Category Archives: Sports

Steve Cangialosi: Oates Or Stevens Will Most Likely Be Devils Head Coach Next Season

In this exclusive interview with AlternativeNation.net’s Sports section, Devils play-by-play man, Steve Cangialosi discusses his background as a broadcaster, Doc Emrick, what the locker room has been like since Peter DeBoer’s departure, who we could see behind the Devils bench next year, the development of Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas, what the Devils’ role  at the trade deadline will be, playoff hopes, Martin Brodeur’s stint with the St. Louis Blues and more.

Tell me the story behind you and hockey. Did you become a fan before getting into broadcasting or after?

Oh of course! Hockey had been my favorite sport, probably from the time I was eight years old. Since I’m fifty-one now, I will say that’s a pretty long time. *laughs* I grew up in Queens and the Islanders were my team. Strangely enough, Chico Resch had become my favorite player at a very early age, probably because I have a vivid memory of 1975 and him taking the Islanders to the Stanley Cup semi-finals.

How do you cope during the overlap of the NHL and MLS seasons? What preparations do you make to switch into soccer and hockey mode, from one night to the next?

Those are the two very tricky parts of the year, probably that segment of late September into October and come springtime you have late February into March where for me it’s double the homework and probably double everything on my plate. Once the Devils and the Stanley Cup playoffs are done it’s something where I completely immerse myself into MLS and vice versa, once the MLS season is done and I’ve called my last soccer game for a while then I’m in position to switch the work part of it off. I mean, I still watch all of the games, watch all that I possibly can but it’s a lot to balance and you are inevitable that you are going to miss things.

The first thing that you should know is that whenever there is a conflict, the Devils win out and that’s just the nature of the beast. I have promised to do every New Jersey Devils telecast. There are those times where both teams play on the same day and strangely enough I can do both if one is in the afternoon and one is in the evening but that doesn’t happen a heck of a lot! *laughs* I read a lot and I watch as much tape as I possibly can, my DVR is always at around 98% because I got games on the backlog, most of which I try to get to and some of which I just never get to. It’s a completely different craft I would say, the preparation is similar in that you are reading as much as you can, watching as much tape as you can talking to players and coaches as much as you can but the pacing and the job itself is very much different.

In my opinion, it seems like you are a student of the game and its rich history, much like how Doc Emrick was. Would you say you pattern your call style after Doc? Is there more to your love of hockey than it just being part of the job?

*Laughs* There is only one Doc and I can say that pretty confidently because I got to work with him for a good amount of time. I always tell people that the thing that I try to take from Doc is not only his commitment to the profession but his approach to people, because that was a big part of what came out on-air. Doc loves the people that he covers and I try to adopt that same mindset, he loves the players, loves everything around the game and I think none of that when we see him now or NBC is forced at all. To talk with him just about life and the game was just some of the most rewarding times to have.

I’ll tell you a story that I like to tell sometimes where everything I ever thought about Doc came out and was true. The very first time I joined the crew, which was around the fall of 2006, I remember that we had arrived in Carolina and it was my first game as the pre-game host. We arrived to that first production meeting in Carolina and I’ll never forget, Doc had already called more than 2,000 games in his career and obviously his reputation was one of, if not the most credible voice in the game. What struck me as interesting in the first production meeting back then was that he treated me as if my voice was equal, he wanted to know what I had to say about tomorrow night’s game and he wanted me to have an equal platform as him even though his credentials in the game far outweighed mine. Doc wanted that door open and I never forgot that. It’s an approach that one day that I want to pass on to somebody else in the game and that’s what I mean about his approach to people. It’s always genuine and I believe that love of the game always comes out.

As far as pattering my call style? Doc is very unique, very descriptive, so on the money with things and it all happens with a machine gun/rapid fire call. I think that there are very few people in the business that are equipped to do what he does. I do my best though! *Laughs*

Have you worked with Ken Danekyo, this season to help him learn the craft a bit? Is Dan-o receptive to constructive criticism? Also, how do you feel this first season without Chico Resch is going?

Oh absolutely he’s receptive to constructive criticism and it’s a totally different animal for Kenny than the role that he’s been in for the past ten years. I think that the place he comes from was, you watch a game, you’re emotional about it and that emotion would then cut out just in his between period segment, which is roughly four to five minutes and I did a lot of those with him when I was the pre and post game host. It’s a completely different animal now because you are tethering everything to a two and a half hour broadcast, there is a lot more pacing, a lot more deciphering of what’s important early, what can wait and what might not get into the broadcast at all. The preparation level is completely different, it’s much more intense and Kenny is figuring all of that out right now. It’s a very different job from the one he had over the last ten years. It’s a lot more analytical and this is a first foray for him, his first season and it’s a process, definitely a process.

However, Kenny comes at it from a totally different place then Chico and for me I guess that’s the biggest change. Chico, and I would always take this for granted, would see the game through the eyes of a goaltender, so that doesn’t just mean that he knows about the nuances of goaltenders throughout the league but he was also very good of picking up the nuances of the shooters. Now, Kenny comes at it from a completely different place, obviously from being a stay-at-home defenseman for the most part of his twenty year career. So, there is a different dynamic there, without a doubt and just like Chico had to find his way with things when he started back in the 1990s so is Kenny in the process of doing that now, I’m sure.

KenSteve

How do you feel the mood around the players and team has changed since Peter DeBoer’s departure?

Something needed to change. I don’t know if the mood has been altered that much and I think that there is this false perception out there that players wanted Pete DeBoer out and I never sensed that. As a matter of fact, I sensed that an overwhelming respect in the room, for Pete. So, this notion that when he was dismissed, the day after Christmas that “thank God, he’s out of the way”, I always thought that was tremendously off base. Now, have certain played benefited from Pete’s departure? Absolutely. Adam Larsson is playing 22 minutes a night now when there were times that was probably never possible, under Pete. However, that’s not to say that it wouldn’t have happened if the situation was given more time but it very well might have. Pete’s best team, and you can log his time in Florida and New Jersey to make that six and a half years as a NHL head coach, the best team he ever had and was assembled for him got to the Stanley Cup Final and I never forget that. I think a lot of people do. However to answer your question, I don’t think the mood in the room has really changed that much.

I want to put this to bed once and for all, was Adam Larsson held down by Pete DeBoer?

Adam Larsson’s playing time has increased now in the aftermath of it. Pete wants to win, did he hold him down? That’s a hard question. Pete put out the lineup every night that he thought was going to win a hockey game, so did that progress slow down? It probably did a little bit since his rookie season. Remember when Adam came up as an 18 year old kid, he was not only playing 65 regular season games that year but he was playing every situation. As a teenager, they trusted him with a lot and I think the Devils as time went on kind of admitted that they put too much on his plate early. Pete DeBoer wasn’t the only one to have said that, Lou Lamoriello had said that as well.

Again, given more time I don’t think Adam Larsson’s growth as a player will be any more exponential since Pete DeBoer is out of the way. I just don’t. I think Adam would have had a very good career regardless of who the coach was for the balance of this season and moving forward. If Adam was good and if Adam was going to play as consistently as he has in recent weeks that was going to come out, eventually that would of come out under Pete DeBoer too.

Who do you think the next coach for the team is going to be next season? Scott Stevens, Adam Oates or someone else?

My suspicion is that it will be one of the two as both have built up equity here with what they’ve done. It’s a short body of work since they’ve come aboard, we’re talking about since December 26th but everything from the Devils says that the two have been equal parts in this. I would say that Adam Oates has a touch more to do with the overall game-plan right now. The forwards are under his jurisdiction where as the defensemen are under Scott Stevens’ jurisdiction. The simple math is that there are more forwards on the team then defensemen and Adam, of course is in charge of the power play which is a very important thing, although I’m not demeaning what the penalty kill means.

Adam is a former head coach in the NHL, if I had to say one guy had an edge it would be Adam Oates but I’m going to temper that by saying by saying Scott Stevens has unwavering support from a lot of people. I always want to remember the importance of that; there are a lot of people who believe Scott Stevens’ mentality is that of a head coach. The thing that hasn’t happened yet is that Scott hasn’t come out and said that “I want to be a head coach someday.” I think that once we hear that then maybe the handicapping of all of this might be different.

OatesStevens1

After an impressive winning streak, the team seems to have cooled off a bit. Do you think the Devils have a realistic chance of making the playoffs? Did we see a bump in performance, which usually happens after any head coaching change or was it something else?

You know what; I think they’ve simplified the game. The winning that took place, up until the last two games was more than just adrenaline of a coaching change, that had to do with simplifying the game, which the Devils have done. Now, you’re asking me if they’re in the playoff race. They’re going to have to do something that no team in the past two decades has done and that is come back from a double digit deficit in the standings, in terms of points and do that with less than 30 games to go. That hasn’t happened in two decades. So, the math here is very obvious for everyone to digest, it’s a long shot at this point. I still think what they’re doing, is that they’re looking at a 6 game home stand and I think that they still have their sights set on that stretch of games that takes place starting next week when they play Buffalo, Vancouver, Carolina, Arizona, Calgary and Boston all at home. Now, if the success of that home stand is going to match what they did with the recent home stand then the conversation suddenly takes another turn. However, there is no doubt that the team has put themselves in a hole and it is a long shot at this point, without a doubt and history tells us that.

As the NHL trade deadline approaches. Do you think the Devils will be buyers or sellers?

I think they’ll see where they are on February 28th. You know, it’s a line that Lou recycles a lot and that is “when you have time on your side, why not use it?” I think that the Devils still do have some time on their side to sort some things out and I think that it’s somewhere in between, could the Devils move players that would be helpful to other teams? Absolutely. If you are waking up on the morning of March 1st and you are 15 points out then obviously you are considering some things, without a doubt.

Are they adding at this point? You know, I just don’t see the scenario where they do that, I think every deal is done with an eye on getting better in the future.

We have seen all of the hype regarding Connor McDavid, Jack Echiel and even other future draft picks, such as Mitch Marner and Dylan Strome. What type of player do you think the Devils should target in the upcoming 2015 NHL Entry Draft?

That’s truly a hard one. What I think any team needs, is that guy who is a bonafide top two line center because those kind of players just don’t grow on trees. Adam Henrique could potentially be that but we are still finding a lot out about his game. Travis Zajac is a guy that I want on my team but the template of his game has a lot more to do with the intangibles of the game than some lucrative point total. With that said, that creative playmaking center who is simply fun to watch. Those players just come around every day and I’m kind of tilted that way only because I’m looking at the defensive core, who the team has moving forward and I think they are very comfortable with that group moving into the next three to five year stretch. If you have (Adam) Larsson, (Damon) Severson, (Eric) Gelinas and (Jon) Merrill right now in the NHL level and you have Steve Santini who is projected to be a NHL player within the next two years then if you are just going by need, then that playmaking center who can make a difference is something that I think a lot of the fans would look forward to seeing.

You bring up Eric Gelinas, Lou Lamoriello recently said in a recent Q&A that he wants Eric Gelinas to be a “long range player”, however, do you think giving him such a lack of playing time is the way to unearth Gelinas’ potential?

I think that it has to be earned and it goes back to putting the six defensemen on the ice that will give you the chance to win that night. Give them that because they have not once maneuvered to the point where they throw in the towel on a season and they’ve never once sent that vibe to their fans. While I understand the logic that Eric Gelinas playing and being in the lineup is going to be something that serves Eric Gelinas, there is the matter of staying true to your beliefs and putting the team on the ice that you feel has the best chance to win every night. I understand Eric Gelinas’ gifts, he skates very well with the puck, he has a blistering shot that I think is going to be his biggest weapon moving forward but there is that matter of trust, in his own end that has to be earned. I still think that there is a lot of hockey in Eric Gelinas before this season comes to an end. I don’t think that we will see this pattern of him sitting continue for too much longer.

Yet, when you got that responsibility to get back in the race, you aren’t looking at “I need to play Eric Gelinas because he’s 23 years old” but rather “I need to play the six best guys that I have on the ice.” The team has never really wavered from that and has always been consistent when it comes to that kind of thing.

Gelinas

What were your thoughts on the way in which Marty Brodeur ended his career given the rare nature of seeing someone only play for one team their entire career, like Derek Jeter or Nicklas Lidstrom?

Strange. It was just strange seeing the announcement with the Blues logo behind him, it was strange seeing Bernie Federko and Al Macinnis sitting behind him when you always envisioned that day coming (Ken) Daneyko, (Scott) Stevens and (Lou) Lamoriello at the dance. I don’t ever try to tell people what’s right for them; I think we all go down a dangerous path when any of us do that. Marty Brodeur thought that this was right for him and he didn’t know that it was suddenly going to end on a Winter’s day in January. I’m sure he considered the possibility but he didn’t know. I’m sure that when he signed with the St. Louis Blues that there was a chance that he was going to be playing meaningful hockey games in the Spring and even in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I don’t think Marty suddenly envisioned that it would just come to an end and that would be that, so I get that.

I guess the answer to your question is that everybody has the right to go out on the terms that they want, but was it strange seeing him with the Blues logo, in that setting? Absolutely. Of course it was.

Since Marty was unable to reach 700 career wins with St. Louis, do you think Marty would have retired with the Devils?

To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t think that getting to 700 was the overwhelming factor. It would have been special but the guy just wanted to play. I just think that he felt he had more hockey in him, that’s all. Was getting to 700 career wins the one thing that was going to drive him? I don’t think so. Truthfully, I think once he got to 552, the rest was just adding to his legacy. To me, there was going to be no other milestone that was going to be the “end all, be all” for him. I think that it would have been nice for him and it would have been nice for the league to celebrate such a milestone as 700 career wins but at the end of the day I never really thought it was all that important.

Martyblues

In light of his injury history and declining stats, do you see Bryce Salvador coming back to the team next season?

The truth is that I haven’t spoken to Bryce Salvador in three months, so I got very little handle on it. I know that he has been at games and has watching from the suite from time to time but that is very hard to say and I have no firm grip on the injury that he suffered as well. I don’t believe that I can give you an educated stab at that question. I will say this though; Bryce is a good guy and has been an absolute pro in that locker room for the longest time. Fans give him a bad rep and I feel horrible for him because he is a good pro. People seem to forget how good he was in 2012 by the way. I’m not saying that we should continue to throw roses at players years later, I understand that’s the universe we live in but the Devils have had one magical run since 2003 and Bryce Salvador was a big, big part of that. People should not forget how good he was during a lot of those post season games.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s been any one player’s team since Scott Stevens last wore the captaincy and even then there was a measure of leadership coming through various pockets of that room. Bryce Salvador earned the “C”, he absolutely earned the right to wear that letter. However, leadership in that room has come from a lot of different places. There is a stretch of lockers, in the Devils room, where a bunch of veteran players all sit side by side and it began with Brodeur when he was still with the team but on one side of the locker room you had Brodeur, Patrik Elias, Danius Zubrus, Ilya Kovalchuk, back when he was still here, it’s always come from a bunch of different places and that’s more likely to happen when it’s a veteran laden team like this one is.

It was recently announced, that the IZOD Center, which was known for many years as the Brendan Byrne Arena/Continental Airlines Arena, and most importantly as the original home for the New Jersey Devils will be shutting down permanently. As my final question to you, out of all the important and significant memories there, what was your favorite Devils memory from the old arena?

*Laughs* I’m going to cheat because it’s one with me at the mic. I understand nothing beats game four of the 1995 Stanley Cup finals against Detroit but I’ll be selfish and speak as a broadcaster. I was part of the Devils broadcast team for only one season at the Meadowlands, that last year, 2006-2007. So, my favorite memory from that year was actually the second round of the playoffs and I got to call Jamie Langenbrunner’s double overtime goal against the Ottawa Senators, which turned out to be the only game the Devils would win in that series as they were eliminated in five and the Senators went on to the Stanley Cup final. For me though, that was my first year as a National Hockey League announcer and I got to call our team winning a double overtime winning game, which was the first really cool moment that I had in the booth and my favorite memory from the Meadowlands.

Interview: WWE’s Daniel Bryan Talks James Hetfield, Vince McMahon, Triple H & Brock Lesnar

Interview conducted by Mike Mazzarone and Brett Buchanan

WWE superstar Daniel Bryan returns to the ring on Thursday’s episode of Smackdown on Syfy against Kane, just over two weeks after announcing his intentions to wrestle at the Royal Rumble on January 25th.  Bryan was on top of the world at last year’s WrestleMania 30, winning the WWE World Heavyweight Title, but just a month later he was sidelined with an injury that kept him out of action for 8 months.

In this exclusive interview with AlternativeNation.net’s Sports section, Bryan discusses meeting James Hetfield, seeing Metallica in his hometown of Aberdeen (also the hometown of Kurt Cobain), how long he will continue to wrestle, if he will alter his wrestling style after his injury, Vince McMahon recently calling out the WWE roster to reach for the ‘brass ring’ in an interview with Steve Austin, WWE’s lack of competition, Triple H’s leadership in WWE, a potential match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31, Sting’s WWE debut, Randy Savage’s WWE Hall of Fame induction, Batista’s 2014 WWE comeback, and the original plans for him at WrestleMania 30.

First off a music related question, what was it like meeting James Hetfield a few months ago? Are you a big Metallica fan, do you have any favorite albums?

Okay, so I’m not necessarily the biggest Metallica fan, it was actually really neat to meet him because I got to talk to him. I forget what year it was, but MTV ran this contest or lottery where you could enter, and Metallica would come do a concert at your house. Somebody from Aberdeen, Washington, which is where I grew up, actually won the contest. (Laughs) So Metallica did a show in Aberdeen, Washington in this guy’s backyard, and so when I met him and said that to him, he was like, ‘Oh my god that was this and this and this.’ He kind of told me the story of [how they got there], it was a neat and interesting conversation. So I don’t know any Metallica albums, but I know when I was in the high school weight room, they would play non stop all the time.

danielbryanjameshetfield

Your first match back will be on Smackdown on Thursday, which surprised many fans who thought you wouldn’t be back until the Royal Rumble. Did you have any input on when your first match back would be?

Absolutely, I requested my first match back to be when Smackdown moved to Thursday nights. I think it’s a good time to change the branding of Smackdown, it’s a very important show for us, to get new viewers on a new night, and I wanted to be the guy to bring the new viewers to the new night. So once I got cleared, I actually asked for the spot. My vision of Smackdown is going to be [it changing] in 2015. I would like it to be the show that would actually be more fun to watch than Raw, and this is all part of the process, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Will you alter your in ring style after your injury?

I will, but not necessarily because of my injury. It’s something where your style has to constantly evolve. I like to look at wrestling as the most artsy of all the martial arts. It’s a very creative process, what we’re doing is artistic creative combat. So as such, it needs to evolve. Being able to sit at home for the last 8 months and watch the product, and I see things where there’s too much of this, or there’s not enough this, and here’s what I can bring to the table that’s different, and more exciting for the fans. So yes, my style will be changing. Will it be any easier on my neck? I have no idea (laughs). Yeah, my style will be changing, but it’s not necessarily going to be physically easier.

How long do you see yourself being able to continue to wrestle, and who would you like to wrestle before you retire?

Those are very difficult questions. I would like to wrestle as long as my body is physically capable of it. I love what I do, I used to do this for very little money (laughs). It’s one of those things where, I do this because it’s fun, being with WWE is the first time I ever made any real money doing it. It’s just a blast, it’s my passion. It’s like asking a musician how long do they want to play music for. It’s very difficult to grapple with the idea of not being able to wrestle any more, but you also have to come to the realization that this is a very physical business, and your body will only last you so long. So I would like to say that at some point I would have the mental intelligence, or maybe the mental support from my wife or somebody, to know, ‘Okay, it’s time for you to stop, because if you don’t, you’re going to have to replace your hips, your knees, all that kind of stuff.’ So I don’t know when that time will be, but I’d like to wrestle as long as I can, but at the end of it still be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle afterwards.

danielbryanvincemcmahon

What was your take on Vince McMahon’s interview a couple of months back on the WWE Network where he encouraged talent to reach for the brass ring?

(Laughs) You know it’s funny, because one of the things that he had mentioned was, he said something about the Millennials not having any ambition, right. It’s funny, because the WWE does this personality test with some of their more successful superstars, where they rank you on all of these scores, like your desire for power, and your personality, and all that kind of stuff. One of the things they ranked was ambition, and it’s funny, because in this personality assessment, I got the lowest score for ambition that the lady had ever seen. So they do it on a percentile basis, so from 0 to 100, I was in the bottom 1 percentile of ambition.

(Laughs) It’s funny because the lady was like, ‘How on earth are you so successful given that you seem to have no ambition?’ I said, ‘Well, that’s where there’s a flaw on the test. I have no ambition for what society says is important as far as things like money, and all that kind of stuff.’ What I am ambitious about is I want to be the best wrestler that I can possibly be, and I think there’s some sort of mistake in generations, as far as what he thinks as far as our generation lacking ambition. Our generation just wants different things than what his generation wants, and I think that’s a societal thing as well. There’s an older generation of people who say, ‘No, you guys should want this, you guys should want this, you guys should want this.’ Whereas our generation, a lot of us say, ‘No, we don’t want that, we want something different, and a lot of the things that you guys wanted, are the reason that the world is messed up. We need to change our value system.’ So that’s it, that’s a very different take on what’s going on.

But people do need to stand up and say, ‘No, this isn’t what I want, I want to do this. This is me, this is how I want to present myself on television. This is how I want to be within WWE, this is how I view professional wrestling, this is what I would like it to be.’ People have to have the courage to come up and say that. But the hard thing is, he was talking about the Attitude Era and how things were different, well things wouldn’t have been that much different if there wasn’t a WCW. Like guys could say, ‘Hey, I don’t want to do this. If you want to fire me fine, because I’m going to go to WCW and make just as much money.’ That doesn’t exist right now. It’s people who are okay with like, ‘Hey, my life without WWE, is as good as my life with the WWE.’ They have to be able to say, ‘Okay, if I’m going to say this is what I want to do, or else I’m taking my ball and going home.’ They have to have some sort of plan for when they take their ball and go home, they have something else to do, which is hard, especially when you have a family, and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, I have very interesting thoughts on that whole podcast. It’s a very interesting look into the mind of Vince McMahon, so it was fascinating.

danielbryanyesbehind

CM Punk recently mentioned that he thinks you could have a successful MMA career. Is that something you’d ever be interested in trying, and have you done any MMA training?

Yeah, I’ve actually done a lot of jiu-jitsu and kickboxing. The Yes Lock that I do, it was actually taught to me by Neal Melanson, the head grappling coach at Xtreme Couture. It’s a move I use regularly when I do jiu-jitsu, it’s a [type of] kind of face lock to keep the guy from rolling. So I love doing jiu-jitsu and kickboxing, I will probably never do and MMA fight, and here’s why: I am not competitive. So I love jiu-jitsu, I love going in, I love going on the mat, I love rolling the people, but I love doing it with my friends.

It’s like the way dogs play, dogs play like they’re fighting, but they’re not trying to hurt each other unless they’re actually really fighting. That’s what I’m like with my friends, like, ‘Hey, let’s spar a little bit with kickboxing, but I’m not going to punch you in the face as hard as I can. I’m just going to see if I can touch you, and by me touching you, we both acknowledge that I’ve done something good.’ Or likewise with grappling, when I can turn an armbar, and in no way shape or form am I trying to break your arm, and if you don’t tap out because you don’t think you’re in that much trouble, I’m not going to crank it just to prove to you that I do have this armbar, right (laughs). So I love martial arts, I love that sort of thing, but I’m also not competitive enough to go in and be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to break this guy’s leg.’ That’s just not my personality type.

danielbryantripleh

Triple H’s role in WWE management has been expanding in the last couple of years, especially with him spearheading NXT. What do you think about Triple H’s work with the NXT talent he’s selected, and have you talked to him about what his vision is for the future of wrestling?

I have never actually talked to him about his vision for the future of wrestling, and that is actually something I should talk to him about, because we think a lot alike in a lot of ways. I like what he’s done with NXT, I think NXT is an awesome show. That last special that they did was an awesome product. I think Hunter is very intelligent wrestling wise, like he knows wrestling, he knows what works wrestling wise. I’m not exactly sure what are his ideas, and what aren’t his ideas within the WWE, but I want to say two of the most successful current acts that happened in the last year, like The Shield and the Wyatts, I think those are Triple H ideas, but I’m not exactly sure, as far as their execution and that sort of thing. The only way I can really gauge him is by what happens on NXT, and NXT is a wonderful product, it might be the best wrestling product out there. I love watching that show, and I think they’ve chosen some pretty awesome guys to be the stars of that show: Sami Zayn is incredible, Adrian Neville is incredible, Finn Balor is incredible, Hideo Itami, who used to be KENTA, and I wrestled on the independents and Japan, he’s incredible. So they’ve got some incredible talent down there, and they’re doing some really good stories.

Many thought you would face Brock Lesnar last year at Summerslam before your injury, and you recently stated you’d like to face Brock at WrestleMania. Could you envision incorporating any Japanese or strong style elements in a match with him?

