Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Hard to believe that it was 13 years ago today that WWF wrestler Owen Hart tragically died in a horrible stunt gone wrong. Owen was being lowered to the ring in what was supposed to be a spectacular entrance from the arena’s catwalk way above during a live pay-per-view in Kansas City, until the harness clip snapped and he fell to his death, smashing chest-first into the top rope, which hurtled him into the ring.

I remember that night vividly, because it was the May long weekend and I was walking back from a friend’s house after having a bonfire and I turned on the TV. The local news was on, and when I saw Owen’s photo in the top right corner, I immediately knew something very bad had happened. And obviously, it did.

Monday Night Raw the following night was a tribute show to Owen, with matches interwoven with comments from guys on the WWF roster about their fallen brother. I watched with a lot of sadness that night, just like the millions of other fans around the world.

The aftermath was ugly as Owen’s widow, Martha, sued the WWF in a legal battle that finally ended near the end of 2000, when the company paid her just over $18 million. To this day, Martha has never agreed to sign over Owen’s likeness or give permission for him to be used in home video releases, video games, or even inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

Through it all, it’s always been a great shame that somebody with as much talent as Owen had died in the way he did. To my understanding, he was planning on wrestling for maybe another two or three years before calling it a career. He should’ve had that chance.

Owen’s funeral was on May 31, 1999. Almost 13 years to the day, I still have the funeral card handed out at the service.

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So last weekend was the annual convention for the SWNA (Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association) down in Regina, and as a finalist up for an award in the Better Newspapers Competition, held in conjunction with the convention, I was headed south for the weekend and put up in a free hotel room at the Delta, where everything was held.

To make a long story short, which isn’t my style if you know my writing, I actually won the freaking thing! I landed the Best Feature Story Award for my article on the late Lisa Rendall, a woman who was born and raised in this area and nominated as the Saskatoon Citizen of the Year on December 31, 2010. At the time, Rendall was going through Hell with the breast cancer she’d been fighting for over a decade, and sadly, it was winning. My article appeared in our January 13, 2011 issue, and although Lisa found herself physically able to attend her own award banquet two months later in March, she passed away in April.

Looking back now, I’m incredibly grateful that she gave me her time, and provided me with a look into her world as the disease ravaged her from the inside. I had no idea that the story I was writing would come back and benefit me with such a groovy accolade well over a year later.

I’m all for entertaining my readers, so I thought I’d throw together the entire weekend scenario as a journal-like series of events.

SATURDAY, APRIL 21

– I set the alarm on my cell phone to go off at 9 am, which it does with no problems, except for the craving I have for just a little more sleep. I set it for a half hour later, surmising that I’ll still have plenty of time to pack up, get ready and hit the road by roughly 11. Still, even though I’m really not asleep and just want the luxury of staying curled up in the warmth of my bed with my thoughts, I can hear Dad yelling from his chair in the living room that I “better get a move on”. Although cocktails aren’t until 5, dinner until 6, and the awards ceremony until 7, he must think my getting down to Regina will require a team of Clydesdales, plowing and pulling their way through thick forest while I engage in fisticuffs with the most diabolical of thieves, braggarts and shady individuals. Dad is just gonna keep hollering every few minutes until he hears my bedroom door open, so I just get up.

– I’m on the road to Regina by exactly noon, after a few errands in Outlook. These include hitting up the ATM, fueling up, and stopping at the Bargain Shop for a couple things. I’m looking for Brylcreem, but instead settle for some AXE version of pomade called ‘Clean-cut Look’. Whatever. I’m Regina-bound.

– Hitting the highway and throwing my Ford into cruise, my entertainment for this 2.5 hour drive is a blend of an mp3 disc I recently made and the best of the Howard Stern Show from the past week on Sirius. As I arrive in Davidson and hit up the A&W restaurant, I chow down as Howard wraps up an interview with John Cusack. The show never ceases to be that reliable driving partner, keeping me alert, making me laugh and passing the time when my job or other activities require me to hit the road.

– I’m in Regina by roughly 3 that afternoon, and after finally getting to my hotel and obtaining a parking pass while experiencing the superb downtown traffic the city has to offer (damn one-way streets), I’m on my way up to the 24th floor and open the door to my room. A Kong-sized bed and a cool view of the city are among the highlights of it, and even cooler is the fact that I’m not paying one dime for any of it – thanks, SWNA!

