A Night To Remember

November 21, 2011

The Rock returned at Madison Square Garden

A couple of things I’d like to discuss this week. Last night, along with a posse of friends from work, I attended WWE Survivor Series from the newly remodeled Madison Square Garden. I’ve been to several notable WWE pay per views before, including, of course, Wrestlemania earlier this year in Atlanta, but last night had kind of a special feel to it. Last night was not only the first WWE event in the Garden since they spend many millions of dollars in renovations, but it was the return to in-ring action, for the first time in seven years, of Dwayne Johnson, better known as the Rock. The Rock is a singular and unique wrestler that left an indelible mark on the world of sports-entertainment, but he’s so much more than that. He was a national champion in college football at the University of Miami before coming to the WWE in ’96, where he became one of the most popular and charismatic wrestlers of all time. But even that wasn’t enough for him. He’s since gone on to appear in over a dozen movies, and frankly, he’s been just as successful in Hollywood as he has in every other facet of his amazing career. This is a man who has had several careers, actually, and his versatility is just astonishing to me. He actually has some acting talent, a bit broad, admittedly, but I think unarguably better than any of the other wrestlers who have gone on to appear in movies, Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Roddy Piper, or Andre the Giant, just to name a few. But fans of the WWE, of which I, or course, am one, will always know him best for what he delivers in the ring, and last night, he didn’t appear to have lost a step, even after seven years. He’s still the most electrifying man in all of entertainment, and he can still mix it up with the best of them. I think the most gratifying part of last night, though, was seeing the event along with my friend Jeremy’s four year old son. Before he left for the show he was showing me all his WWE action figures, and I think he was the most excited of any of us. This was his first trip to the Garden, his first time seeing his heroes live, and I think it’s safe to say we made him a fan for life. He watched it all with eyes as big as dinner plates, applauded and yelled as much as anyone. He has been officially indoctrinated, and I’m glad to have been a part of it. He will be another loyal soldier in Vince McMahon’s army.

On another subject, I would be remiss, I think, if I didn’t at least mention Zuccotti Park being cleared out by the cops a few days ago. I had written about the Occupy Wall Street movement a couple of times on the site in the past few weeks, including their marching on the Park Avenue building where I work, but what I thought was kind of funny was this article I read in The Village Voice, the venerable New York publication, last week about what conditions were becoming like in the park and what could be done to keep the criminal and druggie element out. Not that those aren’t serious issues; what I thought was funny was that the writer of the article clearly thought that the city, if not the park’s owners, was going to keep letting people stay there indefinitely. They weren’t, and they didn’t. Actually, right when that edition of The Voice came out, the park was swept clean in a nighttime raid by the N.Y.P.D. Many arrests were made, there were some injuries on both sides, but when daylight came, the park was empty, all right. Not a hippie or hipster remained. And you know what? That was inevitable. Anyone who thought differently was kidding themselves. As for what will happen to this so-called “movement” now, it’s anybody’s guess. I wrote here on the site before that I sympathize with the protestors, and I still do. I think they had, and have, some serious grievances. But I completely agree that the clearing of the park needed to happen. Setting aside the issues of hypothermia and the likelihood of disease spreading in increasingly unclean conditions, the toll that the innocent small business owners in that area of downtown were paying was completely unreasonable, and unfair. Many of those in Zuccotti Park professed to be concerned with the plight of those same small business owners, yet they weren’t willing to leave voluntarily. So be it. Bloomberg did the right thing by giving them the bum’s rush. I think he should have given them a deadline so they knew what was coming rather than raiding the camp in the night, causing needless panic and injury, but the bottom line is, the deed is done now. You would have to interview some of the members of the fractured camp, of the fractured movement, if you wanted to know if they feel they accomplished something. But if they did, I have to question what it was, exactly. Because the things they were complaining about most vocally don’t really seem to have changed at all.

I’ll conclude this week by saying I hope everyone has a happy and a healthy turkey day this Thursday. Megan and I are celebrating the holiday quietly at home, and although my family has been clamoring for us to get back to Cincinnati, possibly next year, I must say, I’m looking forward to a small celebration. No traveling, no holiday crowds to push through, lost luggage or stomach-wrenching air travel that I so detest. Just good wholesome food, football, and some alone time with the woman I love. I couldn’t think of much more to be thankful for. Cheers, more soon.

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