode 1000 was on the horizon and we were all psyched for the fanfare. Truthfully, we all know that it is going to be hard to sustain 3 hours of good programming every week, but we were looking to episode 1000 for the fanfare and for Vince to pull out all the stops…and he did…with the exception of Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was noticeably missing…however, we found out later that it was due to knee surgery…so the rattle snake will get a pass…just this once. I’m not going to rehash the whole episode but it was jam packed with fun little segments, big names from the past, a wedding – of course – the Rock and Brock…all was right in the WWE Universe.

I know it’s practically a sacrilege to say….but I am not a CM Punk gal. He’s definitely won me over a bit over the past few years…his performance last summer during the “pipe bomb” era was brilliant. He showed that he can be someone, but really, in the end – I still see him as a greasy, scumbag looking less than jacked wrestler who I’ve seen in action not giving a crap about the fans. Can I really root for this guy?

So I’m left with the dilemma at the end of the day…when and if the Rock and CM meet in the ring for the WWE Championship…who in the blue hell am I going to root for?? I guess I might have to chronicle this journey until the Royal Rumble (my favorite PPV of the year…aside from the show of shows…of course…)

Last night came and went, and episode 1001 was pretty entertaining despite the excessive replays of highlights from last week, “earlier tonight” and “moments ago”. There were some solid matches, strong promos and character/story line developments…but did we really have to see the pre-show fire footage 2 or 3 times? And for Pete’s sake, did we NEED to see Vicky dance? I’d rather watch Elaine from Seinfeld in the ring! This is what we feared would happen – 3 hours of quality TV 52 weeks a year is a high bar to reach…but get used to it…the “filler” era in WWE wrestling has begun. As a 2 hour show, they had enough good content that it would’ve been one of the better RAWs of the year.

So I leave you now with my undecided vote: Rock vs. Punk…I guess you could say I’m stuck between “The Rock and a Punk place”…for now :-/

Off the Road 

“The Trip of Trips”, as I like to call it, might be in the rearview mirror, but the adventures and magic we experienced along the way will never be out of our sights. Yes, I used the word “magic” as that is the only word I can think of to describe what we experienced over the past few years attending Wrestlemania.

This was our 4th trip to the “show of shows” – and by far – the BEST TRIP EVER! We’ve had our fair share of grand experiences over the years…from Houston being the 25th anniversary of Wrestlemania and our first trip centered around Mania, Phoenix where we met some of our best friends “The Rosenbluth brothers” and Atlanta hanging with guys such as Rick Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Paul Bearer and DH Smith (LIVE IN THE NOW!!!) – as well as Matt Hardy and Reby Sky – (and some could say David Otunga behind the bar) and I wouldn’t have changed a minute! Each year has gotten better and better and I expect 28 to be just a cog in the wheel that we will all be writing about next year called “Wrestlemania 29”.

Wrestlemania 28 was not only the best actual Wrestlemania show I’ve been too – top to bottom, match by match – the venue, the crowd - but it opened up a new chapter of the Ken Reedy Show. After our infamous BEST BUS EVER trip to the event itself, we all realized this was our time to shine. The weekend, the events, even the bus ride lived up the to the hype!

I’m not going to waste everyone’s time and go on and on about our amazing trip…I’ll get right down to business. Rock Vs. Cena: That’s what I want to talk about and since this is my blog – that’s exactly what I’m going to do. We were supposed to be calling this the “Diva’s blog” but God help me if I am going to be confined to discussing the Divas! Do you know where I was during the Diva match at Wrestlemania??? On line trying to get some semblance of food so I wouldn’t miss the real matches.

