Wrestlemania 34 Just Got Even Better – YES MOVEMENT RETURNS

The wrestling world was flipped upside down on Tuesday when WWE announced that Daniel Bryan has officially been cleared to return to in-ring action.

After a two plus year absence from the ring, Bryan was deemed physically unable to perform after announcing his retirement due to head injuries. He sustained concussions which led to him having seizures so he had to call the quits.

As if the lead up to the show of shows, the grandaddy of them all, Wrestlemania wasn’t big enough, the news broke on Bryan and the wrestling world exploded.

The second it was announced Wrestlemania was returning to New Orleans, it was a no-brainer that I was getting tickets. Wrestlemania 30 provided me with some of the most amazing moments, wrestling fans will never forget. I witnessed them LIVE and in person. I didn’t want to miss that opportunity again.

Not only did I witness the end of the Undertaker’s streak, but I watched Daniel Bryan after months of chasing the title become the undisputed champion of WWE defeating Triple H to earn a spot in that match. Then, he defeated the other two members of Evolution (Randy Orton and Batista) in a triple threat match for the title.

For him to announce his return with his first match back likely happening in New Orleans, I am marking out so hard right now. Bryan is one of my favorite wrestlers to step in a ring over the last 10 years. Watching him retire so prematurely left so much to be desired. My heart truly broke for him during his announcement.

A heavy heart was once again the feeling, except this time, it was filled with joy during his speech in his return to the ring.

“Fight for your dreams and your dreams will fight for you. Every hard thing seems impossible until becomes real.”

The build now begins where he likely teams with Shane McMahon in a tag team match to take on Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

After attacking Bryan on Smackdown Live, that gave them serious heel heat. As if they needed that to begin with. It proved that despite not competing in over two years, D-Bry is still THE MOST OVER superstar on the roster. Even as a GM, my friends and I used to joke that he was more over than anyone.

There is no doubt about that now.

The card was already shaping up to be one of my favorites in years and it just skyrocketed even more.

THE YES MOVEMENT RETURNS and I believe my plans have changed on which shirt I will wear to the granddaddy of them all! YES YES YES YES! He is back babayyyyy!

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Anyone else miss Ding Dong Ditching? Asking for a friend.

They say America’s favorite pastime is baseball. Well, Michael Hotard’s favorite pastime was ringing people’s doorbells and watching them get furious when no one was there.

What can I say…I guess I was always a troll at heart, even before I knew what a troll was.

There are dozens upon dozens of things I miss about my childhood, but ding dong ditching people in my neighborhood takes the cake. Because of my superb maturity level, I did this until probably sophomore year of high school.

From probably 7th grade all the way through freshman year, it basically became an addiction.

I would say to kids do try this at home, but you wind up getting shot or some other crazy shit happens so probably not the best idea.

Luckily when I was growing up, this was just a classic example of kids being kids. At worst if caught, we got a stern talking to from our parents were told to stop which meant nothing. The cycle was then repeated. I would get yelled at or told how wrong it is, possibly grounded. Let the heat die down and the reign of terror was brought down as no doorbells were safe.

Here are a couple of my favorite ding dong ditch stories…

Feeling Myself (Yolo)

I was with my best and longest childhood friend Mike and there was a house on the next street directly across from a small alley between two house which led directly back to my house. It was super easy to get away with getting this house because we would hide in the shadows and just head back to my house once the kind folks went inside. Well one particular night, we got these people once. We were ballsy so it was common place to hit a few more houses and then return the scene of the crime for more. We did just that.

On the second try after they went back inside, we saw their maybe 7 year old son staring out the front door. Did I mention how ballsy we were? The door was pretty much all glass. The kid was standing there. I turned to Mike and said you ready to do something stupid? Before he could answer, I ran into the middle of the street with him trailing behind asking what the hell I was doing. At which point, said child screamed “I see them. I see them.” We booked it down the street running through people’s yards to avoid lights. Joke was on us as every person apparently had motion detection lights. We made it down the street before they even made it outside. We won.

How The Hell Did This Happen?

There was a house maybe five lots down from me and my neighbor Alex, who was my weekday partner in crime. After Katrina, most of the fences in the neighborhood were knocked down making for easy escape routes.

