Your Hawaiian vacation of pop culture
ISSUE NUMBER FIVE
Written and Edited by Dr. Mike Rickard
Originally presented at Canadian Bulldog's World Friday June 10 and June 17, 2016.
If you've read any of the obituaries about Muhammad Ali, you've probably come across mentions of his love of professional wrestling and how his biting promos were inspired by the legendary grappler "Gorgeous" George Wagner. Ali's participation with wrestling didn't end there. He participated in the famous match against Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki in 1976 and appeared as a special referee at the inaugural Wrestlemania in 1985. What you may not know is that his match against Inoki nearly bankrupted the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) (albeit through no fault on Ali's part), and that WWWF champion Bruno Sammartino risked his health to save the day. Join me now as I look at some of the tall tales regarding the fight, the "Showdown at Shea" card it headlined, and Bruno's amazing rescue.
DARK SHADOWS AT 50:
THE SUPERNATURAL SOAP OPERA THAT CHANGED TELEVISION
As the site celebrates its one year anniversary, we'll be looking back at three other big anniversaries- the 50th anniversary of the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, the 40th anniversary of the Ali vs. Inoki (boxer vs. wrestler) fight, and the 20th anniversary of the New World Order (nWo) angle in wrestling! All that and more!
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In today's world of endless streaming services and obscure cable channels catering to every demographic, it may surprise you that people still watch Dark Shadows. ABC's classic gothic soap opera debuted in 1966 and while it only lasted a handful of seasons, it became a cult hit, inspiring two theatrical releases, a nighttime revival in 1991, a 2005 TV pilot that wasn't picked up, and a recent theatrical film starring Johnny Depp. It's hard to believe, but this cult soap inspired many of the shows we enjoy today.
MUHAMMAD ALI VS. ANTONIO INOKI: THE FIGHT THAT NEARLY BANKRUPTED THE WWWF.
This article originally appeared at Canadian Bulldog's World on Friday June 3, 2016.
It's hard to believe that it's been twenty years since the New World Order (nWo) angle shook the wrestling world. There have been some fantastic angles and events in professional wrestling but there is only one other one that's come close to doing what the nWo did in wrestling in the last twenty years (Check out my book Wrestling's Greatest Moments to see where the New World Order ranks). The angle nearly put the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) out of business and promoters are still trying to capture the nWo's initial magic. So far, no one has been able to.
The New World Order's initial success resulted from World Championship Wrestling (WCW) following the rules of storytelling. The New World Order's eventual failure resulted from WCW disregarding the same rules of storytelling. Over the next few months, I'd like to examine this incredible angle from a storytelling perspective, analyzing what worked and what didn't work; in order to understand why these rules can (and should) be used today. First, I'd like to share what the nWo phenomenon felt like for fans at the time. It is definitely one of those moments that you cannot completely appreciate unless you were there (kind of like the 1960's).
WRESTLING'S NEW WORLD ORDER: 4 LIFE
THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF AND HAIL HYDRA: CAN A PUBLICITY STUNT AND GOOD STORYTELLING GO HAND IN HAND?
So you're minding your own business, reading the latest issue of your favorite superhero comic and you're told the guy who's been fighting evil since 1940 has been a double agent for the bad guys since day one. If you're asking yourself whether the writers are hitting the crack pipe, you're not alone. If you're a regular reader of Marvel or DC Comics, you're probably thinking, "Well, there they go again." Comic books have got to the point where writers feel they need an outrageous plot twist to keep people reading their books. The question becomes, is this lazy storytelling, or a necessity with comics' dwindling marketplace?
ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER: FROM ROBERT VAUGHN TO TONY CHRISTIE TO LOVE, HONOUR , AND OBEY.
Ever go off on a tangent when you're talking with your friends? Your conversation goes something like this:
Anthony: What'd you guys think of Captain America: Civil War?
Jerry: It was pretty much non-stop fight scenes but the Russos managed to squeeze in a good story too.
Chris: Speaking of non-stop fight scenes, did you think it was better than Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice?
Jerry: The cast of Civil War was far superior to Batman. Robert Downey Jr. vs. Ben Affleck? No comparison.
Anthony: Affleck was good in Hollywoodland.
Chris: Speaking of George Reeves. Was he related to Christopher Reeve?
Jerry: They both played Superman. That's the only similarity.
Anthony: There was the Superman curse.
Chris: Oh, don't get started on that.
Jerry: Yeah, we'll be here all day arguing about that.
Anthony: George Reeves' suicide, Chris Reeve's accident. That's two major Superman disasters.
Chris: The real disaster was Superman III.
Jerry: Richard Pryor killed that franchise.
Anthony: Did you know Eddie Murphy was originally going to be in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
Jerry: Yeah, I heard about that. That could have been good. They did have a lot of humor in Voyage Home.
Chris: Couldn't have been any worse than Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
Anthony: I heard Sean Connery was supposed to be in that.
Jerry: 1989, what a great year for movies.
Chris: So, getting back to Civil War.
It's so easy to go off on a tangent when you're discussing pop culture with your friends. Factor in the power of the Internet and there's no telling where your conversation will take you.
WARNING: THIS SITE INCLUDES LOTS OF SPOILERS.
Copyright 2014-2018 by Dr. Mike Rickard