wrestling / Columns

The Crystal Ball 8.9.06: The Ball Drops In New York

August 9, 2006 | Posted by Steve Sullivan

Ok so this week, I’m giving you two options. One, you can read this story. It’s about me. Not really about wrestling, but me and what wrestling got me this past weekend. It’s more about the opporunity of this website. So before you start sending me emails telling me how pointless this column was, I’m giving you the option to skip down and read some a few OVW comments I had this week. I’m going to be honest. I’m tired. I’m still jetlagged. I was awake for 73 of the 80 something hours I spent in New York City this weekend and I’m still paying for it, so thinking comprehensively isn’t going to happen much this week. So if you don’t want to read about my experience, skip down now. Consider yourself warned!

With that, welcome one and welcome all back to the OVW Crystal Ball. I gotta admit. 12 Years ago when I visited New York City, I made a vow that I would never return. I’m definatly a small town guy and the fact that I am living in Lexington with a metro population of about 250,000 is a miracle in itself. But this past weekend had to rank up there as one of the most exciting weekend I can recall. The Big Apple has changed a lot since the last time I visited, and so have I. Yeah sure the landscape changed dramatically since the last time I was there, which was part of the reason I wanted to go anyway. I’ve been wanting to pay my respects for the last 5 years but that’s neither here or there. This week, I want to share my experience with you. Some of you may think of this as being self absorbent or Randy Ortonish. And maybe you’re right in a sense. But, none of this would have ever happened without wrestling or 411mania, so I am looking at this as a “Score One For A Wrestling Fan”.

First off, in case you’re out in the dark, about 3 weeks ago I received an email from a television producer here in New York City named Stephen Palgon. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think. I’m a pretty skeptical guy and the grammar and spelling in the email were pretty far off so I decided to look more into and get the opinions of others, including my brothers here at 411. Of course the 411 family was all for this but only if it were legit. So I did my research and found out that Mr. Palgon was not only legit as a producer for the Madison Square Garden Network, but he has won an emmy or two for some of the productions he has made while with the network. So as you can imagine, that was my deciding point.

Stephen emailed me back and told me what he was looking for. He wanted writers, broadcasters, and long time wrestling fans to interview about wrestling in Madison Square Garden, with an emphasis on Wrestlemania 1. Well lucky for him, I am a writer. I am a broadcaster (I’m a radio DJ here in Lexington). And I’ve been a wrestling fan since before I was born. I distinctly remember watching that first Wrestlemania with my parents as a very young kid. It’s one of my earliest memories actually! I will admit that I was a Hulkamaniac. As painful as that is for me to say sometimes. I even ate the vitamins.

Stephen and I emailed each other back and forth and finally I made the final decision to put out the money and fly myself up to Manhattan for the weekend. We briefly spoke on the phone (mainly so I knew he was real) and we decided the weekend I had originally aimed for may not work, so I went ahead and did the weekend before. Well 2 weeks passed after I emailed Stephen my flight information and I began to get a bit worried. It wasn’t until about 12 hours before my flight left on Friday that I wrote him an email as a basic “Looking forward to doing this” type of thing. The response I got made my heart race. He didn’t think I was coming!

Now normally, my luck would have ran out right there. I would have been stuck with a 300 dollar plane ticket to the largest city in the whole damn country, by myself, and now it was for no reason. But as I read on, he was able to get me an interview and a crew set up for 6pm. This could not have turned out more perfect. Now I didn’t have to rush. They were going out of their way for me and I really felt that “Big Time New York” feeling that some people get. I had an entire production crew being put together just for me in New York City. How many people can say that who aren’t in like movies or any kind of medium like that? 411mania is getting the total VIP treatment! PWI still lost out by the way.

Apparently I made a pretty bad mistake when I decided to save about 30 bucks and fly into Newark instead of Laguardia. In order to get back and forth between the city and my airport, I had to rely upon a TON of public transportation. Firstly, from the airport, I had to take the free airport shuttle from my hotel, which roughly took about 45 minutes to arrive and pick me up to take me where I needed to go. Once there, I had to wait on the shuttle to come pick me up again so I could go BACK to the airport. Once at the airport, I had to wait on the monorail to take me to the correct concourse. Once at the correct concourse, I had to find the correct train that would take me to the city. Note to self: go to Laguardia next time.

Once I did arrive at Penn Station, I felt a lot better. It was an hour and a half before my set time and as I emerged from the train station, I saw the forest of buildings of New York City, and right next to me was Madison Square Garden, the reason I was here. The reason why I write about wrestling.

At this point, my nerves were a wreck because it hit me that I really was going to do this. I found the building and went up and introduced myself and sat down for awhile. I actually pulled out last week’s Crystal Ball and some emails I received from some of you last week to study up on what I wanted to say!

Mr. Palgon came by and we started chatting about wrestling and the website and he actually sat down and read the printed version of The Crystal Ball. I was almost kind of worried that he would look at it and be like, “You’ve got no clue what you’re talking about, get out of my building!” Luckily that didn’t happen and it was time to head back to the studio and get to work.

When I got into the studio, my nerves really kicked in. More so than they were. I’ve only been writing about wrestling for 10 months now, did I really have the knowledge and the intelligence to be here in New York City talking about it? Apparently so, because all of a sudden, I was talking. And talking. And talking.

