Friday, February 17, 2012

FINALLY, WrestleMania comes home, sort of

WrestleMania is coming back to the region where it was born, but it will likely never return to its true birthplace ever again.

MetLife Stadium, the home of the New York Giants and Jets, will host the annual wrestling spectacular on April 7, 2013.

Though the stadium is in East Rutherford, N.J., the event is being billed as the NY-NJ WrestleMania, which is no surprise.

But what this announcement does signify is that WrestleMania will likely never be held in New York ever again - unless a football stadium magically drops out of the sky and onto Manhattan's West Side.

Fans of the WWE know that WrestleMania was born in New York City at Madison Square Garden in front of nearly 20,000 people. The 1985 event featured stars like Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mr. T.

Now, it's safe to say WrestleMania has outgrown 20,000 seat venues, like the Garden.

A real shame since it was the Garden that hosted the inaugural WrestleMania as well as the 10th and 20th anniversaries of the show.

For the last five years, the Super Bowl of professional wrestling has hosted crowds of more than 70,000 fans at various football stadiums - Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. (80,103), Citrus Bowl in Orland, Fl. (74,635), Reliant Stadium in Houston, Tx. (72,744), University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (72,219) and the Georgia Dome in Atlanta (71,617).

And this year's showdown will take place at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

You can bet that WrestleMania XXX in 2014 will take place at another monstrous stadium, meaning the Garden will have to settle for hosting other big company shows like Survivor Series, Summerslam and the Royal Rumble.

So it's no surprise there is a big "NY" on the event logo because Bergen County, N.J. will be the closest the WWE will get to hosting a WrestleMania.

Still, WWE officials and superstars at Thursday's press conference insisted WrestleMania was returning to its home.

"WrestleMania, on that date next year of April 7, comes home," said WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.

Not quite, Vince. Not quite.

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Other highlights:

The Rock promised he would once again be a part of WrestleMania in 2013.

"It is with great pride and great excitement that I can tell you now that I will come to Wrestlemania 29, and I will electrify MetLife Stadium like it's never been electrified before," he said.

Later, I asked The Rock if he would be wrestling at next year's WrestleMania. He couldn't give me answer. Here's the video:



John Cena told reporters that he'd like to wrestle in the snow.

Here's the video:



Tripe H also pumped up a WrestleMania homecoming.

"Finally, to quote the Rock, Wrestlemania comes home," he said.

WWE superstars Mark Henry, Sheamus and the Bella Twins were also in attendance for the press conference.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Greatest Loss of All: Whitney Houston dead at 48


It's perhaps the greatest loss of all.

Whitney Houston has died. She was 48.

The superstar songbird, known for her chart-topping hits like "I Will Always Love You" and "The Greatest Love of All," was found dead at a hotel room in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Saturday afternoon. The cause of death has not been determined.

Many regarded her as the greatest singer of all-time, and some even referred to her simply as "The Voice."

Her string of number one hits from her 1985 self-titled debut album quickly made the singer from Newark, N.J. a household name.

Houston also made a big splash on the big screen. She starred alongside Kevin Costner in 'The Bodyguard' in 1992 and the 1995 romance film 'Waiting to Exhale.'

Despite all of the success, Houston's demons soon sent the singer on a downward spiral. Her turbulent marriage to R&B bad boy Bobby Brown and her battles with drugs tragically dimmed her shining star. She would hit rock bottom and disappear from both singing and acting.

However, Houston made a comeback with "I Look to You" in 2009, but it was at that moment when we realized "The Voice" was gone for good.

She would never again be able to capture a crowd like she did singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl in 1991. She would never again be able to perform "I Will Always Love You" and send chills down your spine. She would never again conquer the charts like she did when she first arrived on the scene.

Her singing career was all but done.

Now, nearly three years after making a rocky comeback, Houston's name covers the marquee of the world famous Apollo Theater, where she shot the video for "The Greatest Love of All."

But her name appears as a reminder of the larger-than-life singer whose life expired too soon.

The marquee read: "In Memory of Whitney Houston A True Music Icon."

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I was able to see Whitney Houston perform at Central Park in 2009. Below are the videos: