WWE Studios – Is It Best For Business?

Jamie Lithgow

No, The Wyatt Family didn't kidnap him. For the last couple of months Kane has been keeping himself busy by chasing a bunch of stupid teenagers around an old building with a meat hook, again.

No, The Wyatt Family didn’t kidnap him. For the last couple of months Kane has been keeping himself busy by chasing a bunch of stupid teenagers around an old building with a meat hook, again.

“We make movies” – Vince McMahon’s surprising response when asked what the ultimate aim of his company is, in the 1999 documentary Beyond the Mat. At the time I, along with most other people, did not have a clue what he was talking about. I just dismissed the remark as another one of Vince’s half-baked attempts at humour. I was aware of the disastrously bad 1989 effort No Holds Barred, but assumed that could be put on a shelf with Hulk Hogan’s Rock n’ Wrestling cartoon series and other Hogan centred attempts at mainstream crossover from the 1980’s.

Fast forward a few years to 2002 and Vince quietly unveiled WWF Films, which was swiftly changed to WWE Films after the company was forced to ‘get the ‘F’ out’ of it’s name. Then for a few years nothing much (in the public eye) happened. Then in May 2006 See No Evil, starring Kane, was released. This was followed by The Marine, starring John Cena, in October of that year and The Condemned starring Steve Austin in April 2007. The Marine did see a little bit of success at the box office, ultimately grossing just under $19 million. It’s just a shame that the movie had a budget of $20 million. The Condemned was a complete disaster, losing over $6 million. See No Evil on the other hand ended up making an $8 million profit, but in fairness it benefited from being the first WWE movie to be released and it had a considerably smaller budget than the other two films. Continue reading

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Wrestling Doppelgangers – Lookalikes from the world of ‘sports entertainment’

Jamie Lithgow

The world of wrestling is full of lookalikes, so today we take a look at 10 of the most convincing.

I know Sean Bean as Sharpe but to millions of others he’s Boromir, the spitting image of The Game.

I know Sean Bean as Sharpe but to millions of others he’s Boromir, the spitting image of The Game.

They may not look identical but these two share enough similarities to easily pass for brothers. Woo woo woo, you know it!

They may not look identical but these two share enough similarities to easily pass for brothers. Woo woo woo, you know it!

Not much to say about this one, other than the sight of such powerful facial hair has inspired me to attempt a soup strainer of my own.

Not much to say about this one, other than the sight of such powerful facial hair has inspired me to attempt a soup strainer of my own.

These two are probably the most convincing doppelgangers on the list, they look alike from every angle. The only real difference is that Vettel is smaller and slightly younger looking.

These two are probably the most convincing doppelgangers on the list, they look alike from every angle. The only real difference is that Vettel is smaller and slightly younger looking.

This likeness has been alluded to on television but I still find it bizarre how alike this pair are. There was a time when they wrestled alike too, but Young has since surpassed Cena to reach the level of competent.

This likeness has been alluded to on television but I still find it bizarre how alike this pair are. There was a time when they wrestled alike too, but Young has since surpassed Cena to reach the level of competent.

The Shield are one of the best things going in WWE right now. Why they dress like an attitude era Bossman is beyond me though.

The Shield are one of the best things going in WWE right now. Why they dress like an attitude era Bossman is beyond me though.

Square jaw, pointy eyebrows, designer stubble, shit loads of tattoos and ever changing hair; I’d say this is a decent likeness.

Square jaw, pointy eyebrows, designer stubble, shit loads of tattoos and ever changing hair; I’d say this is a decent likeness.

Yep, Mark Henry looks like a big fat Predator. It really is time he got rid of the dreads, his hairline just isn’t up to it.

Yep, Mark Henry looks like a big fat Predator. It really is time he got rid of the dreads, his hairline just is not up to it.

I have no idea if Jackson is still under contract, all I know is that he bears more than a passing resemblance to the cheeseburger guy from the Adam Sandler version of The Longest Yard.

I have no idea if Jackson is still under contract, all I know is that he bears more than a passing resemblance to the cheeseburger guy from the Adam Sandler version of The Longest Yard.

Lesnar’s look-a-like was a toss-up between this alien thing and Ludvig Borga. I’d say I’ve made the right choice.

Lesnar’s lookalike was a toss-up between this alien thing and Ludvig Borga. I think I’ve made the right choice.