We decided to hide across the street in a pitch black area behind a trash can. Well the guy was looking around his house and we hear the garage door on side of us. I am thinking son of a bitch, we are screwed. Luckily, he never came to bring trash to the can. However, he did talk to his neighbor…for 45 freaking minutes! It seemed like we were there for three hours. I contemplated hopping the fence behind me, but stayed put. Dodged another one.

Third Time is a Charm

Normally, once is easy. Twice you’re playing with fire. Three times, you may as well just wait for them to answer the door. We actually got one of my friend’s houses probably about 8:30 on a school night. We hid. They couldn’t find us. The usual.

My buddy Alex got them again. This time, my old coach storms out of the house visibly ticked off and rightfully so. We waited for a bit before moving a couple of streets over to get in a safe zone. Low and behold, these sons of bitches come around the corner and luckily we were on the other end of the street so we ran even further away. Talk about dedication to finding us.

My buddy got the bright idea up his ass to get them a third time. After arguing with him about that for a while, he convinced me to do it since he took the first two.

I am crawling through the garden to avoid being seen. As I turned toward the porch and peered my head around the corner, I swear to God it was one of those OH FUCK moments in a horror movie. This dude was waiting at his door looking through his side window. I took off and heard him scream my name when he opened the door. Needless to say I got bitched out while I see Alex in the bushes laughing hysterically.

A Flight of Stairs, a Glass Door and the Nearest Hide Out in Another Zip Code (Fuck it)

There is one particular house on my parents street that has maybe 10 stairs leading up to their all glass front door and not many bushes. The nearest set of buses is about two houses down. That may seem easy but when you are at a significant disadvantage with stairs and a glass door, it becomes a little more complicated.

I walk up the stairs ever so quietly and I can literally see this couple sitting in their living room watching Wheel of Fortune. I rang the bell, jumped and cleared the stairs and booked it to where my buddy Mike was hiding and for all that is holy, somehow made it before these idiots got to their door. They didn’t seem to be too phased. It was pretty anti-climactic, but shit man give me credit for difficulty.

Knocking All Around

Remember how I said fences were down after Katrina? Well, there was a house behind my buddy Alex who had a fence board missing making for an easy way to get around. We had been getting these people for a couple of weeks at this point. We would start with the front of their house. Then, we would wait a while and get the back of their house. One night, we felt ballsy. So we basically, just kept getting them every 15-20 minutes rotating between the two and pulling the switcharoo to keep them on their toes. After getting them about 5 times that night, these fuckers went out both sides of the house finally and saw us in the ally.

My favorite part about this was the guy who caught us was actually super cool. He was legitimately laughing at our effort and said “You assholes. Dude I get it. I used to do this shit too when I was younger. But I caught you, I know one of you lives behind us. It’s over now. Cool?” He actually shook our hands. That guy is a legend in my book and understands a good gag. We never got his house again.

I Miss It

I was thinking about all the houses we used to get when I was running around my neighborhood the other day and how much fun it was. This may seem like a pointless column to post and it kind of is. But I’ve said before I almost treat this like a diary. Consider this one of my memoirs. To all the people I used to actively do this with, Alex, Mike, George and whoever else…I say we wait 40 years and wreak havoc again when we approach 70.

Top 25 Favorite Wrestlers

I started watching wrestling when I was about 5 years old and was hooked. It started with Goldberg and Sting in WCW back when they were winning the Monday Night War. It didn’t take long to get hooked on to WWF (now WWE). I watched that until I was maybe 13-14. I took about a five year hiatus and then fell in love with it all over again in college. Now, I am 26 and a grown ass man. But damn it, I still love me some good ole wrastling.

The 25th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw airs Monday, which means we will get a little nostalgia kick as dozens of superstars are set to return. I always love the anniversary episode of Raw, especially the big milestones like 25. They are always a lot of fun. With that being said, I decided to put together a list of my top 25 favorite wrestler to ever grace a ring.

25. JBL

I was a huge APA fan as a kid and when the group was starting their split up, I almost didn’t recognize Bradshaw during his transition to JBL. After looking like your typical bar room biker for so long, he went blonde and clean cut. It was different. He also became a total nut sack after that. He became one of the biggest heels on Smackdown. He was this cocky wall street fuck boy who would kiss the babies, shake hands and then proceed to put sanitizer on after touching anyone. It was very Donald Trumpesque. It also helped the Clothesline From Hell is such a great finisher.