– Settling down from the day’s travel and after laying out my clothes for the night, I flop down on the bed and watch Storage Wars on A&E. At around 5:30, I start putting on my fancy evening wear – dark purple dress shirt, black pants, black dress shoes, a black/silver/red tie, and then I top it all off with a black zip-up vest. Hardly fancy when I think about it, but certainly better than sweatpants and a wrestling t-shirt, which was, obviously, my first choice.

– I find all the goings-on on the second floor of the Delta and begin the mingling process, shaking so many hands that they all seem to blend together. This is my first time at the yearly convention, so I figure a little networking is in order. There are faces I instantly recognize and new ones that I eventually meet, and then I find my table where Delwyn (my boss) is sitting and dinner begins shortly.

– What a feast! Roast beef, BBQ ribs, chicken breasts, fish, potatoes, veggies, the whole nine yards. Everything kicks ass.

– After dinner, the awards ceremony begins and my eyes are trained on the white board in the northwest corner of the room, which is showing the nominees in each category as MC Chris Ashfield (of the Whitewood Herald) reads them out. Winners come and go with each category that comes up, and the ‘Best Feature Story’ one is inching closer and closer as others collect their plaques for the best in advertising, photography, and so forth.

*Daniel Bryan mode* YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

– Here it comes. Ashfield begins reading out the nominees for ‘Best Feature Story’ and I see the front page of my article come up on the white board. The hair on my arms raises just a little at the sound of my name, and I turn my gaze down to my table, preparing myself not to win and trying to look gracious in defeat. The only problem with that is that Ashfield says my name a second time, just after he says ‘And the winner is…’. I win. My eyebrows raise, I silently mouth ‘Holy shit!’ and I make my way to the side of the stage, where SWNA President Alison Squires greets me with a smile, hearty handshake, and a photo is snapped. “Ended up being worth the drive, huh?” she asks. Indeed it has been.

– Handshakes around my table, and Delwyn is beaming. Obviously, I am too. I never expected to win, and designated myself to that comfy “Just cool to be nominated” position in the weeks leading up to this event. Actually taking home the plaque was by no means a certainty in my mind, so this is very, very cool.

– I’m a happy man. So happy that after the evening comes to a close, I go back up to my room, grab my little Canon Powershot and shoot a number of photos, including one of the plaque resting against a window that looks out onto the city of Regina at night. But not before I make the obligatory phone call home to announce my hearty triumph to the family. Ma sounds a little choked up after I tell her that I’m “coming home with more than what I left with”. Crazy dames, with their feelings and whatnot. All kidding aside, I’m more than a little proud to tell the woman who is arguably the biggest fan of my work that my peers in the paper business seem to share the same sentiment.

– I throw the photo of the plaque on Facebook and within mere seconds (not an exaggeration), I start getting a flood of “likes” and words of congratulations from friends, family and assorted acquaintances. Ah, the power of social media.

– Having had some time to celebrate by myself and put it out into cyberspace, I head back downstairs to the ‘hospitality suite’, which is a politically correct way of saying, “Hey, you in the purple shirt! Get in here and drink with us, cuz it’s open bar and we don’t work tomorrow!” Sounds good to me. I indulge in a few rum and Cokes, shake even more hands and find myself going over the Lisa Rendall article all over again. A lot knew her name because she was a longtime radio personality on C95 in Saskatoon, or else they knew her from the endless breast cancer fundraisers she organized over the years.

– One more rum and Coke (didn’t I say that two of them ago?) and I head back up to my room, where more comments have hit my Facebook page. I’m feeling good, but now a little hungry, so I order some wings and pizza from Domino’s. I devour the wings while watching Corner Gas, but I guess that’s all I needed, because the pizza goes untouched. It’ll have to make the trip home with me. In hindsight, I probably should’ve just gotten room service.

– I didn’t think of it when I was packing, but I’m now stuck with no form of white noise so that I can actually get to sleep. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember – I just can’t sleep without some kind of background noise. I’ve used a fan in my bedroom for the longest time, but just this past week my sleep therapy machine arrived in the mail. I now get my beauty rest with the help of ocean waves, and sometimes the sound of a summer night. A word of warning to the future (ex)Mrs. Ruttle – you land me, you land my sleep machine.

