When Shaq enters the WWE, I have to comment

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things are a bit slow on the D-League front right now with Summer League over and the opening of training camp still off in the distance. So, in the spirit of trying to find something worth sharing, I'm tackling a subject that admittedly is reeeeeally stretching to be considered the least bit BayHawks related.

(The connection? Well, the BayHawks are the Cavaliers D-League affiliate. And Shaquille O'Neal is a Cleveland Cavalier. No, he won't be a BayHawk. And it's quite possible he'll never set foot in Erie. And no, the WWE has little relevance to the D-League, but when the WWE does come to Erie, they host their matches at the Erie Civic Center, which just so happens to be the same arena that plays host to the BayHawks' home games. Connection made. I told you it was a stretch.)


Shaquille O'Neal: WWE superstar. OK, so it was just one night, he was only the guest host, and he barely got involved in any physical confrontation. So what? As someone who grew up with a Hulk Hogan lightswitch in his bedroom, spent hundreds of hours playing with hundreds of action figures, and once dressed as one half (The Destroyer) of a ficticious tag team with his dad (The Devastater) for Halloween—not to mention the fact that I'm a longtime Shaq fan, I had to check out this one night marriage of childhood idols.

Unfortunately, I only caught the tail end of the show because somehow I didn't hear about this until 10:30 last night. So I missed much of the Shaq-related events throughout the show, but I did manage to catch his involvement in the main event.

(Full disclosure here. I was a flat-out wrestling junkie back in the days when WWE was still the World Wrestling Federation. I don't just know about the Hogan and Bret Hart types, I know my Aldo Montoyas, D-Lo Browns, and Big Bully Busicks. I watched religiously from about age 3 (circa WrestleMania III) through my high school years (early 2000s) before my taste and the show's seemed to grow apart. I'll still catch it occasionally if I'm flipping through, but it hasn't been appointment television for me since The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin days.)

The point is, I've seen enough wrestling cards in my day to know a good main event when I see one. And pitting the unified tag team champions, Chris Jericho and the Big Show, against Cryme Tyme, a moderate fan favorite, in a non-title match just doesn't cut it. Adding O'Neal as the "special guest enforcer" moved the match's interest up a notch, but still, this just didn't have the feel of a main event, and I think the crowd agreed.

I'm assuming Shaq couldn't actually get in the ring for a match due to contract stipulations, and that makes sense. But couldn't they have given him a better role than the sidekick for Cryme Tyme? Geez. After the predictably boring main event, Shaq finally got involved in a "physical altercation." Of course, this was a physical altercation as much as this is a BayHawks-related post. But still.

It was a noteworthy moment for me because it showed just how beastly Shaq really is. He was about an inch or two taller than the Big Show (regularly billed as the word's largest athlete) and considerably more in shape. So there you go, Cavs fans. Shaq looks like he's taking this offseason workout thing seriously, even if his dual choke and body bump encounter with Big Show was anything but serious.

I don't know what Shaq's post-NBA career plans are. But I know he's shown an interest in law enforcement and pro wrestling. May I be the first to suggest he combine both ideas and become a bigger, badder version of the late, great Big Boss Man. I'm about 60 percent serious.

So, that happened. Shaq did the WWE thing...with mixed results, and you can only imagine where it goes from here. From his entertaining Twitter updates to his upcoming reality show on ABC, "Shaq's Big Challenge," there is no shortage of Shaq these days.

John Krolik of Cavs the Blog is finding out, this is all part of the package when you sign O'Neal. You might as well embrace it, Cavs fans. He's yours all season long. Are you not entertained?

No, I'm not really an NBA blogger, and I'm not a Cavs fan. But O'Neal is a once-in-a-generation athlete living on Lake Erie for the next season. That's close enough for me to embrace him and his antics on this blog. Expect a Shaq post from time to time. He's too fun not to follow, for better or worse. I've said it before, and I'll say it again to Cavs fans about Shaq this season. Enjoy the ride.

For a more detailed and (more?) entertaining look back at the full night of action from Shaq's night hosting WWE Raw, check out Lang Whitaker's work over at Slam Online, which includes gems like this one: "The play by play announcer is Michael Cole. Jim Ross craps bigger than this guy."


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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