Oh absolutely. I truly believe that if I wrestled Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania 31, for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, it might be the most physical, realistic, style of pro wrestling match that has ever been seen in the United States. Whether it would be the most physical, realistic pro wrestling match that has ever happened, I don’t know, because there’s been a lot of awesome stuff like that in Japan. But it would just be something very, very different from what people are used to seeing now in WWE, and I think we need something like that, something that feels like a spectacle. I think it would be incredible.

danielbryanbatista

How was it working with Batista during his comeback run last year? Were you both surprised by the crowd reactions going into the WrestleMania match with Randy Orton?

(Laughs) So I was never supposed to be in that match, and the crowd reactions are what forced me to even be given that opportunity. I was surprised that the crowd was so vocal, because it was clear when Batista came back that he was supposed to be the returning hero. He was going on to main event WrestleMania against Randy Orton, and that was the big plan, but the fans changed that plan. That’s one of the amazing things about WWE that doesn’t happen in any other sport, or any other area of entertainment, is how much power the fans have. The fans literally changed the course of the biggest wrestling event of the year just through their actions, just through making their voices heard.

I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the top of the card. I think I was scheduled to wrestle Sheamus, and probably be 5th or 6th match from the top, and maybe get a 10 minute match if we were lucky, but because of fan support, all of the sudden now I’m doing 2 matches and I’m in the main event of WrestleMania. I kind of had thought that the fans might react the way that they did as far as booing him and cheering for me, but in no way shape or form did I expect it to be as vocal as it was. It turned into a transformative amount of cheering, you don’t get anything like that in any other form of entertainment or sports, so it was pretty incredible.

On Monday we found out Randy Savage was getting into the WWE Hall of Fame. Can you discuss how much influence he had on you as a sports entertainer?

I’m thrilled he’s being inducted, he’s clearly one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time. As a kid I had a Macho King wrestling buddy. I had bunk beds in my room, and I would jump off the top bunk bed and do an elbow drop onto the Macho King wrestling buddy. When you watched him, he was one of the best at mixing being an entertaining character, and flashy, and also being great in the ring. Like that match he and Ricky Steamboat had was awesome, the matches he had with Ric Flair were awesome, the matches he had with The Ultimate Warrior were awesome. He was a guy who was so good at blending entertainment and wrestling, and that’s something that a lot of wrestlers could learn from when you watch him.

How was it meeting Sting last year, and would you like to wrestle him in WWE?

Yeah, I’d love to wrestle Sting. Whether he would love to wrestle me, I have no idea (laughs). The first night I met him was at Comic Con last July in San Diego, and meeting him, he just seemed like such a nice man. He hasn’t changed into an egotistical person because of his success in wrestling. Obviously I didn’t know him before he was a big star in wrestling, but he just seemed like a very nice man, somebody who you’d love to hang out with, because he’s so cool.

danielbryanwrestlemania30

Rashad Evans Talks Jones/Cormier, His Injury & WWE

I recently conducted an exclusive interview with Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans. We spoke about his injury that’s kept him out of action for over a year, potential WWE rumors, his Blackzilian teammate Anthony Johnson vs. Alexander Gustafsson and Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones.

The first question I have for you is I know you have been injured, what’s your health status, how are you feeling right now?

I’m actually feeling pretty good kind of started off slow, getting my body back into shape again and recapping my knee keep it going for relax complete and keep that going up and down movement. That was really kind of hard for me and I don’t know, it’s a lot more mentally than it was physically just know that it was going to be alright because in MMA you have so many transitional physicians and you don’t think about how much you got to trust your legs and until you need it too, you know you have one of them injured and then you realize ok you can now this movement now, all over again.

Absolutely and definitely with all your movement in the cage, it’s definitely helps to have everything going on all cylinders.

All I have really is my size I mean my movement I don’t have much size or anything like that so, my movement is key if I can’t move the way I used to move then I’m not gonna fight the same.

I caught your last fight with Chael Sonnen and you absolutely destroyed him what’s your mindset going into a fight, like where do you need to get before you get into the cage?

You know it’s at a medium and for the longest time I had hard time really trying to figure out what was my I can’t of learned a little bit more a mix between being afraid and being super confident and it got to be like right in the middle, if I am too relax and I’m nervous enough then I’m not going to respond the right way, but then if I’m not confident enough and I’m going to have all these red lights in my mind it’s going to hold me off my performance is that my mind will freezes before. When I’m in that zone, I’m enjoying myself and having fun but the fear of what could happen keeps me sharp and that is what I need to feel.

Evans1

You obviously were doing something right, you’re one of the longest ten years fighter at the UFC. How did you get involved with mix martial arts, I know you are a standout wrestler, but how did you make the transition into mix martial arts?

You know it kind of just something that happened, kind of found it you know there was a lot of time in my life where I was in a transition, I just graduated from college and I was coaching preschool wrestling in our city. I discovered that I was competing from a different place when I was a coach and I still had that burning that fire inside me that I could distinguish but just being a coach. So, I met a guy coincidentally long after that, that was doing he called NHB, because that’s what it was called, No Holds Barred I went to the gym in Lansing, Michigan and it wasn’t like a typical gym like the one you see now it was more like a fight pro gym. It was really like that movie in a warehouse under a bridge next were railroad in Lansing of Michigan in the bad part of town. And it was six of us and we will go there and we would train and we will just beat the hell out of each other and it was something fun for me to do and I didn’t think that I could become a professional, you know like what you see in Frye or in the UFC it was just something fun for me to do to pass the time until I got into my career, which I wanted to be in law enforcement. I wanted to be a police officer, so it was just something fun for me to do and it end up I just land into something else to became something that I thought about obsessively I couldn’t do anything, everything it was just all about the fights, I watch fights constantly and it was just something that consume my being and when I knew that what I had to do for the rest of my life.

One of my favorite season for the ultimate fighters is the second season that’s actually the first season I watched all the way through, you were on there you won the whole thing. Can you explain what it’s like to live in that house and to be a part of that show?

You know it is a difficult process because, from the outside looking in, I saw in season two I’ve seen the first season, so I kind of start to have that feel of what it was really like because when you there is something totally different and at that point I really didn’t have that much exposure to be on camera at all and just that part alone was shocking. But then just, for me the show kind of showing, going into the show even to get on as the underdog and when I was on the show it seems like everything was going against me but after a while it kind of change to you know what I’m just going to do my best and try as hard as I can and no matter what if I loose I will just go back to my life and do whatever. But no matter what I’m telling you these guys are going to feel me and that was my main goal everything that time, just to make the guy feel me, just to make sure that if I lost I was going to make sure he was never going to fight me again and that was my goal and I kept on winning. But there was something strange that happened on the show, when you’re on the show and you’re in there for weeks and weeks on end, it’s really kind of like it puts away from you a little bit, you kind of forget like, what is life, what is reality? Because you start to get really comfortable when you’re TV life change around and you’re getting comfortable with conversation and things because every time on the show like don’t say that now hold it and wait for the cameras around for you to talk about that. So you can do learn how to be in front of the camera life and learn the whole TV side of it so. It was weird and see how some people every year they go on the show and they seem to forget why they are there. They seem to forget why they are there and they want to go home, because it is easy to do, it’s one of the easiest thing to do in the world is forget why you’re actually on the show and that’s the key to one of the show even to being successful that’s don’t forget, don’t forget why your actually there.

From there you have gone on to have an amazing career so far I mean you’re one of the many people that I know of will have beaten Tito Ortiz, Rampage Jackson, and Chuck Liddell and you know it seems like the light heavyweight division is getting very stacked again with a lot of great competition, we have Daniel Cormier fighting John Jones coming up and we have Alexander Gustafson taking on Anthony Johnson. What are your thoughts on those two big fights coming up in your division?

Ah man it’s going to be a terrific fight of course, first let’s talk about Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson, it’s an interesting matchup because John has never really stayed so long with the rushing ability and so roughly he is going to need rushing ability that Cormier have he’s a guy who’s going to be in your face the whole time he wants to know, really just make it an ugly fight keep the pressure in your face make you work harder than him because that’s the key to be defeat make his guy were harder than him and the same philosophy is Cain Velasquez had. it’s just you know just keep the pressure on him eventually they’re going to break where one mistake leads to another bigger mistake pretty soon the flood gates are opening and the door that’s what you want to do that’s just the mindset. But then you know you go and get to Jon Jones, who is arguably one of the best UFC light heavyweight fighters ever when it comes to your technique, mindset and you know Sean have a heart to even dig himself out of holes when he gets himself in a hole in a fight it’s a unique situation for both of them you know John Jones has never work so hard as he sees and he’s definitely going to want to bring the skills that he has it’s a tough one to call because it really is because I can see it going both ways but it’s really hard to say that you know to look away and not knowledge to Jon Jones has done to say what he’s in really big trouble with GC because Jon is safe with us already.

As far as Alexander Gustafson and AJ, I think it’s a very big fight I favor AJ on this one is not because he’s my teammate but because the standpoint of who’s got more to gain in a situation and I do have a problem with Alexander Gustafson, but actually I commend him on how much he’s a lot better since the Jon Jones fight just his evolution over the last year and a half I just been tremendous I don’t think he could close the gap and become the fighter that he has become. One thing that I has picked him upon he’s kind of acting like he’s a champion, like he’s an on-call championed and know disses with John and having one of the best fights in light heavyweight history he really Jon, he has really but Jon in a position that no one has ever put John in before, he did the can of feeling but the truth of the matter is he is not the champion and I wonder if he’s going to be able to go out there with the mindset and go out there and fight like he’s a challenger like he’s hungry enough and meet the hunger of AJ and that’s where I don’t think he’s going to be able to do. He’s going to be defeated and you know what I fought John and I got knock down I think is going to be really taking it lightly and I don’t think that his own plan and he’s not going to know how to deal with AJ because AJ has a lot of heart.

MMA: UFC 167-Evans vs Sonnen

He definitely he really needs to what’s watch out because Anthony Johnson is a very tough fighter and if he sees his opening he’s going to finish Gustafson.

I tell you right now man I share with a lot of guys in my days and you know share field with a lot of great strikers with a lot of power and I tell you right now, Anthony Johnson is right up there when it comes to just that power where if he hits you probably might be waking up on the ground or he will put you on your feet pretty fast. He has fast and explosive powers in his hand and feet and his movement makes him really hard to predict on what’s really coming next so. I think that’s going to be the biggest challenge for Gustafson being able to stand up with AJ and be able to strike him.

Speaking of, Anthony Johnson’s been your teammate, what’s it like for you transitioning to being on your team in Florida now, what do you think of the dynamic with your whole team?

I think the dynamic on the team is great, we’ve had our rough spot, we were built up to be the Blackzilians then we had our little hype train derailed to say the least and we made it through that and we put together some consistency and some great fights and we have great fighters from out of this camp. What I’m excited about is these up and coming guys that we got coming up, you know we’ve got a lot of young talents on our team, the guys that just dedicated their lives to just living in a gym and just training in the gym. If it’s they are smart about it they can even strive to become better and it’s really inspiring for guys like myself and Vitor Belfort when we go to the gym and these young guys are just there and they’re pushing out and making us want to go out there and train, train harder because when you see these young guys, these up and coming guys pushing themselves to the limit, you’re like you know what I got to deal with myself because you’re looking up to me for that.

Something else I wanted to touch on because you’ve actually been the Light Heavyweight Champion. I talked to Aaron Rodgers from the Packers a couple a weeks ago and it always interests me to find out, what’s going through your mind when you win a championship is it validation for you, what was going through your mind when you won the title?

You know when I won the title it was, it was a moment where I was like because I was always a guy who was never was supposed to do you know. I was one of the guys who was supposed to do hours of work in, I had talent but there was always a reason why I probably wouldn’t do it I was supposed to fall, until I did all of a sudden wow I really did it I did it and it was unbelievable feeling, but the whole thing happened so fast and just happened from the you know me having the Chuck Liddell fight and then just rolled right into the Forrest (Griffin) fight, at that time in my life it was very busy I just had my daughter it was a crazy time my (14:56) wow this is an unbelievable accomplishment and that’s why you know I’m working back to get there again because I know this time around will be that much different. I guess it’s like the road you have to take and the harder the road is the more time the more secure you might not make it but when you arrive at that destination it just make it that much sweeter. I think that way right now the feeling that I have been having just not been in the sport fighting for over a year now and it won’t be until like another year and a half before I fight again. Just been out just being able to sit back and just watch you know people saying he’s done he’s washed up and people forget say things about you and it’s hard because you know what you can do, you know what you’re capable of but you hear what people say and you see people looking at you a certain way, and you read articles about you. It’s difficult sometimes not to get caught up with that and not get too upset about it just making my road to be champion even better and if they can just effort to get back there it’s that much better because when I get there is going to be you well worth it.

Rashad Evans

Absolutely and I mean for those people who say all that stuff they have never step foot in the octagon and for someone like you who has been around, going on 10 years now in the UFC at least, I mean you have a record of 19-3-1 and I like them to show me somebody else who has post those kind of numbers.

I know have put in the work, I know I have put the work in and I know what I have the credentials and everything else like that but I feel like I’m very disrespected sometimes know I’m saying, maybe I’m been paranoid but I feel disrespected by everybody sometimes I even feel the suspected by the UFC oh yeah that’s how you feel about me but it’s just the way of the game, the entertainment industry it’s just life in general I guess, people have a short memory and is what you have done for me lately if you haven’t done for me nothing so whatever you have done before you haven’t done anything it doesn’t mean anything that’s the mindset that people have and it’s like if you’re not doing that right now is like you never done it if he can do that for me now forget about it.

I know exactly what you mean. I have one more question for you, there was a lot of rumors on the Internet and I just want to clear this up. There were rumors that you were talking to WWE about possibly jumping there to work. How does something like that get started?

You know, I’ve see some professional wrestlers, oh yeah maybe one day I definitely give that a try and then after that it’s kind of snowball into that. But you know I mean what if I want to be a professional wrestler maybe there is a situation where I would want to do professional wrestling but for the most part after I’m done with fighting because I just want to be able to live a normal life where I’m able to maybe dedicate my time to my kids, I love my kids and I miss a lot them growing up just because what I do now. so maybe I’ll just sit back and follow them around just to be a normal dad and support them in the things they want in life and that’s what I rather do for the rest of my life than maybe do something that wrestling, feeling just like something for I want to my dad or couple of times I don’t know how they do it but, for the most part when I’m done fighting I’m just going to maybe do some analysis work but for the most part just take care my kids and just family dreams.

Interview conducted by Mike Nagel

Exclusive: Ken Daneyko And Matt Loughlin React To Martin Brodeur’s Blues Tryout

On the heels of the news that legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur will be attending camp for the St. Louis Blues on a try out basis, AlternativeNation.net was able to get exclusive reaction from New Jersey Devils color commentator and former teammate of Brodeur’s Ken Daneyko along with the radio play-by-play voice of the New Jersey Devils, Matt Loughlin.

Check out Ken Daneyko’s Twitter page along with Matt Loughlin’s Twitter page.

Daneyko’s Reaction:

KenDaneyko

You have to be happy for the guy, this is what he wants and if you are looking at it from a Devils fan perspective it’s going to be difficult no matter no matter what (different) jersey he’s in. This is an opportunity for him to see if he can resume his career and while selfishly I would like to see him finish in New Jersey but he’s earned the right (to go to another NHL team) given what he’s accomplished and being such an iconic figure here in New Jersey as well as being the rock of the franchise for so many years. It’s hard to understand sometimes why these players decide to leave the teams they’ve been associated with for so long but nobody should fault Marty, I sure don’t. I think he still has some fire left in him and you want to leave the game with no regrets so I think Marty wants to prove to himself and to everyone else that he still has some hockey left in him. I wouldn’t doubt him that’s for sure. Everyone wants to look at stats from the last few years, the save percentage, the goals against and they look at the numbers all the time and to me that doesn’t matter a whole lot. The bottom line is winning and Martin Brodeur can still win hockey games. I believe that if he’s capable and if he plays well he will be exactly what the St. Louis Blues need.

While I have no doubt that the Blues will make the playoffs this season, for one of the elite teams in the league in the regular season they aren’t as elite when it comes to the playoffs and they don’t have a lot of a winning pedigree. Regardless, if Marty plays one game for them, fifteen or just one big playoff game he is a winner, a champion and the St. Louis Blues could use some of that in their locker room because they don’t have much of that at all. However, it makes sense for the Blues, at the end of the day to explore the opportunity and while we know they have to like what they see in practice first before they officially sign him I think it’s a good opportunity. As I said, selfishly and as a fan it would mean so much to me for him to finish with the Devils, after all that’s something that I did, however Marty has a lot of pride, drive and I guess that’s something he wanted to do and at the end of the day I’m happy for him. He doesn’t have a lot of time to shake rust but he knows what is at stake. It’s going to be weird to see him in another jersey but I wish him the best.

Loughlin’s Reaction:

LoughlinNJD

 While in my heart I wish Marty Brodeur had retired as a Devil, I think it’s a great thing that he is getting an opportunity to play once more. It’s his life and he still wants to play. Who can blame him? What I want or what the fans want doesn’t matter. It’s what he wants. Also, a player of his stature should not simply fade to black. He deserves to go out with a bit of a bang. Had he decided to retire at the end of last year then his final game at the Rock would have been just that. Another win in a long line of wins, in front of the home crowd, skating off to a standing ovation. But he wanted more and it would have been unfortunate if he did not get the chance.Truth be told, he didn’t have a place on this year’s Devils team. As he said last year, this is now Cory Schneider’s team and the Devils are in good hands. But just because the Devils were no longer an option doesn’t mean he had to retire if he wasn’t ready. He knows that once he walks away from the game he walks away for good. And he is not ready to do that. So good for him.What he may do from here on in will only add to his credentials as one of the greatest ever. But it won’t change the fact that when he goes into the Hall of Fame he will go in as a NJ Devil.

Interview: Jim Ross Talks UFC, Brock Lesnar, Muhammad Ali & AJ Styles In WWE

WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross will be making his return to pro wrestling announcing on January 4, 2015, as he will be calling Global Force Wrestling’s presentation of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 9 live on PPV. JR has kept busy since his 2013 WWE departure, launching his ‘Ross Report’ podcast, taking a one man show on tour, and announcing MMA and boxing fights. Ross told AlternativeNation.net’s Sports section that he is in good health after facing some tough challenges, as he is now working out with a personal trainer 3 times a week and quit smoking a year ago. JR used Ambien for 10 years, unaware of the damage it was doing to him or knowing that it was a short term solution for sleep problems. The Ambien use led to Ross suffering memory loss and being placed in the stroke unit of a hospital. JR also suffered from diverticulitis during his time in WWE, but after all of these issues, Good Ol’ JR is doing just fine now. Ross said, “I haven’t felt this good probably in 20 years.”

JR is excited to call Wrestle Kingdom 9 at the Tokyo Dome, “The presentation of New Japan is kind of a throwback in ways, but with a modern influence. They do a lot of things fundamentally more sound than their American counterparts are doing. I’m looking forward to doing that, and calling matches for a whole new set of guys. But the fundamental things of what they do are the things I cut my teeth on, and really missed doing my last couple of years in WWE.”

AJ Styles is one prominent talent well known by American ans who will be wrestling at the event, and JR thinks WWE are missing the boat by now signing him. “AJ Styles would fit into any structure, it’s just a matter of decision makers having an open mind and be willing to utilize him to his skills, and not stereotype him because he isn’t the biggest guy in the locker room. He’s as good a performer as anybody WWE has right now from bell to bell. He’s an amazing athlete, and he’s perfected his craft, he’s a lifelong fan, he doesn’t drink or have a drug problem, he’s a good family man, he’s everything you would want.”

“Even if he didn’t get the top push, he’s going to earn his way to near the top of the card, and everybody that he works with, especially the young guys, are going to be better performers having been able to work with the guy with his experience and abilities. He’s having a blast in New Japan, the first night he came in they put their top title on him, so that automatically established him as a star. Now he’s got this Bullet Club thing around him, like the nWo kind of.”

ajstylesbulletclub

Ross also wants to do more MMA broadcasting, but there aren’t many options available outside of UFC and Bellator. Ross may do a boxing event coming up, as there are more openings available in boxing. “A lot of the fighters are old wrestling fans. When they were kids, they were watching wrestling. So if they’re not long in the tooth, and they were watching wrestling, they were likely listening to me. So it breaks the ice when you go have fighters meetings, they’re more giving of their information, and their time, and they help you out. That’s why we had so much fun at that MMA fight we did. I told Chael, ‘You will tell the people about the man, the fighter. I will tell the people about the man, the every day guy. Kids, wife, and their previous career.’”

While Ross has been a longtime UFC fan, he enjoyed Bellator’s latest special featuring Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar, “Primarily, I’ve always been a UFC guy. I’ve been with them since 1993 or 1994, so I’m a UFC guy at heart, but I enjoy sampling new MMA. So for me, Bellator’s most recent show was new, because they were doing something live, they were doing something for the first time with Scott Coker as their head guy on a big live extravaganza that was on the level of a PPV. The main event was just okay, it had a lot more sizzle than it did steak, but they built it up very nicely, much like a wrestling angle, so it captured my curiosity, but it wasn’t a great fight. It was an entertaining fight to get ready for, but by the end of the third round, you pretty well knew that both guys tanks are just about empty.

He added, “Because Bonnar’s pace was so sporadic in the 2nd, and especially the 3rd round, it allowed Tito to settle in at a very deliberate pace, and essentially just counter punch. But we don’t know how Tito would have fared if the fight had been at a faster pace, and Bonnar had more jet fuel in his tank, it just didn’t work out that way. But the bottom line is I enjoyed the build up to the fight, I enjoyed the rhetoric, I enjoyed the sizzle around the cage, I thought that Spike did a nice job.”

JR also gave his predictions on Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz, “Diaz is going to have a cult following, a lot of people like the bad boys, a lot of people like the villain wrestlers. A lot of people are just defiant, and like to go against tradition, or what is perceived to be good. Anderson Silva is a living legend in that game that is overcoming a very serious injury in his late 30’s to come back and try to regain his past glory. It’s just too good a story, and too easy a story to tell, so I think it’s going to be a real interesting dynamic. It should be a hell of a fight, I think depending on how much rust Silva has, and how healthy he’s become, it remains to be seen how the fight will go, although obviously Anderson is going to be a heavy favorite. But Diaz will make the fight interesting, entertaining, and compelling. I think if the announcers, which I’m sure they will, will tell the story of the legendary Anderson Silva and his career threatening injury, and he’s fighting a very unorthodox, unique, complex fighter in Nick Diaz. It’s an easy show to sell, but I do think Anderson will win it, but it should be really interesting.”

brocklesnarufc

Conor McGregor has recently made waves in the MMA world for his charismatic personality, and Jim Ross told an interesting story about Brock Lesnar and Muhammad Ali when it comes to fighters taking on the role of the perceived villain. “In the early days of Brock Lesnar in UFC, I would suggest that more people paid to see Brock get his ass whooped than paid to see him win. But once he won, and everybody saw what kind of beast he was, he was a legit beast, he wasn’t a fake wrestler, he was a former NCAA champion and All American, that’s the part of Brock Lesnar that they gravitated to.”

“But there’s always going to be a segment of the MMA community that is going to cheer for Lesnar to lose, if and when he comes back for another run after his diverticulitis issues, but that’s the beauty of it. Muhammad Ali told me one time, back in the 80’s, that he realized early in his career that he could make more money as a boxer, as a black man in a white man’s business as far as management and TV contracts, and distribution of PPV dollars, he said, ‘I realized my place as a fighter would be enhanced if I put myself in a position where the fans pay more money to see me lose than they would to see me win.’ It was at that point in his career where he became a Muslim, he refused to go into the military, etc., it was like a wrestling writer was writing his script because everything he did was going to guarantee him to be a villain. When he came back he was vilified for a long time until people started understanding him, and seeing his religion was legitimate, and he wasn’t anti-American, and he become this universally loved hero in the latter part of his career, when he was getting his brain scrambled.”

Ross added, “If [Connor McGregor] can fight as well he he can talk, he’s going to make himself a fortune.”

JR also predicted that Daniel Cormier will beat Jon Jones, and raved about Ronda Rousey. “She’s my favorite MMA fighter. She has legit star power and a great personality. She’s every promoter’s dream, whether it be pro wrestling, or Hollywood, or MMA, or whatever. She has looks, she has skill, she has intelligence. If I were WWE, if I could make this happen, she would definitely have a role at WrestleMania 31 to do something.”

Check out Jim Ross’ official website , Twitter, and WWEShop to buy his BBQ sauce.

Other recent interviews:

Adam ‘Edge’ Copeland, Kurt Angle, Kane, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Jeff Hardy, Eric Bischoff, and Hornswoggle.