SUNDAY, APRIL 22

– I ended up using the Food Network as background noise to lull me to sleep. Strangely enough, that didn’t make me dream of steak, pasta or seafood, though it’s not like I didn’t want it to. Even though I set my cell phone alarm for around 10, I’m up by 8. Weird how that happens. Must be the unfamiliar sleeping environment. Also funny is the fact that despite this bed being stupidly large, I stayed on only one side of it all night. Hmmm. Guess I could’ve invited one of the many lovely ladies clamoring to be my date for this gig. Ha ha ha…………..is he joking?

– I’m packed up again, checked out of the Delta and back in my car by a little after 11 am. But I’m not headed home yet, as I told myself that once everything in Regina was over with, I was gonna take a trip down to Rouleau, where Corner Gas was filmed. I make my way out of the city and arrive in ‘Dog River’ after a half-hour drive.

– This is pretty cool, now that I’m here. I’m staring at the Dog River police station, as well as the bar, and I snap photos. Finally, I make the actual Corner Gas station and Ruby Cafe set the main event of the early afternoon, getting many more snapshots. As it turns out, the inside of the gas station is being renovated because that’s where the memorabilia and gift shop is being moved to as of May 1. It was in the Dog River police station, but now people will actually drive out to Corner Gas to buy something related to Corner Gas, all because of their fondness for the TV show………Corner Gas. CORNER GAS!!!

– Back in the car, and I make my way back home. Again, Howard Stern and the gang keep me company, save for an hour or so when I’m blasting tunes good and loud. I arrive home a little past 4:30, and walk into a house full of people congratulating me once again, this time in person. Feels good. They hear all about the convention, the awards ceremony and my trip down to Rouleau, and it turns out they’ve been preparing a congratulatory supper. We sit down to steak right off the BBQ, seasoned potatoes, asparagus, and then a choice of either chocolate or butter pecan cake for dessert. Good eatin’.

Such was my entire Regina experience. I went, I saw, I ate, I won, I drank, I drank some more, I ate again, I slept, and I left. All in all, a great weekend. I suppose time will only tell if I am summoned to next year’s convention to defend my title. We’ll see.

For now though, I’m happy.

Over the last couple of months, it seems that the phrase “Anything can happen in the WWE” has been ringing loud and true. Fans are now starting to expect the unexpected, and the WWE has delivered that in spades.

We saw The Rock return after seven years.

Stone Cold Steve Austin is teasing some form of in-ring return of his own.

Even Jim Ross is being allowed back behind the commentary table.

Add to all of that the fact that a rock-solid WrestleMania has come and gone, where fans saw The Miz keep the WWE Championship, an intense stare-down between Attitude Era leaders Austin and Rock and an instant classic between The Undertaker and Triple H.

Yes, it’s been quite a time to be a fan of WWE and wrestling in general, (uh-oh, I said the dreaded W-word!) but last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw was shocking and headline-making for all the wrong reasons.

Edge, real name Adam Copeland and an 11-time World Champion in the WWE announced his retirement from the industry.

Saying goodbye on Raw - April 11, 2011


Citing increasing numbness in his arms due to past neck and spinal injuries, Edge took a microphone and told the fans in Bridgeport, CT that doctors have told him to retire if he wants to save his body from any further harm or damage. The fans in the arena were shocked, viewers at home were shocked and the Internet exploded with everyone trying to decipher if this was an angle or a storyline.

Even I took it with a grain of salt. After all, this is pro wrestling we’re talking about. We’re led to suspend our disbelief on everything we see on TV and the only truth that WWE will sell you is what’s good for the company. But as I’ve interacted with other fans about it and thought about it even further, I believe what I was told last night. Edge’s long tenure inside the ring is over.

Nobody wants to see their favorite Superstar’s career come to an end, but it’s a harsh reality. Edge said it himself last night; when it comes to what these men and women do in the ring, a lot of people dismiss it as “smoke and mirrors”, but the truth is that their bodies take the worst punishment of all. I don’t see NBA players doing splashes and dives off of 15-foot ladders, I don’t see NFL guys playing with a torn quadricep in their leg and I sure as hell don’t see hockey players enduring as much brute force as being thrown off a 20-foot cage through a table. But hey, they know how to fall, right? Fuck. You.