24. Dolph Ziggler

As far as in ring performers go, it is tough to put most people over Ziggler. He is one of the best technicians I have ever seen. Unfortunately, he has been one of the most under utilized performers in recent memory. If he would have gotten the push he deserves, he could have been just as good if not better than Shawn Michaels.

23. Diamond Dallas Page

Going back to WCW, DDP was one of my favorites easily. I remember loving him during his heel run in 1999. Although he never really had that heel turn moment. It just kind of happened. Plus, who didn’t love him pitted against Jimmy the King in Ready to Rumble?

22. Mick Foley

Mrs. Foley’s baby boy!! How can you not love Foley. He brings new meaning to split personality disorders. From Mankind to Cactus Jack to Dude Love, this was one sadistic son of a bitch in the ring. Although, I didn’t get to experience a lot of Dude Love, my earliest memory is Cactus Jack. I had just begun to watch WWE heavily when HHH was having his title run and feuding with Foley. I went ape shit when Foley announced that The Game wasn’t facing him at Royal Rumble. He ripped off his shirt to reveal that Cactus Jack was coming back for the street fight. That is one of my favorite Foley moments.

21. Daniel Bryan

Watching him win the gold Wrestlemania 30 still sends chills down my spine as a WWE fan. For so long, a title run was teased for him and they broke the fourth wall playing up the whole B+ superstar which kind of broke kayfabe to some degree. I think this is one of the times where fans hijacked the script. I don’t think the plan was to have Bryan win the title, but they felt they had to. Doing the YES chant with 70,000 is something I will never forget.

20. Chris Benoit

We all know how this story ended. As fucked up as it was, it doesn’t mean I won’t be making jokes every Royal Rumble. He was truly one of my favorite in-ring performers. I know Brock Lesnar coined the phrase suplex city, but Benoit was doing that shit long before Brock.

19. Brock Lesnar

Although I am tired of current Brock, he was awesome when he bursted on to the scene. I remember him demolishing Spike Dudley in his debut on Raw. The second I saw him, I was terrified. That is a big fucking dude. He brought new meaning to Here Comes The Pain.

18. Eddie Guerrero

Viva La Raza! If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying. Love me some Eddie Guerrero. Watching him win the world title will always be one of my favorite Mania moments. I don’t know that there was anyone who was more deserving. Typically looked at as a top mid carder, it was awesome to see him in the main event scene for a while. He was always good for a laugh during his matches thanks to dirty tactics.

17. Razor Ramon

“Hard works pays off. Dreams do come true. Bad times don’t last. But bad guys do.” I just finished watching his documentary and you want to talk about a fucked up story. The fact he is alive and doing well now is a miracle. I can’t watch his HOF speech without crying. I can’t even read that quote without crying. Razor Ramon/Scott Hall was one of those guys who could’ve been so much more. But even despite all the drama, he is still one of the best ever. If you’re a wrestling fan, you’ll never put a toothpick in your mouth the same once you know about Razor Ramon. (Flicks toothpick at screen)

16. Roddy Piper

Oh man, this was a tough pill to swallow when I heard he passed. One of the best heels to ever grace a ring. You can’t mention wrestling and fun without mentioning Hot Rod. Always remember, this guy came to kick ass and chew bubble gum…and he was always out of bubble gum.

15. Stone Cold Steve Austin

The second you hear the glass shatter, you know shit is about go down. The baddest son of a bitch WWE has ever seen. This guy got in the face of Mike Tyson and gave him his favorite sign language. He was the focal point of the attitude era and a HUGE reason why WWE eventually won the Monday Night War. Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass.

14. The Miz

Ever since his days on Real World and The Challenge, I have always been a big Mike The Miz Mizanin fan. When I started watching again, he was the WWE champion and having his run with John Cena. He instantly became one of my favorite heels. The last year he has had with the IC title run has been nothing short of spectacular and it is awesome to see him relevant again.

13. Finn Balor

Coincidence that my son is named Finn? I think not. I love everything about this Irish son of a bitch. His name is bad ass. His look is bad ass. He is a bad ass. Although he is early in his career, I can’t wait to see where he goes. I have no doubt he could end up in the top 10 before it is all said and done.

