Mailbag

NBA Finals Mega Mailbag

The 2014 NBA Finals are upon us and we’re set for an epic re-match of last year’s gut punch of a Finals. In my life there have only been two non-Chicago/Notre Dame related losses that brought me to tears, I mean near tears obviously I never cry. The first was the 2009 British Open when 59-year old Tom Watson needed a par to win his 6th Open Championship. What was about to be the greatest golf victory of all-time was ruined by a trampoline bounce on a ball that landed 20 yards short of the green and rolled to a stop a few yards passed. This unfortunate bounce led to a tired Watson praying that he could manufacture a two-putt for the win only to miss his par attempt several inches to the right and end up in a playoff. Completely out of gas, Watson lost the four-hole playoff by six strokes to Stewart Cink. I was completely devastated, Cink immediately became my least favorite golfer for robbing me of witnessing an aged, wise Watson lift the Claret Jug one more time.

The second was last year’s NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs have been my second favorite team to watch play my favorite sport. I never understood why people found them so boring. Is it boring to watch a team play the game fundamentally sound? To be connected both on defense and offense? Even Dr. James Naismith could not have imagined a team perfecting his sport to the level the Spurs have. And there they were, seconds away from a fifth championship. Tim Duncan about to seal best player of his generation title and just like that it all went away. Brutal, absolutely brutal. It was as if George RR Martin took over the NBA Finals and decided that crushing our hearts 10 weeks a year was not enough, he had to do it one more time.

Stewart Cink already got his justice with this awful tan line.

blog-stewart-cink-tan-line

Now it is time for the Miami Heat to get its comeuppance. And to get us ready, I thought it would be a good time to dip into the mailbag. As always, these are actual questions from actual readers.

Be honest, you wrote an article about how awesome the Stanley Cup Playoffs are to ignore the complete collapse of your favorite team, the Chicago Bulls, since getting bounced by the Heat in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. – Matt, Detroit

How dare you make such an accusation. I never have alternative motives for my articles. The NHL just has a more exciting product come playoff time and the NBA playoffs were a snooze fest this spring.

Something tells me we've not seen the last Hawks vs Kings WCF.

Something tells me we’ve not seen the last Hawks vs Kings WCF.

Suck it! How do you like your precious Blackhawks now? The Kings rule the roost! #Dynasty – Jessica, Los Angeles

It would be easy for me to be the lesser man and point out that a dynasty requires actual fans. To point out that I didn’t see too many Kings fans till they came back from 3-0 down to the Sharks. If I were a lesser man, I could bring out evidence like the local ratings for Game 7, a 22.7 share in Chicago compared to LA with a 4.8. It actually did a better share in Buffalo than it did in LA. Or how Forbes just named Blackhawk fans the most loyal in all of the NHL. But I’m not a lesser man, so I’ll take the high road and simply offer my congratulations. And honestly, a part of me is happy that you won because it adds a lot of fuel to a budding rivalry. See you next year Kings fans that is if you remember what Hockey is still.

Does Tim Duncan really become the best player of his generation if he wins this title? He would only tie Kobe and his stats are not nearly as impressive. –  George, Los Angeles

Not nearly as impressive? Tell me which player you’d rather have.

Player A: 21.4 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, 2.4 BPG, .499 FG%, .692 FT%

Player B: 25.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, .448 FG%, .816 FT%

Alright, so it is obvious who is who here, but give me Tim Duncan’s career playoff averages over Kobe’s. Yes Kobe scores more, but he also shoots a lower percentage and Duncan affects the game in more ways. Yes Kobe has the head-to-head playoff edge, but he had Shaq while Duncan had an over the hill David Robinson and a young Parker and Ginobili for the ’01 and ’02 playoffs. Plus Derek Fisher’s ridiculous 0.04 second game winner remains the difference maker in the series. Give me Duncan’s career over Kobe’s every time.

The best of his generation.

The best of his generation.

When are you Chicago people going to get over yourselves and admit that Lebron is better than MJ? If they played one-on-one it would be no contest. Lebron is way too big and fast for Jordan to handle? – Hannah, Miami. 

How about, never. Does that work for you?

