Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Other People's Writing

* Shea Serraro of The Ringer provides a ranking of the 32 greatest Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez moments in honour of The Sandlot's 25th anniversary.  If you're ever having a discussion with friends about the greatest fictional athletes, Benny The Jet is a very solid first-round pick.

* I'm embarrassed to mention that I watched Jersey Shore for its first four seasons, but honestly, I swear, the first season was genuinely entertaining.  (I should've quit while I was ahead.)  Vulture's Molly Fitzpatrick captures the madness in an oral history of the show, and really, come on, I dare anyone to read this and not laugh at some of the pure absurdity.  From the first few paragraphs about the casting process alone, we learn that Snooki's application was smudged with bronzer, Pauly D's casting was clinched because he owned a tanning booth in his own house, and The Situation's first move upon arriving for interviews with producers was to whip off his shirt.

* Wrestlemania month brought forth quite a bit of good wrestling-related writing, including this profile of The Undertaker by The Ringer's Thomas Golianopoulos.  For a related and really weird viewing experience, I suggest checking out YouTube for footage of "Mean Mark" in his early WCW days, when he's managed by (of all people) Paul Heyman himself in his old "Paul E. Dangerously" persona.  I should note that last year, I wrote a post about Undertaker's seeming retirement, though it appears as though he'll still periodically pop up for matches now and then, albeit shorter matches as a nod to his new hip and his fiftysomething age.  Given his gimmick, perhaps it isn't surprising that Undertaker wouldn't ever officially bury his career.

* And finally, there's the highlight of this OPW, a profile of Cody Rhodes by The Ringer's Mike Piellucci that looks at Rhodes' determination to prove his potential while working on the independent wrestling circuit and outside of WWE's sphere.  Now, wrestling for NJPW (the world's second-biggest wrestling company) may be cheating a bit in terms of the "independent" idea, not to mention joining an already-established and red-hot faction in the Bullet Club.  Even still, it's a great piece about Cody, his career, his life, and his at-times-problematic amount of extra pressure on him as Dusty Rhodes' son.  It's an interesting contrast with the Undertaker profile, in fact, as an example of how major success in pro wrestling is always just one gimmick or storyline away.  Mark Calaway got an amazing character in 1990 and absolutely made the most of it all the way to WWE immortality, while Rhodes never got a full crack in the main event, perhaps to WWE's detriment.  Who knows how many huge stars fans have missed out on because of bad timing, bad luck, or Vince McMahon's whims?

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