People laugh dismissively when I say it, but the more they can incorporate WWE performers and the general WWE "way" of entertainment, the more enjoyable other genres of sports will become. No, I'm not talking about the predetermined outcomes of matches (The NBA has already incorporated that aspect of WWE into their product.) I'm talking about the sensory overload of a WWE event. Pyro, music, conflict. Those things stoke people, even if it is staged.
Take Wednesday night in Memphis, for instance.
Local wrestling hero Jerry "The King" Lawler was in attendance at the Grizzlies' playoff game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Conveniently enough, Lawler was wearing wrestling tights at the game, so he took the opportunity during a stoppage in play to administer his signature piledriver on an unsuspecting
planted Clipper fan.
Now, THAT'S impactful entertainment. How do I know? Because it was easier to find video of this piledriver on Twitter last night than it was to find out who the hell won the game! Certainly, I'm not saying that you distract from the spectacle of the NBA Playoffs by overshadowing it with a full-on WWE makeover (although I'm not saying don't do it either), but I think incorporating one classic WWE wrestler per series to knock out an opposing fan (perhaps even a celebrity fan) is a pretty good idea.
And just so I'm not accused of pointing out a general solution without helping implement it, here are some specific examples some of the NBA teams can use, one for each of the seven other current series:
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks WWE Superstar: GOLDBERG Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma Finishing Move: Spear and jackhammer
I think NBA fans everywhere can get behind the idea of Tulsa native Goldberg executing his finishing sequence onMavs owner Mark Cuban
, no? Added bonus: if we ask nicely, we could probably get Norman, Oklahoma, resident and WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross to give us the play by play.GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY!! Goldberg is ASSAULTING Cuban!!
Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets WWE Superstar: VADER Hometown: Boulder, Colorado Finishing Move: Vader bomb
Big men like Vader (about 400 pounds when he finished up his active career in the ring) go one way or the other weight-wise after they retire, either down to like 250 pounds or ballooned to like 550 pounds. I have no idea which way Vader has gone in retirement, but I do know that either way, a Vader Bomb ondiehard Laker fan Jack Nicholson
would still hurt.San Antonio Spurs vs Utah Jazz WWE Superstar: SHAWN MICHAELS Hometown: San Antonio, Texas Finishing move: Sweet Chin Music
A Spurs' season ticket holder, Shawn Michaels is actually no stranger to dropping his finisher, the Sweet Chin Music super kick, right across the jaw of an opposing force (oropposing mascot
, as it were) at a Spurs basketball game. As for who we'd like to see him lay out at a Spurs playoff game? No one specific. I think I speak for the rest of the NBA outside of Utah when I say thatany ol' Jazz fan
knocked unconscious should be considered progress.
Chicago Bulls vs Philadelphia 76ers WWE Superstar: SANDMAN Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Finishing Move: Singapore Cane
Sandman is better known for his time in the old version of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). By the time he arrived in WWE, he had taken many a chair shot and could barely move. Still, you don't need to be ultra spry to swing a Singapore cane. Take your pick of Chicago fan for Sandman to target. There are lots of famous ones --Bill Murray, John Cusack, Vince Vaughn
, to name a few. If he wants to go for a true ECW-style "Holy shit!" moment, then you can't aim any higher thanPresident Obama
. And hell, with the chances of Secret Service propositioning a whore in the concourse area at a solid 30 percent these days, now may be the time to strike. Not sure Sandman is a Republican, though.
Miami Heat vs New York Knicks WWE Superstar: RAZOR RAMON Hometown: Miami, Florida Finishing Move: The Razor's Edge
Spike Lee in the Razor's Edge. Not much else to say. Make it happen, Razor.
(CAVEAT: Scott Hall, the man behind Razor Ramon, might have more important fish to fry than beating up Spike Lee. I'll admit that.) Indiana Pacers vs Orlando Magic WWE Superstar: THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR Hometown: Crawfordsville, Indiana Finishing Move: Gorilla press and splash
Technically, the Ultimate Warrior is from "Parts Unknown" but if you go to Wikipedia, you find out thathe was actually born in Crawfordsville, Indiana
(which I believe is in the same county as "Parts Unknown"). I think even Orlando fans would probably cheer the Warrior splashingDwight Howard
and herniating a few more disks in his back.
Atlanta Hawks vs Boston Celtics WWE Superstar: ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia Finishing Move: Lots of sharp foreign objects to the skull
Abdullah the Butcher, to my knowledge, never wrestled in WWE, but he is in the WWE Hall of Fame (don't ask, it has to do with Vince McMahon now owning the world). He doesn't really have a signature move per se, but instead his signature is his use of sharp objects to carve up the face of his opponent. Yes, I'll admit on the surface maybe this choice of wrestler is a little macabre and perhaps Abby's act would inflict some psychological scars on the kids. I can see where you're coming from. But hear me out....imagine Abdullah administering his brand of carnage onnoted Bostonian, actor Ben Affleck
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. Sounds better now, doesn't it? Yes, MUCH better.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.