Edge is making the best decision for himself by walking away while his body is still intact. Is he at 100%? Far from it. This is a guy who missed out on two WrestleManias because he was at home recovering from a broken neck in 2003/2004. Add to that a list of knee injuries, a broken arm here and there, torn muscles in his upper body and the most recent big injury, a ruptured Achilles tendon, which is described as the worst injury to try and come back from.

By anyone else’s standards, Edge is still a fairly young guy at 37 years old. But considering he’s been doing this for almost two decades, he’s very much a veteran warhorse. He’s stepping away relatively healthy and with his body intact, but I can imagine he still feels the effects of his long career every morning when he wakes up.

I kind of liken this situation with the same one Stone Cold found himself in back in 2003. Nobody could’ve suspected that Austin had wrestled his last match at WrestleMania 19, where The Rock pinned him in the final match of a trilogy between the two. But like Edge, Austin had a history of neck problems and he was forced to step away. Eight years later, and just a week after successfully retaining the World Title at WrestleMania 27, the same issues are forcing Edge to walk away from his career while he still can.

I almost hate that this isn’t a storyline. Edge is one of my all-time favorites, and I don’t want him to retire. But on the flip side of that coin, I admire and respect him for making this decision before some freak accident happened in the ring. He’s getting out before he’s bitter, broken and confined to a wheelchair (COUGH Dynamite Kid COUGH Superstar Billy Graham COUGH). You have to respect that.

As for everything outside of the ring, you have to admire the kind of person that Edge is. He’s the kind of guy that speaks his mind and offers no excuses on his own mistakes, such as opening discussing his experimenting with steroids and the whole Lita/Matt Hardy fiasco from 2005, which WWE turned into a memorable storyline and feud.

And look at the career that Edge has had. If it doesn’t scream HALL OF FAME, then nothing does. Where does Edge rank on the list of all-time greats? If we were looking at a list of 50 wrestlers, I personally wouldn’t have any hesitation at putting him in the top 15. (the WWE’s “official” list of 50 top superstars ranked him at 19)

What makes for a top star? Three things – being able to talk, possess standout in-ring work and an ability to draw big money on all levels. Edge has done that time and time again. He’s leaving at a time where he’s still on top. Hell, until the Smackdown tapings tonight where he’ll relinquish the belt, he’s STILL the World Heavyweight Champion!

The guy has had a one of a kind career in the WWE. Among some of the biggest highlights:

– revolutionized the Ladder match with Christian, the Hardys and Dudleys
– provided countless highlight reel moments with the epic TLC matches (spearing Jeff Hardy from 15 feet in the air at Mania 17)
– won the 2001 King of the Ring
– became a standout singles star after the brand extension on Smackdown in a series of matches with Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero
– won the Tag Titles with childhood idol Hulk Hogan on July 4, 2002
– won the first Money in the Bank
– after cashing it in against Cena, ratings for Raw increased dramatically
– main-evented WrestleMania 24 and Summerslam against The Undertaker in 2008
– lost the WWE Title and then won the World Title in the same night at No Way Out in 2009
– returned from the Achilles tendon injury to win the Royal Rumble in 2010
– currently the man with the most title wins in WWE history, with a total number of 31 championships to his name

Retains the World Title at WrestleMania 27


Those are just a spoonful of the things that Edge has accomplished in his 13-year career in the WWE. He’s done it all. He can kick back on his back porch with a cold beer on a hot day and be more than proud of the matches, moments and memories that he gave fans over the years.

So then, what happens now? Tonight, Edge is scheduled to surrender the World Title at the Smackdown tapings in Albany, NY and I can imagine he’ll say one last goodbye on the show that he’s been the face of for the last few years. Knowing that his forced retirement is legit, I won’t be surprised if I shed a few tears myself when the show airs on Friday night.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but we’re only the fans. I can only imagine the hurt pride that Edge must be feeling himself. But at the same time, he had a career only a select few guys will ever have in pro wrestling, and for that he should be thankful and grateful.