Why do people hate Lebron so much? He’s the most talented guy to ever play the game. From all accounts he is a gracious, charitable, and loyal guy. He didn’t constantly cheat on his wife, bitch out all his teammates, gamble his way into a “retirement” to play baseball for a year and a half, and be a dickhead like the supposed G.O.A.T. – Colin, Seattle 

First off, easy with the loose accusations there, Colin. Secondly, sports hate is illogical. There is no valid reason to hate Lebron. Like you said he is a jovial guy who is extremely loyal to the people close to him. All admirable traits, but for some reason the illogical Id that drives being a sports fan takes over and makes me just hate the guy. It’s called being a fan, or fanatic, for a reason – you have to be a little crazy. Part of it is just not letting go of the fucking Decision or the even more appalling celebration ceremony before they even played a game, but the other part is just cause I want to. I want to hate Lebron, it feels good to hate Lebron. Even though I know I’m being a total asshole, I still like to do it anyway. None of it has to make sense, it just is.

Has Tony Parker is underrated reached a new level of over used? Should his license read “The Underrated” Tony Parker?  Is it just me or does the fact that the Spurs dominated the Thunder in the second half of Game 6 without Parker prove that he is actually overrated? The way he dominates the ball at times seems to take the Spurs out of the beautiful flow of their offense- Mark, Dallas 

The Spurs need Tony Parker as much as the women of San Antonio.

The Spurs need Tony Parker as much as the women of San Antonio.

Quite the scatter brained question there. Let me provide the answer for you, no. Parker is definitely not overrated, nor is he underrated, he is properly rated. Can he dominate the ball at times, sure, but the Spurs need him. They can play in spurts without him, but they don’t have a chance in this series if he doesn’t play. Patty Mills and Curtis Joseph cannot do what he does. Parker is a creator on team that doesn’t have many. When you’re going up against the best playmaker in the game today, you need a Tony Parker. A great offensive flow is terrific, but even the splendid Spurs cannot keep the ball moving for 48 minutes. Offenses slow down, whether from great defense or fatigue, eventually they slow down. In those times you need a guy that can create something out of nothing. Duncan can’t do it for an entire series anymore. Although he will have one throwback game in this series, you best believe that. Kawhi Leonard isn’t quite there yet to be able to do it consistently for an entire series. And Ginobili is in the same boat as Duncan. Parker is the only guy with the experience to do it consistently and the legs, when healthy, to do it every night. The Spurs need to hit 10 or more threes in four games this series and have Parker be able to operate at at least 80% capacity. If not Pat Riley will be cashing in on his Three-peat trademark.

Where would this Heat three-peat rank on the list of all-time three peats? – Jonesy, Atlanta

There have only ever been 16 three-peats in the history of American Professional sports, five in the NBA. To save time let’s just focus on the NBA three-peats.

  • 1952-54 Minneapolis Lakers
  • 1959-66 Boston Celtics (8-peat)
  • 1991-93 Chicago Bulls
  • 1996-98 Chicago Bulls
  • 2000-02 Los Angeles Lakers

The Celtics have to be number one just because they did 8 years in a row. No matter the competition that is impressive. Next would have to be the 91-93 Bulls because that was at the peak of the NBA. The 1993 NBA playoffs is considered by many to be the greatest of all-time. Well at least by Uncle Bill Simmons in the Book of Basketball. Then the 96-98 Bulls because it won 72 games and beat one of the best Finals runner-ups, the Utah Jazz, in consecutive years. Fourth, the 00-02 Lakers, despite the Eastern Conference delivering subpar opponents in the Finals, the Western Conference was a gauntlet all three years and the Lakers defeated many top teams. The Heat would probably fall fifth, just because the league did not offer much competition in 52-54 and simply having the best big man, George Mikan, was enough to win a title. The Heat have made it through a crap Eastern Conference four years in a row, one year losing the title, then beating a young, inexperienced Thunder team, and getting extremely fortunate to beat the Spurs last year. Which brings us to our next question…

Am I crazy to think that the Miami Heat would not have reached a NBA Finals if they had been in the Western Conference the past four seasons? – Mike, Chicago 

There is no denying that the Three Kings would've had a much harder time in the West the last four years.

There is no denying that the Three Kings would’ve had a much harder time in the West the last four years.

