The Week That Was: AWE Goes To Ashe
Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic / Icon Sportswire
Last Wednesday night, the two-year-old All Elite Wrestling (AEW) made their New York debut in front of a crowded Arthur Ashe Stadium for a two-hour card that was televised nationally on DTT cable. within the framework of the AEW. weekly “Dynamite! ” spectacle.
From the start, it was clear that AEW wanted to do their best. There was no doubt that AEW CEO Tony Kahn wanted to send a message to his WWE counterpart, Vince McMahon, that he had a formidable contender for the first time in at least a generation, coming into the Queens.
To push that point down, Game 1 saw current AEW Champion Kenny Omega take on former WWE belt holder Bryan Danielson, known at the time as Daniel Bryan. These guys put on a classic thirty minute game. This is the kind that WWE has avoided for at least 40 years. Soon after, Dr Britt Baker, who has a dental practice in Winter Park, Fla., Beat Ruby Soho in another long match to retain her Women’s Championship title. Both matches would make the headlines of a typical WWE pay-per-view.
Cody Rhodes, who is the son of the late wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes, and his wife, Brandi, are the most prominent faces of All Elite Wrestling. They star in a new TNT series Wednesday night at 10 p.m., “Rhodes to the Top,” which looks at the couple’s private life. Both are AEW executives besides being talented and it is clear that the first two are much more serious. Cody Rhodes had a brief match in which he allowed himself to be annihilated by a villain named Malakay Black (real name: Tom Budgen). The black character is clearly an Undertaker knockoff of recently retired WWE star Mark Calaway. It was Rhodes’ job to sell Malakay Black to the public. The fighting jargon for this is ‘put it on top’.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman, who grew up twenty miles east of the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Plainview, has generated a lot of buzz due to both his great athleticism and his rapier spirit. Friedman defeated Brian Pillman, Jr. in a very physical match which showed the excellent stunt work of both men.
Sadly, the producers of AEW didn’t let Friedman speak to fans in his hometown, which was the night’s biggest disappointment. Instead, they chose to let CM Punk (real name Phil Brooks) who was a big WWE star ten years ago get the allotted microphone time for the night. Punk became massively popular for his Don Rickles in which he broke the fourth wall by insulting the corporate culture of WWE. CM Punk is still a dynamic speaker, but her role now is to be a cheerleader for the new AEW and mentor young grapplers, so her gossip isn’t as funny as it used to be.
There have been countless documentaries on Muhammad Ali who remains the best known athlete in that other ring sport, boxing. Ken Burns, who has long been the gold standard in documentary making, has been hired by PBS to examine the life of the man aptly known as “The Greatest.” “Muhammad Ali” was an eight-hour production that ran for four nights locally on Channel 13 here in New York City and is now available on demand at pbs.org.
There’s plenty of footage of Ali’s iconic fights with Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and Ken Norton, as well as his humorous interaction with Howard Cosell that ended up making him a household name. Former New York Times sports reporter and Rego Park native Robert Lipsyte comments on interactions with Ali.
New York Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello might not be the warmest guy, but he knows his hockey and he doesn’t tolerate silly things. I have to applaud him for stating at the start of Islanders training camp that all Islanders players must have their COVID-19 shots or they won’t be on the squad. Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks must take a similar hard line with goaltender Kyrie Irving who so far has refused to get the shot. Irving is an incredibly talented player, but his ‘walk to your own batsman’ act is tiring and shouldn’t be tolerated for a second when public health is at stake.
Watching the Mets, who were knocked out of the playoffs on Saturday, has been a dismal form of entertainment since mid-July, but studio SNY’s pre-game and post-game shows are still worth watching due to great work from host Gary Apple, former Mets player Todd Zeile and Anthony Recker, and former team general manager Jim Duquette. SNY gave former Mets reliever Jerry Blevins a try, who has always been very accommodating to the media as a player. Blevins shows his audience the same insight and humor as he does to the press in the Mets clubhouse.
New York Times tennis writer Christopher Clarey wrote a 400-page biography of Roger Federer aptly titled “The Master,” given his dominance of professional tennis when it was at its peak (Twelve Books ). Unfortunately, it all too often strikes her as a long love letter. Having spoken to Federer several times over the years during the US Open, I agree with Clarey’s assessment that he is easygoing and very engaging. Unlike many professional athletes, he enjoys talking to the media. However, you don’t need 400 pages to figure this out. Clarey, also makes sure the reader knows that Federer knows him and his family fairly well. It reminds me of the first year of “Saturday Night Live” when Chevy Chase used to say with sufficient condescension, “I’m Chevy Chase and you aren’t!”
The onset of fall means cooler weather means it’s time to do some housework that many of us have delayed due to the heat and humidity of summer. A new company, MomRemedy (mom-remedy.com), makes non-toxic cleaners and wipes that remove stains, grease, and grime from hydrogen peroxide.
Fall is also a wonderful time for fresh produce and dairy products. Vermont, which is best known for its verdant mountains and winter skiing, is home to the Vermont Creamery (vermontcreamery.com) which since 1984 has been making goat cheese, various aged cheeses, cultured butters and flavored creams. For years their products were only found in specialty retailers, but nowadays they are available in most well-known supermarkets.
A funny-named pillow company, Honeydew Sleep (honeydewsleep.com), has developed a product called the Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow for those who don’t like sleeping on their backs. The shape of this pillow resembles the Australian mainland, and it makes reading in bed easier due to the support it gives to your neck and therefore has utility even for traditional sleepers. The “honeydew” in the company name refers to the head they slyly call a “melon.”