Archive

Archive for August, 2010

Punk–music to my ears

August 31st, 2010 8 comments

Pepsi challenge: Punk dares the masses to bring this to their next dinner party instead of spirits.

With the wrestling business sorely lacking distinguishable heels capable of delivering unique promos that actually, you know, piss people off rather than “sports entertain,” one man stands shaved head and shoulders above the rest: CM Punk, the most charismatic cult leader since Charles Manson.

Last night’s RAW promo was merely the latest example of how Punk has mastered the art of wrestling psychology—the guy has a way of getting under your skin by merely turning up the volume on his legit straight-edge lifestyle to continually deliver the most pretentious, psychotic promos in ages. (Behold the power of Punk: He mentions “Katie Vick” and suddenly she’s the number 5 trending topic on Google this morning.) Although even a blinded Chris Adams could have seen last night’s Steve Austin swerve coming a mile away, I couldn’t help but think of what have been had Punk been around in the Rattlesnake’s heyday in the Attitude Era. You couldn’t ask for two more contrasting characters to engage in verbal warfare—the promos between the two would have been riveting.

Unlike, say, the Miz, who’s a little too cutesy and clever for his own good as a heel, Punk also has a way of inserting a great one-liner (e.g., last night’s “Tooth Fairy” comment) without coming off cool or likeable. In playground vernacular, he’s the ultimate goody two-shoes. (To quote Adam Ant, “You don’t drink, don’t smoke—what do you do?”)

When thinking of Punk’s developing personality, I’m reminded of something Jerry Lawler shared with me during a car ride to Louisville: “Your delivery is OK, but you’re doing the wrong kind of promos. You’re trying too hard to be the next Jimmy Hart or Jim Cornette instead of being the original Scott Bowden. Above all, you’re trying to hard to be funny.” From that point on, I focused less on one-liners and more on being my naturally sardonic self—only way more obnoxious (my friends and associates at the time would argue the difference was negligible).

While the recent firing of Serena, whom I always found irritatingly attractive, hurts the SES gimmick, Punk will again rise above—or sink lower, depending on your point of view. Unlike Punk, Serena reportedly wasn’t living the gimmick off-stage. Party’s over for you, Serena, but take heart in knowing that WWE wishes you well in your future endeavors. (I cannot confirm if Punk has offered Serena’s SES spot to Paris Hilton as part of attempt to save the heiress from the evils of cocaine, apathy and really bad movies.) Punk has already been saddled with questionable booking this year (too little time to build a classic with Rey at WrestleMania and losing the hair match at least one PPV too soon and, later, his mask on free TV), but I think he’s capable of being a big-time money player in the right spot. (The Extreme Rules rematch with Rey and Punk was loads better, even with only a little over 6 minutes of time alloted, with the crowd hanging on every two count and false finish–the fans were dying to see Punk lose his hair.)

Like all the great villains in cinema, Punk’s character is effective because he honestly believes in his cause, no matter how heinous or difficult it is for your average citizen to understand. He exploits our own vices, weaknesses and imperfections, challenging us to rise to his unattainable, self-deluded virtues. And for that, Punk, we love to hate you.

Then again, perhaps we all could learn a lot from Punk—just look at how Jeff Hardy’s career is turning out.

Gypsies on parade: Bill Dundee’s career comes full circus

August 26th, 2010 6 comments

Baby, he's a Superstar. Bill Dundee, circa 1977.

Legend has it that Memphis wrestling’s Bill “Superstar” Dundee (William Cruickshanks) ran away in his youth and joined the circus (at least according to a story published in “Action Ringside,” the weekly Memphis program sold at the arenas). In what might seem like a lateral career move at best by some people, the scrappy little Aussie (Scot) eventually left life under the big top for the wrestling business and never looked back–until now. Dundee recently resurfaced during a local newscast promoting a performance by the Coleman Bros. Circus in Vero Beach, Fla., best known as the hometown of “Red Rooster” Terry Taylor. (From what I understand, the Coleman Bros. and the Ringling Bros. had a bitter rivalry similar to the Funks and the Briscos for years.)

Displaying the promo skills that made him a superstar, Dundee discusses the nomadic lifestyle of the circus. I found this very reminiscent of the TV interviews conducted by Lance Russell in which Dundee frequently referred to the countless miles he and Jerry Lawler logged traveling up and down the roads together in their heydays in Memphis.

Watching that piece, I can’t help but think back to how Dundee’s wrestling travels were heartbreakingly captured in this music video that aired on Memphis TV in the late ’80s.. Warning: Do not view without a hanky handy.

Outrage! My uncle Bobby Bowden reveals he was ousted at Florida State

August 26th, 2010 5 comments

Abreast of the situation: I'm still stunned that the boobs at Florida State forced out my Uncle Bobby.

Although this was common knowledge in the Bowden home, my Uncle Bobby has finally come clean to the media (just in time for the release of his new book…which I ghostwrote): the legendary Florida State coach was ushered out the door like Vince McMahon kicking Capt. Lou Albano to the curb in 1986.

ESPN.com reports: Bobby Bowden says he had always had a good relationship with former Florida State president T.K. Wetherell, but after Bowden’s ouster last season, the friendship likely is beyond repair. Bowden, who embarked on a nationwide tour Tuesday to promote his new book, “Called to Coach: Reflections on Life, Faith and Football,” told The Associated Press he also doesn’t want Florida State, where he was the head coach for 34 years, to “spread the story that I voluntarily, happily resigned.”

The men’s connection began 47 years ago, when Wetherell was a wide receiver under Bowden, his position coach at Florida State.

But after Wetherell, who became the university’s president in 2003 and stepped down in 2009, forced Bowden out last season, the friendship appears substantially damaged.

Frankly, I haven’t been this upset since my cousin Terry was plotted against by the Board of Trustees at the University of Auburn. (And don’t even get me started about how Cousin Tommy was railroaded out of town at Clemson.) Really, this whole thing has the same stink of Jerry Lawler unceremoniously dumping me after he lost the World Unified title to Sid Vicious. This, despite the fact that under my guidance, Lawler had a .832 winning average. During our intense practice sessions, The King also added maneuvers such as the Moonsault, Shooting Star Press and the armbar to his repertoire under my watch. Everybody loves you when you’re winning, but when you lose because of one errant toss of medicated powder to the eyes, you’re fired. But that’s the nature of coaching, I suppose.