Yes, but not four straight that is for sure. Winning these past four Eastern Conference Championships is not much of a feat. Look who they beat this year, the Charlotte Bobcats, the Senior Tour NBA Champs – Brooklyn Nets, and an Indiana Pacers team that unraveled like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Certainly less impressive than the Spurs route, a Dallas Mavericks team that won 49 games and knows them better than any team, a young and talented Portland Trailblazers team, and the MVP with the most dominant athlete not named Lebron James – Russell Westbrook. Clearly the Heat would not have made the Finals in 2011 since it lost to Mavs, who were dominant all postseason. They would’ve made it in 2012 since they were clearly better than the young Thunder team that got past a cap shedding Mavs team, an aging Lakers team, and the Spurs whose young corp had not quite gelled at that point. Last year would’ve been interesting considering that the Spurs might have finished the deal had they had one less series on its odometer. Plus there was the chance it could’ve matched up against the Memphis Grizzles, a terrible matchup that I don’t think they could’ve handled if Lebron had to guard Z-Bo for 7 games. I know I come off as a Heat hater, but I legitimately think that they would not have gotten out of last year’s Western Conference. And this year’s was even tougher considering only 3 teams in the East had a better record than the Suns who did not make the playoffs. Actually, I apologize, Mike. You’re not that crazy to think that as I think they only would’ve made one Finals.

How good is Kevin Love going to look in a Warriors jersey next year? Are Love and Curry pick n’ rolls going to be the most unguardable plays since Kareem’s skyhook? I think so. – Matt C., Santa Monica 

Seems to fit him well.

Seems to fit him well.

Why am I not surprised that you would hijack this NBA Finals mailbag with a question about a team that hasn’t been to one since the 70s, Matt C. Since you’re a loyal reader I’ll address it. Love would be a great fit for the Warriors, especially if they can get him for just David Lee and Klay Thompson. Obviously Lee and Harrison Barnes would be even better, but since David Khan is no longer Minnesota’s GM that will never happen. But they won’t be a title contender unless Bogut can stay healthy for an entire season. Love can do a lot of things, but defend is not one of them. They can get away with having two sub-par defenders on the floor if Bogut is out there, as Iggy can guard the best perimeter player and Bogut can protect the rim as well as anyone. But at this point there is nothing to convince me that Bogut is capable of staying healthy, so the Warriors ceiling would remain the second round. The only other way around this is if they luck into a rim protector in the draft, but even then he would not be ready to compete in year one. I still say it is worth making as a nucleus of Curry-Love-Iggy still puts them closer to a championship in the highly competitive Western conference than they currently are. Best of luck.

I can’t handle getting my heart broken a second year in a row. Please tell me you see a happy ending at the end of this season? I need to see Timmy and Pop embrace and let out 17 years of emotion as confetti rains down at the AT&T Center. – Michelle, San Antonio 

I hate to break your heart, Michelle, but I just can’t in good conscious predict a happy ending for your Spurs. Unfortunately the NBA is no longer about the best team winning, but the best player. Lebron James is that good and no amount of late night Pop strategy is going to be able to contain him. When the chips are down and the Heat’s backs are against the wall they always rise to the occasion. We’re talking about a team that hasn’t lost back-to-back playoff games in three years. It is just too hard to beat them four times over a 7 game series. I don’t see enough left in the Spurs tank to finish the job they should’ve last year. Plus a shitty Eastern Conference allowed Dwayne Wade to get the rest he needed to have fresh legs for this series. The Heat are the more rested, less banged up team and that will prove to be too much to handle over the course of this series. As much as it pains me to write this I have to make the prediction I believe in, Heat in 6. Congrats Pat Riley, you finally get that three-peat you trademarked all those years ago.

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Friday Mailbag: TV Edition

The traditional television season is coming to a close and while that does not carry the same significance as it did 10 years ago, let alone 30, I still thought it would be a good excuse to breakout the mailbag to see what is on everyone’s mind. As always these are actual emails from actual readers.

This week at Upfronts NBC did everything short of holding a ticker tape parade to celebrate finishing first in the key demo, 18-49. Is it too cynical of me to suggest they shouldn’t be celebrating inflated ratings due to Sunday Night Football and the Winter Olympics? – Johnathan, Boise. 