Interview conducted by Mike Nagel

Article written by Brett Buchanan

Jim Ross, DDP & Lilian Garcia Preview WWE Survivor Series

In the last few days I conducted exclusive interviews with legendary former WWE announcer Jim Ross, former WCW Champion Diamond Dallas Page, and WWE ring announcer Lillian Garcia that will go up in AlternativeNation.net’s Sports section in the next week or so. During these interviews, AlternativeNation.net was able to get predictions for WWE Survivor Series, which airs tomorrow night on the WWE Network at 8PM EST/5PM PST. DDP also gave his thoughts on the possibility of a major former WCW star debuting at the event.

Check out DDPYoga.com, DDP’s Twitter, Jim Ross’ official website , Twitter, and WWEShop to buy his BBQ sauce, and Lilian Garcia’s Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram.  Also go to WWE.com for more information on watching Survivor Series for free on the WWE Network.

ddpyoga

DDP’s Predictions:

You know, hearing about Sting potentially appearing at the pay-per-view tomorrow/tonight, I think that he is going to be a God there. I think Sting is going to be really well respected; everyone there grew up watching him. Sting is 55 years old, the reason you don’t really play that in is because he covers his body and stays in shape. He’s in really good shape and he paints his face. I mean, KISS is going out there and playing into their sixties and young kids are going: “Ah, I love this!” No one did it better then Sting, nobody and knowing that he could of held out and been worth so much more? I wish I could of done that! (laughs)

No one put themselves in a better spot but Sting would have never been able to make that crossover during the Attitude Era. It just would never happen because he is a Christian who [sticks to his beliefs]. He has a huge relationship with Christ and isn’t going to soil that for money. I’m sure had has stupid money anyway and I’m happy for him, God bless him. If Sting decides he is going to wrestle one last match then I think no matter what he can get there mentally and have one hell of a match. Do I think he could do it every night? Not so much, but to have one big night, going out there and popping the people? I think he’ll just tear it down.

All the new WWE fans know who Sting is now, they might not of seven months ago, but they know now!

jimrossbig

Jim Ross’ Predictions:

Well It’s basically a one match pay-per-view and they really waited until the last week to give more information and add to the intrigue. Especially on Monday when they added new members to Team Cena who were somewhat unusual. I’ll say that it’s a one match pay-per-view or a two match pay-per-view if you count Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt.

By the way, I’m all for those guys, I like the both of them, they were both down in developmental when I was still with the company and I was working down there so I have a special place for both of those guys and I hope they do well. However, the match, in all honesty, is a one match show. It’s the elimination tag with Team Cena against Team Authority and you know the stipulation, if Team Authority loses, they’re no longer in power, and I think the stipulation they’re going to add is if Cena’s team loses then they’re all fired so it’s one of those real straight forward stipulations and you hope it’s going to be a good show. I think they’ve done a nice job in building that one match, I feel they are rushing the Dean Ambrose/Bray Wyatt match but be that as it may I think those two kids will have a great match nonetheless.

cenasurvivorseries

The rest of the card is what it is, but sometimes, in my experience, cards that you don’t have the greatest expectations for, as far as the undercard, that will pleasantly surprise and deliver and you gotta hope that will be the case for this show in Philly. The great thing about Philly is that they have a very vocal audience, they’re very uninhibited, they’re gonna say what they feel , the event sold out almost immediately, which is good. So, you have a major city, big arena, outspoken and defiant fans by and large, so it should be a colorful audience. However, without a doubt, the ten man elimination tag must deliver. It must deliver big time and close that pay-per-view with something that makes me want to see various members in a TLC match next pay-per-view in December. The key thing is how Survivor Series going to be executed, how will the presentation be and how will it get me to the December mega event?

deanambrosebraywyatt

I also think that people that have tried to follow Mr. McMahon in the authority figure, I don’t think a lot of it has done well. I don’t think Hunter and Stephanie have done badly but I think the role needs to be “tweaked” and it needs to be refreshed and maybe by going away for a while it will refresh it. It’s hard to say if this show is going to be good or not because I don’t know what the creative is. I wrote on my blog this week that there should be some defections, some run-ins, some surprises and all sorts of “wild west stuff” because of the high stakes.

If you lose and you get fired, you’d think you would have something special up of your sleeve. If you lose and you lose all of your power, you think you would have something special up your sleeve. So it stands to reason that this match should be creatively booked, with a lot of twists and turns in the road and then go from there. However, I try not to think too much about what the creative is going to be because I don’t care what the creative is, I just want to watch the show. I don’t want to know the outcome, I want to see how it resonates with me when I watch it live. There are a lot of guys on the card that I signed back in the day and they are still my recruits in my mind but do I need to overthink the finish? No, because I don’t know the direction they’re going.

I got a feeling that the babyfaces are going to win but I might be wrong.

liliangarcia

Lilian Garcia’s Predictions:

I am really enjoying the build up to the Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt feud. You have two extremely talented superstars and I think they’re gonna give it their all. It’s exciting too because you get to see it for free on the WWE Network.

I also can’t wait for the Team Cena/Team Authority match. It’s crazy how it’s already changed, Sheamus got hurt, so there is so many surprises that have happened already that it’s making me go: “I can only imagine what’s going to happen!” Again, this is the dreams for these superstars, their livelihoods, their passion and when you have people working their passion I know they are living and breathing this and always putting their best out there. It’s going to be really exciting, and I think they totally shifted the dynamic by putting the now former members of the Wyatt family against each other. Nobody was really expecting that to happen so it’s like, “Whoa, what can happen here?!”

ajnikkibella

Again, it’s going to be interesting to watch. I really love the build-up between AJ and Nikki Bella, especially the secondary storyline with the twins. For the longest time the Bella Twins wanted to work against each other, and now they get that opportunity. The two of them are really good wrestlers. Watch AJ, watch all of the divas, they are really strong and their work ethic is amazing. I remember when you used to get one divas match a show, a RAW or a pay-per-view and now you are getting more then what you are expecting, you are getting two divas matches a show, you’re getting the divas that are involved in other storylines, it’s just really cool to see how these divas are being used. The two stories in one is just a perfect example. It’s just awesome!

Check out our recent interviews with Kurt Angle, Kane, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Jeff Hardy, Eric Bischoff, Adam ‘Edge’ Copeland, and Hornswoggle.

Phil Davis Talks Fighting Glover Teixeira; Predicts Jones-Cormier; Silva-Diaz

I recently had the chance to speak with standout UFC Light Heavyweight Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis. We talked about his NCAA Division 1 wrestling background and his recent win over Glover Teixeira at UFC 179 in Brazil where he called out Anderson Silva. Phil also talks predictions on the Anderson Silva-Nick Diaz and Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier fights.

You’re a standout wrestler, talk about how you got involved with wrestling

I come from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which is right in the city and where wrestling isn’t really popular. My friend at the time basically just asked me to accompany him to wrestling practice because he was doing a try out. This was way back when I was in seventh grade. So, I said “sure” and at the time I had no idea about anything regarding the sport and I would go along with him and watch. I went to practice, I sat down and the coach said “you can’t sit and watch, you have to participate”. So, I started wrestling in my street clothes and it was awful! I hated it! When I got home, I told my parents all about it and they thought “OK, well, sounds like a pretty stupid sport but just finish the week and then you can quit the team”.

Only I can tell a story about attempting to quit something and forgetting to do so because come Monday I was still wrestling.

You wrestled all throughout college, how did the progression go from being a NCAA division-1 wrestler to transforming into an MMA fighter?

It’s weird exactly because I just decided one day that I’m going to be a MMA fighter and that was it. I just began training and went from there.

davis2

Phil Davis suplexing Tim Boetsch

Was it a decision you made right after you got out of college?

I was still in college and taking classes when I decided. It was actually right after I won the NCAA title and I had begun to start taking striking classes and ju-jitsu but it was when I was in college and doing my mid-terms and finals.

You are coming off of a great win against Glover Teixeira in Brazil recently and you made some news because you called out Anderson Silva in the post-fight interview. There are a couple of different guys right now like Anderson Silva and Jon Jones who everyone wants to see you face, do you have a preference at this point on who you would go up against?

Absolutely not! As long as it’s a “good guy” then I’m perfectly fine because at this point, where I’m at, I’m perfectly fine taking care of a guy that isn’t “top five” material too. However, I would just prefer it to be a “top five” guy.

UFC-179-Phil-Davis-Octagon-Intv_507968_OpenGraphImage

Phil Davis post fight interview with Brian Stann at UFC 179

There was a lot of talk leading up into your fight with Anthony Johnson, with you and Jon Jones, can you talk about why you particularly don’t care for Jon Jones?

*laughs* I mean, I could talk about it all day, if that’s what you want me to do. You know, he’s just a certain kind of guy; it’s hard to explain really. He’s just a certain kind of guy and you either love him or you don’t and I have the pleasure of not.

Now, there are a couple of big fights coming up next year and both with implications of the two people we just talked about. What is your prediction on the Anderson Silva-Nick Diaz fight?

Well, I suppose I would have to say Anderson Silva because he is a bigger guy in the match-up and he’s also more experienced with the better skill-set. Now, having said that, there are so many drawbacks in picking Anderson Silva because he’s older, he’s been on a bad string of fights, which don’t get me wrong, happens to everyone, I just got back in the win column myself. I don’t want to say Anderson is washed up because that’s absolutely not the case but for a guy like him to be on a two fight slide is going to be hard to bounce back from. I don’t think it’s impossible but it’s going to be hard to bounce back from that. Silva is also getting to that certain age where your body is everything and sometimes you feel like you can win a fight even when you aren’t at one hundred percent and he needs to be closer to that one hundred percent the older he gets. There are so many factors that go into it but it should be Anderson Silva but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it wasn’t.

Do you think it’s going to be a good fight?

I think it’s going to be an awesome fight but I couldn’t tell you if it’s going to be a five round fight or a thirty second one. I just can’t gauge it.

The other big fight coming up is going to be against Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones, what do you see happening in that fight?

I gotta be honest, I see the champion getting beat there. Daniel Cormier is a beast and I see the champ getting all beat up.

What do you think of getting into a fight with someone like Daniel Cormier?

I don’t think I would want to. Daniel is somebody that I train with and I’m helping him get ready for Jon Jones, so it’s not something that I’m particularly entertaining at this time.

When you train with Daniel do you think that there is no way that Jon Jones can overcome those kind of odds?

Oh I would say no way! I see it as it being that this is the fight that Jon Jones was hoping he did not get, and he did! Jon thought Alex Gustafsson was bad? He was wrong.

How were you feeling in your fight with Glover Teixeira, were you one hundred percent going into that fight?

I was closer to one hundred percent in that fight then I was against Anthony Johnson.

davis1
Glover Teixeira, UFC President Dana White, Phil Davis at UFC 179 Weigh Ins
 

Yeah, that’s something else that I wanted to ask, I saw the fight you had with Anthony Johnson a few times, what was going on there, were you just just not feeling it that night and was it one of those rare off nights?

Well, I don’t like to make a lot of excuses because when guys make excuses, I call them losers. Long story short, anytime I’m in the Octagon, I expect to win. I expected to win that night and I didn’t but having said that, there are some reasons that went into why I didn’t perform as well I was would have liked to.

Definitely, I understand that. Now, you came off that great fight in Brazil and it seems like you decimate any of these Brazilian fighters that you go against, is there anybody aside from Anderson Silva that you would like to face in the future?

That’s Brazilian?

Yeah.

Let me ask you a question. Who is left!

*Laughs* I don’t think there’s many people left. I think you would have to go up to the heavyweight division to fight more Brazilian fighters.

Yeah, that’s right!

What do you do in your downtime when you aren’t fighting and when do you think we’ll know when your next fight is coming up?

You know, I don’t do much man, I play a little golf and I like to read but I’m mostly training. It’s usually eat, sleep, rinse, wash, repeat. In regards to my next fight? Well, my guess would be sometime within the next four months. However, it all kind of depends on how everything shakes up in the division.

Is there anybody that you think you may be taking on before you get that Anderson Silva or Jon Jones fight?

I would take anybody but truthfully who would they give me is the better question.

Interview conducted by Mike Nagel

Interview: Adam ‘Edge’ Copeland Talks Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, WWE Attitude Era & Haven

Adam Copeland ended his Hall of Fame wrestling career as Edge in WWE a few years ago, and since has transitioned into acting.  Copeland now stars on Haven, which is currently in its fifth season airing on Fridays at 7PM.  In this exclusive in-depth interview with AlternativeNation.net, Copeland discusses his love of alternative rock bands like Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, and The Smashing Pumpkins, compares working with WWE and Haven writers, reveals if he’ll ever return to WWE as an announcer or GM, his thoughts on WWE’s Attitude Era, concussions in pro wrestling, if John Cena’s character should ever become a villain, Christian’s future in WWE and appearance on Haven, the WWE Network, Batista, The Rock, the New Jersey Devils, and more.

Also check out our recent interviews with Kurt Angle, Kane, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Jeff Hardy, Eric Bischoff, and Hornswoggle.

What are some of your favorite Pearl Jam songs, and what made you become a fan?

It’s interesting, because I remember having the cassette of Ten. I worked at a horse track, and I worked in this little wooden shack, and I took money for parking from all of the people who went to the race track. I would just put that cassette on my walkman, I had a little oil lantern as my heat during Canadian winters, and I would just play that tape relentlessly, over and over, and I just wore it out. It was that time of my life where it just resonated with me, it just put me in a good place. Then Vs. came out and I was in college, and that was kind of my soundtrack for college. It just felt like I was kind of growing up with these guys, and they were saying things that I was going through at the time, because there’s about a 5-year age gap.

They’re one of those bands that connected with me, and their whole ethos of doing what they want to do. They didn’t release “Black” as a single, even though the record company wanted them to. They stopped making music videos, until “Do the Evolution,” which was genius. I just like that they do what they want to do. They don’t think of it in terms of what’s the hit, they think of it in terms of their career, and how the audience will know if they’re staying true to themselves or not. I think that’s why they have the fanbase they do now, for lack of a better example, they have a ravenous fanbase like the Grateful Dead. People travel all over the world to see them play, it’s going to have a different setlist, they’re going to give you 3 hours, they’re going to sweat and drink wine, and play their ass off.

Another artist from the 90’s, one that’s really into wrestling, is Billy Corgan. He’s mentioned you a few times on Twitter, and you almost appeared on one of his Resistance Pro shows a couple years ago. What is your relationship like with Billy, and what drew you to the Smashing Pumpkins?

The same thing, it was that era of music. I’m really thankful that I was 17, 18, 19, 20, as all of that was really just hitting, and there was a change of musical climate from Warrant and Poison, to bands that actually had more of a message than just going out and hanging out on the Sunset Strip, which is fine, you’ve got to have fun too. But I was at a point in my life where I connected with what guys like Billy, Kurt Cobain, and Eddie Vedder were saying.

When you hear “Today” for the first time, it’s layers and layers of guitar, and it sounds like Queen. It harkens back to some of the 70’s music I like too, like Cheap Trick, so it had a great pop sensibility, but it was heavy, and the lyrics were anything but pop, and I liked that combination. We just happened to meet at a wrestling show because Billy’s obviously a huge wrestling fan. We just started talking wrestling, music, life, and everything in between.

edgehaven2013

I know Foo Fighters are one of your favorite bands, you met Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins. What are your thoughts on the new Foo Fighters songs and their HBO series?

I’m actually pretty bummed, because I haven’t been able to catch their HBO series. Where I am in Chester, Nova Scotia, we don’t have HBO. It’s not on iTunes, so I’ve missed all of it so far.

You need to torrent it on the internet.

(Laughs) I’m pretty clueless when it comes to computers too, so I probably have a way to access it, but I’m a bit of a caveman. I’ve missed the show, but I pre-ordered the album, so I’ve been getting every track as it’s released, and I love it. They’re one of those bands who hit the vein of something I can relate to on each album. I think that’s why bands become favorite bands, for whatever reason they always do. I used “Walk” for my Hall of Fame acceptance speech ceremony, because I really felt like I was walking out of what I did my entire adult life, and this was closing that chapter, and kind of walking on into the next one. So that really resonated with me, and when I heard “Something From Nothing,” once again, it was one of those songs where when I heard it I got goosebumps. I can relate to that, coming from what is perceived as nothing, so that was one that really clicked with me right away.

You mentioned “Walk” being your Hall of Fame theme song. WWE have also had a lot of other really powerful music pieces over the years, Jonny Cash’s version of Hurt being used for Eddie Guerrero’s tribute immediately jumps to mind, and the Austin/Rock WrestleMania 17 Limp Bizkit “My Way” video. What have been some of your favorite musical wrestling moments over the years, and what songs do you think would fit in the context of a wrestling show that hasn’t been used before?

“Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer I always thought would be a great montage of a career. Kind of the end of a career, and just showing the entire evolution of someone’s career, because it’s a pretty epic song that builds, then there’s this frenzy, I just picture flashes of someone’s career going by. So that’s kind of the first one that pops out, and I don’t think that would be one that people would think of off of the top of their head, but that was one where every time I heard it, that’s kind of how I pictured it. But there’s been a lot performances like Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, and Motorhead. I don’t know, sometimes wrestling is very testosterone driven, so certain music just wouldn’t fit there. Where a Limp Bizkit could play there, I don’t know how well a Pearl Jam song would go over at WrestleMania, it just wouldn’t fit, and I think they would know that, it’s just not the same audience.

What other wrestlers and actors have you been able to bond with over hard rock music, maybe ones we wouldn’t know are into it?

There’s some obvious ones, guys like Chris Jericho. Eric Balfour on Haven, he and I have similar musical tastes, we have bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More, bands like that that we connect on. We’ll have ongoing conversations about music that can last all night. Matt Striker is a guy who has crazy musical knowledge, loves all types of music, but will sit there and dissect the virtues of Rush, then we can talk about Otis Redding or James Brown or something. Really diverse kind of musical tastes, but it all centers in rock and hard rock, that’s where it all kind of derives from, the blues, so you can go all the way back.

One guy who I actually talked to a few months ago who is into 90’s music like Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots is Jeff Hardy, who does his own music. Speaking of Jeff and Matt, they’ve been teaming up again recently, when was the last time you saw Jeff and Matt, and do you keep in touch with them?

Oh man, it’s been years. We’ll occasionally send texts and things like that. I mailed something to Jeff for him to sign to send back, I was giving it to a charity, and we compare baby names and things like that, but I haven’t really seen anybody from wrestling in a long time. I saw Jericho at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, and I saw Christian because he did a part on Haven. But other than that, I’m out in Chester, Nova Scotia, an hour and a half out from Halifax, and I’ve basically been out here for 4 years for this show, so I don’t see anybody. We’re pretty much as far as you can get east, and not a lot of people get out this way.

You occasionally text or call, but one thing you quickly realize with the touring lifestyle, whether it be music or wrestling, you’ll be on the road and not realize you haven’t talked to someone for 2 years. You’ll be like, ‘Hey, so, how you been, it’s been a few months right?’ They’re like, ‘No, it’s been 2 years.’ (Laughs) Wow, okay. It’s just kind of the way it is, when you have to be in a different city every day, you’re just worried about the next rental car, the next meal, the next gym, the next town. You lose track, there’s a few I keep in touch with, but it’s just hard. You can’t take it personal, it’s just the way of the road.

edgechristianhaven

You mentioned Christian being on Haven. How was it working with him again, and do you see acting as something he could do, as his career is in an interesting position right now with injury issues and not having wrestled in awhile. But how was it seeing Christian, and what do you think about his future?

Well he’s my best friend, so I know what’s going on with him more than anybody else. But he’s at that kind of point where you sit back and look and go, okay I’m definitely closer to the end of my career than the beginning. After awhile your body just starts telling you, this is a difficult job to do. When you’re in your 20’s and you think you’re indestructible, you can bounce back, but it gets harder when you start climbing into your 40’s.

He came out here, the executive producers of Haven were like, ‘Hey, what’s Christian doing?’ ‘Right now he just had a baby girl, same as us, we’re just kind of talking about that, but he’s just being a Dad.’ They asked if he’d be interested in coming out, I floated it by him, and he said, ‘Yeah, that’d be great. It’d be fun to have the girls see us in a different kind of arena of entertainment than wearing tights and throwing each other around. It would be fun to show them us acting together someday.’ So he got out here, and we hadn’t seen each other in almost a year, so it was nice to be able to sit down and not just talk over the phone or over Facetime, but to actually just get caught up, more than anything else.

It was great working together, and my Mom was out here, but he finally got to meet my daughter, and we just hung out, which was the best part of the whole thing. I don’t know if it’s something that he’d want to do, I think he had a good experience, he had fun, but I don’t know if that would be something he’d actually want to make an occupation. It’s kind of starting over, that’s what I’m doing right now, starting over at this brand new thing, learning as I go. It’s hard when you’ve kind of made it to the pinnacle of one thing, to start over again at 40 years old. It can be kind of daunting, I just don’t know if that would be something he would be interested in.

Christian’s been doing some analyst work on WWE Network, and I know you’re full on into acting right now. But would you ever consider returning as an announcer or GM type of character in WWE, or even a company like TNA? Could you envision even doing that in 5 to 10 years down the line?

Probably not. I kind of closed that chapter when it got closed on me due to injury. Here’s the thing I’ve always said, is if I can’t get in the ring, I don’t want to be close to the ring and not get in, because that’s the fun part. For me, the performance was always the fun aspect of it. Sitting back and watching and talking about it, I just don’t know how fun that would be for me. It’s great for some people, I just don’t know if that’s for me. I mean who knows, but at this point in my life I don’t foresee it.

I don’t foresee going back on the road, and having to maintain leaving even once a week, especially with a brand new daughter. It’s like, no, I like where I am right now, shooting a TV series, sleeping in the same bed every night, and my entire family is here, I don’t have to get up and go to the airport and leave them. I did that for 20 years, sometimes people say my career got cut short, but it was 20 years long. Wrestling years are like dog years, so it was a long career, and a long time maintaining that schedule and that kind of pace, so it’s been nice not to. Even though I wouldn’t be doing the physical aspect, that’s the part that was fun, and made all the other crap like planes and rental cars enjoyable. If that’s not there, why would I want to do that?

Do you watch NXT at all, and who are some of your favorite young wrestlers in the business currently?

I haven’t watched a whole lot. They finally gave me the WWE Network. Once they asked me to do a show on it, they said, ‘Do you want it by the way?’ I said, ‘Yeah sure, why not?’ But for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem to want to work up here in Canada. Every time I try to watch something it just freezes, so I haven’t really watched a whole lot of stuff. Before it was on the Network, it was on Sports Central up here, and if I was home from set, I would try to watch it Thursday nights. Then it got taken off Sports Central, I got the Network, and the Network didn’t work, so it’s kind of been out of my hands, I haven’t been able to watch it.

But I know Sami Zayn, I’ve known him for a couple of years now, but I’ve always enjoyed what he’s done, when he was El Generico too. A buddy of mine got signed a little while ago and is working down there, Dash Wilder. A really good, solid, technical wrestler, he’s part of a tag team with Scott Dawson, they were calling them the Mechanics, but I don’t know what they’re calling them now. Kind of beyond that, I don’t really know a whole lot. It’s tough sometimes, because I’m on set from 5AM-9PM, when I get home, the last thing I’m doing is turning on a TV. I’m reading a script for tomorrow, getting my lines down, and I’m going to bed, or reading my daughter to bed, which is way more important.

edgewrestlemania17

You were around for the the edgier, pun intended, period of WWE, and also the first few years of the current PG era, so you did see the shift. With WWE’s business down and Network numbers not hitting what they had projected, and also TNA facing an uncertain future, what do you see as the direction wrestling needs to take to find success? Do you think it’s a more physical style, or do you think it’s good that stuff like chair shots aren’t around as much any more? What do you think needs to be done?

Well, I think the chair shots being gone is definitely a good thing. Especially as we learn more and more about concussions thanks to guys like Chris Nowinski kind of spearheading it. There can’t be that any more, there just can’t. When you have football players shooting themselves in the chest, and the brain can be examined, because they’re acting erratically, and they know it’s because of CTE, you have to erase those things, whether people like it or not. If people complain about that, then they need to take one, because it just doesn’t make sense. So in that aspect, I don’t think you need to go back to that, because it’s just stupid, especially with the knowledge we have now.

I do think what’s been good, people are always talking about the Attitude Era, and all of this and all of that, but if you watch back, sometimes the matches weren’t that great because we had 2 minutes. It’s not possible to have a good wrestling match in 2 minutes, you can’t tell a story, you can tell a haiku. Since the PG era, I know when I was in matches, I had half an hour sometimes, 20 minutes, there I can tell a story. To me that’s the meat and potatoes of the whole thing, it all boils down to the wrestling at the end of the day. The Attitude Era was a lot about the hijinks backstage, and the matches kind of got forgotten about. It’s looked at with rose colored glasses because the ratings were good, and it was working for obvious reasons, but to me those obvious reasons were characters like Stone Cold, who would then get in and have a long match at a PPV. Characters like The Rock who would be entertaining, but still at the end of the day, they could go. I think now, you need a little bit of both.