So the fans asked and as far as I’m concerned, the WWE delivered. A year long wait for the “Once in a Lifetime” match. I’m not going to sit here and rehash too much about how I feel about the Rock. He is a liar and a fake: a fraud and only out for himself with no regard for “the business”. I’ve been pleading that cause for the better part of the past year. Oh, sure I have my “I bring it” t-shirt sitting crumbled up in my dresser drawer (I’d like to say folded, but let’s be honest here). I wore that stupid shirt proudly to Wrestlemania 27 in hopes of getting the true Rock experience – but perhaps like many others, my expectations were not met and I was left feeling flat by his over-hyped return. I missed the Rock era. I became a fan of the WWE in 2005 after the Rock left, so for me – I was excited to experience what I had missed. I’ve seen old footage, but when you aren’t living it, it’s hard to really get it. You can appreciate and respect it, but you aren’t living it “in” the moment. It’s like watching an old World Series game – it could be a great game, but you know the outcome and are never going to be on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens. You will never be able to replicate the drama and suspense that was felt when it was happening live.
Fast forward a year and the Rock did not deliver between 27 and 28. While he finally showed up to a few RAWs before mania 28, I found his antics, dated, repetitive and lazy. The true sign of his indolence was not only his wrist notes, but come on – he couldn’t even read the first few lines of his karaoke on the big screen! It doesn’t get easier than that, Rock! He rested on his laurels and it showed. Not only was his character stale, but boy was he sucking wind in the headlining match at Wrestlemania 28.

Ok, so all said and done, I enjoyed the whole experience. I sat proudly in the stands wearing my RISE ABOVE HATE shirt chanting back and forth in the “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chants…I discussed, dissected, disputed this “Once in a Lifetime” occurrence for weeks on end with friends and fans. It’s done, it’s over – we got a good payoff, but frankly, I thought John Cena was going to win. Sure, it’s the Rock’s home town, the Rock is the million-dollar movie star and WWE Legend, but why should the Rock win? What would the motivation be for the WWE to let the Rock win? He has no reason to return after this if he wins not to mention his ½ @ssed schedule throughout his return. And HE gets the prize? That’s not fair. Well it’s not all about being fair. John Cena busts his ass 300+ days a year. He is the top guy in the company – he is the man, he IS the WWE and to me, having the Rock win kinda sh!ts all over the company and proves to me that the Rock is in it for himself…but John Cena is a good man and did what he was asked. So sitting there at the end of the show with barely a voice left to speak, let alone chant….the Rock was victorious and I was one unhappy camper.

I’ve moved past this now, realizing that it wasn’t the end all, be all for Cena. This gives fuel to a much more Intense Cena. We like Intense Cena. Smiling, joking around Cena is ok too – in doses, but we like a Cena with a fire in his eyes to kick someone’s @ss and as much as I didn’t see it when I was sitting in section 114 Row 4, seat whatever….I see it now. This gives much more depth to the character that is John Cena. Everything he said about the Rock was 100% true and to not have beaten the Rock on the biggest stage of all must have been infuriating for him. Next up we hear rumors of Brock’s return…so what, who cares…I want to see Cena call out the Rock and them go at it again and have Cena (FINALLY) put the Rock in his place. Little did I expect what was the come next: Brock comes out on RAW and F5’s Cena. Most might think “what a chump, again” but I see it differently. It had to happen. Cena has been at the top of the company for a while (whether he wins or loses, he has been the top guy for years). He needed to get taken down a few pegs – not because (as some might think) he’s a punk or can’t wrestle or is arrogant, but to give him something to fight for. The follow up this past Monday on RAW was the brilliant. It was the exact heat we needed to see between Cena and Brock – otherwise, who cares? Cena comes down with his usual smirk and BAM! Bitch slaps Brock right in the face. Totally unexpected and we were all on the edge of our seats. And to see the melee that ensued result in a bloody Cena!!?? Classic Monday Night Raw! It was reminiscent of the classic diner scene in Superman II. And if you don’t know what that means…I’ve got 3 words for you “LOOK IT UP”. One thing is for sure after all the Rock hype, something I knew all along…it wasn’t about the Rock at all…it’s about re-inventing John Cena. It’s always about John Cena…and as a member of #TeamCena, I can assure you, he will RISE ABOVE and I am looking forward to being there on this new road ahead!