There is a lot swagger around the Universal lot this week. Yesterday I saw the Big Chief himself, Bob Greenblatt, strutting to the Commissary in jeans and his sleeves rolled up. After a decade plus of being the laughing stock of the Big Four I think a little celebration is deserved. However, I do agree with your assessment, there is no getting around the fact that the victory was earned on the back of three horses, Sunday Night Football, Winter Olympics with an assist to Bob Costas’ pink eye, and The Voice.

NBC is partying like it is 1994.

NBC is partying like it is 1994.

As much as Greenblatt would like to crow about Sound of Music and The Blacklist, the former is a once a year event and the latter is still unproven without The Voice lead-in. The Blacklist will not bomb next year without The Voice like Revolution did, but it will be battling to get 2.0 or higher on Thursday nights next Spring. The post-Super Bowl slot has not been fruitful since Grey’s Anatomy in 2007, in-fact this year’s combo of New Girl and Brooklyn 99 both saw diminishing returns after its post-Super Bowl episodes. But in today’s landscape there are no more big hits and NBC has found stability. It will ride the wave of event programming, next year’s Super Bowl replacing the Winter Olympics, and combine it with old friend Dick Wolf to remain much more successful compared to years past. Don’t be surprised to see the Peacock make it back-to-back first place finishes next year.

What was the best new show of the last Broadcast season? Is there one that has Hall of Fame potential? Will there ever be another Hall of Fame broadcast show launched again? – Joe, Boston. 

Brooklyn 99 certainly has Hall of Fame potential, but after that it gets sketchy. I loved Trophy Wife, but it was losing steam towards the end of what turned out to be its only season, so it is hard for me to commit to saying we lost a Hall of Famer before its time. The two most hyped programs, Marvel Agents of SHIELD and The Blacklist, lack any substance to go with all of its flash and even another great performance from first ballot Hall of Famer, James Spader, can make up for it. Each new season seems to bring a ton of disappointment with it, but I remain optimistic that things will improve, from a quality standpoint, as networks realize that the big ratings are just never going to be there again. Based on Universal Productions this year’s crop of pilots is markedly better than last year’s. Both David Caspe and Tina Fey return to television. Grey’s alums Katherine Heigl and Kate Walsh return with vehicles shaped perfectly for them, in State of Affairs and Bad Judge respectively. There is hope on the horizon.

As Broadcast networks once mighty power has been sucked away the past decade by cable and now streaming devices, its one saving grace has been comedies. Is it just me or is that now gone as well? Christina, Kansas City. 

I agree Christina, I have enjoyed Broadcast comedies a bit better than cable in the past few years and I also agree that it too has now switched in the favor of cable. The best broadcast comedies going into next season are, Big Bang Theory, not my cup of tea but its ratings are impressive and people do enjoy it, Parks and Rec, entering its 7th and final season without an official air date, The Middle, enjoyable yet forgettable, The Goldbergs, ditto, New Girl, up-and-down third season buoyed by the return of D-Dub Jr., and  Brooklyn 99, flashed a ton of potential with its season end run.

Broad City has helped turn the tide in favor of cable comedies.

Broad City has helped turn the tide in favor of cable comedies.

 Compared to what is going on in cable, Louie, the most poignant and interesting comedy on TV, Broad City, the comedy with the biggest laughs, and Veep, the best comedy on TV. And it is clear that the tides have turned without me mentioning the still hilarious It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Girls, which I’ll admit improved in its third season, the strange uniquely funny Portlandia, and if you believe in fickle Emmy categories, Shameless. Outside of ABCs offensive batch of new comedies there is some support coming for Broadcast. My biased view is pumped to welcome Mulaney to the fall schedule Sunday nights on Fox. Having seen both Bad Judge and Mission Control’s pilots I can say both are loaded with potential. And even though I was disappointed in the pilot of Tina Fey’s new series, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I still trust the people involved to figure things out and eventually create a very funny series out of it. We’ll revisit this battle in a year to see how it has changed.

Please tell me the Warriors didn’t make a huge mistake by firing a coach whose entire team loved him and would run through a brick wall for in favor of an unproven Broadcaster turned Belle of the Ball because Phil Jackson wanted him to be his puppet coach for him in order to avoid the grueling travel of the NBA schedule? – Matt C., Santa Monica 

Damn it. How did this get in here? Television questions only. I don’t have time to placate your Warrior worries Matt C. from Santa Monica.

