We are sorry to report the untimely passing of country crossover superstar Glen Campbell. Details to come on the all-new, all-different WELCOME TO STEVE COUNTRY.
Any NBA fan may remember that bizarre night in 2004 when a group of rowdy Indiana Pacers fans heckled the Detroit Pistons. You'd expect the boys from the Motor City to ignore those hayseeds and keep playing like the pros they are, right? WRONG! They were so riled up that they walked right into the stands and started beating up poor, defenseless fans whose only crime was investing their hard-earned money in a game allegedly played by people who know how to conduct themselves in a professional manner.
Say what you will about professional wrestlers, but they care too much about their fans to run into the stands and start attacking them like a pack of wild dogs. (Sure, the heels, which is what they call the bad guys, may insult the fans who love to cheer the hero and hiss the villain, but that's part of their character. They know the fans know they're not seeing them as they really are, but, as Stone Cold Steve Austin once said, them "with the volume turned up." On August 5, I had the pleasure to be part of the immersive entertainment experience called professional wrestling when Global Force Wrestling invaded the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, the home of the Staten Island Yankees. While this company is based in Nashville, TN, don't expect to hear any Garth Brooks or Florida-Georgia Line when their grapplers rush into the ring, because the action is more heavy metal than hillbilly, and the fans are TOTALLY involved, whether buying their favorite babyface (good guy) or heel (T-shirt) getting an autograph, or (unless they have to catch the Staten Island Ferry home like yours truly) getting into the Octagon and taking a picture with their favorite superstars. Among the talent that got to play while the Baby Bombers were away were Andrew Everett, Sonjay Dutt, (X Division Champion who had to literally fight to get his stolen belt back), two-time Grand Champion Moose, and, Impact's own powerful women of wrestling, including rising young superstar Allie, who may enter the ring wearing a tiara and a bunny outfit but can kick your butt eleven different ways into next Tuesday if you cross her. The difference between Global Force, formerly known as Impact and now a part of Nashville-based Anthem Sports and Entertainment, and the WWE is that GFW doesn't take itself as seriously as the WWE has been known to. IMHO, GFW made the right choice when it chose to hook up with the minor league affiliate of the currently red hot Yankees. Its closest non-WWE competitor, Ring Of Honor, may have awakened some fan interest as a result of the Mickey Rourke movie THE WRESTLER, but when one of your biggest major market affiliates (NESN, owned by the Red Sox and Bruins) dumps you, that doesn't look too good on your permanent record.
For info on future Impact/GFW cards, follow them @IMPACTWRESTLING or @GFWWrestling. For info on weekly telecasts on CBS-Lionsgate-owned POP TV, log on to http://www.poptv.com and enter your ZIP Code in the window.
To paraphrase the aforementioned Stone Cold, "The bottom line is...." Not being attacked by angry athletes while you're trying to enjoy a sporting event, good. Enjoying the best in sports entertainment, meeting some great people, and being part of the action without enduring physical injury, even better.
DING! There's the bell! See ya at the matches! (IN THE RING WITH STEVE fans, we haven't forgotten about you either. THAT is also coming soon to a device near you!)