I think some humor injected into the current product would be good, because anything I have seen has been ho hum, it’s been promos, but there’s no humor any more, there’s no fun. I did see The Rock come back in Brooklyn, and that was fun. I think that goes back to things just being so tightly scripted, and not letting guys just be themselves. It’s hard to find what works for your character when you’re just being kind of being told what to do, what to say, where to be, how to do it, there has to be some freedom in there in order for the audience to be able to tap into it, and for it to work.

In a wrestling match, you can do that, because you’re putting it together, you’re flying by the seat of your pants out there, and you’re listening to what the audience is doing, if you’re good. But when it comes to promos and things like that, I think sometimes the aspects of humor and entertainment in that have been lost. With that being said, I still think it’s more important to have great wrestling matches. So I don’t know, when it’s all said and done, it goes in cycles, no matter what product is being placed out there. I think if you tried to do the Attitude Era thing now, it wouldn’t necessarily fly, because people have seen MMA, and that’s become popular. I think that’s what the college guy, or the guy wearing his medium Affliction shirt is watching now as opposed to WWE. In 1999, those guys would be watching WWE, now they want to see a dude get knocked out in the UFC.

edgejohncena2012

Something that was more prevalent in wrestling back then was unpredictability. Speaking of that, you worked with John Cena and were arguably his greatest rival. At times you got more cheers than him despite being a villain at the time. At New Years Revolution 2006 you would have thought Stone Cold Steve Austin had just won the title when you beat Cena. What have you thought about Cena’s character remaining the ‘good guy’ over the years, do you think it ever should have been changed, or should be now?

I don’t really think much about it to be honest, but I would guess he’s probably moving a lot of merchandise, so why not stick with that? I think that’s probably a good gauge for popularity, you’ll have a lot of guys not like the character, but if 3/4 of a family is liking the character, and buying the merchandise, and 1/4 isn’t, you do the math.

You had a scene recently on Haven where you got really intense after Mara brought up your daughter, how have you learned to portray emotions like that now in acting compared to wrestling? Obviously it’s a very different presentation. Do you ever feel tempted to go back to old habits, and how have you learned to control that?

Initially that was the main challenge, the aspect of with wrestling everything being over the top, you have to translate your movements and emotions to someone who is possibly 80,000 people away. With this, the camera is so tight, it picks up every little tick and nuance, every little twitch that your face does, so I really had to learn about pulling back, and making things more subtle. What’s good is that wrestling gave me the ability to be able to tap into aggression, and anger for different scenes like that, because everything in wrestling was kind of driven by intensity.

But also wrestling helped me with humor too, because with Edge and Christian we built our whole career on humor at the beginning. It’s great training to get you prepared for acting, and kind of get you past some of the initial hiccups that people probably do, because at the end of the day, you’re still in front of a camera, you’re still portraying a character. It’s just really pulled back and toned down when it comes to acting as opposed to the theater of the absurd that wrestling is. I think it was kind of pulling back, and realizing that little things can be picked up much easier.

Having multiple takes is great, it was awesome performing live because it’s exciting, you’re flying by the seat of your pants, but it’s nice to be able to get home, study lines, and think of some choices you’re going to make, if they don’t work, you’re probably going to get another take to try more. They’re both great, it’s nice to try something different, because like I said, for 20 years, I did that other thing. Doing something different has been a fun new little challenge. Acting and wrestling are on the same tree, they’re just different branches.

edgehaven

What is the atmosphere like working with the writers on Haven compared to in WWE? Are you going to the writers a lot talking about your character, or do you just put your full trust in them?

I put a lot of trust in them, but at the same time, they’re very open. We have a [conversation about] every episode, they’ll call me and we’ll run through each script, and kind of find some [things] that they think are important, and I’ll say how I felt when I initially read it, then we’ll go okay, and agree on some. It’s a good process, with wrestling, so much of it is last minute. So much of it is, we’re going live, and we’re changing the entire show (laughs). That can be cool, because it keeps you on your toes and it’s fun, but there’s definitely interactions with both sets of writers. I like to be hands on with my storylines, and if it was a storyline where I thought, ‘Eh, this isn’t that great,’ I still thought okay, I’ve got to try and make some lemonade out of this, and fully commit to it. That’s what I’ve learned in both, even if there’s something you don’t necessarily like, if you find a way to commit to it, you can make it work.

Batista has had huge success with Guardians of the Galaxy, obviously The Rock has had huge success as well, and you have had a consistent job on Haven for the last few years finding your own success, have you ever been able to talk to them about acting?

You know what, no. Since Dave left, then I left, and he came back, and I was gone. So occasional texts here and there, but Dave and I always got along great, so I’m super stoked for him, I think it’s awesome. I went and saw it, I thought he played the character amazing, really understated, subtle, completely ironic, he really did a great job, so I’m really happy for him. The Rock has always been a super dude too, he never changed, he just stayed the same guy even though he’s arguably the biggest movie star in the world. But we never really sat down and talked acting, we saw each other, it was always at WrestleMania. I was putting a match together, and he was guest hosting, so you don’t really get a chance. Everybody’s lives are going a million miles an hour, so you go, ‘You good?’ ‘Yeah, you good?’ ‘Awesome man, great job.’ Then you’re onto what’s next.

edgebatista

You are a huge hockey fan, and a big Devils fan, what was it like attending the Stanley Cup between the Devils and Kings and what do you think the Devils need to do to make the playoffs this year?

(Sighs) Gosh, sometimes it’s just that dynamic that general managers luck into, but when you’ve got good role players, and when you’ve got a good fourth line, that’s what makes Boston the team that they are right now, their fourth line always contributes. They’re always in there looking, grinding, scoring goals, and pestering, and doing those things. That and a hot goaltender are always the piece, to me, in playoff hockey. Getting to the playoffs is a different ballgame. I really can’t answer it, I don’t know.

I think a lot of the upheaval with Brodeur and the goaltending situation makes it difficult for a team to concentrate. You lose Gionta, you lose so many great players. They always seem to manufacture great players too, but then at some point they just leave, because in that market there’s Long Island and New Jersey, but the Rangers are kind of the team that I would think most people want to play for. I don’t know how you change it, same thing with the lease, they keep trying these different things, and they just haven’t found the right ingredients yet, and I don’t know what it is.

edgedevils

Interview: San Jose Sharks Enforcer Mike Brown Talks Stadium Series, Metallica and Pearl Jam

San Jose Sharks forward Mike Brown recently spent some time with Alternative Nation and in this exclusive interview answered questions about his musical taste, bands that he enjoys, who he would form a NHL music supergroup with and playing in the NHL Stadium Series.

Hockey is a very physical sport. What do you do to pump yourself up before you play? Any special rituals? Any special songs or bands you listen to that get you going?

Just listening to some loud metal music, rock, anything that has a lot of energy. I don’t listen to much else before games. Nothing specific either really, I’m more of a self-motivating kind of guy.

What got you into listening to Metallica?

I really liked their sound. I always had a strong draw towards metal music. They’re a pretty original famous band and I took a liking to a lot of their songs back in the day when I was first getting into music. The more I listened to them the more and more songs I liked of theirs.

Have you ever seen them play live?

I actually haven’t—I had a chance to see them in Chicago once and I missed it, just missed the opportunity. I definitely would still like to see them live one day though.MikeBrown

You’re also really into Linkin Park and Rage Against the Machine—what other types of music do you listen to?

I listen to a little bit of everything. You know those bands– Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Linkin Park—those bands are my standard go-to music. I’ll listen to everything though, whether that be rap or country or easy-listening music. Metal, rock, basically everything. The one thing I don’t listen much to is techno, but guys are playing it all the time in the room so that’s something you kind of have to listen to since it’s always there [laughs].

What is the rock scene like in San Jose?

I actually haven’t gone to many shows in San Jose. The most bands and live shows I got into was when I played for the Maple Leafs in Toronto. I actually listened to a lot of Monster Truck, and got to kind of know the guys in the band. When they toured around the states I went and saw them in Chicago. I haven’t seen much in San Jose, the majority of the guys I know in bands and follow intently are from the Canadian areas.

Chicago does have a good music scene don’t they?

They really do, there’s a ton. They have everything, always something going every single night.

How many rock concerts have you been to?

I don’t get to many shows, actually. One of my more memorable ones was going to Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field last year, which was incredible. I know I mentioned them before, but I saw Monster Truck a few times and really enjoyed them as well. Not too many big name bands that I’ve been to, but I like when we have a team event and functions where we can meet some of the bands and go backstage to see them.

MikeBrown2

Can you play any instruments?

I used to play a lot of guitar in high school, played for about a year or two, but as soon as I put it down for a little bit I lost whatever talent I had with it [laughs].

If you could form a supergroup with any other NHL’ers who would be in it?

[Sharks teammate] John Scott, he’d be a drummer for sure. Or maybe a crowd-surfer. Designated crowd surfer [laughs]. I know Henrik Lundqvist plays guitar, and Joffrey Lupul is actually really good at guitar. I played with Bobby Ryan as well, both of those guys put on a pretty good show. In Anaheim they played in front of a pretty big group.

Who else on the Sharks shares the same taste in music as yourself and have you ever talked to them about it?

Dan Boyle, who left this summer, was a big metal guy. He would always play my type of music in the locker room after games but now it’s a whole lot of DJ and EDM type stuff in the room so I may have to look into that [laughs].One of our trainers Wes Howard is into metal as well. Outside of us though, I don’t think too many other guys are into as much on the team. We don’t listen to it much as a group.

The Sharks will be playing the Kings in the Stadium Series. Talk about that experience.

It’s so exciting to play in an outdoor game. When I was with the Maple Leafs I was going to have an opportunity to play in an outdoor game in 2012-13, but the event got pushed back a year to 2013-14 and I got traded [to Edmonton] right before that. So it’s pretty cool to finally have one coming up on the schedule, especially against the Kings. With how we ended the season last year, the fact that we get to play these guys now, it’s always a little chance at some redemption. A lot of pride on the line. It’ll be good to kill two birds with one stone, get to play an outdoor game and compete against the Kings. Should be a lot of fun.MikeBrown1

Interview conducted by Mike Nagel

Interview: MMA Star Keith Jardine Talks Wanderlei Silva, John Wick & Retirement

The Dean of Mean Keith Jardine has fought the biggest names in MMA, like Chuck Liddell and Quinton Rampage Jackson, but has now transitioned into a man that has what seems to be 5 full time jobs. He’s still training and could confidently take a fight on a moments notice, however, he’s doing so much more from acting and doing stuntwork, to running Caveman Coffee and his own yoga studio in Albuquerque and I don’t know where he finds the time. I recently had the chance to interview Jardine and we talk about these things and also find out who Keith would want to fight again if he had the opportunity.

 

Congratulations on John Wick, it had a really successful opening. You’ve been in TV shows and movies, what do you like about acting compared to training for fighting?

Actually it’s a really easy transition, you hear about special athletes and when they quit, what do you do now? There’s like a real void there preparing for something, and a big buildup and release at the actual event. Acting is the same feeling for me, like actually in 2 hours I’m going back for a callback for an audition, it’s the same feeling as warming up and getting ready for a fight. You step into the scene in the audition room, now you have to perform and then you’re done, either you did good or you did bad. I love it man.

Do you feel the same way about the stunt work you do as well?

Yeah, I try to put it all together the same. Stunt work is a lot more physical as far as you have a lot depending on you to do whatever gag and do it the right way and also the stunt coordinator took a big risk bringing you in to be able to do this gag and not waste a bunch of time, and film time and money and everything in case you mess it up. So there’s a lot of pressure. My first time on film set was for Gamer with Darrin Prescott, the same guy that did John Wick. I was on Gamer, and my first time ever on set and I got a big ol’ saw in my hand and there’s probably 100 extras getting blown up all over around me, and it all is depending on me walking down this strip and shooting this dual and getting squibbed and getting shot, falling down and there’s so much pressure all this stuff, all these pyrotechnics, all these things blowing up all over the place and it just depending on you doing it right. I didn’t want to mess up and do it all over again and set everything else up, that’s a lot of money. That’s more of what stunt stuff is for me.

Would you classify yourself as semi-retired or a fully retired fighter from MMA?

I never really officially retired, I’m semi-retired I guess, I’m training a lot more. I was in there training yesterday, I’m boxing all the time and I’m having fun. It starts with just having fun, getting in shape. I’m good at something I just don’t want to give it up. So I’ve been doing this new diet, my body feels different, I look better, I’m healthier and I start just training for fun and now I’m starting to catch if the opportunity came up maybe I’d want to pick something up quick, but I’m definitely not going to peruse a career again. My passion, my love, my art right now is in acting and you talk about the transition from fighting to acting and mentally I look at it talking to someone recently, a coach up in Victoria, Canada, I always approach fighting as an art and a form of self expression. What better way to really go express yourself on a grand stage and in a fight? I was going through a little existential crisis at one time, not a lot of acting deals were coming on and I was just like man, I’m working, I’m doing my Caveman Coffee which I’m so passionate about. I’m trying to move this on and doing this 9-5 kind of thing and it’s just kind of like I’m missing the art in my life and that’s why I really started to double, triple down on the acting.

You mentioned Caveman Coffee, I’ve seen some YouTube videos on it. Can you go into detail and explain exactly what it is?

Caveman Coffee is a whole lifestyle. My buddy Tait Fletcher got me on this thing taking off mixing MCTs in your coffee, Medium Chain Triglycerides and small fat, a very rare small fat. Mix it in your coffee with butter, coconut oil, a lot of things you can mix it in your coffee with. It enhances the effect, it gives you a state of euphoria, like a well being, an energy and it lasts for like 5 hours and releases a hormone called lectin that tells you you’re not hungry and you don’t have to eat, part of the paleo diet. The first time I did it, I felt like such euphoria and I was kind of depressed and down at the time and it completely changed my life. I got obsessed with it. Like when Tait got me on it, I was just spreading the word, trying to tell everybody I knew and cared about, you gotta try this MCT oil, by the way it’s good for the brain and been shown to reverse the early stages of Alzheimer’s and I’m worried about head damage and trauma. I’m sharing this to everybody, it is kind of grueling to do a business from there, and now a year later and we’ve been in business for exactly a year we’re just growing incredibly. We’re co-branding coffee, We just got a new warehouse and we’re moving into that warehouse right now. It’s craziness going on right now, I have to go into a callback for an audition here in a couple hours.

Jardinecoffee

Are you still based in New Mexico?

Albuquerque, New Mexico

How are things going with your yoga studio?

Hey, you got that too huh. (laughs) So much, I’ve got the coffee, the acting and stunt work, fighting still and I got a yoga studio where I teach classes. I love that, that’s almost like a hobby for me. It’s like hanging out with regular people, not fighters, just regular moms and dads and school teachers. It’s really cool to spread knowledge with them and watch them grow as athletes and people and getting healthy. That’s something I do for fun.

You’ve had a couple losses over your career, if you could have a rematch with anybody that you’ve fought, who would it be and why?

Yeah, I’ve had some spectacular wins and some spectacular losses. I always say the same one, I don’t really care about wins or losses. Again we talk about the art of fighting and the self expression, going out there and being who you are and putting your training and everything to the test and overcoming whatever adversity. The 1 fight that I’ve always regretted was the Wanderlei Silva fight. He very smartly baited me into leg kicking him right away and hit me with a huge overhand right behind the ear and that was the end of the fight. It’s not about winning or losing that fight, but with a legend like Wanderlei I just wish that I could’ve fought 3 rounds and scrapped it out with him for that kind of fight. I feel like that fight never even happened and it’s such a let down for me, I would definitely say that one.

Jardinemma2

With all the stuff coming out recently with Wanderlei do you think that would change the outcome?

How do you mean?

He had an issue with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, not willing to take a drug test. Do you think that at this point in his career he would be a different fighter?

I don’t really know. Yeah he’s a little bit older, of course he’s going to be a different fighter. I think it was 4 or 5 years ago that we fought. I’ll be honest, I don’t care about that stuff. A lot of people are doing performing enhancing drugs and I’m sure a lot of people that I fought were, I never did while I was fighting. I just don’t really concern myself with that, sorry.

Is there anything you would go back and change about your fighting career aside from the Wanderlei Silva fight?

I wouldn’t change a damn thing about my career because everything that happened in your past is part of who you are today. Who knows what’s good and what’s bad? Bad things happen, maybe it’s for a good reason. If I was to go back in time to myself and give myself great advice, at certain points in my career I’d be like geez man what are you doing taking a year off? I lost a couple fights or a fight and I would get insane. I would just train harder and work harder and just grind metal and it was actually counterproductive. I was getting sicker and more unhealthy and over-trained. Now I haven’t taken years off and I can go in the gym right now and spar, kickbox with world champions or grappling world champions and I’ll do better now than any point my last 3 years of fighting. It’s amazing. I never thought you could actually take time off and go on and be better, even if I was away for a movie I was on the treadmill every day just killing myself. So that would be my advice. Maybe take a year away from the sport altogether and you’ll appreciate it more, do something else, be somebody else for a while, be a real person for a while.

SilvaJardine

What projects do you have coming up?

John Wick, I’m very proud of that. I’m just thankful for David [Leitch] and Chad [Stahelski] for getting me on that show. I was really surprised, not that I was expecting it to be bad, but I was surprised by how good it is, how good the action is. You got stunt coordinators doing a movie, you know their friends a stunt coordinator and watched the stunts in that movie to see if their too overdone, everything is spot on in this movie. You got that one that I’m very proud of. I did Stretch recently and I’m very proud of that. The biggest one coming out is Inherent Vice with Joaquin Phoenix and Paul Thomas Anderson, it’s an acting spot I did and I’m holding my breath for that one.

Where can Caveman Coffee be found?

http://www.cavemancoffeeco.com/

Filming John Wick, we went live just maybe a couple weeks before that, there’s a crossfit joint in New York called Brick that started selling our coffee. When Tait and I first got there we were doing night shifts for John Wick and every morning we were up at 4:30 going over to the Brick and start making and selling coffee, we’d go home and sleep for maybe 1 or 2 hrs and go back to work on John Wick and that was during the whole scene we were in. We were so high working on a movie like that, seeing how hard Keanu [Reeves] works and coffee was so new, we were like kids the whole time. We had thermoses of our coffee the whole time, shows how well it works keeping you alert.

Interview conducted by Mike Nagel

Exclusive Update On TNA’s TV Deal Negotiations

In an exclusive update on TNA’s TV deal negotiations for Impact Wrestling, an anonymous TNA wrestler recently told AlternativeNation.net’s Sports section that TNA are not communicating well with talent regarding the company’s TV future.  The talent said, “They don’t tell us shit.”  They added that they hope TNA airs on a new network, and that the situation should be resolved soon so they can air in January, but they added, “Like I said, they tell us shit.  We are the last ones to know.”  TNA’s current contract extension with SpikeTV runs out at the end of the year.

Kurt Angle painted a more optimistic picture about TNA’s TV future when AlternativeNation.net’s Sports section spoke to him in late September, “Well at the TV’s we just did, Dixie Carter and ‘Big’ John Gaburick sat the talent down and eased their minds a little bit, because I think a lot of the talent were a little bit confused and nervous regarding what was going on. I had a private sit down with Dixie, she reassured me of what was going on, and what her plans were. It was a good meeting, it was a very positive meeting. She just knows that the next deal that they sign really has to help benefit TNA, in every regard.”

“When it comes down to it, it is about money, and it is also about how you can get promoted on that network. I won’t say that Spike did a bad job, but I will say that Spike could have done better. If it is going to be Spike, and I don’t know, because Dixie really wouldn’t say who it was, they’re going to have to do a better job. I know that that’s where TNA is right now. They’re in a period where they’re budgeting because they don’t have the money from the network to pay for the TV shows. I believe Panda Energy is funding the show right now, so yes, we’re going to have to do TV tapings in the same city 2 or 3 days at a time until we get to the point where we can go live again, and that will be when the TV deal is done.”

Interview: Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers Talks Pearl Jam, 90’s Rock & Super Bowl

While Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one of the NFL’s most popular quarterbacks, he is also a passionate fan of rock music. Rodgers met Eddie Vedder at Pearl Jam’s show in Milwaukee last week, and is also a big fan of Anberlin, Foo Fighters, and many other bands. In this exclusive AlternativeNation.net interview, Rodgers discusses bands he listens to, his favorite Pearl Jam songs, meeting pro wrestlers, playing in the Super Bowl, and his day to day life in the NFL. You can listen to audio of the interview at the bottom of the article.

I know a few of your favorite bands are Counting Crows, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Anberlin, and Acceptance. Is that some of the stuff you listen to to pump you up before a game?

Some of those bands can pump you up a little bit, but I’ve always been more on the mellow side as far as my pregame music. There’s definitely songs from those bands that can get you pumped. But I tend to pick maybe the quieter, more ballad type songs, less hardcore songs, for pregame. I always need to be pretty even keeled.  Some of the guys can thrive off of passion and energy, where I feel like I thrive when I’m able to find a place of relaxation on the field, so I like to listen to some quieter stuff before the game.

What type of music did you listen to growing up?

Well I grew up in the 90’s, so I love all 90’s alternative. Then also 90’s rap, so I definitely listen to both of those. I got into country in high school a little bit, then I had some friends who were in alternative rock bands. Anberlin is actually on their farewell tour as we speak, and we’ve gotten to know them over the years, and I have always enjoyed their music. Actually, one of the guitarists that is now in Anberlin played in Acceptance, I loved that one CD they put out.

Got to see Pearl Jam last Monday, and meet Eddie, that was a big highlight. I got to meet Taylor Hawkins and a couple other guys from Foo Fighters at the Superbowl, which was an absolute highlight. Then Adam Duritz from Counting Crows used to sing in our locker room after wins at Cal, so it’s been great to get to know some of those guys, who I just have the utmost amount of respect for, what they do. It is true in a lot of cases, that athletes often dream about being rock stars, and I know meeting some of these guys, how much they love sports, and it really does cross over.

What are some of your favorite Pearl Jam songs?

Well Eddie played “Just Breathe” the other night, which has always been one of my favorites. Playing the guitar, any song that involves finger-picking has always been really interesting to me, because it takes talent to move your fingers that quickly, so I have a big appreciation for the musicians especially. I really enjoyed the Into the Wild soundtrack that Eddie put together, “Society” is a track on that record that I really love. Obviously “Better Man,” “Alive,” and “Daughter” are some of my favorites, the classics that people like. He was unbelievable the other night, I mean [the fact that] him and his band could play 36 songs, there’s no other place I’d rather be than a live music concert. It was a special moment.

Did you talk to Eddie about the Steve Gleason story?

Yeah I did actually, that was one of the first things I talked to him about. I told him what an impression it left on me watching it. I don’t know how you can watch that clip and not get choked up, because that was very powerful. What Steve’s going through, and Eddie and his stuff through that whole piece, that was unbelievable. Eddie does a lot with charity, and I shared some of my passions, with pediatric cancer, and some of the foundations we work with out here, so that was actually the first thing I said after we got through the pleasantries, was just how much that meant to me.

A few months back it was Hulk Hogan’s birthday celebration, and you were on Monday Night Raw, are you a big wrestling fan?

I was as a kid yeah. I remember a big PPV match, I think 9 of us put together like 5 bucks each and rented the PPV. Hulk Hogan and the nWo, with Dennis Rodman, had a tag team match against DDP and Karl Malone. At the time I was a big Chicago Bulls fan, loved the Jordan Bulls. I was a big Pippen, MJ, and Dennis Rodman fan. We really liked the WWF as well, Hogan was always one of our favorites, so we pulled hard for Hogan and Rodman, and they came out on top. So to get the opportunity to get to wish Hogan a happy birthday, that was something we really looked forward to.

Now when you win the Super Bowl this year, do you want Hulk Hogan to present you with that new WWE belt they have?

Just maybe a message from him or Ric Flair maybe. I got to meet Ric Flair 3 or 4 years ago, I was a big fan, but Graham Harrell, who was my backup quarterback at the time, is the biggest wrestling fan, and he was freaking out. He is a big talker, but he went dead silent when we met Ric, so that was a good moment for him. I’ve always followed wrestling, not as closely the last few years, but we’ve got some people who enjoy it, so I stay up to date on John Cena, and who is dominating.

aaronrodgers2

Can you describe what it was like winning the Super Bowl?

It’s hard to, it’s such a high. It’s almost a blur as I look back on it, that’s why I want to get back, because the second time I would guess, you can really enjoy it even more. But the first time you’re just so focused, and excited about the opportunity, you probably miss out on some of the festivities during the week, and really embracing how big the moment is, which probably actually helped us. We had a lot of guys who hadn’t had a ton of success up until that point, a lot of young guys who were hungry, and we just didn’t know how good we were. Now the path to success, I think that’s what the greatest challenge is, is to build a path to success, and continue to do it. I like where our team’s at right now, but there’s nothing that can take the place of that feeling of being on the field in the Super Bowl.

There’s been the Bart Starr era, there’s been the Brett Favre era, and now the Aaron Rodgers era. Is there a lot of pressure on you to succeed?

I think so, when you play in a town like Green Bay, the expectations are so high every year, that you’re going to win, and achieve greatness in a similar fashion that this history has been built on. Guys like Curly Lambeau, Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, and Brett Favre. It’s been a lot of big names who have coached and played here over the years, and they expect greatness every time you take the field.