**Warning these next few questions are Arrow specific and contains some spoilers, so skip over if you do not want to be spoiled or if you’re an idiot and not interested in the series. 

 

Where do you put Arrow Season 2 on your list of all-time seasons? Is it Pantheon worthy? – Arthur, Cincinnati file_178947_1_arrow_season_2_poster

Good question. I’ll need some time to reflect before I can properly rate it, but I will say that it definitely lands in my top 10 fantastic seasons and I mean “fan”tastic literally. Look, there is no comparing Arrow to shows like The Wire, Sopranos, Mad Men, or Breaking Bad. It has completely different goals and aspirations. If I were to compare it to another show it would be Lost. In its day Lost was on Game of Thrones level of anticipation, hype, and excitement. People broke it down like a thesis paper, but in hindsight it was not much more than  fan-serving, high concept entertainment. It was not trying to make big sweeping statements about society or discover a deeper meaning in life. It was simply trying to keep fans on the edge of their seats with twists and turns, action, and love triangles to get Shippers hot and bothered. Arrow does the same thing, but actually makes some more nuanced, profound observations on society, specifically greed, desire, social and fiscal class disparity, and how we are defined as people. This season packed in a lot of narrative and highlighted Oliver Queen’s journey from a killer to a hero that was capped off in the finale this week. Excellently executed as well, may I add. 

How worried should we be about the status of Caity Lotz for Season 3 of Arrow? Why has it not  been announced that she has been upped to Regular? Shouldn’t have this been down by now? What is going on? Do we need to riot if this doesn’t happen by the Fall? – Jana, Vancouver

I cannot be robbed of Oliver and Sara time.

I cannot be robbed of Oliver and Sara time.

Excellent question, Jana. But let’s not panic quite yet. The fact that Sara Lance survived this season is a good sign. I was a bit surprised that her life was not once in peril the entire episode and the lack of a conversation between her and Oliver in the wake of their apparent break-up. Arrow has a lot of masters and characters to serve, which is why I was hoping for more bodies to drop other than Moira Queen’s. In an ideal world Roy and Laurel would die heroically and our remaining, much more interesting characters would have something to grieve moving forward. I do not want Arrow to become too soapy or sappy with its love stories, but I would like some more time to explore Oliver’s romantic entanglements.

He seems to fall in-and-out of relationships rather quickly, which makes sense given everything that he has been through. I too would be grasping for anything that I thought would make me happy, especially if Caity Lotz and Summer Glau are involved, and yet be scared to commit due to the demons I carry around. But just a few weeks ago he asked Sara to move in with him and then got dumped. I would’ve liked to see more of his reaction to this as I thought it was a big step in his character progression, but the show seemed to be sweeping it under the rug.

This is the only Black Canary I'll ever recognize.

This is the only Black Canary I’ll ever recognize.

In fact the show did not do well by Sara/The Canary at all in the last few episodes, between the heavy handed approach to showing her that she is a hero, to not explaining why she was back and then randomly inserting the League of Assassins back in her life, to then having her get on a boat with said League and no one seeming to have a big issue with her leaving for an undetermined amount of time. Where the hell was Oliver for this decision? Why couldn’t he say good-bye? Damn it, Jana, now you’ve got me mad too.

I don’t want to watch Laurel become the Canary. It makes no sense. Sara has years of training by the most deadly organization in the world. Laurel is a bumbling, idiot, drunk attorney who ruins every story she is in, please, please don’t let her become a part of team Arrow. Not after the awesomeness that was Sara and Caity Lotz. Please Marc Guggenheim, don’t make me suffer through this ordeal. Please Ali Benmohamed, Caity Lotz’s agent, take whatever deal CW offers you for series regular status. Actually check that, damn it CW, don’t cheap out on me. Please offer Ms. Lotz whatever she wants. Don’t ruin your hit show. Please, please, please. Otherwise you will have to deal with Jana and I rioting your headquarters.

On a scale of 1-10 how cruel was Arrow to us Olicity, Oliver and Felicity, shippers? – Dave, Salt Lake City

Pretty rough, I must admit, as a Saliver I was not that pissed off about the fake out. In fact I was relieved, not that I’m against Felicity and Oliver being romantically involved, more so that this confession came out of nowhere and was on the heels of Oliver just asking Sara to move in with him. It felt false for Oliver to admit something big like this out of the blue and was much more satisfied that it was part of a plan to end Deathstroke. I have no doubt that the endgame goal is to get Felicity and Oliver together, but I hope they do not take the traditional narrative of dragging out a will they/won’t they between them till the very end. I would much rather see them actually date or at least hook up some time in the next season .