Overall, my interview on camera with Stephen Palgon went way better than I could have ever expected. I answered most every single question I could with animated response. Working in broadcasting, I kind of knew the kind of answers he was looking for. And proud to say, I never once used my cheat sheet! The interview went on for about 20 minutes or so and had a few times where I was asked to repeat myself so that’s when I knew I said something good. If I had to guess, I’d say you’ll see a lot of my comments on the show, which is scheduled to air on the Madison Square Garden Network this October.

Some of you are going to hate that I sat here and wrote this but you know what, get over it. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. But the fact of the matter is, 411mania is getting larger than life. And I am proud of the fact that I was able to represent 411mania in New York City and put it where the likes of guys like Vince McMahon and Howard Finkel, who are also expected to be a part of the show, can see that we exist and see what we do.

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But just so that this column isn’t completely wasted, there are a few OVW tidbits I’d like to throw out there sooooo, I OFFICIALLY welcome you to the beginning of this week’s Crystal Ball! Short as it may be because let’s face it, I’m freakin tired.

– C.M. Punk made his debut last week on ECW, defeating Justin Credible. Finally, C.M. Punk fans were able to get what they’ve asked for over the last couple of years. Punk was said to be very emotional after the match and rightfully so. Punk made it out of the Hammerstien Ballroom with the crowd behind him, not a feat that many of his ECW buddies did that night. That same week, C.M. Punk also became the second wrestler in OVW history to become a Triple Crown Champion when he and his teammate Seth Skyfire won the OVW Southern Tag Team Titles against Shad Gaspard & The Neighborhoodie. That reign however was very short as Deuce and Domino defeated Punk and Skyfire for the Tag Titles this past week.

-Elijah Burke made his wrestling debut on Smackdown this past Friday as well, defeating a jobber. I was pretty disappointed in Burke’s match, though I’m glad to hear the big sell by JBL. What disappointed me was the way they are having Burke finish his matches. Normally, The Elijah Experience was an X-Factor. They turned it into a Russian Leg Sweep into a submission move or something. I’d never seen Burke win a match by submission before so it was pretty odd. I also don’t like the fact that he’s playing a heel. He’s got way too much charisma and gets way too much energy from the crowd to remain a heel for long. Hopefully by starting out as a heel, he can manage a major face turn that will take his career in a better direction. I just don’t see how we will see the full potential of Elijah Burke in his current situation, but it is good to see him wrestling on WWE TV finally.

-KC James & Idol Stevens made their WWE debuts on Smackdown defeating Funaki & Scotty 2 Hotty. And I’m going to be very honest here. You guys know how much I love OVW, and how excited I get when someone from OVW makes their way onto the WWE stage, but this debut was probably the sloppiest and most embarrassing callup I’ve seen since I started writing this column. I felt extremely let down after being so excited about their debut. By the way, JBL, these guys have NOT been a tag team that long. In fact, that was their first REAL tag team match since teaming up. They hadn’t even really had a true tag team match in OVW yet. This just seemed to be a train wreck of a tag team that was thrown together at the last second, and it probably was. Both guys looked clueless out there, especially Idol Stevens, who I expected a lot more out of than what I saw of him this Friday night. I still stand by my word that these guys are going to win the WWE Tag Team Titles at Summerslam, but the WWE really needs to get to work on this team and fast otherwise this will be over quicker than you can say The Dicks.

-Speaking of The Dicks, Chad Wicks, aka Chad Dick, is now playing a stripping fireman. And kids everywhere rejoiced.

-Speaking of KC James & Idol Stevens tag teaming, they are set to take on OVW newcomer Cody Runnels and WWE Legend Dusty Rhodes, better known as Pappy to his teammate. That of course will take place at a Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom event that we’ll never hear about.

-Brent “Gunner Scott” Albright won a 10 man Gauntlet match last week on OVW TV. His reward: A match against Randy Orton at the next Six Flags event. Oooo. I guess Brent really is back for good in OVW now, which in a way is good to see because it looks like they are keeping him where he belongs, and thats in the spotlight with his arm raised in the air. I would hate to see him come back to OVW and job out like most WWE rejects end up doing when they are sent back down.

-Jacob Duncan made his OVW debut this past week as well. Or did he? This is actually Tytus, or Triton, or however you may remember him. Mama would be proud.

-New signee Mike Kruel also made his OVW debut this past week as part of the 10 man Gauntlet match won by Brent Albright. I can see it now next year. Kruel vs. Cool (Carlito for those who are slow) in 2007. I’d like to say he showed a lot of promise but all he did was hit Albright with a chair, complain, and tap out. Life can be so….harsh. Bet ya didn’t see that coming.

It’s a big time for OVW. Thank you WWE Wellness! All the talent that been crowding OVW recently is finally getting the chance to shine on a WWE screen while a lot of new guys are getting their turn at OVW glory. I expect to see a lot out of guys like Cody Runnels, Charles Evans, Mike Kruel, Shawn Spears, and Boris Alexiev in the months to step up big in the latter half of 2006 while guys like Seth Skyfire, Deuce, and Domino will probably be the next bunch to get the OVW callup. OVW is also in the midst of getting a decent women’s division brewing as well, which I assume is due to the news that both Trish and Lita are planning on leaving the WWE very soon. There are some very hot women in OVW right now fellas, so try not to be too disappointed.

And that my friends is going to do it for this short edition of The Crystal Ball. I’m tired. My VCR is acting up. (Hence no TV Report this week.) And I’m tired. Check in with me next week for some better and more elaborate thoughts on OVW. And of course, email me some stuff. Until then my friends…

Quit staring at my ball!


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Steve Sullivan
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