I know I am.

Edge for the 2012 Hall of Fame. Make it happen, McMahon.

Last night was WrestleMania 27, with over 70,000 packing the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

I paid $29 and watched it at a multiplex theater in HD with about 300 other WWE fans. Always an amazing experience. I was grabbing some pizza from the concession and ran into several other fans, sporting garb such as John Cena and Undertaker t-shirts (such as the one I wore myself, see my photos with the Trailer Park Boys for reference). I also wore my Bret Hart cap and Edge pendant, so I was pretty much the stereotypical WWE mark for one night only.

Called it!

Overall, I thought Mania 27 delivered on the hype. There were a few decisions made that I didn’t agree with, and of course it had its share of filler, but for the matches I was looking forward to the most, WWE hits a huge bull’s eye, in my book.

Taken from the WWE Parallel Universe page on Facebook, my overall thoughts on each bout at WrestleMania 27:

Edge vs Del Rio: Nobody could’ve suspected this would go on first, but they had the task of getting the crowd fired up and I think they delivered. Strong match and I was surprised to see Edge retain. I thought for sure Christian was turning heel, especially when he brought out the weapons to smash up Del Rio’s car. Guess not.

Rhodes vs Mysterio: Glad to see Cody get the win here. Solid match with some good action, and I loved that stalling superplex that Cody did. Must’ve had Rey upside down for at least 10 seconds. THAT’S how you create your own WrestleMania moment.

Loved seeing Rock and Austin interact. Attitude Era FTW!

8-Man Tag: Waste of time. The Corre has the Tag and IC Titles, and no heat at all. Feel a little bad for them, but hey, at least one faction made it to Mania. Nexus sat at home.

Savage vs Steamboat 2011

Orton vs Punk: Great match. Very physical. Punk is not a “sports entertainer”, he’s a WRESTLER and he goes out of his way to let people know that. I think he pulled a great performance out of Orton and it’ll be a match that sticks out on Randy’s resume. Loved the submission attempts by Punk, especially the Anaconda Vice. Cool RKO spot to finish it.

Lawler vs Cole: This was the Mania 27 version of Bret/Vince last year. Went on far too long, and what the hell’s the deal with reversing the decision? If they cut short the beer celebration, let Lawler win the match with no reverse decision and shaved 5 minutes off the match, we would’ve got the US Title match. Forgettable contest.

Nothing short of incredible.

Taker vs HHH: Absolutely epic. Blew away my expectations. Those two destroyed each other. Loved seeing Taker get airborn with that splash on the outside as I wasn’t sure he’d ever do that again after Sim Snuka didn’t catch him at WM25. Spinebuster through the Spanish table was brutal.

I loved the last five minutes because it was amazing storytelling. Last year, Taker told HBK to stay down and last night HHH told Taker the same thing.

I have to say, for a SPLIT SECOND I thought the streak was over. When Taker grabbed HHH by the throat, only it was a weak attempt and HHH Tombstoned him, I thought it was over. HHH enduring Hell’s Gate while trying to grab the sledge was fantastic. Taker collapsing after it was over and being carted away was great drama. Just an incredible match.

Personally, I thought it was a better match than Taker/HBK 2 from last year, but not quite on the level of WM25. Then again, it’s two very different styles coming from HBK and HHH. Taker is the greatest of all time. He’s the true Mr. WrestleMania.

6-man tag: The buffer match. Couldn’t care less about it.

Miz vs Cena: I liked the video packages hyping the two, but Cena’s entrance was terrible and the Georgia Dome crapped all over it. I see Cena’s now pimping red kiddie gear.

I wanted to like the match, I really did. In the end though, I just thought it was average, and average is not what you pull out at WrestleMania. And I’m not deliberately picking on him, but Cena just seemed to be off his game. Like it was a bad day at the office. Miz looked fierce and determined, as he should’ve, but Cena just looked kind of there like he wasn’t putting his full effort into it. Did anyone else notice this?

I thought it was a bold move going for the fake double countout finish, but The Rock restarting the match was obvious. Then Cena eats a Rock Bottom and Miz is still Champ. That made me happy. Show closing with Rock was the right move because he was at the center of all the hype and promotion.