 

** This concludes our Arrow portion of the Mail Bag. 

Seriously though, is Kerr going to rely too heavily on the Triangle? Won’t that limit some of Curry’s creativity? And isn’t having a high basketball IQ different for broadcasting than coaching? Isn’t a big part of it gaining the respect and love of your players? – Matt C., Santa Monica

Alright, alright Matt C. I will address your precious Warriors. It is a highly risky move. A big part of Kerr’s appeal is how badly Phil wanted him to coach the Knicks, but I do believe that part of that was having a former player he could control in order to coach the team without actually coaching. Look at who is backup choice appears to be, Derek Fisher, falls into the same camp as Kerr. I do think that the Triangle will give the Warriors more stability on offense and that Kerr will not solely run it, so you guys will be difficult to defend. Mark Jackson’s offense was Vinny Del Negro bland and relied far too heavily on Curry high pick n’ roll and Iso post-ups on perceived mismatches. These plays are so common and therefore easier to defend. With the amount of shooting the Warriors have there is no excuse for having this bland of an offense. I think it will see marked improvement next season. The question marks are will these players work as hard on the defensive end as they did for Jackson. We will have to see. If they do though, I think the Warriors rise past the Rockets and Blazers into the top-four of the West giving them a better path to the Western Conference Finals. You happy, Matt C. from Santa Monica?

How bad was the How I Met Your Mother finale? Worst of all-time? And how happy are Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld to be off the sitcom finale snide? – Joan, Tulsa

Again, don’t want to be a prisoner of the moment, but if How I Met Your Mother followed the Dinosaurs blueprint of causing their species to go extinct, I think it would’ve gone over better with fans.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/briangalindo/dinosaurs-the-most-traumatizing-series-finale-ever

And am I the only person in the world that actually enjoyed the Seinfeld finale and found it to be a funny, unique way to end a sitcom, while also being a fitting ending for those characters. Count me as a Seinfeld finale defender till the day I die.

Why aren’t more people talking about Orphan Black? More importantly why aren’t more people talking about Tatiana Maslany and what an amazing performance she is giving? I’m shocked and disappointed that you’ve not done a Women I Love article on her yet. – Angela, Detroit

Keep smiling Tatiana. You're a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Keep smiling Tatiana. You’re a first ballot Hall of Famer.

I just finished season one of Orphan Black this week, so give me some time on the Women I Love article because you’re right I’m absolutely in love with Maslany. I do not want to go into specifics of the show because it is a must watch. Maslany is giving a Sandy Koufax-esque acting performance. This is the fastest I’ve ever seen anyone wrap up Hall of Fame status. I do not even need to see how the rest of the series plays out, I’m ready to give it to her now. Everyone, please make it a priority to watch this show immediately. Mad Men, Veep, and Game of Thrones is coming to a close in a couple weeks and there is not much quality TV on the horizon this summer. The first season is only 10 episodes and you’ll breeze through them. Consider this a decree, watch Orphan Black or never get a mailbag again.

 

 

Wrestlemania Mailbag

This Sunday brings the biggest event on the Sports Entertainment calendar, Wrestlemania. And in honor of the 30th anniversary of this gigantic, pop culture changing event I thought it would be a good time to break out the first ever Millennial Man Mailbag. As will become usual once we do this more than one time, these are actual questions from actual readers.

 

Alright, this is getting a little creepy. I mean it was cute in college when you were toeing the line between dedicated fan and stalker. It was okay when you started writing on this site in a style a little more than loosely based on mine. And I even didn’t care that you took a shot at me in front of my man crush, Russel “Hustle, Bustle, Mounds of Man Muscle” Wilson. But this is too far, forget copyright infringement I’m putting out a restraining order. Stay away from my family and me. – Bill S., Los Angeles

Alright, easy there Harrison FordClick on that link for a good laugh. Maybe if someone hadn’t ignored my emails, cursed the Bulls and Derrick Rose by picking them first in your pre-season NBA power rankings, and stopped being a sports reporter for the people, instead becoming the shadow Emperor of the Mothership, then maybe this could’ve gone differently. Also, blowing me off at Monday Night Raw in the Staples Center a couple months ago didn’t help. As far as I’m concerned you’ve pulled a Hogan at 1996 Bash at the Beach and even if I have to hide in the rafters for a year I’ll get my revenge.