Sunday Sermon – Wrestlers in movies; best and worst

Craig Wilson, James Giles & Jamie Lithgow

With the festive season comes a bucket load of movies to watch. For this reason today we look at wrestler’s appearances on the silver screen, both good and bad. Please note that we are likely to ignore WWE Studios films, purely because they are rubbish and go straight to DVD. Even those that have received cinema releases don’t get much coverage in UK cinemas, thus we couldn’t care less about them!

Jamie: The reason I’ve sparked this topic is purely due to cult classic They Live. It came up in a conversation I had the other day with a non-wrestling fan friend of mine. It is that rare film starring a wrestler (Roddy Piper) that is actually pretty good and appreciated by people outside of wrestling circles. Piper is very watchable in the film as a reluctant yet charismatic protagonist.

James: Yeah, he is a bit OTT but it suits the film and the character well. Apparently John Carpenter (who directed) is a huge wrestling fan, so that explains the casting. In fact, I think I remember seeing a Wrestlemania where they showed him in the audience.

As far as who is the best wrestler actor, I think I’d have to say The Rock every time. Even in the terrible things he has been in, like Doom, he was still very watchable himself.

For the worst, then everything and anything Hulk Hogan has been in. Suburban Commando, Mr Nanny, the list is endlessly awful. His only half decent appearance is an in-character cameo in Gremlins II: The New Batch, and only because it fits the surreal tone of the movie well. The WCW produced Ready to Rumble is staggeringly bad too.

My two favourite movies starring wrestlers are actually both documentaries – Beyond The Mat and Wrestling With Shadows. Both are completely essential viewing for any wrestling fan as far as I am concerned.

Craig: I have to ‘fess up; I’m in the fortunate position of being able to say I’ve not really seen many wrestling films. Pretty much as a rule I avoid the ones that are produced by the WWE and I’ve not even seen Ready to Rumble or No Holds Barred.

In terms of some wrestling related things I’ve seen, I love the film The Wrestler which, although not a documentary or biopic, is clearly heavily based on tales from several wrestlers, particularly Jake Roberts in relation to Micky Rourke’s character, Robin Ramzinski’s, relationship with his estranged daughter.

In terms of top quality documentaries, it’s difficult to look beyond Wrestling with Shadows and Beyond the Mat. Two very different, but very important, documentaries that look at important parts of wrestling and the sport’s history.

Wait, I’ve seen Hulk Hogan films but I’ve clearly tried to forget them. I’ve seen both Suburban Commando and Mr Nanny but I’ve clearly tried to forget the experience huh.

Jamie: After Roddy Piper’s performance in They Live prompted this discussion my mind also drifted towards Hulk Hogan’s efforts, and as you have both said his movies have been terrible (Gremlins II aside). I will admit to having a nostalgia fuelled soft spot for his TV show; Thunder in Paradise though. It was like Baywatch meets Knight Rider, but a hundred times worse than either.

In terms of wrestlers in starring roles then obviously Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is the stand-out by some distance. I can’t say I’ve seen a great number of his films, and those I have seen haven’t been great, but they have been far above anything (possibly other than They Live) featuring any other wrestler. Like James said, The Rock is very watchable even in crap films. He’s a bit like a poor man’s Will Smith in that sense; he can almost make a poor film worth watching on his own. For example, I enjoyed Gridiron Gang purely because of The Great One.

I have to admit that I’m now struggling to think of wrestlers featuring in starring roles. I’m now leaning towards the Adam Sandler remake of The Longest Yard, which featured many familiar faces including Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, The Great Khali and Goldberg. Rather sadly I quite enjoyed this film; Austin and Nash are half decent in their roles as prison guards. Speaking of Big Sexy we can’t discuss this topic without mentioning Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze. He plays the role of Super Shredder in the final sequence in what was one of my favourite childhood movies.

There are many cameos I could mention but as it is Christmas let’s keep it topical and give Big Show’s brief appearance in Jingle All The Way a mention. I’m not joking when I say that this is one of my favourite Christmas films, it’s one of my favourite Arnie films too. However, to round off I have to mention the most topical film for this discussion. That’s right, a wrestler in the starring role of a Christmas film! Goldberg starred as Santa Claus in the comedy/horror Santa’s Slay. He played Santa in a total nonsense of a film which has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek so is therefore a pretty fun watch. Honestly, this is a great film to watch with a few beers and your mates.

