Sure, professional wrestling has always been scripted and the match results predetermined, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that World Wrestling Entertainment grapplers are first class athletes and entertainers. One of the biggest WWE stars of the last 20 years is Paul Levesque, better known by his stage name, Triple H.
Levesque is following in the steps of fellow ring legends Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena, who were able to make the leap into film. He was in town last week to promote WWE Studios’ latest flick, a family comedy titled “The Chaperone” that opens tomorrow.
When I spoke with him at a Wrestlemania press conference three years ago, Levesque dismissed the idea of a film career, saying he much preferred the adrenaline rush of performing live in the ring. The obvious question now is, “What has changed?”
Levesque laughed. “Three years ago I was in peak shape,” he said in a very straightforward manner. “I am now 41 years old, and the truth is that professional wrestling is a young man’s game. The days when veterans such as Dusty Rhodes or Ric Flair could wrestle well after they received their AARP cards are long gone because viewers are too sophisticated. I have many broken body parts and I am phasing out my wrestling career.”
According to TiVo executives the Super Bowl ad watched the most this year was the one for Snickers, even though it seemed that the Volkswagen commercial with a little kid dressed like Darth Vader generated the most buzz.
Christina Aguilera will not be the last singer to draw a blank when performing “The Star Spangled Banner,” though muffing it at the most watched television event in history was clearly not a good career move. My favorite rendition of our national anthem was Jose Feliciano’s jazzy reworking of it at the 1968 World Series in Detroit.
Last weekend Barnard College introduced a women’s film festival called The Athena, which the school hopes will be an annual event. Among the movies that made their debut was “The Mighty Macs,” which told the improbable story of Immaculata College, a tiny women’s liberal arts school in the Philadelphia suburbs, that captured the 1972 NCAA Women’s Basketball title. Carla Gugino starred as Macs’ head coach Cathy Rush.
I was saddened by the passing of longtime baseball manager Chuck Tanner, whose sunny disposition and quick wit were renowned. One of his favorite sayings was “No matter how rich, powerful or famous you are, the size of your funeral depends on the weather!” It was Tanner’s way of saying that regardless of how prepared you are, there will always be variables beyond your control.
Speaking of great wits, comedian Bill Maher had this observation about the revolution in Egypt on his Friday night HBO series, “Real Time”:
“Hosni Mubarak is the Middle East’s version of Brett Favre!”