12. CM Punk

After being screwed time and time again, the cult of personality called the quits on WWE still in his prime. We have no idea if and when he will return. It absolutely sucks that the fans were robbed of what could have a been an even more amazing career. Punk will always be one of my favorites. He was the modern day Stone Cold.

11. AJ Styles

I never really watched TNA so I only heard how great AJ Styles was. When he finally made his debut with WWE at the Royal Rumble, I was hooked. I just don’t know that there has been a better active superstar in the past two years. Just remember that Smackdown is the house that AJ Styles built.

10. Edge

The ultimate opportunist was amazing when he and Christian were top of the tag team division. He is one of the funniest superstars to grace a ring and then he adopted the Rated R Superstar gimmick to legitimize him as a singles competitor. Needless to say he didn’t disappoint. His farewell speech on Raw when he retired is still one of the saddest days in wrestling injury. Another career cut a little too short.

9. Kevin Owens

Raw or Smackdown, it doesn’t matter what show he is on. It is always the KEVIN OWENS SHOW! He is truly one of the best heels in WWE history. He plays a bad guy better than just about anyone. He is doing it in a time where it is hard to not break kayfabe. But even with the internet, he uses his Twitter account to mercilessly insult fans and opponents. During a dark match, he was screaming about his bank roll to a fan while he had Reigns in a headlock. You could see Reigns had to drop his head because he was laughing hysterically at Owens.

8. Randy Orton

Although the Viper gimmick suits him well, Orton won me over when he became the legend killer. I loved the cocky kid who didn’t care who you were because no one was safe from an RKO.

7. Seth Rollins

Seth Freaking Rollins aka Crossfit Jesus is easily my favorite active superstar. When he turned heel on the Shield, it was the biggest heartbreak but one of the most exciting moments because I wanted to see him as a heel. He didn’t disappoint. He is one of the most entertaining in ring performers thanks to his ability to mix it up between power, speed and agility. Not to mention, he has the CURB STOMP back!

6. Triple H

He is the game and he is that damn good. Growing up, Triple H was the top heel in WWE. On the microphone, he didn’t miss a beat. In the ring, he always delivered. Even in his seasoned age and corporate role, he is still delivering on both of those fronts. Anytime I hear his music hit, that is something to get excited about.

5. Kurt Angle

For a long time, it became a matter of if, not when Kurt Angle would return. For me, I couldn’t wait. Angle was one of my favorites the day he walked into WWE talking about his olympic gold medals and how he won them with a broken freaking neck. It didn’t take him too long to get a big push. One of my favorite things about Kurt Angle is his willingness to make fun of himself.

4. The Rock

I don’t know that anyone can cut a promo quite like The Great One. He was MY IDOL growing up. I have always loved people who knew how to run their mouth like a boss. The Rock can certainly do that. I remember we had a dress down day in middle school and it was “favorite person day,” I wore the glasses, a just bring it T-Shirt and the warm up pants. Even as an adult, I can still quote a ton of his promos. My buddy Trevor and I did this all the time when we worked for a radio station down in Houma. We would cut up commercials while doing our best Rock impressions.

3. Shawn Michaels

As far as someone who could deliver on the big stage, there is a reason he is known as Mr. Wrestlemania. He is one of the most entertaining performers in WWE history. He is incredible at selling any move. He put that on display at Summerslam when out of spite he over sold every single move done to him by Hulk Hogan. He did it to the point where Hogan was fuming. It was amazing because fuck Hogan.

2. Chris Jericho

Like a fine wine, he just gets better with age. He went on record and said his favorite run was his last with Kevin Owens. I would agree. For a year, Jericho was must see TV in WWE. He is a great in ring performer, no doubt about that. But where he gets it done is on the microphone. From a comedy standpoint, I don’t think anyone makes me laugh more in WWE history. The List of Jericho was an absolute work of genius and the only reason I still tell people who annoy me “YOU JUST MADE THE LIST.” Anyone on the list is going to get…………………..IT!

1. Ric Flair

There is no question who takes the top spot and always will for me. Ric Fucking Flair is a god. He is who everyone aspires to be. He is the rolex wearin, diamond ring wearin kiss stealin, wheelin dealin, limousine ridin, jet flyin son of a gun and there is no one who holds the alligators down better than the Nature Boy. WOOOOOO!