It’ll be interesting to see what develops on Raw tonight.

Overall, I thought it was a very strong WrestleMania. I enjoyed it more than 25 and 26. There were a couple things I didn’t like and it’s too bad the US Title match got cut, but far more positives than negatives in my view. The WWE Title match should’ve been so much better and Cena has no excuse for going through the motions (at least in my opinion), but it was cool to see Miz go from opening Mania last year to main eventing it last night. It shows that WWE can still make superstars.

Overall, I’d give it an 8/10. Though I was looking forward to a couple matches on the undercard, I was watching this mainly for Taker/HHH and The Rock’s involvement and I was not disappointed at all. Great show.

The overall opinion as far as the net is concerned is that Mania 27 suffered from the same would that 25 did in 2009, where one match was so epic that nothing was going to top it. Because Triple H and The Undertaker produced such an instant classic, the WWE Title match between The Miz and John Cena suffered from an exhausted crowd. Aside from that, the match was very sub-par to begin with and Cena was going through the motions, for which he has no excuse. Miz completely outperformed him and he was the right man to walk out with the WWE Title. At least in that sense, I was happy with the WrestleMania main event.

In a nutshell, it was more enjoyable than the last two Manias, but 24 still holds up very well as far as being the last epic WrestleMania. I think 27 will go down as the show that gave back to the older fans and was a bit of a throwback to the Attitude Era, which pleases viewers like myself. In my view, it deserves every bit of success that WWE hopes it reached, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was able to break the one million PPV buyrate mark.

Raw tonight is definitely gonna be interesting.

I’m out,
DR

Just Let This End Already…

Posted: October 21, 2010 in local, news

So if you live in Outlook or anywhere near there, the big agriculture issue right now, and has been for the last five months is this whole Namaka Farms feedlot proposal. In a nutshell, the Thiessen family has gone to the RM of Rudy and proposed a vision for a feedlot operation to eventually house up to 36,000 head of cattle. There are those for it and those against it, and two public meetings were held over two back-to-back Thursday nights in June.

Now, the RM is reaching their decision and will hold one last public event tonight in the Outlook court room. There really is no official word on what is going down in this meeting, but it’s being said that the RM councilors will either be voting or have already reached a decision on the proposal and will simply announce it.

Whatever the case, I won’t be attending the meeting. For one, my brother and I have tickets to see a comedy show up in Saskatoon tonight (Ricky, Julian and Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys! FTW!), but secondly I put a lot of my own personal time into my job as a reporter, and I think I deserve to go out and have some fun and be off the clock, for a change. My buddy Tim, a co-worker and also a great writer is filling in for me.

However, I did attend last night’s meeting, which was a closed door affair held by the RM in their council chambers. This served as a last-minute forum for those with views or concerns to share them with the RM councilors.

Probably the most significant pieces of news to come out of the meeting is the fact that people opposed to Namaka’s idea put together a petition and went out gathering signatures. They reportedly received over 300 names and the results of their findings were as follows:

– 60% against the feedlot
– 10% for it
– 30% disinterested and/or having no opinion

What was interesting to hear is that some people reportedly told these petition carriers that they were told to refrain from sharing their position or views on the proposal.

But what I find particularly interesting when it comes to these signatures is that a number of them are from people who don’t live or pay taxes in the RM of Rudy. Just this past Monday night, people were knocking on my door and I live in Conquest, which is in the RM of Fertile Valley. We don’t get our drinking water from anywhere near this proposed feedlot site, so in that sense aren’t affected at all when it comes to any potential harm. How much weight can this list of over 300 names even carry if some of the signatures are from people looking in from the outside?

Wherever people sit on the fence with this issue, I think it’s safe to say that they’ll be glad when all this debating, arguing and finger pointing is over so the RM can make their official decision.

In the meantime, here’s the link to a groovy little piece of audio. I appeared on NewsTalk 650 radio this morning to discuss last night’s meeting and just some general points about the feedlot proposal with show host, Brent Loucks. In truth, I wish I wasn’t so nervous but I don’t think I was horrible. I had two pages of notes in front of me and was ready to read some of them off, but it just sounded like Brent wanted to hit on some general feedback points, which was cool with me.