How does it feel to be the starting quarterback at Lambeau Field, and how much did you dream about being an NFL player growing up?

It’s a dream come true. I’ve dreamt of being a quarterback since I was a kid watching Joe Montana and Steve Young on TV on Sundays after church, watching the 49’ers, and then going to the backyard and playing catch with my Dad and brothers. We’d take turns being quarterback, or John Taylor, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, Tom Rathman, or Brett Jones. I just dreamed about being a pro athlete, and more specifically a pro quarterback. Every day I get to do the job, you’ve got to be thankful for fulfilling dreams.

Indianapolis Colts v Green Bay Packers

Can you take me through a typical week during the NFL season? What do you typically have to do before your game?

Every Wednesday and Thursday we have a long practice, Friday has turned into kind of a body maintenance day, where we have more of a half day, and a lot of meetings and walk throughs. Saturday is much of the same, with a short one hour practice. Then we travel if we’re on the road, or if we’re off, we’re home. Then we have to stay at the hotel Saturday night, home or away. Sunday is game day, usually. Then Monday is film review and workout, Tuesday is the NFL off day for most teams. The quarterback doesn’t really have any off days. You still go in there, and do any body maintenance you need to do, the ability to watch film on your own, have conversations with the coaches and the players you need to, and you get ready for Wednesday to do it all over again.

Does anything change during a bi-week? I know you have a bi-week coming up next week.

It does yeah, we’re off, which is great. We’re in Monday, and hopefully we’re 6-2 at that point, halfway through our season, then we’re off, and everybody is off to their own desires, and you just make sure you’re back by Sunday, because we start back up on Monday with practice, meetings, and film review.

What do you do during your down time?

I love to play golf when the weather’s nice, mostly off season. I enjoy some TV programs, Jeopardy is usually on most nights. It’s not the mindless TV that sometimes I need after a long day, it’s actually very stimulating, and I enjoy it. But I enjoy Jeopardy, I’ve always been a big Game of Thrones fan, I got into South Park years ago, and if I need a good laugh, I enjoy that. Key and Peele is a newer show I enjoy watching. Not a lot of free time, get to play the guitar every now and then. But it’s a lot of watching film, studying it during the week, then when I don’t have to, find the time for mindless activities, and your body and mind can just rest.

I just saw that State Farm commercial with Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey as Hans and Frans, do you think you’ll ever transition into acting in the future?

No, not really, I’ll leave that to the professionals (laughs). I enjoy being around football, football is what I know best, it’s what I’ve enjoyed doing for the last 10 years. I’d love to still be involved in some capacity with it, and look at some other options in business and what not. Maybe kind of disappear for awhile.

Interview conducted by Mike Nagel

Interview: John Morrison Talks Joey Mercury, Eric Bischoff, TNA & The Doors

John Hennigan, formerly John Morrison in WWE, is making a comeback in the national wrestling spotlight with Lucha Underground on the El Rey Network on October 29th. Hennigan’s new ring name in the promotion is Johnny Mundo. In this exclusive interview with AlternativeNation.net’s Sports section, Hennigan discusses working with Eric Bischoff, Joey Mercury’s new ‘corporate’ on air role in WWE, Lucha Underground’s potential, his acting career, and more. Check out our recent interviews with Kurt Angle, Kane, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Jeff Hardy, Randy Couture, Eric Bischoff, and Hornswoggle in our Sports section.

Considering how you got into your WWE career with Tough Enough, what do you think of WWE’s new performance center and training faculties? Also what do you think of their developmental system with NXT?

One of the most frustrating things I’ve found with getting into wrestling is when you expend a big pile of effort and feel like you aren’t getting the best training, or you’re wasting your time. The performance center is ridonkulous! I’d love to train there now. The facilities are cutting edge, but more important, when it comes to pro wrestling, or really learning any skill from kung fu to basket weaving to medicine the people you learn from are your most powerful influences.

If you have ambition, dedication, and a knowledgeable trainer who isn’t bitter about their own career and believes in your potential, you can learn anywhere… but not everywhere has air conditioning like the performance center.

For the business side of WWE, NXT is great because it’s a way to monetize their developmental system (NXT guys! thanks for the rasslin’… sorry ‘bout the money) For Talent, it’s a good chance to see what it’s like to wrestle on TV tapings. Politics, pacing of matches, intensity, expectations, selling to cameras, etc…

When you first got on the WWE roster, you were doing a lot of skits with Eric Bischoff as his assistant. How did you like working with Bischoff and did he share any wisdom about some of the wrestling business?

The Bisch!

“… back then it was about booze and blow, now it’s about starting my TV days with a good bowl of oatmeal to keep my energy level up.”

~some RAW taping in 2004 the Bisch to Johnny Nitro & Jonathan Coachman

Eric was great to work with. Gave me some awesome insight into the business of Wrestling. At the time I was thinking in terms of what I wanted to accomplish in the business, Eric talked in business terms, what do people want to see, what will people pay for? Pro Wrestling is a business, what can you do that people will pay to see you do? I really didn’t appreciate the opportunity I had as ‘The Apprentice’ Johnny Nitro. All I wanted to do at the time was wrestle.

Why do you think Dolph Ziggler hasn’t been given a main event push and what do you think it will take for that to happen?

Ziggler should wear a suit to TV tapings, wait outside Vince’s office to shake his hand & talk about deadlifts, tell HHH that he should be the lead Viking on that Viking TV show that the kids are watching, maybe less selling in the ring, more crossfit at home, paint his face, get bigger, forget how to work completely then remember half of what he forgot … I dunno?… he could start with all that or just accept that success in wrestling is usually a combination of luck and skill.

What do you think of you former tag team partner, Joey Mercury’s new on-air role in WWE which is kind of similar to what Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco did in the late 90s?

Love it. Every time I see Joey on TV I get so happy! That dude has lived wrestling his entire life & is a genius in wrestling psychology. Working with him in MNM was like teaming with a non annoying agent- haha. I couldn’t be happier to see him back with WWE in a fun on air role & as an agent behind the scenes as well. Of course if our paths ever crossed on-air, I’d have to let ‘Corporate Joe’ know what a sell out he became and how badly Joey Matthews would’ve kicked the crap out of Corporate Joe

We remember what happened at Armageddon in 2006 when Joey Mercury was struck in the face with a ladder during a spot in the match. What was your first reaction to seeing Joey like that?

I didn’t see the extent of the damage til after the match. When I got backstage Joey’s entire head what already wrapped in gauze. Melina was standing next to him crying, I teared up. When the adrenaline wears off the reality of living with injury sets in.NitroMercury

Do you have any favorite Doors songs and how much did Jim Morrison influence your character?

Huge Doors fan, huge fan of Jim Morrison; dude is an icon. The John Morrison character is obviously an homage to the Lizard King. My original finish as John Morrison: the Moonlight Drive. I got so into the Morrison character I started writing Morrison-esque poems in 2007 and posting them on my MySpace page- this is one of my favorites:

“The Brightest Star”

Acetylene torches hide in the shade
with nuclear explosions drinking lemonade
as flashbulbs retire and angels conspire
to get close to brightest star god ever made.
Howls in the distance,
blind men drunk with the light:
All scream, “We see you, though we are without sight.”
And I am their pilot
And I am their sun.
They remember my work backwards
They count:
three,
two,
one.
And as their sun raises its arms in a V
I know that the world turns only for me
For I am the center
and I am its soul,
and everything distant from me is so cold.

Another poem I wrote was titled “Starship Pain.”

When you split from The Miz, you were featured in a lot of good matches; you won the Intercontinental Championship and started to end up in many different World and WWE Championship matches. Was there ever a plan to make you a World Champion at some point? Did you ever get that impression that in a few years you would be in that position?

My plan was always to become World Champion, I felt at times I was months away, and at times I was years away.

MorrisonIC

You pitched a fitness book to WWE in 2009, they decided not to publish your book through the WWE machine, why not?

I wanted to write a book about functional fitness and get into some autobiographical stuff as well, but the literary guys at WWE said they’d published an earlier fitness book that hadn’t done very well. So… I pitched a series of DVDs which they passed on as well but then said I could do a fitness product on my own if I wanted to. So… it took a while, but I did.

In 2010 I met Jeff Carrier at a gym and started talking about ideas for a functional virtual personal training system. We spent 2 years programming, coming up with exercises then we started filming everything. That’s where the difference between having the backing of a billion dollar company and producing your own program out of pocket is the most evident. We had to shoot at night in friends gyms and set up lights and backdrops and hustle to get it done.

The product we came up with Out Of Your Mind Fitness (www.ooymfitness.com) is the most comprehensive functional training program on the market. We focus on exercises that improve the body’s ability to do what it was meant to do; MOVE, run, jump, push, pull, twist. If you want more info on OOYM Fitness check out the YouTube www.OOYMFitness.com @OOYMFitness and Facebook.

You have been doing more independent shows recently; do you think independent wrestling is in a good state right now?

Yes. Do you think independent wrestling is in a good state right now? Do you think I should stay with Lucha Underground? Go Back to WWE? Post more videos about OOYM Fitness? Make more movies and wrestle less? Buy the rights to Suburban Commando and reboot the franchise? Cut my hair? Change my name some more? Tweet me your questions @TheRealMorrison!

You left WWE in December of 2011, why did you decide to start acting?

I was a film major at UC Davis. I’ve been a lifelong fan of 2 things, wrestling and film. In college I was studying all aspects of film; acting and production, and specifically, stunts. Action acting, like the stuff that Jackie Chan does really interested me. I wrestled in high school, and in college, but didn’t consider a career as a pro wrestler until I saw Tough Enough. I’d been preparing for an action acting career, making kung fu movies with my roommates like ‘The Foot of DEATH’ … a flick about a man with a very dangerous foot, ‘Kung Food’, a fast food restaurant where kung fu fights happen frequently… Hahaha… training in martial arts and movement based skill sets like breakdancing and gymnastics… I was doing all that when I saw Tough Enough season 1, I was like dayum! Pro Wrestling is the perfect combination of everything I wanted to do my whole life. I’d dreamed of being in the WWF when I was a kid… but seeing Tough Enough on MTV is what made me think of my dreams as a kid as a tangible career path. Wrestling is entertainment, so are movies, so is theatre, so as far as what influenced me to get into acting?… I like telling stories. I like entertaining. Acting is necessary to share my stories with people. Check out IMDB.

Morrisonhercules

Hennigan in Hercules Reborn

Have you had talks with TNA or Global Force Wrestling and what are your thoughts on the two companies?

I’m booked to wrestle Jeff Jarrett on December 6th, might talk a little talk about Global Force. TNA & I have had talks, I live in LA, Florida is far. Wrestling is a business, the more promotions the better, more opportunities for wrestlers to work. Both of those companies could be fun to work with. Right now I’m signed with Lucha Underground and I’m happy with where I’m at. Backstage is great, no drama, great shows, great people involved, and in my hometown of Los Angeles.

How do you psychologically prepare for the ring? Do you have to get in the right frame of mind?

Warm up. Stretch. Breathe. FIRE UP! enter.

You signed with Lucha Underground last month, and you are going to be working as Johnny Mundo. That should be airing near the end of the month on October 29th. What sets Lucha Underground apart from other wrestling shows and do you think it could succeed long term?

Johnny Mundo is going to rock the world on October 29!

Lucha Libre itself has a rich tradition and deep roots in Mexican culture, it has a powerful built in following. The stuff we’re doing in Lucha underground is going to put the rest of the wrestling world on blast! Prince Puma (Ricochet) Fenix, Pentagon Jr, King Cuerno, Drago, these guys can do things you won’t see anywhere else. I’ve been pushing myself every week to try moves I’ve never done before. What’s happening at Lucha Underground is exciting to me both as a wrestler and a fan. This is a melting pot of ideas from the best wrestlers, writers, and film production people in the world; we are creating a show that is defining itself and rapidly evolving every week.

I describe lucha sometimes as extreme acrobatics… What sets Lucha Underground apart is the extreme acrobatics of Lucha Libre with the story telling psychology of WWE, the culture of Mexico, and also the style of Robert Rodriguez which I think will be especially evident in the backstage vignettes which look like scenes from gritty action films. Chavo Guerrero, Big Ryck (Ezekiel Jackson), Konnan, the luchadors I mentioned earlier this whole promotion is made up of people who have creative ideas and want to contribute to a show that is going to be more entertaining than any other wrestling show in the world (Mundo). So yes. This show definitely has the potential to succeed long term. Will it? Damn right it will!

lucha

Interview: Chico Resch Talks Ceremony, Brodeur’s Future & Peter DeBoer

Chico Resch is one of the NHL’s most beloved personalities, both as a goaltender and as a broadcaster where he spent nearly twenty years as the color commentator for the New Jersey Devils. Resch is set to be honored by the Devils on October 24th, 2014 for his contributions to the team. In this exclusive interview with AlternativeNation.net’s Sports section, Resch discusses the upcoming ceremony, Mike “Doc” Emrick, the future of Martin Brodeur, Adam Larsson, if he thinks this year is truly “do or die” for Devils coach Peter DeBoer, what the Devils have to do to make the playoffs this season, and more.

On Friday the New Jersey Devils will be honoring your career as a player and a broadcaster. Your playing career spans fourteen seasons; your broadcasting career nearly twenty years. How did you find out that you were going to be honored by the New Jersey Devils?

Well at the end of last season when I made it known that I was going to retire, Lou Lamorello, Scott O’Neil and Hugh Weber who are the day to day operators there said to me: “Hey Chico, we’re going to have a night for you next season”, and I thought, “A night for me? What could this be about?” I didn’t do anything to stand out in any way or did anything that you expect to get a special night for. I’m certainly not a hall of famer as a broadcaster or player. I tried to do a good job each night, come prepared, have fun with the fans and was enthusiastic but nothing that made me an Emmy award winner! I would leave that to Doc Emrick who was picking up all of those Emmys. It was just really overwhelming and I would like to thank those guys very much.

Management and I talked and I told them that they could even make it a pre-season game if they wanted to. I gotta tell ya though, when you look at all the greats that were celebrated by the Devils on the ice like Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko, Scott Niedermayer or Martin Brodeur as he will be one day, I’m thinking, “What am I doing down here?” Then I got to thinking, “Well I helped put a lot of guys in the hall of fame with all the goals I gave up!”

So maybe that’s my niche here, that’s where it was at and they decided it would be on October 24th.

Your former broadcast partner, Mike “Doc” Emrick, is going to be at the ceremony, do you still talk to “Doc” at all?

Oh yeah. Mike and I became very good friends. We grew up in the minor leagues together, he was broadcasting in the lowest level of the minor leagues where I was playing. Our wives our friends, Doc and I see the game the same and he really taught me how to be a pro. I knew I was working with the best and thought to myself “Don’t blow it because it’s like you are working on a line with Wayne Gretzky. Recognize what your role is and take the lead from Doc” and I think Doc appreciated that. Doc Emrick is a pretty humble guy and even though we know him as the greatest, he also gives the guy he’s working with a lot of respect.

But yeah, we would hang out together on the road, go to church together and did a lot of things that made us best friends and that’s kind of where we’re at now.

DocandChico

What are your thoughts on your successor in the commentary booth, Ken Danekyo?

Everyone loves the Dano man! Kenny will bring enthusiasm but he really loves the Devils, as do I, but I realize one of the things that I said, and Doc said this also, even though we were Devil announcers first and foremost, he said “we can’t be too much of a homer”. So I have to chuckle when I think of Dano because I’m thinking “Can Dano refrain from being too much of a Devils cheerleader and too much of a homer”? That was just a fun little thing that I was playing off in my mind.

I know Dano and Steve Cangialosi and we’ve talked, Kenny and I have talked quite a bit and gone over some things and I think that Kenny is going to work into it really well. I find with Kenny as well as me that it all comes down to training. This isn’t going to sound “earth-shattering” but there is a timing and meshing process that takes time between a play by play and color man. That means knowing not to step on each others toes and to have a sense of that timing. You know, Doc was brilliant and that’s why he is “The Doctor of hockey”, that’s why they call him “Doc”, I was more quirky, so I could say more quirky and off the wall stuff mixed in with a little bit of mumbo-jumbo while Doc brought it all back into perspective or added humor to it. At the end that’s why we were clicking so well because he knew what I might be saying and he could spin it into something clear or humorous.

So, I think with Kenny, he’s such an enthusiastic guy and he’s going to have to find that balance. He needs to make sure he does his homework, talk to people, whether it be Zamboni drivers or anyone that might have a little insight or interesting story that Kenny could bring to the broadcast but it’s not like Dano is a total rookie out there. After all, he did the sideline reporting for a few seasons, which is now being done by Johnny Maclean and also helped out with Hockey Night Live. I think he and Cangi will be really great out there, I really do. They have opposite personalities but they are terrific people, the both of them.

What people don’t realize is that in the booth, you have a lot of tension going on. You can have some really big egos and I don’t know if it’s hockey as much as the other sports but I worked with a couple of guys with big egos and while you can work together is that it’s just not the same warmth that develops because you are constantly in competition. I don’t see that with Cangi and Dano though and I think they will be great.

I’m not sure not too many people actually know where the “Chico” name comes from but it was actually given to you by one of your former Islanders teammates in reference to a sitcom in the 70s called Chico and the Man. What were your thoughts the first time you heard you’d been given the nickname ‘Chico’ and what do you think of it now since it’s become such a huge part of your legacy?

You know, I gotta tell you Mike, I remember the first time the crowd chanted it. I grew up in a small town in Canada and never thought for one second that I would play in the NHL. I never thought that once. Well, it was in my rookie year, I’m in the NHL which is overwhelming enough and my teammate who told a funny story about not only the relationship with Chico and the Man but also about how I was trying to learn Spanish. So when they started chanting that on a Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum I got chills. I just couldn’t believe it and if I could do it all over again and I didn’t have a nickname I would give myself a nickname. People never forget a nickname and people warm up to you because you have a nickname. You go, “Hey I know this guy, his name is Rocky or Bandit or whatever the hockey names are these days.

My nickname just fell in perfectly with what I was trying to accomplish, because, I knew early in my career that I wasn’t going to be a Hall Of Fame goalie so I thought that this is such an incredible blessing and opportunity. I found that because of the nickname fans and writers wouldn’t just rip me when I played poorly, and they couldn’t. The nickname spun-off into a lot of positives in different areas of my life and I think the only one that doesn’t call me Chico anymore is my wife, my five sisters and their families. To them, I’m just “Uncle Glenn” but to everyone else and including friends that I’ve known since way back call me Chico. That’s OK though because I like the name!

One of the segments you were most known for during your years as a member of the broadcast team for the Devils was Chico Eats, where you would greet fans and savior some of the local fare surrounding the arena and inside of it. What was your favorite thing that you ever consumed during those Chico Eats skits?

Oh boy, favorite thing? I eat so much. Well, if I could spin it off into something, it was a lot of pressure. Every night I had to come up with a different idea. One time we were doing pizza and I got to flip the pizza and put it into the oven with that…what’s that thing called with the long handle and the round end?

A Pizza peel?

A pizza peel! Well I used that pizza peel as a goalie stick and did some things but one of the things that sticks out to me, one night we were eating and I have a big sweet tooth, now, what was the food, it’s fried dough and you dip it into sugar…

Zeppoles?

Zeppoles! That’s it! We did the Zeppoles, it was freshly fried dough and at the time LeBron James or one of the basketball players had this commercial where they would put white powder in their hands before he would play and fling it into the air, I did that with the sugar of the Zeppoles and that segment was fun because of the sweet tooth and the connection to LeBron James. Every one of those were really fun. The Mucho Nachos, which was one of the first ones we did was really memorable.

That’s the one where you are holding the nachos up like it’s the Stanley Cup right?

That’s it! That one was good. The problem though, was that I never got to eat the stuff! We would do the segment and I would take a bite of the food but then you would have fans wanting autographs and I would be conflicted on whether I sign for the fans or stuff my face with all of this delicious food. I would just give it away but it was fun because the fans were always lying around and watching. My producer actually came up with the idea. You look at NFL games or MLB games and it’s amazing how many other people picked up on the food thing and we were proud to be one of the first. Unfortunately we just ran out of restaurants.

Speaking of Chico Eats, the Prudential Center has revamped their entire selection of food stands this season. Could we possibly see a special edition of “Chico Eats” during that same game as your ceremony?

(Chico laughs) That’s a good one! I don’t know, You know, Dano has a pretty big appetite and a much bigger body then myself and he could probably do it for years in a row without getting heavy. I don’t know what they will do with that but tell me this, I heard, and I haven’t seen it but I heard the new look of the arena is kind of cool but how about the food? Did you notice a change?

You know they have this boardwalk theme going on when you go up the stairs and it’s pretty cool. If you decide to do Chico Eats again, they have a boardwalk stand and you talk about a sweet tooth, they have fried Oreos and it’s the most decedent thing you could ever have. They also have a bucket filled with fried seafood. Talk about a meal that you could lift like a trophy!

Haha, yeah that sounds good.

Looking back at 1982 and the founding of the Devils, what was the excitement and fanfare like for NJ hockey fans and did you think, after seeing the team go from Kansas City to Colorado and now to NJ, that the move was going to be permanent?

Well, we quickly knew it was going to be permanent because we got to meet Mr. McMullen and see his commitment. John obviously had the finances and was a New Jersey guy but you know Mike, as I try and write my speech, what people don’t really realize is that I was really “fan aware” and tried to be fan friendly because it’s the fun thing to do. Fans are fun. I never looked at them as being an “obstacle” or people that I couldn’t trust, being out to get me or anything like that. I knew it was going to be a challenge though because back then there wasn’t a lot of hardcore Devils fans and I knew we would have to win them over.

The way I look at it, we had some Flyer fans, we had Islander fans and I thought, the Islander fans have to go a long way to Long Island and the Flyer fans have to go all the way to Philly and that should be our target audience because we could win them over. The Ranger fans, and I still see it today, they were never coming over to the Devils no matter what we did, even though they lived in New Jersey. I think that’s why we would average around twelve to thirteen thousand and that was the bulk of the Devils fans, because we couldn’t get the third of hockey fans in New Jersey.

I wasn’t worried; I was only frustrated that for the first couple of years we just weren’t better than we were. Of course, the big thing was when we had the chance to get Mario Lemieux. I remember that year, we were awful and remember thinking, “if we get Mario Lemieux, those fans, including those Rangers fans aren’t going to be able to say no to the New Jersey Devils because Mario was just that dynamic. Marshall Johnson was the head scout at the time and said “Chico, you gotta see this guy!” That was a bit of a heartbreaker and not that it’s anything against the man we did draft that year, Kirk Muller, he was great. However, you go through the legacy and it’s Gretzky then Orr then Lemieux. Every 15 years or so that “phenom player” comes along, we saw it with Sidney Crosby, but the Devils had the chance to get Mario but it just didn’t work out.

Which lines (offense and defense) in your history with the Devils were your favorites to watch out on the ice, be it the chemistry, grit, poise…etc?

Oh my goodness, it’s a no brainer for me, the “A Line”! (Jason Arnott, Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora) That line when it was cookin’, I couldn’t wait to see each shift because those guys would dominate. Those three had a love and respect for each other. You gotta remember that there was a lot of clutchin’, grabin’, hookin’ and you had the trap going on as well. There were a lot of defensive obstacles to get through and these guys would just crisscross, change positions and on the power play you would have Jason who had that big shot. You know, Slava Fetisov was there, great Russian coach and he was running the powerplay and the guys were saying “Geeze, we got three or four different breakouts on the powerplay” and to me it was just a magical time for the Devils.

Of course, on the back end you had Scott Stevens who we all loved and respected, you’ll never see another Scott Stevens and of all the defensemen that I played with or against and I’ve been around the NHL for forty years now I can say that Scott Stevens was the toughest defenseman with that amount of skill. I’ve seen other tough defensemen, like Denis Potvin who had more skill then Scotty but if you evaluating tough defensemen and go down that list you would have Ray Bourque, Larry Robinson, etc, Scott Stevens with his level of toughness and his intimidating factor, and he did it cleanly was in another class.

Who I really marveled at was Scott Niedermayer because you saw him skate and knew he could pass and while you wish he took more risks offensively I would watch him, and of course I was doing the games, the broadcasts, I’m sure it must of happened at one point in time Mike but I cannot remember one time defensively where I would say “Oh Nieder, why did you rush out of position?” or “Nieder, why did you make that decision?” or “Nieder, how could you let that puck go through your feet or through your stick?” The guy was amazing, how he never let two on ones or passes out of the corner. To me, this guy was the most brilliant defensive defenseman, although he wasn’t really considered that. I’m sure, being a goalie, Marty Brodeur would tell you, Niedermayer was a locked gate on the back door where no one was getting there.

Speaking of Martin Brodeur, Marty has been a question mark this year. It’s obvious that he wants to still play and not ready to hang up his skates. What do you think is the fate of Martin Brodeur? Do you think a team, is going to take a chance on him, if so, who? Especially with other quality veteran goaltenders looking for work such as Tomas Vokoun and Tim Thomas?

