tom smith | make green bay weird | jan. 2016
2016 is being ushered into Green Bay with an event of tremendous magnitude. NXT Wrestling, the developmental league of World Wrestling Entertainment, will be staging a live professional wrestling card at the ShopKo Hall on Friday, January 15th. This event is not only the first appearance by NXT in Green Bay, but part of their first venture into the Midwest. NXT has a weekly, hour-long program on the WWE Network every Wednesday night. The WWE Network is a subscription streaming service that has a low, low price of $9.99 a month. NXT alone is more than worth the low, low price of $9.99 a month. You may ask yourself, “What's the big excitement about the WWE's developmental league?" Quite frankly, the excitement, in ring action, and energy level of NXT far exceeds what you get from the WWE's main roster. To me, NXT reminds me of watching the National Wrestling Alliance on TBS Saturday afternoons at 5:05 mixed with the original ECW. Extreme Championship Wrestling was a '90s wrestling promotion based in Philadelphia run by Paul Heyman that set the wrestling world on fire with its innovative brand of violence, which became known as Hardcore. ECW fans also brought a new excitement level to wrestling. ECW no longer exists, but I feel part of its spirit lives on in NXT. The NXT program is always taped in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University, a venue whose smaller capacity lends itself to creating a more raucous atmosphere. It also pulls out an audience of hardcore NXT fanatics that really get into the show. The crowd is vocal, energetic and very funny. NXT also does an event every two months called a Takeover. The most recent Takeover was December 16th in London. These bi-monthly events broadcast live on the WWE Network are two hours in length and serve the function of a “pay-per-view" event. The fact that they do these Takeovers every two months as opposed to the main roster's monthly pay-per-views makes them more of an electrifying spectacle. NXT is the baby of Triple H, who coincidentally is my second favorite wrestler of all time. Ric Flair, of course, is the first. NXT has already furnished the main roster with many of their current big superstars. Examples include Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Paige, Kevin Owens, Tyler Breeze, Charlotte (Ric Flair's daughter), Sasha Banks, Neville and Becky Lynch. Don't forget, two members of your two time WWE Tag Team Champions, the New Day, Big E and Xavier Woods both came up through NXT. The New Day are currently the hottest thing going in the WWE. Think NXT may be your cup of tea? Well test the waters and watch NXT Takeover London. I especially encourage you to watch that if you are planning on attending NXT at theShopKo Hall, because I want you to take note of how the crowd was into it. I'm challenging Green Bay to match the intensity, energy, excitement and wit of the London audience. The fact that the fans of NXT have the ability to control how fun of an event like this can be is why I'm infatuated with NXT. I might be asking way too much of Green Bay. You may just not have it in you to match London. No, Green Bay, you don't get off that easy. You are just going to have to dig down deep in yourself and have the absolute most fun that you can possibly have at a professional wrestling card. That night, after you are tucking yourself into bed, as you're falling asleep, I want you to suspect your brain is swelling from too much yelling. Another great thing about NXT is how it has advanced the importance and status of Women's Wrestling. Female performers in NXT are treated as wrestlers and not just as eye candy. In NXT, a program may start off or even end with a match featuring female wrestlers. NXT at times will even go two consecutive segments on their program with women's wrestling. The WWE refers to their female champion as the Diva's Champion. NXT's women's champion is the Women's Champion. In WWE, the Diva's Champion belt looks like a Barbie accessory (shaped like a pink butterfly). NXT's Women's Championship belt looks like what a wrestling championship belt should look like. In fact, at NXT Takeover Brooklyn, the match for the Women's Championship co-headlined the event, a first in the wrestling world. That match at NXT Brooklyn featured then champion Sasha Banks (the legit boss) vs Bayley. Bayley won the title, and I'd be hard pressed to think of a better wrestling match I've seen all year. I don't have any details currently on the lineup of NXT at the ShopKo Hall on January 15th besides the fact that current NXT champion Finn Balor and current NXT tag team champions Dash and Dawson are scheduled to appear. Now, this is who I also hope are on the bill: Bayley (NXT Women's Champion), the Vaudevillians (my favorite tag team in NXT), Asuka (from Osaka, Japan, this phenom is a recent addition to NXT. I also know for a fact that the Rev. Norb will be crushed if she's not performing), Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, Sami Zayn, Eva Marie, Baron Corbin, Emma, Dana Brooke, and what the heck, even Samoa Joe. I say Samoa Joe with a little bit of reservation because the last time I saw him perform in Green Bay on an indie card, I was not impressed with the effort he put into the match. Needless to say, I'm counting down the days to the ground floor of NXT in Green Bay. I truly hope this is the first of many NXT performances in Titletown.
Go Girl Crazy! 40Th Anniversary Remastered and Expanded Edition
Time Bomb Rating: 21 of 13
I've never reviewed a record that's 40 years old before, and I probably never will again. How many albums when they reach the milestone of 40 need to be reviewed again? Probably not many. This album truly is worthy of reflection. This album is a missing link, and unlike the wrestler The Missing Link, is not from Parts Unknown. This album is straight out of New York City. I tagged this album as a missing link because it is the unheralded bridge between the Stooges and New York Dolls side of the equation and the Ramones. The Dictators had a huge hand in laying the groundwork for what became punk rock. The Dictators may not be considered punk rock, but at the very least can be labeled proto punk. This is one of the reasons this band is so important to me, because I love punk rock. When I love something, I become a historian of it, and if you're studying punk rock, you're going to run across the Dictators. Another reason I love this album is that it's the big bang when it comes to the rock and wrestling connection. The Dictators were all about the wrestling and let you know it many different ways, be it their secret weapon Handsome Dick Manitoba (a former semi-professional wrestler) cutting promos (wrestling lingo for a verbal beat down on an opponent) on “Go Girl Crazy!" or through the liner notes of this album. In the '80s, when MTV was broadcasting their rock and wrestling connection involving Captain Lou Albano, Roddy Piper and Cyndi Lauper, they had a segment where Handsome Dick Manitoba was being interviewed. The Dictators sound was a blending of hard rock/heavy metal sound with a sense of humor and irreverence that came across as early punk rock. The members of the Dictators on “Go Girl Crazy" were Andy Shernoff on bass and lead vocals, Ross “The Boss" (the original legit boss) on lead guitar and vocals, Top Ten on guitar (Scott Kempner who went on to be in the Del-Lords), Stu Boy King on drums, and of course their Secret Weapon, Handsome Dick Manitoba. After this album, Handsome Dick Manitoba morphed into their lead singer. This album featured such great songs as “The Next Big Thing," “Teengenerate," “Two Tub Man," “Weekend" and “(I Live For) Cars And Girls." The album cover for “Go Girl Crazy!" is one of the greatest album covers of all time. It features the Handsome One in wrestling attire in a locker room with a poster of the Dictators behind him. The main reason I disregard the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is because the Dictators aren't in it.
Live long and be young, fast and scientific.
Since 1984, when he first began selling records at Galaxy of Sound inside the Port Plaza Mall, Tom Smith has been part of the Green Bay music scene. Promoting his first show 1986 and hitting his stride with the Concert Café (1995-2001), Smith continues to promote shows in Green Bay. He first honed his journalistic chops while serving as a student DJ at WGBW, interviewing such icons as Motörhead and the Ramones. Today you can find him championing live music and managing The Exclusive Company in Green Bay.