You’re a combination of a dweeb, weirdo, loser, dork, and lonely pathetic guy whom no one loves so you masturbate incessantly in your room and don’t even bother to clean it up. Why would I watch a stupid event like Wrestlemania and be associated with people like you? – Carol, San Francisco

First off, ouch. Secondly, I’ll admit that Wrestlemania is not for everyone, but it is also not something that deserves ridicule. We all have our guilty pleasures. Everyone needs some programming that helps them zone and escape for a little while. It helps us deal with the stresses of life. Watching Wrestlemania is no different than watching the Kardashians, Real Housewives, or any other trashy reality show. And it is certainly on the same level as watching the smash hit, The Walking Dead. But Tommy The Walking Dead is a nuanced, character driven thriller based on the Graphic Novel series. It’s a fucking comic book. You can call a $10 hooker an escort if you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that she is covered in STDs. Look The Walking Dead is all about zombies getting their heads blown off. It is the only reason to watch, yet it tries to pretend to be something more, some kind of higher art, and that just pisses me off. Wrestling not only does not hide from what it is, it embraces it. Not to mention that there is better acting in the ring than Andrew Lincoln’s cry face.

Why are people not ripping WWE creative for it’s lazy booking and throwing everyone into a hastily put together Battle Royal, then covering it up by having Hulk Hogan announce it and calling it the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Why not just literally piss on his grave? W-T-Fuck? – Jim, Carson City 

Couldn’t agree more and let’s not forget that we’re only three months removed from the Royal Rumble. If you’re going to water down an event, might as well make it the most exciting one, Money in the Bank. Now that there is only one belt, why not use the Money in the Bank to bring back some legitimacy to the Intercontinental Title. It is a real shame that in the four months since the title unification that WWE has done nothing creative with the IC belt and that its champion has to be stuck in this stupid Battle Royal. For shame, WWE. Glass half full perspective, at least it isn’t the US Championship, which is a month away from a year long title reign that has seen a grand total of three title defenses.

What is your Great Lakes ranking of hottest WWE Divas of All-time? – Sally, Fort Wayne 

Love that the Great Lakes rankings is entering your guys lexicon, keep spreading the word. Alright, so I’m going to use some executive power here and declare the Bella Twins as one diva, which would make them my Lake Erie. Before Total Divas came out they would’ve been my Superior, but things change. Next, I’m going with Lita as my Huron. It’s a tough call between Trish Stratus and Lita, both helped me get through puberty. But the older, somewhat wiser me as waned on Trish, I just don’t find her as sexy. Nothing has waned about Lita though. There is just something about her that I find outrageously sexy. Perhaps it could be this live sex show she did in the ring back in 2006.

As much as Lita and Trish got me through puberty, these next two woman were part of my historic, Sandy Kouffax esque, reign from 8th-10th grade. Lake Superior, Torrie Wilson. No need for words just watch the following clip.

As for my Lake Ontario, I’m going with the long legs of Dancing With The Stars champion, Stacy Kiebler. Any woman good enough for George Clooney and my man Geoff Stults, is good enough to land a spot on my Great Lakes list.

And for my Lake Michigan, I’m going with the hometown pick of Maria Kanellis. A stir fry of sexiness, Maria just brings more to the table than any other diva. Does the fact she grew up in Chicago affect my decision, you bet your ass it does, but are you telling me she is not worthy of being Lake Michigan?

Hello, Lake Michigan.

Hello, Lake Michigan.