Yeah, Marty is going to be a tough one. I hope someone gives him a look but I’m not too optimistic and I’ll tell you why. How old is Marty? 40? 41?

I believe he’s 42 years old.

At 42 years of age, inactivity really comes into play when you’re older. Look at Jagr, he did so well last year because he was in a rhythm, he got twenty minutes a game and so for Marty to try and stay sharp it’s going to be hard. You had people saying last year that he was going to be moved at the trade deadline and I’m thinking “are you kidding me?” You think at 41-42 Marty is going to jump in and play the whole season? Even Marty will tell you that he’s had to get some games under his belt, flow into the season and that’s gonna take him about a month. The other thing that Marty has going against him but is why he is one of the greatest of all time is that he’s not a butterfly goalie and he’s not going to go out, stand there, drop and get hit with pucks. Marty is a reactionary goalie, he sees the puck, makes a move for it and makes the save. It’s a very exact thing. I think the window for Marty; I would say is a month into the season. I think if no one signs him by then it’s going to be tough, unless he agrees to go to Europe and play, to get in shape and to just play somewhere! To just sit around and have no game or activity, I don’t think it looks promising.

I’ll say this about Marty. Both he and his agent said that he wants to get to 700. I’m sure most people are thinking “he’s at 688, what’s the difference?” Well, I can tell you that as a goalie, the 700 club is pretty amazing. I don’t begrudge Marty for wanting to do it, who cares! I personally thought that the team that should have been in on Marty was Buffalo. It would be a story, it would create interest, they’re a team that’s not going to make the playoffs so why not have Marty? Let him play! It just makes sense. You have a story; a legend playing that would help sell tickets. If I am a general manager though and I’m thinking about “team”, I’m going to wonder if I want a distraction where Marty Brodeur’s march to 700 is going to be documented and that march to 700 will be a story. Every time he plays he’s going to be a bigger story then the team and I think that’s what general managers were afraid of, the cost of bringing on an icon with a personal goal as much as the team goal, which is really the truth. I just don’t know who is going to take that risk.

As a goaltender yourself, what are your thoughts on the butterfly revolution, the large pads and the ability of a tall goaltender to cover the entire ice?

Good for the goalies, bad for the shooters. I mean, it’s not as pleasing to look at and again I’m thinking about entertainment. I’ll tell you what it is about butterfly goalies; they all think they’re the same! In some cases they are but the ones that are going to separate themselves are if they can play the butterfly, challenge, pivot and move laterally because they’re going to be the best. What happens is, goalies that are butterflies, the ones that remain average are the ones that think that they can just play in the crease, drop down for every shot and get hit. That is not going to get you there and that’s why I’m always amazed at the big goalies that are mobile and can pivot, turn, get back to the post, challenge, etc. There isn’t a lot of shooting area on those guys and it is what it is. Goaltending now is about size and I want to see how goal scoring around the league goes this year. Personally, I think they should do something with the nets, make the nets a little bit bigger but not too much.

What was one of the funniest pranks ever pulled on you by a teammate?

Well, when playing with the Devils I collected a lot of memorabilia, I have a lot of great sweaters (jerseys) and I even have a Glenn Hall from when he won the Stanley Cup in 1961. I have a lot of NHL equipment from goalies so I was really fortunate that stuff was coming out of the woodwork in the 70s and early 80s. One night, I go into the Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens, I’m going into the dressing room and Tim Higgins who was a funny guy said “Hey Chico! A guy was just in here, one of the ushers and he’s got an old net and some old sticks and stuff from the 1930s and he’s lookin’ for ya!” So I went “Where? Where is he?!” Then Higgins said “I don’t know I think he’s at the other end of the rink now, he said that’s where he’s going to set up.”

So I go rushing out there and I’m asking “Hey do you know who the usher is?” and I exhausted all of the places this usher might be. Well, I go back into the dressing room and the boys are just howlin’! There was no usher that had anything, they just thought they’d play a trick on Chico!

Chico1

The New Jersey Devils have missed the playoffs now for the last two out of three years, which is historically very uncharacteristic of them. The last time, before this drought took place that the Devils missed the playoffs were in 1996. At what point, if you are Lou do you look at the results produced by Coach Deboer and go “Pete, we have to go in another direction.” Do you think this year is “do or die” for Peter Deboer?

I can only go by Larry Robinson, who is now the assistant coach for the San Jose Sharks. Larry talked about Todd McLellan and Pete DeBoer and gave them both rave reviews. Adam Oates said the same thing. I’ve talked to players privately as well. I know the fans can get on the coach but the players aren’t as of yet pointing any fingers at Pete. I think when the players are disgruntled, and I don’t think that’s the case yet but this is a pivotal season for the Devils and in terms of where this team is heading within the next few years.

I just don’t know, before I could answer that question I would need someone to answer how good are the Devils? Break down all down all of the teams in the NHL, where are the Devils at? You see, we follow our own team, it doesn’t matter who it is, and you tend to see the good points but quite honestly? I think what Lou Lamorello will have to evaluate is if the talent is good enough? I mean, last year should we have made the playoffs? Look at last season with the shootout which was horrendous for this club, is that a coaching thing? I mean really? It could be if the coach is aggravating the player in other ways but that’s not the case and I think Pete has done a very good job with Jagomir Jagr who is kind of a temperamental player but Jagr doesn’t have a problem voicing his opinion or showing his frustration but he’s really liked what Pete has done.

So, I just don’t know. I know, as fans we always like that quick solution, it’s the coach, it’s the player or this or that but I think this is a question that we should re-visit say around February or March. I don’t know how good this team is and I don’t think that they know, they made a lot of changes. Some really good! You have to score three goals a game in the National Hockey League to win. I’ve said this for years, you score three consistently, you win, you score two consistently, and you are on the wrong end of the playoffs.

Having said all of that, being around the game for around forty years, having played it, there are some times where you have to move a coach. Whether that means that you just need a new voice or whatever the case may be. I would say, in fairness to Pete, he has three other coaches and they’re rackin’ their brain, they’re watching and trying things and I sum it up based on the last year’s shootout record, if two thirds of those games were winners then we’re in the playoffs. Even if it was 50% it would have done wonders for the team both in the standings and psychologically. Can you really pin that on the coach? I hear fans go “Why didn’t he pick that guy? Or why didn’t he pick that guy?” and you have to realize that Pete picked just about every guy that he could. If anyone had gotten hot then Pete would of had him in there. I can’t really say though. I think what really hurt the Devils more then anything was Kovy leaving and a few of our recent draft picks haven’t turned into the impact players that Lou, the scouting staff and coaches thought they would and that leaves a big hole.

Regarding the impact of those recent draft picks, what are your thoughts on defenseman Adam Larsson?

I don’t know why [the coaching staff] are so down on Larsson. I don’t know and I’m not second guessing because I’m sure they have reason but I just don’t know. He’s such a nice kid, he wants to try and do so well, I just don’t understand what they don’t see in Adam.

Lastly, what are your expectations for this New Jersey Devils hockey club as we move forward into the 2014-2015 NHL season?

I think this team has some assets. I think the goaltending is rock solid and I think the youth on defense has potential to be a really strong core with a balance of offense and defense. The question mark is the age and to me the question mark is that a lot of players who have had success with other teams, and even here in New Jersey, how many of them can restore the offensive scoring ability that they had in the past? You have Cammalleri who has scored well, but how many are you realistically going to get out of Havlat? How many are you going to get out of Jagr this year? Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias? You are going to need some goals from the third line, Michael Ryder and Ryane Clowe are going to have the produce. To me, it’s completely unpredictable but if they can score three goals a game, if their powerplay can be powerful enough that they can score some timely goals and if they can win some shootouts then they have a shot on getting back into the playoffs. Let’s hope they are because if they’re not? Then I just don’t know what to say.

Interview: UFC Champion Cain Velasquez Talks Brock Lesnar, Werdum, Cormier & Jon Jones

UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez is set to defend his title against Fabricio Werdum on November 15th at Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico at UFC 180.  Velasquez holds a 13-1 record, with victories over Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos.  In this exclusive interview with AlternativeNation.net’s Sports section, Velasquez discusses his upcoming fight with Werdum, if he would fight Brock Lesnar again, his thoughts on Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier, and more.

How has doing The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America affected your training schedule with your normal training partners?

It hasn’t, just because we started filming in I would say around the end of June, maybe early July or so, and we did that in August. This was right before my training camp, so I wasn’t affected at all. But it was good that I had all my coaches and training partners there in Vegas, so that I could also get a workout in when I wanted to, so it didn’t affect it at all.

Did you like doing the show?

I did, I liked it. I didn’t know what to expect going in, but as soon as I got into it, the attitudes of the guys they had, they all wanted to learn, train, fight, and win. That to me just made it great.

ufctitle

You practice both Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu, and you are a blackbelt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. How do you think you’re going to stack up against Werdum, who is considered one of the best Jiu Jitsu artists in the UFC?

I think good. Yeah, he is one of the best out there for sure. This fight is not going to be easy anywhere, on my feet, the ground, I think it’s going to be tough everywhere. It’s going to be a tough fight no matter what, but I’m ready. I’ve practiced a lot of stuff as far as if we get on the ground with him, what are we doing, if we’re on our feet, what are we doing. I think I’ve got all my bases covered.

Do you think he’s doing to do the same thing he did with Travis Brown, playing it safe in the last round?

Maybe, we don’t know what he’s going to try to do, but we know what his stand up is like. We know he is always better with his hands, he has good Muay Thai, he throws a lot of kicks before his punches. So as far as standup, it’s fine, he’ll go for takedowns. We think he definitely brings a lot to the table, also closing the clinch, he likes to throw a lot of knees. He’s tough everywhere, he does everything, he throws everything.

What does it mean to you to headline the first UFC card in Mexico?

For me it’s just good. It’s just a dream come true that I get to fight there, that was one of the places I wanted to fight at, so I’m just excited for the opportunity.

cainbrock

You were the first guy to really take it to Brock Lesnar, and knock him out, when you beat him for the World Heavyweight Title. Paul Heyman was recently on MMA Hour, and he said Brock Lesnar watches how you fight, and he says he can beat you, and he knows exactly how he would do it. How would you feel about fight Brock Lesnar again somewhere down the line?

Definitely, yeah. If he came back in, worked his way up, and got a title shot, I would definitely accept that.

Besides yourself, who is someone you watch who really impressed you in UFC?

I just try and watch as many fights as I can. As far as teammates, I always try and watch when they fight, like Luke Rockhold and Daniel Cormier.  Just watching fights in general, you see where the sport is going, and evolving.

You brought up Daniel Cormier, he has a big fight coming up with Jon Jones, how do you see that fight going?

That’s a tough fight definitely, but I think that’s a fight that he can win.  He has to just get through that long range that Jon Jones has.  He’s athletic, and he has that long range of his hands.  He’s able to keep off, and stay at a safe distance where he can throw elbows and be effective there.  So you’ve got to work hard, and get past all of that, and take the fight to him.

Can he stop Daniel Cormier’s wrestling?

I don’t think he can, maybe some shots here and there, but Daniel can get some takedowns on him definitely.

Do you think the weight gap in the heavyweight division from 206 to 265 is too big of a gap, and it puts you at any sort of disadvantage?

No, with college wrestling, the weight limit is 190 something, then it goes all the way up to 285.  I think I’m just used to it.  I’m a little undersized, but I bring some speed, so it’s fine.

cainchamp

Interview conducted by Mike Nagel

Interview: Kane Discusses Triple H, Sting, Undertaker, Daniel Bryan & See No Evil 2

Interview conducted by Brett Buchanan and Mike Mazzarone

Kane is most known for being one of WWE’s longest tenured superstars, working for the company for nearly 20 years, and being one of the last active WWE wrestlers from the Attitude Era.  His legendary career has been a diverse one, doing everything from wrestling The Undertaker at WrestleMania, to tombstoning Pete Rose and being one half of ‘Team Hell No’ with Daniel Bryan.  Kane starred in his first film, See No Evil, in 2006, and now 8 years later he is back to reprise his role as Jacob Goodnight in See No Evil 2, set for release on VOD tomorrow, and Blu ray/DVD on Tuesday.

In this interview, Kane discusses his favorite horror characters, the possibility of a Kane origins film, his thoughts on Triple H’s leadership abilities, Daniel Bryan’s injury, a potential match with Sting, and his long list of travel partners over the years.

Who are some of your favorite horror characters and horror films in general, and how have they influenced how you portray Jacob Goodnight?

My favorite movie of all time is Silence of the Lambs. Of course Hannibal Lector I think is the greatest movie monster ever, whereas the other serial killers are just running around killing people, Hannibal is smarter than the rest of us, and that’s what makes him particularly terrifying. Also the first Halloween I thought was really well done, John Carpenter is a brilliant director. I really enjoyed the Nightmare on Elm Street series, because Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger was different, because you have the wisecracking monster.

I don’t know if any of them influenced my character Jacob Goodnight, because Jacob’s a little bit different, he’s like a hybrid. On the one hand he’s the large imposing Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, type of guy, but on the other hand he’s driven by different motivations than they are. He’s more of a real human being that has emotions, and has internal conflicts, and that sort of stuff. He is a little bit of the Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees physically, but when it comes to the other stuff, I just had to rely on my own.

kaneseenoevil2new

How much influence has Vince McMahon had on the See No Evil films, and have you ever discussed movies with Vince, and his vision for WWE films?

Talking about the original See No Evil, because of course that was WWE Studios’ first movie, we talked about that one more than we did this one. Vince has hired Michael Luici, Michael is a veteran in the film industry, and Michael I think has a really great vision for WWE Studios. Basically we do 15 day shoots, and concentrate on the genres that we know we’re going to be successful in, Vince of course is part of that as well. I would say that’s sort of the overall vision of WWE Studios moving forward. We’ve had some really great hits with The Call, the first See No Evil of course was commercially successful, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do in the future as well.

What would you envision happening in a Kane origins movie? What backstories that we’ve seen discussed on TV over the years do you think would be shown in a film like that?

That actually would be quite interesting, wouldn’t it? Because the thing that made Kane so unique, and such a great character in WWE, is that he does have a backstory that’s unique to him. He’s a character within sort of the WWE Universe, and he’s a clearly defined character. So yeah, that would be really cool, because you could get into the whole history of what happened with Kane and The Undertaker as kids, so that would be interesting.

kanepaulbearer

You’ve talked quite a bit about your Libertarian views, endorsing Ron Paul in the last two elections. It was reported a few months ago that you were pursued to run in the Republican Senate primary in Tennessee, do you think you will ever run for office like fellow wrestling personalities Linda McMahon and Jesse Ventura have before you?

I don’t know (laughs). Politics is a very dirty, and rough business, and I don’t know if I’m cut out for it, so I really don’t know. That whole deal was more other people trying to talk me into it, than me wanting to pursue it on my own. But nevertheless, I don’t know in the future what’s going to happen.

Who have you enjoyed working with the most backstage when it comes to developing your character over the years, especially when it’s come to major character changes like the introduction of Kane, to going half masked, going unmasked, Corporate Kane, and so on.

There’s been a lot of people, and that’s one of the great things about WWE, everything’s a collaboration, and everyone has really good ideas, I don’t know if I can pinpoint one person. I think one of the big breaks of course from where I’d been before, was doing the Team Hell No stuff with Daniel Bryan. I really enjoyed that, and really liked working with him for that reason. Then of course The Undertaker has been extremely influential on my career, and helped me out a lot. He’s given me a lot of advice, a lot of the things you see on screen are actually his influences. But really it all boiled down to Vince, Vince is the guy that has the ideas, and puts them into motion, and we’re tasked with carrying it out. But overall I’d have to say that it really is a team effort, everything is.

kanestephanietripleh

As Triple H has taken more of a leadership role in WWE, what have you thought of some of his initiatives like NXT, and did you ever think when you met him nearly 20 years ago that he would someday lead WWE?

He’s done a tremendous job with the Performance Center in Orlando, and with NXT. They have a great product, the guys that are coming out of there are really great. I was just thinking about that the other day, you could always tell there was something special about him. Certainly he knows the wrestling business like no one else, he’s got a fabulous mind. When you’re talking about people I’ve worked with who have influenced me as far as character development, he’s one of them. I don’t know which is more surprising, the fact that he’s in the role that he’s in, or that I’m still here in WWE 20 years later.

What was your and Undertaker’s process when it came to putting your matches together? Kurt Angle recently told us that when he worked with some of his key rivals half of the match would be structured, with the other half being improvised. What are your memories of working with Undertaker?

A lot of it is improvised, because you’ve got two guys who go out there and do it like that. I think that’s the best match actually, because you can gauge the audience, understand what they want, and go forward from there. A lot of it depends on what the venue is, because if it’s TV product, it’s a little different. I’d say that the chemistry between Undertaker and I, we gelled really well, I’d say that’s the most important thing, the fact that we were on the same wavelength regardless of how we were doing a match together.

undertakerkane

Many fans have speculated about a possible Sting/Undertaker match, but how would you feel about having a match and feud with Sting?

(Laughs) That would be a dream come true, because Sting is one of the guy who I looked up to when I was a youngster. The dude was the face of WCW, and before that the NWA, one of the most popular wrestlers in history. That would be pretty awesome, and I think that a Sting vs. Undertaker story would be awesome as well, because you would see the faces of two different companies from the same generation collide.

You’ve been in the WWE for 19 years, can you recall who you have traveled with over the years, and who some of your favorites were?

(Laughs) Yeah I’ve traveled with a lot of different guys. When I first started, I traveled with Barry Horowitz, many folks may not know who Barry is, but at the time they were doing a storyline where Barry finally won a match after not winning one in years. Then I traveled with Zeb Colter for a long time, I owe a lot of my career to him. He got me a break in Puerto Rico when he was booking, and when he came to WWE as Uncle Zeb, we traveled together. Traveled with Al Snow for awhile, from our days in Smoky Mountain Wrestling together as tag team partners. Then for awhile we had this crew, it was myself, D’lo Brown, Mark Henry, and The Rock, in a minivan, or some variation of those 4 guys. I traveled with Mick Foley for awhile, and I’ve also traveled a lot with Goldust.

danielbryankane

You’ve had some unforgettable character moments in WWE history like setting JR on fire, tombstoning Pete Rose, the wedding with Lita and the miscarriage with Snitsky, the Dr. Shelby segment, and many more. Out of your more comedic moments, which ones have been your favorites, and been the most fun?

The anger management stuff with Daniel Bryan, and also the wedding with Lita, although it wasn’t necessarily comedic, it sort of was, I think it was one of those immortal moments.

What were some of your favorite memories from working with Daniel Bryan, and did you know he was having injury issues when you wrestled him at Extreme Rules?

As a tag team, what was great about Daniel was the fact that we had such a contrast, we could do the Yes and No stuff, we could always do different stuff, and it worked. It was just so unique because you had two guys that were polar opposites and we would win matches by actually stepping on each other and doing that sort of stuff. It was really awesome, just some of the non-televised events, we would just go out there and have fun, and it was great.

I didn’t know the extent of his injury going into Extreme Rules, because he had sort of being dealing with that for awhile. He had some less invasive procedures to try to deal with it. It was just unfortunate, because that was the worst possible time that it could have happened for him, and I can’t wait for him to get back and be at full strength again.

Check out our recent interviews with Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Jeff Hardy, Randy Couture, Eric Bischoff, and Hornswoggle in our Sports section.

Also check out our interviews with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Brett Dalton, The Flash’s Rick Cosnett, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jonathan Frakes, and Arrow’s John Barrowman in our Film & TV section.

Interview: Derek Roy Talks Playing In A Band With Ryan Miller & How Predators Can Make Playoffs

Derek Roy, one of the newest additions to the Nashville Predators roster this season, brings years of experience to the overall younger Nashville roster. Roy is also a very talented musician, and in this exclusive interview with AlternativeNation.net, Roy discusses playing in a band former teammate Ryan Miller, what the Predators have to do to make the playoffs, the rising cost of hockey equipment, and more.  Also check out our recent interviews with Zach Parise, Ryan Miller, Brandon Dubinsky and Drew Stafford.

First, I wanted to get into some music discussion. Back when you were a member of the Buffalo Sabres, you would take part in Ryan Miller’s musically oriented “Catwalk for Charity”. I believe there is a cover of you and Miller performing Pearl Jam’s “Better Man”. Are there any memories from those events that really stand out?

The event was always great, particularly so for Ryan and the organization he had for his cousin (The Steadman Foundation), who had cancer. We all rallied around that as a team and worked as hard as we could to raise money for it. We actually did a little fashion show with music playing during it. Guys were playing instruments, singing, and it was a great moment for those who attended and for us to bond as a team.

We actually used to partake in a band and it would be myself, Ryan, Steve Lindgren, and Tom Askey. We would practice every week, do some gigs around the city, and play quite a bit of Pearl Jam and a wide variety of other musicians. It was always fun to get together as a band, and the rest of the team would come out to watch us play. It was great to do little things like that to bond as a team.

So you would jam with Miller outside of those charity events?

Well, besides the Rochester days, Ryan and I would play together, but not so much when we got to the NHL. I think it’s a lot easier when you’re in the AHL because you play mostly on weekends and we would pick a day a week to play, mostly on Tuesdays. We would put a setlist together and practice in the basement. It was fun for what it was.

millerderek

Derek Roy and former teammate Ryan Miller as members of the Buffalo Sabres

A lot of people either are indifferent towards or complain about the current state of rock music. In fact, KISS frontman, Gene Simmons, even recently went so far as to declare rock music “dead”. Are there any new rock acts that you like right now?

I’m a big a fan of Kings of Leon. I also enjoy a lot of classic rock, just a lot of Fleetwood Mac and things like that. I actually try to listen to everything when it comes to music. I’m not into one particular band or genre.

What kind of music do the Predators listen to the locker room and do any share your taste in music?

A lot of guys on the team listen to the music I like. However, at the same time, a lot of them also listen to house music as well. Eric Nystrom, for example, gets on his DJ app and puts together a nice mix for us every game, and it’s always fun with the different genres of music that the guys like. I’m personally not against anything musically and if I hear something, I’ll listen to it.

You have been on four NHL teams in your career, and have played alongside great locker room guys and leaders. Has there been a particular teammate or teammates that have helped shape you as a player and helped take you under their wing?

I learned a lot from Chris Taylor and Chris Drury. I played in the minors with Chris Taylor for the first twenty-something games during my first year, and then the whole lockout season. Chris would help me learn a lot: the powerplay, penalty kill, and all the things you need to learn to be successful. Chris Drury did a lot as well and was a great leader and mentor who taught me a lot, and helped me with faceoffs. Those were two guys that I really looked up to.

Following up on that, the Nashville Predators are a team that is filled with not only youth but with a nice veteran presence that could mentor the likes of a Seth Jones or Fliip Forsberg. Have any of the younger players come to you for any advice or tips?

Yeah, little tips, or if I see something that needs a little bit of tweaking or improvement in their game I’ll go up to them and let them know that if they do such and such a little differently, then their lives will be a whole lot easier, and our team better. We are trying to get better every day, so if I can give my advice to the young guys and help them out, then all the better.Dallas Stars v Nashville Predators

What has the transition been like for you, and how does Peter Laviolette’s style of coaching differ from your precious coaches?

A lot of movement in the offensive zone; a lot of plays where the defense are moving in and we are still trying to get the hang of it. We’re working hard in practice and we like to utilize everybody, the whole space of the ice, and keep it wide and enter with speed. Every day we are learning and trying to get better at little things.

You used to sponsor a minor league hockey team in Clarence Creek, Ontario known as the “Clarence Castors” and would supply the players with sticks.

Yeah, I’m from this little town outside of Ottawa, and we moved there when I was seven years old. I played on the novice team and played pee-wee there. It’s just a small little town with one red light, one flashing red light… it’s not even fully working! It’s fun to give back and go back to your hometown.

Well, I talked to Zach Parise the other day. We were talking about how expensive it’s getting to play hockey and he mentioned that you can’t play hockey, no matter what age, without seemingly spending over a grand on gear. Do you think the rising cost of hockey equipment is a problem?

Well, I know that my parents didn’t make a lot of money, and it was even tough for them to buy equipment when it was wooden sticks… now it’s two hundred dollar ones! So, yeah, it’s a little different now and things are definitely getting more expensive. Skates are around a grand alone, and these hockey parents have to sacrifice all they have to have their kid play hockey, to have them enjoy it and have fun. To me, that’s why hockey parents are the best parents in the world. I appreciate everything that those parents do. When you can make the NHL, then you can give back to communities like that, and it’s a great feeling.

What do you personally see for the Predators this season? While the season has just started, what do you think the Predators have to do to make it back into the playoffs this year?

We need more consistency. I don’t know what exactly happened here in the past, but moving forward, we need to be more consistent, and that means game in and game out and have that chance to win. We need to go into each game knowing that we are going to win, have that confidence and always bring our ‘A’ game. If we do that, then good things will happen.