Showbiz Wrestling – The worst celebrity guests from WWE and WCW

, Jamie Lithgow

Showbiz Wrestling I have just watched King of The Ring 1994 for the very first time and there’s only one thing I will remember about that event; Art Donovan. He wasn’t a wrestler, he had nothing to do with wrestling and from what I could tell had never seen wrestling until this point. However, he managed to overcome all of those hurdles to become the celebrity guest commentator for the entire event! I urge everyone to catch some of the action from this event just to hear this guy, it’s priceless. He has no idea who any, and I mean any, of the wrestlers are. I can’t remember him actually making any statements, he asks plenty questions though! His most frequent being “hey Gorilla, who’s that guy?” Having sat through the whole show it did get annoying, but when you notice Macho Man and Gorilla Monsoon starting to completely blank him, because he’s bugging the tits off them presumably, it get’s funny again. The end of the event says it all; Macho Man and Monsoon are on camera wrapping things up and trying to make sense of what has transpired when our pal Art chimes in with some daft comment which both Savage and Monsoon totally ignore, priceless. So how did Art Donovan land this gig as commentator for the day? Simple, he’s famous outside of wrestling. He’s some sort of NFL legend by all accounts. Everyone knows that WWE is a whore to mainstream publicity, they’ll bend over backwards to get celebrities on WWE TV. Some of these celebs get what wrestling is about and that’s really cool. Mike Tyson, Mr T, Laurence Taylor, Pete Rose, Hugh Jackman, Freddie Prinze Jr, Floyd Mayweather Jr and even Snooki came in with the right spirit so fair play to them. It would be nice to see wrestlers get the upper hand a little more often when faced with a Hollywood actor but I won’t harsh too much on the good celebrity involvements because they really do reflect well on the WWE product as a whole. Now for the bad celebrity involvements! I’m not going to talk about how they damaged wrestler’s reputations and sullied WWE’s name, I’m really just interested in how cringe worthy and funny they were. First of all I need to branch out from WWE and go to WCW, although technically it’s all the same thing these days; David Arquette becomes WCW World Heavyweight Champion. You know that belt that Ric Flair made famous? Also worn by Sting, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Goldberg and inspired the belt Sheamus wears today? Well the guy from Scream won that in 1999 as means of promoting the film Ready to Rumble. Yep, that happened and there was nothing anybody, even Arquette himself, could do about it.

Staying with WCW and staying in 1999 we have KISS playing on Nitro to mark the debut of KISS inspired wrestler The Demon. I think I read somewhere that this was the lowest rated segment of Nitro ever, and that wouldn’t surprise me. Who thinks up this nonsense? Actually, I know the answer to that… Watch Diddy And Machine Gun Kelly Invade Wrestlemania http://www.prefixmag.com/news/watch-diddy-and-machine-gun-kelly-invade-wrestlema/63941/ Staying with the musical theme and having musicians perform on a show can be hit and miss. To ensure a hit WWE tries to stick to rock music or at least a home town act. However, at Wrestlemania this year WWE tried the opposite approach when that MGK chap performed. He was greeted with a wall of indifference/silence which turned to chorus of boos when he started banging on about John Cena being an underdog. Hopefully we won’t be seeing him again.

Jeremy Piven and Dr Ken as Raw guest hosts a couple of years ago, horrible, just horrible. To be fair I don’t recall Piven being too bad but that Dr Ken guy was awful, just annoying and overbearing the whole time. I wonder of it was planned or WWE was just thinking on its feet to have him attack and subsequently get roughed up by Cena? Either way he was annoying, very annoying. On the bright side, when Cena threw him outside the ring Carlito and Swagger didn’t catch him properly and he thumped his head off the ground, which the fans loudly cheered.

http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x1t1nk
WWE Big Show vs. Akebono (Sumo Match) by joniamigo Akebono vs Big Show in a worked sumo match, at Wrestlemania no less. There were three major things wrong with this concept; nobody knew who Akebono was, nobody cares about sumo wrestling and nobody wants to see Big Show in a nappy. I only remembered about this when Cody Rhodes was doing his Wrestlemania promos on Big Show, until then it had been erased from my memory.

And finally we head back to WCW and instead of wrestlers we find basketball players and talk show hosts. At first the Dennis Rodman thing in WCW was alright, it worked because Rodman was, well, bonkers. Then Karl Malone come in and eventually at Road Wild 98 Jay Leno competed in, and won, a tag team match. If you don’t know who Jay Leno is he’s an American talk show host with a big chin. To be fair Leno was up for it so props to him, but I just find it ridiculous that America’s answer to Jonathan Ross had a match against Hulk Hogan!