You’re out at a bar with your girl. Which wrestler, in their prime, are you most worried about walking in and stealing her? Ravishing Rick Rude? Ric Flair? Cena? – Juan Pablo, Miami

Flair was too busy with women he bought to steal your girl. Cena has a strong case. He’s got name recognition, has done like a billion Make-A-Wishes, and is now the love interest on a cheesy reality show on E! But I still have to go with Randy Orton. He does not have the name recognition of Cena and is too busy smoking e-cigarettes and crapping in bags to grant kids wishes. However, he does look like he was built in a factory by woman looking for the perfect guy to fantasize about having a torrid love affair. He has the pretty looks, the outrageous athletic body, and is full of douchiness that allows women to not feel guilty about all the raunchy, nasty things they’ll do together. If you’re ever in a bar with a girlfriend and Orton walks through the door, get the fuck out of there.

A little sexy pic for the ladies.

A little sexy pic for the ladies.

What would be your all-time Wrestlemania card? – Wynn-Rai, Atlantic City

Great question, Wynn-Rai. Let’s see, I’m going to go ahead and pretend that I’m booking this year’s Wrestlemania with all-time matches.

Kick-off Show:

Brett Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – Iron Man Match, Wrestlemania 12

  • The Kick-Off Show opens with the opening bell. Iron Man Matches are a bit like soccer, the fluidity of it excites some die-hard fans, but bores most Americans. It is too hard to fit this match on the regular card with so many to choose from, but it deserves a spot. Plus the Kick-Off Show panel can inject some life into the slower portions of this match.

Star Spangled Banner – The incomparable Whitney Houston gets Wrestlemania underway with a dynamite performance of our National Anthem.

Announce Team – Three man booth with Gorrilla Monsoon, Jim Ross, and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan.

Opening Match – The opening match is crucial, it needs to get the action started and the crowd hot to sit through four hours of wrestling. Money in the Bank did a great job of this for many years. But which one to choose? I’m a stickler for OGs, so I’ve to go with the first ever Wrestlemania 21.

Match 2 – Steamboat vs Randy Savage, Wrestlemania 3

  • The Crowd is hot and rearing for more, but we cannot follow up the high flying danger of Money in the Bank with another dangerous match, so instead we give them a wrestling clinic. Steamboat vs Savage is one the cleanest, most fluid matches ever. It will wow the fans and keep the momentum going.

Match 3 – Bret Hart vs Stone Cold in a Submission Match – WrestleMania 13

  • A great combination of fluidity and brutality this match featured the rare double turn. As Stone Cold became a full fledge Babyface and the Hitman took a turn to the dark side for the first time in his career. And yes, in my Wrestlemania we openly use steroids to allow our wrestlers to bounce back an hour after wrestling for 60 minutes.

Match 4 – Tag Team TLC Match, Wrestlemania 17

  • The originators of the TLC match, The Dudley Boys, Hardy Boyz, and Edge and Christian turn the intensity back up in this brutal match that will leave fans wondering how everyone involved was able to walk away under their own power.

Match 5 – Billionaire vs Billionaire Hair Match, Wrestlemania 23

  • Every Wrestlemania needs some comedic relief. It serves as an intermission, a chance to calm down from all the hard hitting action. I chose this one because, it never gets old seeing Uncle Vinny Mac gets his head shaved and it actually features two talented wrestlers in Bobby Lashley and Umaga.

Match 6 – The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin, Wrestlemania 17

  • Time for business to pick back up. The first of our unheralded three Co-Main Event. This No DQ Championship match capped off what many call the greatest Wrestlemania of all-time. It happened at the height of WWE’s popularity and to have the top two stars, perhaps of all-time, going for the Championship made this the most anticipated match of all-time. However, it does not close the show because of the villainous heel turn by Stone Cold. My Wrestlemania will not send the fans home disappointed. Damn it!

Match 7 – Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant, Wrestlemania 3

  • Not my favorite, but it needs to be on here because it is a crowd pleaser and that is what the show is all about. Probably the most famous match in Wrestlemania history, as 93,000+ saw the Hulkster pick up and slam the 500 pound Giant in the Pontiac Silverdome.

Match 8 – Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker, Wrestlemania 25

  • As the two Championship matches on the 25th Wrestlemania would learn, there is just no following this match. It just takes too much out of the crowd. This is the one to send the people home breathless. An instant classic that became everyone and their mother’s greatest Wrestlemania match of all-time.

I love your articles. I read them everyday right before the Wall Street Journal, but after I serve breakfast at a homeless children’s shelter. Thank you for providing the world with your thoughts. – Patrick, South Bend

Yes, these are my readers, a classy and thoughtful group. Suck on that, Simmons.