Interview: Eric Bischoff Talks Vince Russo, John Cena Heel Turn, GFW & Stephanie McMahon

Last week AlternativeNation.net brought you Part 1 of of our interview with Eric Bischoff, where he discussed the narrative in the WWE Network’s new Monday Night War series, his plans for WCW had his deal to buy the company gone through in 2001, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall’s WCW contracts, being in talks with a wealthy Las Vegas venture capitalist just before going to TNA about launching a wrestling promotion, WCW and WWE’s announce teams, and why he hired Johnny Ace during WCW’s dying days.

Today we bring you Part 2, where Eric discusses Vince Russo’s opinions on analyzing wrestling ratings, how a John Cena heel turn would compare to Hulk Hogan’s, Global Force Wrestling, if Randy Savage really burned his bridge with the WWE, the similarities between Vince & Stephanie McMahon, David Arquette’s WCW title win, Ready to Rumble, Triple H’s leadership abilities, and much more. You can read Part 2 transcribed in its entirety below, and you can also listen to audio.  Also check out our recent interviews with Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Jeff Hardy, and Hornswoggle.

I’ve seen guys like Vince Russo and Glenn Gilbertti talk a lot about minute by minute ratings to wrestling shows, and they have said that the trends show that the talking segments draw better than the matches. Obviously that’s from them seeing it, I haven’t seen those numbers myself, outside of a few wrestling shows. Having at one time run the largest wrestling promotion in North America, how close did you follow the minute by minutes, and did you notice any trends when it came to matches and talking segments? Did it ever affect the push of a wrestler?

There’s a saying you may have heard many times before, it would be good to revisit it as we venture into this topic: numbers lie, and liars use numbers. I can look at ratings, whether they be minute by minute or quarter hour, and I can twist and turn them if I am talking to people who really don’t know what they’re doing, and who really can’t understand exactly what they’re hearing, or don’t really have access to the information, or don’t have the experience to counter argue it. I can take minute-by-minute numbers, and I can make them tell you any story I want you want to be told. It’s bullshit.

Now, you can look at quarter hour over an extended period of time, whether it’s a month, 3 months, or 6 months, and you can identify a trend. You can find some consistency, if everything else is consistent around it, and you can start to determine what might really be working, and what’s not working. You may be able to do that on a show to show basis, but anybody who takes the position that minute by minutes define a character, or define a format, or a define a story, either don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, or they have just enough knowledge to be dangerous, which is generally the case, or they’re full of shit, and they know it. It’s insane.  The other part of your question was, did it ever influence me? No. It was one single piece of information, that’s all it was, one single piece of information that may or not have relevance in the context of an analysis of what you’re doing. But anybody who would sit down and say, ‘Oh the minute by minutes say that Joe Blow is doing great, and the talking segments are better’ is full of crap.

I will also tell you that I’ve been involved in a number of research projects, where you watch focus groups that are very well identified, and chosen, and you have large cross sections of qualified audience. I’ve sat on the other side of a two way mirror where I can literally watch them watch a show, and I’ve done this a number of times with very sophisticated research companies by the way, that ever major network uses, and watched that wrestling audience turn a dial either to the right, or to the left, based on what they liked, and how they were told to react. ‘So if you like what you see turn it all the way to the right, if you love it. If you kind of like it, turn it about halfway up. If you hate it, turn it all the way to the left.’ You sit in front of a group of 50 people, who are real wrestling fans, not a bunch of guys who are a member of one particular website, who have one particular way of looking at things. But you have a cross section of people who are weekly viewers, who watch once a month, who watch a little of this, a little of that. Some have strong feelings one way or the other, you get a good sample audience, and you sit and watch them in a room, and you watch those dials all be filtered into one dial test. You can sit back and look at their reaction superimposed on the actual images in the video that they’re looking at. Every single time I’ve done that, long talking segments tanked, they freaking tanked. Now, is anybody out there, including Vince Russo or Glenn Gilbertti, or Eric Bischoff, smart enough to outsmart really sophisticated cross section research, done in real time with proprietary technology that allows you to see it in real time? My answer is no, it’s just not.

I’ve never seen research that has come back to suggest that talking segments outperform wrestling segments. They’re necessary, don’t get me wrong, they’re absolutely necessary, and sometimes I’ve done them, and they’ve run too long, but they don’t outperform wrestling segments when the action is good. If the action doesn’t have a story behind it, or the characters don’t have good characters, if there hasn’t been any build and there’s not a good format, if it’s not a three act structure to the show, if there’s no overextending arc that takes the viewers on a ride and makes them want to come along on the journey, then yeah, a wrestling segment can suck. But if you do everything else right, there’s no way a talking segment is going to outperform good wrestling, unless you don’t know how to produce good wrestling.

bischoffrussonew

You mentioned focus groups as being a big thing you focus on when it comes to gauging what’s working and what isn’t, but what about the crowd? To me that’s something that’s really interesting, because obviously WCW at times were running at Disney. WWE today deal with kind of an interesting thing, because the product has been so boring for so long that you’ve got certain fans who are just trying to get themselves over, then you’ve got internet fans, it’s kind of very fragmented now. How did you listen to crowd reactions, and how did that play a part for you?

It’s a big part of it, it is another very useful piece of information, very useful, much more than minute by minutes. (Eric pretends to gag), even after [talking about that] it makes me angry, it’s so stupid, but I’ll get off of that (laughs). It is a very, very important thing, it’s real time research, and it can be very difficult to analyze, because crowds are different. Let’s take the soundstage crowds and set them off to the side, because that’s a whole different conversation. Even at the peak of Nitro, and the Attitude Era, that followed Nitro, by the way, even at the peak of the time, 97, 98, 99 for the WWE. Chicago had a little different feel than Miami, LA was certainly a big difference from a New York City Madison Square Garden crowd, Philadelphia was different from Boston, Boston was different from Minneapolis. So the experience of having played in front of those crowds, and written and produced and performed for those audiences, and their unique kind of geographical preferences, would sometimes shape, to a small degree, how you presented the product. Because the crowd’s reaction to what you presented is such an integral part to the message that’s received by the viewer that home.

I always use this as an example, imagine Ali vs. Frazier, the Thrilla in Manilla. It was an unbelievable, spectacular event, but imagine if those two same guys fought in a local YMCA. (Laughs) It’s not the same thing, the spectacle is a part of the show, the audience is a part of the show. I think Elvis Presley said it best, the best part of any show is the audience, it’s not the guy on the stage, it’s the audience, and the way they react. That’s what validates what’s going on, on the stage, and in wrestling’s case, it’s what’s going on in the ring. Imagine the greatest wrestling match you’ve ever watched. I don’t know what that is for you, let’s just pick Hogan vs. Rock, the PPV that they did, and the phenomenal reaction that they got. Imagine those two guys wrestling in front of 300 people and half of them are drunk. The people sitting at home would go, ‘Huh? Why am I watching this? I feel like an idiot.’  Conversely, when you get a giant crowd that’s engaged, and emotional, you kind of feel like you’re at a party, with 15,000 of your friends, just having a blast, and whether it’s concisely or subconscienly, you’re sitting at home by yourself or with a friend drinking a beer saying, ‘Wow, I wish I was there.’ That’s the importance of a good crowd.

Where are we today? To be honest with you, I don’t watch a lot of WWE, I don’t watch a lot of television period, unless it’s something that my company is producing, or something I want to research, and see what’s working, I just don’t. I do check in from WWE from time to time, especially if I hear that something is going on with someone that I know personally, then I will. But it’s hard now, with the WWE audience, the ‘CM Punk’ crowd, and chanting his name. They want to be on the show, they want attention, and that does take away sometimes from the product. I feel bad for the talent when that happens, because the guys in the ring are the ones that suffer the most, I mean the business suffers the most, but the guys in the ring are the ones that are suffering on the front lines, and that makes me feel bad for them.

bischoffsmiling

You mentioned Hogan and Rock in particular, and talking about the crowds, with those two the fans were crazy, and the crowd was great, because of those guys. I think now, the wrestling product is just not drawing that crowd any more, so you’re really left with the people who will watch no matter what, and those people are miserable watching it (laughs), so unfortunately you’ve got what’s going on. Hopefully it changes though, and that’s something I want to ask you about. Obviously WWE still do fantastic when it comes to their big shows like WrestleMania, but in general the Raw audience has been down. What do you think it will take to make wrestling relevant again? Do you think it will just take making a more compelling show, and not really having to change the whole model of professional wrestling? Or do you think the whole format just completely have to change, in order for wrestling to go to its next boom period?

Look, if I had the answer to that, I’d be living in a really nice house on a beach in Maui somewhere. I’d be phoning it in, and making a lot of people really wealthy, so I don’t have an answer to that, but here’s the truth as I see it. Whether it’s wrestling, or Sons of Anarchy, or Game of Thrones, whatever it is, it is first and foremost great story. It’s great characters that people really relate to, and it’s a great presentation. So does wrestling have to completely change everything? No, you don’t completely change anything. It wasn’t long ago when everybody pounding what they thought was the final nail within the industry of scripted television. You couldn’t sell a sitcom, you couldn’t give the away, you couldn’t sell drama, not even an action series on scripted television, because reality was so popular, and that’s where the audience shifted. Everybody put their eggs in the reality basket, and guess what happened? Reality got saturated, and then all of a sudden great scripted dramas started to emerge, thanks to networks like HBO, Showtime, and shows like Breaking Bad.

15 years ago when scripted television was on its last legs, and writers in Hollywood were looking for buildings to jump off of, nobody would have thought that that ever would have ever happened. But what happened was out of necessity, and trying to carve out a niche and survive, somebody that was smart started creating really great story, with really compelling characters. And it wasn’t a new formula, that formula has existed since Shakespeare, but everyone got away from it, and everyone got away from it long enough that when it came back, all of a sudden it felt like it was new again. I think something like that will probably happen with wrestling. I don’t know when, where or how, I wish I did, but at its core wrestling has always been great story, great characters. You’ve got to put that in context, what Dick Van Dyke was back in the day is what’s different from what Modern Family is now. But within the context that we’re speaking right now, it’s been great story, great characters, and a great presentation, and wrestling will find its way again.

But it’s not until producers, and writers, and decision makers, and people who have the vision and ability to manifest their vision, commit to great story. You have to create anticipation within that story, if the element of anticipation is not there; it is not going to work. You have to get the audience to want to look forward to the outcome of that story. If they don’t look forward to the outcome of it, then you’re wasting your time. So you’ve got to check the story box, you’ve got to commit to the story; you’ve got to check the anticipation box. Any story has to be real enough, and believable enough, that whether you’re watching wrestling, or a feature film with a $200 million budget, or you’re watching a porn, it has to have enough of a story that the audience can suspend their disbelief and enjoy it. If you can’t engage the audience because what they’re seeing is kind of believable within the context of their expectations, they’re not going to buy it.

Imagine if you went to a $100 million budget action film, and right during the most intense scene of the entire movie, you saw a boom mic dropped down into the shot. You’d go fuck, he just took me out of the moment! That’s unfortunately what happens so much in wrestling today, not enough commitment is being made to make those stories believable, which enables suspension of disbelief. So you’ve got story, anticipation, reality, you need surprise. You need to keep the audience off balance. When the formula becomes so saturated within the viewer, that they know what’s going to happen, you lose them.

You have to keep the audience off balance, and you have to do that within the context of everything else. But you need surprise, from all of the research that I did right before Nitro, that’s when my perspective really crystallized for me, there was one common denominator in that research when it came to people who identified themselves as wrestling fans. The one thing common denominator was that they really enjoyed about wrestling over other programming, was that you never knew what was going to happen. That’s one of the things that really compelled me to do things that had never been done before when I launched Nitro: Lex Luger, giving finishes away, going live, going backstage, having action take place on the backstage lot. All of those things had never been done before, and by doing them I created that feeling, ‘Holy crap, I’ve got to watch that show to see what’s going to happen.’ Then the last one obviously is action. It’s a wrestling show, you’ve got to have great action. Nowhere in that 5 element formula, story, anticipation, reality, surprise, and action, is there talking segments. That’s just a thread that kind of ties all 5 of the other elements together, but when you make that the kind of format heavy element of your show, you’re way off the mark.

johncena

Speaking of unpredictability, you turned Hulk Hogan heel, at a time where he appeared to be getting a bit stale. Right now John Cena’s at a position where a lot of fans that are clamoring to see him turn heel. The reports that come out are that WWE are hesitant because they think it might hurt merchandise sales, and things like that. You turned Hogan heel, your top star, how did that affect merchandise sales? Like how were nWo shirt sales compared to Hulkamania shirt sales? I’m just curious from your perspective, with Hogan.

You’ve got to put everything in the proper context, there were no nWo shirts for sale before I turned Hulk Hogan heel. One disadvantage I had when I launched Nitro, compared to WWE, is that they had very sophisticated licensing and merchandise, WCW didn’t have any. This is one of the reasons I had to guarantee contracts, because if I didn’t guarantee how much money somebody was going to make, there was no chance in hell they were going to make enough to live off of if it was in part based on licensing and merchandising that didn’t exist. It is it is, and was what it was, based on what I inherited, when I inherited it. But it was also an advantage, because I didn’t have to risk the same type of financial impact that for example WWE might be analyzing, ‘Okay, what happens if John Cena merchandise goes away?’ I didn’t have that challenge, because I wasn’t making any anyways. I had nowhere to go but up.

How much involvement did you have in the development of Ready to Rumble? I actually love the movie, some people don’t, but I think the characters come from your home town in the movie, so how much involvement did you have?

Initially I sold the idea. Initially I was the person that [talked with Warner Brothers executives], there were a couple of writers I sat with and went through the script with, and developed it, in very early stages. I kind of put the deal together with Warner Brothers and Turner, Time Warner at the time. So I was pretty involved in the very beginning of it, and was in fact asked to play myself.

The Titus Sinclair character?

[Joe Pantoliano], he went onto become an actor on the Sopranos, and had a really great career. I was originally asked to play myself in that role, and had every intention of doing so, but that’s when the transition happened with me, and I left WCW and it obviously went in a different direction, but initially I had quite a bit of involvement, but that only lasted a couple of months.

arquettenew

Speaking of Ready to Rumble, I know you’ve talked about David Arquette winning the belt, but I’m not sure if you’ve touched on this. It’s been said that it was Tony Schiavone’s idea for Arquette to win the belt. Do you recall that at all, that it was Tony’s idea?

For Arquette to win the belt?

Yeah, for Arquette to win the belt.

No, this is the first time I’ve ever heard that.

That’s what Russo says, that Schiavone suggested the idea, then Russo ran with it.

Well, isn’t that interesting, that he doesn’t want to take responsibility for it (laughs), so he passes the heat to Schiavone. That’s just downright hilarious. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that, that’s great.

Whose idea was it to bring in Elisabeth to WCW, and how did Randy Savage feel about it at the time?

I can’t tell you how Randy felt, I can try and remember Randy’s reaction from my point of view, and it was positive. I think Randy and Liz, if I recall correctly, had clearly gotten over their personal issues, and gotten on with their lives. But Randy still had a deep affection for her, in a close friend kind of way, so there was no jilted husband wife animosity resent or jealousy, there was none of that. If anything, Randy was probably even moreso protective of her, like a big brother would be, like a good friend would be. As far as whose idea it was, I believe it was Hulk’s, to be honest with you.

hogansavagewcw

Speaking of that, what was the Hogan and Savage friendship like during WCW? Was it a keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer type thing? Or had they mended fences at the time?

Yeah, it was Hulk who said man, you’ve got reach out to Randy, Randy’s really miserable, he doesn’t want to just be an announcer, he’s got this huge Slim Jim deal that will come with him. It was Hulk, and I remember taking the phone call, I was changing planes in Detroit.  Some things I just remember vividly, that was one of them. He called me and said you’ve got to talk to Randy, kind of laid out the situation, I got his phone number and the rest his history. Once Randy got there, they were pretty tight.

They had their issues in the past, quite clearly, but they would often joke about it. It wasn’t like it was simmering on the edge, getting ready to boil over at any moment, that was not the case whatsoever. Now Randy being Randy, and I loved working with Randy and I miss him dearly, but Randy was an intense, wound up, super tight kind of guy. He would look for the hidden meaning, or the underlying intention about anything. If you said good morning to him, he would wonder what you were really thinking. It was just the nature of who he was. So there were times that the competitiveness reemerged, but for the most part it was a pretty friendly relationship.

Did you get any indication from Randy that he had burned his bridge with the WWF? Especially with the Slim Jim deal that you mentioned, because obviously he never went back there. Were you privy to any information about this?

No, I think the general attitudes, and feelings – I don’t want to suggest I know Vince McMahon, because I don’t. I’ve met him, I’ve worked with him, I’ve had some good conversations with him. I have what I think is a pretty good perspective and read on him, but by no means do I really know him or understand him completely, but I think at his core, Vince is a very loyal person. He understands the nature of the business, and the mentality in it. There have been so many times where people who have left, or left under good circumstances, or in many cases have done things that were pretty shitty to him, he’s brought them back, and given them a soft place to land. But, you don’t know that, until you land there (laughs), you don’t know until you come back. For the most part, I think the feeling was that once you leave Vince, and go to the competitor, that you had burned a bridge. I think in retrospect that’s not true, clearly, but at the time I think Randy’s perception was that it was over, it was done, and Vince would never bring him back.

Speaking of Randy’s brother, Lanny Poffo, he talks a lot about WCW paying him six figures a year, not doing any matches, I’m sure you know the whole story. What’s your perspective on the Lanny Poffo contract, did Randy ask you to put him under contract?

Yes. Randy took less money in a renegotiation, and made sure that Lanny got it, and that’s the truth.

What are your memories of working with Kevin Dunn?

I didn’t really interface too much with Kevin Dunn when I came to work. Occasionally, if there was something was was complex that needed quite a bit of rehearsal, and discussion, in a preproduction kind of way, I would interface with him as part of a group. I had no one on one with him, really the only conversations we had beyond rehearsal or preproduction notes were at the end of the show when the talent and some of the key production people would get together at the bar, Kevin would be there.

ericsteph

What are your memories of the segment on Smackdown where you kissed Stephanie McMahon?

(Laughs) That one I kind of remember because people keep sending it to me and going, “Wow, what were you thinking!?” So it’s kind of hard to forget it. My sense was that it was very unplanned, that it was kind of a spontaneous idea. It was weird, no doubt about it. That was not really part of my character, being a womanizer to that extent, or someone that would do that. I was always kind of a manipulative, smarmy, scamming, scheming, power hungry Ken doll. I was never the guy that was out trying to get laid (laughs), as a character. So it was kind of weird from that perspective. It was even more weird to have Vince McMahon directing the scene (laughs), that really made me feel awkward.

I came to learn really early in working with Vince, that he would never ask you to do something that he wouldn’t do himself. I really believe that to this day, and I believed it early on, and it became very apparent to me. Having watched some of the shit that he did, positions he put himself in as a character, things he let people do to him, I knew going in going in that he was a guy who was willing to put his money where his mouth was, so to speak, and he would never ask you to do something he wouldn’t do himself. Once you realize that, then you kind of cut through all the nonsense, ‘He’s trying to make me look bad.’ That stuff never occurred to me, to very honest.

The thing with Stephanie was a little too close to home, it was awkward, but it probably should have been. But once we got through the scene, and we were in the backstage area, it was fed live to the crowd, and I could hear the reaction of the crowd. I said, ‘Damn, this could be awesome. There’s some meat on this bone, there’s some story here. We could have fun with this.’ Just as quickly as it happened, it got dropped, and that was the end of it. I thought, okay, but, it was odd.

Did you see qualities in Triple H and Stephanie that made you think they could lead WWE one day? Because Kurt Angle told me a couple of weeks ago that Vince told him that Triple H is in charge now, obviously a blanket statement though.

When I was there, clearly Triple H had Vince’s ear to a degree, and I would be careful even to this day to quantify just how much of Vince’s ear anybody has, at any given moment, because Vince is a very strong, opinionated, experienced person, who has a great feel for things. He has a long track record of success, and failure, all of which he’s learned from. So I think he’s willing to listen to key people around him, I’m sure Triple H is one of them, as is as Stephanie, and I know Kevin Dunn is, and there may be others that I don’t even know about.

My impression is, this is obviously remote, I haven’t been there in a long time, does Vince has confidence in Triple H? Clearly, we’ve seen manifestations of that in the last couple of years, and Triple H is living up to Vince’s expectations I’m sure in many regards. But when I was there, as far as being in on the inner circle, Triple H was more talent than he was Vince’s right hand man. Vince was very, and probably still is, demanding of Stephanie. I think there’s one thing that I saw in Stephanie that made me think that she probably at some point could be Mini Me (laughs), so to speak, and I don’t mean that derisively, but she has a lot of Vince’s same personality traits and characteristics.

She’s super intense, she has an incredible work ethic, she is very strong willed, and she knows what she wants, and what she likes. I saw that when I watched her produce segments, I saw that when I watched her produce my segments. I watched that when I had her rehearse me over and over and over again, until she heard an inflection exactly the way she wanted to hear that inflection. That part of her personality is very similar to Vince’s, it was very very particular, so I saw indications of that early on, but I didn’t have an occasion to see that same thing out of Triple H, because he was probably 75% talent, and 25% in the circle so to speak.

jeffjarrett

What are your thoughts on Global Force Wrestling, and the news coming out that they are going to air a New Japan Pro Wrestling show on PPV in January?

I wish [Jeff Jarrett] the best, and I say that honestly and supportively. I hope that it works, I think people that are in the wrestling industry now, and people who wish they could break into the wrestling industry, and a lot of people that are watching wrestling, all hope that there is something more out there. So from that perspective of course, I want it to succeed. But the truth is I don’t know enough about New Japan Pro Wrestling any more, the New Japan Pro Wrestling that I used to work with when we were putting 80,000 people in the Tokyo Dome, is an entirely different company than it is today. So I just don’t know, the wrestling business in Japan is completely different today than it was back when I was heavily involved. So I just don’t know enough about it quite frankly to have any feel on how successful, or not successful, it could possibly be, but I have my fingers crossed, and I’ll be cheering him on.

What’s coming up with Bischoff Hervey Entertainment, do you think you could do another wrestling themed show again, like the celebrity wrestling one you did with Hulk?  Also what other projects does Bischoff Hervey Entertainment have coming up?

Unfortunately the television industry often requires complete confidentiality when you’re in the middle of producing a show, because the network, the ones who write the check, they want to break the news, and the promotion, on their time frame, and certainly not on Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey’s. We are currently working on a show right now for a major outlet that will probably start seeing in a couple of weeks, that we’re really, really excited about. We’ve had three seasons of Devil’s Ride with Discovery, it’s been very successful, and we’re looking forward hopefully to a 4th season on that. We’ve probably got 6 different shows right now in various stages of development, with various networks, so we’ve really got a lot going on, in regards to television.

Bischoff Hervey Entertainment also owns a significant portion of a company called MX Gaming. MX Gaming is a celebrity branded online waged, and social, slot machine, and gaming company, where we take established celebrity brands, for example we’ve got: David Hasselhoff, Hulk Hogan, Dennis Rodman, James Dean, Joe Frazier, Chuck Frazier, Missing In Action. We’ve got a brand new graphic novel project that we’ve acquired the right to called Hell Paso. All of those are being developed and distributed as waged casino style games over in Europe, around the world, outside of the United States where it’s not legal. We’re also converting the same titles to social gaming platforms, and we’ll be making that formal announcement really soon once the site is up and 1000% functional, and that’s a really big step for us. As far as doing another wrestling show, contractually neither Jason nor I can get involved in any wrestling related project, but that window is coming to a close in the next 4, 5, to 6 months. So once that contractual kind of limitation is no longer there, you never know, never say never.

Interview: Zach Parise Bashes NHL Expansion, Talks Upcoming Season And Marty Brodeur

The Minnesota Wild begin their 2015 season tonight and at the helm of it all is alternative captain, Zach Parise. In this exclusive interview with AlternativeNation.net, Parise discusses the possibly of former teammate Martin Brodeur joining the Wild, Minnesota potentially getting an outdoor game, and what can be done to grow the game of hockey, among other topics. Also check out our recent interviews with Ryan Miller, Brandon Dubinsky and Drew Stafford.

What do you normally listen to while getting ready for a game?

It varies depending on how I’m playing or what kind of mood I’m in. Usually I’ll have a few country songs and a few hard rock songs; nothing too crazy. Sometimes I’ll listen to rap, but it all depends on how the season is going, really.

Who on the Wild has the most questionable taste in music?

Marco Scandella listens to some weird stuff, I’m not even sure what you can even call it, but it’s just weird. You also have Kyle Brodziak, who is completely stuck in the 80’s and listens to a lot of 80’s rock. It’s pretty painful.

Do you have any favorite concert memories?

Oh, a couple. George Strait is one. I saw Kayne West and Jay-Z a couple years ago when I was in New Jersey. It was during the “Watch the Throne” tour and that was unbelievable. I bounce around when it comes to music. I would also love to go and see Garth Brooks.

In my opinion, you can make a comparison with hockey games and rock shows. The intensity, the high energy, the interaction with the crowd. With all of that said, what “barns” (arenas) in the NHL would you say puts on the best presentation and the best tunes?

I always feel like Montreal is up to date on everything they put on and are always good. I was impressed by Colorado last year and think they did a great job during the playoffs with their pre and in-game presentation.

The Minnesota Wild went through a number of changes throughout the offseason, including the big free agent signing of Thomas Vanek. Which of the new additions are you more excited to play with this season?

Vanek is going to be an important part of the Wild powerplay and our top two lines. Thomas is a proven goal scorer, a good playmaker, and I think he will help us out a lot. I actually think Ryan Carter is going to be a huge pick up for us. Very underrated guy. I played with him for a couple of years in New Jersey and he’s the type of guy that you need on your roster. A penalty killer, a hard worker and competitive. I think he’s going to fit in really well on our team.

Which rookies that you have played with, or have seen play during training camp and the preseason have impressed you the most?

To me, it’s no question that it would be [Christian] Folin and [Matt] Dumba. I think everyone is excited to see those guys. We got to see a little bit of Dumba last year, but I think a year of development and seeing what it’s like to be in the league has done wonders for him. You can tell he has more confidence, especially with the way he played in the pre-season. I think everyone is excited to see both of those guys develop.

The Wild are in one of the toughest divisions within the NHL. This is a team that many pundits, fans and others feel can make a legitimate run towards the Stanley Cup this season. How are you going to approach this season, and when you assess this Wild team as a whole, do you think the potential is there to make a lengthy run and bring Minnesota its first Stanley Cup?

I mean, internally we do and I would hope that every team feels that at this time at year that they do. That being said, it’s easy to make predictions here on paper and we know that it won’t be easy. It’s tough. You can’t take a game off in our division with how tough the Western Conference is and you can lose to anybody. We are going to have to be sharp this year.

Parise2

Speaking of Stanley Cups, you have prior experience, captaining the New Jersey Devils to their fifth Stanley Cup Final in 2012. Do you feel that experience has changed you as a player and in what way?

I believe that whole playoff run, not necessarily the finals but to go through all of those rounds that year was pretty incredible. We played against our bitter rival in the conference final and beat them in overtime to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but to be a part of one of the last two teams remaining was surreal. Once it’s over, you pray and hope that you get back to that stage again and get another chance. It goes by quick and you never know if you’ll ever get there again.

There are a lot of rumors churning about Marty Brodeur being a fit in Minnesota. What would it be like to play in front of your former teammate again, and could you see him potentially fitting on the Wild?

It would certainly be cool for everyone around here to see the best goaltender that ever played join your team and have what I would imagine be his final season. However, it’s going to be hard to shake the image of Brodeur being a New Jersey Devil, and it will be hard to see him on any other team. That being said, I hope our goaltenders stay healthy and we don’t have to cross that bridge.

Minnesota is one of the few hot-bed hockey markets to not get an NHL outdoor game. Do you think the Wild will be playing in a Stadium Series or Winter Classic game in the near future? If so, who would you like to play?

Honestly, to me, outside of Canada, what better spot could there be to have an outdoor game then in Minnesota? I’m shocked that we haven’t had one as of now. As far as the opponent, even though I’m sure it wouldn’t pull the best ratings, I would like to see us against Winnipeg. I think Chicago and Dallas make a lot of sense as well. I just hope we get the chance to have one.

Parise4

In a recent interview you criticized the “dump and chase” style of hockey. However, when you were in New Jersey, that was the main style of hockey that Coach Peter DeBoer taught, and still does. Were you, at any time, uncomfortable playing that style of hockey given your recent comments on it?

You’re never uncomfortable, it isn’t ideal and I will always stand by that it is so hard to get the puck. However, there is a time and place for everything. When you have a good gap out there, then you have to dump and chase. You do what you can to get the puck in behind the other team’s defense and ideally you are carrying it in. Sometimes though, you have to dump and chase and you don’t have a choice. The alternative is turning the puck over, and you never want to get into a turnover contest. You get more opportunities carrying the puck in and off of clean entries.

Your contributions to USA hockey are unmatched. What can you recommend to grow the sport further?

Hockey equipment should be cheaper. I think that’s the biggest thing. It’s too expensive to buy gear and play. The biggest fear, in my opinion, is people not being able to play or continuing playing. I get it, you have kids that see the pros play with certain types of sticks and other equipment, and that’s what they want. I was the same way when I was growing up, but the difference is that when I was growing up, those sticks were around $30 and now they’re around $250. You can’t play hockey without seemingly spending over a grand on gear, and it’s terrible.

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 8 - United States v Russia

 

Zach Parise as a member of the United States Olympic team.

Seattle is a Mecca for many music fans – however Seattle’s name has been mentioned time and time again regarding the NHL potentially bringing a team there. The same goes with other cities, such as Quebec City and Las Vegas. What are your thoughts on potential expansion in the NHL?

I don’t like the idea of expansion and I think it waters down the league. I don’t like the idea at all. If it were to happen, I think most players wouldn’t mind those spots.

It’s been proposed, and recently rejected by the NHL, that jerseys should contain corporate logos. League officials estimated that this action would have brought in about 120 million dollars in league revenue. What are your thoughts on corporate logos on jerseys?

To me, as long as it isn’t overly “busy” and it doesn’t take attention from the logo on the front, then I’m all for it. Throw a small one on your shoulders and it would be totally fine. However, as a player, this doesn’t really affect me one way or the other!

Interview: Eric Bischoff Talks Ted Turner, WCW 2001, Nash and Hall’s Contracts & WWE Network

Eric Bischoff is one of the most controversial figures in the history of professional wrestling, and like his book title says, controversy creates cash. Bischoff found massive success as the President of World Championship Wrestling in the 1990’s, with WCW’s flagship show Nitro beating the then WWF’s Monday Night Raw in the ratings for 84 consecutive weeks before eventually tumbling in the ratings in 1999. After WCW’s sale to Vince McMahon in 2001, Bischoff later worked for WWE as an on air talent, and for TNA Wrestling as Impact Wrestling‘s executive producer from 2010 to 2013. In Part 1 of this exclusive AlternativeNation.net Sports and Wrestling section interview, Bischoff discusses a variety of topics that he hasn’t often discussed in previous interviews. He discusses his criticism of the narrative in the WWE Network’s new Monday Night War series, his plans for WCW had his deal to buy the company gone through in 2001, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall’s WCW contracts, being in talks with a wealthy Las Vegas venture capitalist just before going to TNA about launching a wrestling promotion, WCW and WWE’s announce teams, and why he hired Johnny Ace during WCW’s dying days.  Audio of the interview is available within the article.

CLICK HERE to read Part 2, which focuses on pro wrestling TV ratings, focus groups, Vince Russo, Randy Savage, and Eric’s thoughts on a possible John Cena heel turn and if its comparable to Hulk Hogan’s 1996 heel turn. Also check out our recent interviews with Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Jeff Hardy, and Hornswoggle.

bischoffnashhall

First off I wanted to talk about the new Monday Night War series on the WWE Network. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but in case you haven’t, I’ll give you a CliffNotes version of it. They’ve really been painting WCW as the big bad villains even moreso than the past, with the narrative being that guys like Nash and Hall had to leave their beloved WWF for big bad Eric Bischoff who offered them a lot of money. There was also a part that was interesting where Vince McMahon kind of responded to an old quote from you, and said that to him, his business is personal. What do you think about this narrative that WWE is increasingly pushing on this documentary series?

Well it’s really hard for me to honestly respond without having personally seen it, but based on what you just described to me, it’s consistent with the false narrative that WWE has been engaged in, as well as a lot of the peripheral media that covers professional wrestling and entertainment. There are certain things that are based in fact, that no matter how hard WWE can, and try to change some of those facts, because they do have the platform re-educate those who either weren’t around paying close attention, or don’t see the other side of the true story to make up their own opinions, or own minds.

But here are a couple of facts that kind of shape that false narrative to the foundation. Number 1: Hall and Nash weren’t forced to leave their beloved WWE for anything, they chose to. They chose to leave WWE and come to WCW, not for the money, because the truth and the facts are that I probably didn’t offer them any more money than they were already making. I couldn’t really speak to this, because I wasn’t doing their taxes at the time, but I’m pretty sure that they were probably making more money. But the real reason I remember, having firsthand discussions with both of them, they didn’t leave WWE for the money. They left WWE to come to WCW for the lifestyle, because we had a maximum of 180 days in their contracts.

The WWE was running them much more than that, then you add travel on top of the actual days they were performing, they were running 300 plus days a year. That’s a fairly well documented schedule that I think many people that were in WWE at the time, if not now, would support. WCW wasn’t running that heavy of a schedule. We hadn’t built up our international business model, or our arena revenue model, enough to support that kind of schedule. Did they get a guaranteed amount of money that was probably close to equivalent, possibly slightly more than they were making at WWE? Yeah. But the narrative that they were forced to leave because I was offering them this huge vast amount of money is complete and utter nonsense. It’s just not true.

You mentioned that you didn’t offer them that much more than they were making in the WWF at the time. I’ve seen Kevin or Scott mention that they had some sort of contract where their pay got increased based on if other guys came in and had bigger contracts than them. Is that true or not?

That’s not true. Their contracts were their contracts, they didn’t automatically get bumped up prior to the termination of the contract, and the renegotiation of a new one. There was no language in their contract that guaranteed that they would be in the top 3 or top 5, or number 2, position in terms of their fees. It’s just not true.

When was the last time you remember talking to Ted Turner, or the last few conversations you had? Do you recall what they were about, and how Ted felt about WCW in 2000 and 2001?

Well I didn’t talk to Ted during that period of time. My first, and really only meaningful conversation with Ted, outside of company meetings and occasional Christmas party, and a hello, or bumping into an elevator or that type of thing, but my only real meaningful conversation with Ted occurred the day that Nitro was born. It’s been well documented, I didn’t even know that was going to happen when it happened, it wasn’t the intention of the meeting I was in with him, it was just spontaneous. After that, the only conversations I really had with Ted, there were only a handful of them, were congratulatory calls from him, and occasionally Scott Sassa or Brad Siegel was on the phone, and sometimes they would call me on Tuesday afternoon when the ratings would came in. But they were very short, very high spirited, and congratulatory type conversations. They weren’t conversations about the status of WCW, or plans, or any of that kind of thing.

Did you know at all what Ted’s perception of wrestling was around then, or if he ever later considered getting back into the business later? Because I forget who it was, it was maybe Larry Zbyszko, or somebody else from that generation, saying that Ted had called up [Jim Barnett] asking for advice about if wrestling was worth getting back into, and he had said, ‘No, Vince owns it now.’ So had you ever heard about Ted’s perception of WCW at the time, and wrestling after WCW, or no?

No. So many people, and wrestlers by nature, or even if they’re not wrestlers, but they live on the periphery of the wrestling business because they have dirt sites or they’re former wrestlers who are somehow trying to remain relevant, concoct these stories. I don’t know if it’s to try and get themselves over, and make themselves feel relevant, because that happens a lot, almost daily, or if it’s because these people live in an alternative universe and really believe what they’re saying. But look, when AOL Time Warner pulled the rug out from under Ted Turner, by the way, this is well documented in multiple long form interviews that Ted Turner has done on PBS and CBS, and a number of other long form interviews that he’s done in the past, but once the AOL Time Warner merger revealed itself for what it really was around 2000 or 2001, Ted Turner was effectively forced out of his own company. He didn’t have a network, he was no longer involved with the television business.

At about that same time, he made the decision, based on the interviews I’ve seen him do, and the books that I’ve read, and conversations that I’ve had quite frankly with people that were close to Ted, and have spoken to Ted himself, Ted was fed up with it, he was done with it. He dedicated himself to his charitable efforts, creating a merging buffalo business, and all of the philanthropy he was involved in, and still is. So the idea that Ted Turner would reach out to anybody and investigate the possibility of getting into the wrestling business is so absurd and bullshit, that I can’t believe anybody with any kind of credibility would throw that out there. It’s ridiculous.

hoganbischoffnew

Speaking of kind of wild stories, this is something I was told a few years ago. You can discount it if none of it’s true, from your point of view. A few years ago I spoke to Jerry Jarrett, and he kind of told me a vague story about you trying to launch a wrestling promotion in 2008 or 2009, supposedly Hulk Hogan was going to be involved. There was an LA investor who owned a soundstage on the Palms Casino property, and he was considering investing the 8 million projected start up cost. Jerry then claimed that he heard about it, and attempted to negotiate a spot for himself to run the company, instead of you, keep in mind this was all very vague, and then the whole thing fell through. Do you have any recollection of this, or trying to get a promotion going around this time period?

(Chuckles) Jerry Jarrett, what you just described to me, did you say you had that conversation with Jerry Jarrett?

Yeah, this was on Facebook with Jerry about 4 years ago. I always thought it was interesting, so I thought I would bring it up to you.

That just characterized the conversation, and framed and contextualized, the conversation we just had, about people who say this stuff, making their own brains believe it, and then engaging people in it. This the most absurd thing I’ve, well, the second most absurd thing I’ve heard in a couple of days now (Brett laughs). Look, have Hulk and I been approached by people in the past about starting a wrestling company? Of course we have, not recently by the way. But back in 2008 or 2009, yeah we actually did have a conversation with someone. A very well known and respected man, he has since passed away unfortunately, his name was Paul Henry. Paul Henry was not in Los Angeles, but in Las Vegas, which should kind of give you some indication of the validity of Jerry Jarrett’s story.

Jerry did mention that he owned a hotel, or actually a soundstage at a hotel.

He did not own a hotel.

A sound stage at a hotel, not a hotel.

He didn’t own a soundstage.

Then that part isn’t true I guess (laughs).

He made his money in the stock market, he was a venture capitalist, and he was a highly placed senior person in the Democratic Party, and actually worked for Harry Reid for a period of time. So nothing Jerry Jarrett told you from the very beginning of his bullshit, was true. (Chuckles) It’s silly. But the conversation, and discussions, and there were multiple ones, we had multiple meetings, and they took place over a period of months. The Palms hotel was never a topic of conversation. We determined that it wasn’t something that Hulk and I, or the group of people we were talking to, none of us felt good about the prospects of the effort. So we decided that it was just something that was fun to restore, and interesting, but the opportunity just wasn’t worth the risk, at any level. Jerry Jarrett had nothing to do with it. This is actually the first I’ve ever heard of that.

Well then it’s good to get your side of the story then, rather than just Jerry’s.

My side of the story are the facts, and I gave you some specifics as far as who was involved, and what was involved, and you can do your own research. Like I said, Paul Henry has since passed away, he did a couple of years ago, at a very early age. But a little bit of research will show you that nothing Jerry told you was true.

wcwbigbang

I think the fact that you gave me a name means something, so yeah. But moving prior to that back to WCW around 2001, I know you touched on this a bit in your shoot interview, but back in 2001 when you thought you were getting WCW with Fusient, what was your 5 year vision for WCW? Where did you see it going long term, aesthetic wise with the product, and the top stars?

I don’t know if there was a 5 year aesthetic plan, but there was a 5 year business plan. Clearly as part of the deal with Fusient Entertainment, we had distribution for the product on TBS, so we knew where we were going to be. Aesthetically, my opinions of what a wrestling show should look like, really haven’t varied much (chuckles) since 1994. It’s an event, and to feel like a big event it needs to be a quality first class production, much like the WWE is now, and like TNT was during its hey day during Nitro. That’s about as much as I can speak to in terms of what I might have been thinking about the aesthetics of the show. I would have never considered turning it into something smaller, or Throwback Thursday type of 1960’s or 70’s TV studio show, that would have never been in my thoughts or plans.

In terms the business plan, we had our work cut out for us. We knew that the first year or two would be a lot of re-branding, that’s why the original intention was to shut it down, and make it go away, and have a relaunch, to give people time to forget all of the horrible crap, or at least hope they would forget, all of the horrible crap they had been watching since 1999. Because it was a very very different product in 1999, 2000, and 2001 than it was in 1997 and 1998, and we knew that. We had to rebrand it. So going to the theory or philosophy that absence makes the heart grow fonder, we wanted to make it go away. We wanted people to want it to come back, and to build anticipation for it, and relaunch it much like a new TV serious would. So the original plan was for it to go away, the original plan would have been to really retool the roster, because clearly by that time it had become bloated. It had become populated with a lot of people who really shouldn’t have been on the roster in the first place. That’s not a disparaging comment about the talent or their efforts, but it needed a laser focused restructuring to get us to where we needed to be. So those were all things that we were well aware of when we engaged in the initial efforts to buy WCW.

johnnyace

What were your thoughts on Johnny Ace [John Laurinaitis]’s booking in WCW during its last few months? Were there big plans for him in the continuation of WCW, and later what did you think about his work in WWE?

Well interestingly enough, and I don’t know that too many people have ever covered this really, but I’m the one who brought Johnny Ace in, when we were still somewhat in control. I brought Johnny in, I had never worked with him personally, but he had a very good reputation as a finish guy. I had always throughout the years admired the, what I call the ‘three act structure,’ or ‘three dimensional finishes,’ that you would see in WWE. Our finishes at WCW, just culturally because of the pool of talent we were working with, and their experiences, it’s not a derisive remark, but people are a product of their own experiences, and there were very few people on my creative team who ever had really had any great experience with what I call a three act structured finish: a beginning, a middle, and an end. So when you see a finish it’s, ‘Oh man, this is it, oh no it’s not the end! But this is the end.’ Then of course the end is something completely different than either of the two previous acts in that finish would have led you to believe. They were complex, but they were simple, they were part of an overall story.

I have always, and still do, respect WWE’s ability to create that kind of drama at the very end of a match, because I think that’s the key to great story telling. I had heard that Johnny, because of his experience in Japan, and working with the Japanese, and from my own previous experience, I knew that the Japanese were also very good at three act finished, and the structure of a good three act finish. I did some exploring and had some conversations with people, and Johnny’s name just kept coming up. So I originally brought Johnny over to take over that role in WCW, not to be the head booker, not to be a talent relations guy, none of that. I brought him in really to be, quite honestly, my Pat Patterson, because that’s really what Pat’s great at, and is phenomenal at, he’s one of the best I’ve ever been around. So knowing I wasn’t going to get Pat Patterson (laughs), I thought okay, I’m going to bring Johnny in. That’s why I brought him in.

As far as what he did after I left, and what he did when I wasn’t there, I don’t have an opinion of it, because I don’t have the context of his real involvement. But I’ve always liked Johnny, and still do, we still stay in remote contact. We don’t see each other, but we still reach out to each other, and say hello to each other via text occasionally, and keep threatening to get together and have a beer, but it never works out scheduling wise. But I consider Johnny a good friend, and a very talented guy, and he went to WWE like anybody else does. Especially in the role he was in, it’s a freaking meat grinder. I don’t know how anybody can do it quite honestly.

miketenayangry

WCW had numerous announcers over the years including Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Mongo, you, Larry Zbyszko, and later Scott Hudson and Mark Madden. How did you choose how to mix and match the announcers, especially on Nitro and Thunder, and how much direction did you give the announcers during the shows?

It depends on the announcer; they all required a different amount of handling. I brought Mike Tenay into the business, quite possibly. He was a bookie from Las Vegas who just happened to be a big wrestling fan, he was an uber fan who researched and studied not only what was going on in the United States, but what was going on in Mexico. He was very current and up to date, and knowledgeable, about the product over in Japan as well. So when I started adding that international element, when I brought the Luchadores into WCW Nitro, which had been the first time it had ever been done on that grand of a platform, and that consistently throughout a broadcast year, and as often with as many of them as I did it, but I knew it would take somebody who really understood the culture, who understood Lucha, and knew the history firsthand, and didn’t have to sit down and memorize stuff off of a (chuckles) then version of Wikileaks, or Wiki page, or whatever the hell it’s called.

Big difference (laughs).

Yeah, big difference, but you know what I mean. I needed someone who was really immersed in that, and Mike was that guy, but Mike’s role was never to be play by play. His role was to be the third man on the team who could interject that type of factual information and context into what we were seeing, because he was the only one who could. He eventually merged into play-by-play, and quite frankly, never been a big fan of that, because I don’t think that’s his strength. My intent was to let him do what he was great at, and as far as direction that I gave him, I gave him none, because I couldn’t. Other than to make sure that he stayed in his lane, so to speak, with regard to being the third man in the booth.

Mongo, I read some of the reactions recently to an answer that I gave during the RFVideo shoot thing. I guess I was asked about, ‘What was I thinking, what was the thought process behind bringing in Mongo McMichael.’ I must not have answered that very well, because people have seemed to zero in on that. I’ll take the opportunity to do it here, and apologies to guys at RFVideo by the way (chuckles), but Steve McMichael is a big personality, and by the way, he had an NFL Championship ring. He was a fun guy, now was he a wrestling fan? Yes, he was a wrestling fan. Was he a knowledgeable wrestling broadcaster? No, he wasn’t. But he was a big personality, with a big footprint in one of the largest media markets in the United States. He had that kind of corky, funny, but could be intense when he needed to be, kind of personality that made him a good fit, in my opinion.

There’s a lot of reasons why I did it, but there was no master plan. It was just like, ‘Wow, what if we take this really loud, kind of funny, giant Chicago Bear Super Bowl champion ass kicking guy from Texas who carries a Chihuahua, and put him in the booth.’ And by the way, he has since gone on to do broadcasting and those types of things in the Chicago market, it’s not like it was a completely ridiculous idea, but that was his role. Again with Mongo, I didn’t prep him much, he learned quickly what his role was. He didn’t try to be a wrestling expert, he didn’t try to be Bobby Heenan, he didn’t try to be play-by-play, he didn’t try to be the star of the show. He knew what his role was, and he improvised really well, and we didn’t flow, and that’s it. Was it the best choice in the world? Maybe not. Or maybe it really was, because it was part of what was going on when Nitro was hugely successful.

mongodog

I’m not sure how much WWE you watch now, but what do you think of today’s announce team of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL, and especially how heavily they talk about Twitter? I’m sure your able to look at how they announce from the perspective of being a former announcer and former President with WCW. Do you think announcers should be storytellers or salesmen, or a mix of both, especially when it comes to those three guys?

It’s all of the above, and always has been. By the way, I think Jim Ross is a living legacy in terms of wrestling broadcasting, so let’s start this conversation with my opinion that Jim Ross is a living legacy, and always will be. With that said, go back and watch, and really listen, not to the PPV’s or Clash of the Champions, but go back and listen to a WCW Saturday Night show, or any of the syndicated shows that were taking place in the early 90’s. What you’ll hear is Jim Ross selling the magazine, Jim Ross selling the 1-900 line, Jim Ross selling tickets for your upcoming local event, Jim Ross selling whatever it is that WCW was selling at the time. Jim would literally sit down in pre-production and make a list of all the things he had to sell, so it was no different then than it is now, it’s just a little bit more constant now.

Yes, Twitter is constantly pushed in our face, but guess what? It is everywhere else too, it’s the nature of our world now. It doesn’t matter what you’re watching, unless it’s a drama series, but if it’s a sporting event, or most events, Twitter is constantly being shoved down your throat, because it’s part of the business. I’m sure that JBL, and I don’t really know Michael Cole, and I know Jerry Lawler, but I’m sure they’d rather be doing more storytelling, and more engagement in terms of what’s going on inside of the ring, but guess what? They’ve got a job to do. The nature of the business, the machine that exists, requires that they do what they do. It’s something you just have to accept, it’s not a personal choice, they have to do that.

I get having a Twitter hashtag on the screen, I understand that, but I think the main criticism that people have is that you don’t see them stop during Saturday Night Live and say they’re trending on Twitter. But I definitely get how they have to be salesmen as well.

But it’s a different audience, the wrestling audience has evolved over time. A large portion of the wrestling audience is just as interested in the stuff that’s going on behind the scenes, and the personal opinions of the wrestlers. Other than NASCAR, and maybe Major League Baseball and the NFL, I’ve never seen such obsessively compulsed fans who want more than they’re getting on the screen. Which is why dirt sheets have always existed, and opinion pages and websites talking about wrestling, even though there isn’t really much to talk about because they don’t have access. There’s some really crappy garbage sites out there that are produced by people who claim to have all of this inside information, and break all of these great news stories. They’re so full of shit, they should be embarrassed, but they exist at 10 cents a click, or a penny a click, or whatever it is the amount of money they make, by creating this perception that they have inside information. People who just can’t get enough wrestling gravitate towards that, and they make livings doing that. But it’s because of the nature of the wrestling fans, or at least enough of a percentage of them, that a number of these sites, including yours to a certain extent, can make a living doing it.

bischofffinger

Part 2 will be released on Monday in our Sports and Wrestling sections, and it will focus on pro wrestling TV ratings, focus groups, Vince Russo, Randy Savage, and his thoughts on a possible John Cena heel turn and if its comparable to Hulk Hogan’s 1996 heel turn. Also check out our recent interviews with Kurt Angle, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Jeff Hardy, and Hornswoggle.