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SPORTS TALK: Professional wrestling is very real sometimes – just ask Joe Anoa’i

You know the best way to troll millennials? Play a song they have no clue about and watch them eat it up.

Fatboy Slim, the legendary British DJ, played a set at the Boiler Room club in his hometown of Brighton, England earlier this month and the crowd was doing their thing, dancing along without a care. All of a sudden, this weird retro-sounding tune came over the speakers. No one knew what it was but because Fatboy Slim was spinning it, it had to be cool. What it was was the legendary theme song to BBC Grandstand, one of the catchiest and most timeless T.V. themes ever produced, like most BBC Sport themes back in the day. Fatboy Slim was more excited than anyone else and he was right into it himself. Nothing, though, beats the BBC snooker theme. Best guitar opening. Ever.

Anyway, on to more important things:


This fight is real

Whenever a professional wrestler comes out and does something or speaks out of character, it's known in the business as a 'shoot'. It's not part of the show and it can usually get you fired or heavily fined by your employer rather quickly.

Joe Anoa'i pulled a shoot on Oct. 22 but no one was going to fine him or chew him out. You see, Anoa'i announced to the world that he is battling leukemia.

Roman Reigns is a professional wrestler. His real name is Joe Anoa'i and he broke character on Oct. 22 for a very, very good reason. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Roman Reigns is a professional wrestler. His real name is Joe Anoa'i and he broke character on Oct. 22 for a very, very good reason. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

You may know him better as Roman Reigns, the now-former WWE Universal Champion. He announced he was relinquishing his title on Monday Night Raw to get treatment for the disease, which has now struck him for a second time. He managed to beat it off 11 years ago and he was in remission. Sucks enough to have to go through it once but twice just isn't fair.

He's been one of the most polarizing stars in professional wrestling with some saying he's benefited from preferential treatment, others saying his work ethic isn't there and still others who say he doesn't appreciate where his career has gone. You didn't see that on Oct. 22 because it was humility like you've never seen before. I read one comment on Twitter where someone was talking about how people went from hating him to loving him and how they were all hypocrites.

Here's why we can do that: you can hate the character but you don't hate the person. That's what makes professional wrestlers so good at what they do. I used to hate Bobby Heenan, Ric Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper as a kid but you find out it isn't exactly what you think it is. Roman Reigns the wrestler isn't well-liked but Joe Anoa'i is loved because he's considered a locker room leader. That leadership was evident when he made his announcement.

I'm willing to wager here and now: when he beats it again and returns to WWE, the moment his theme music hits will be one of the biggest pops in history.


It's a celebration – get over it

All of this bluster about what Jose Mourinho did on Oct. 20 is just that – bluster.

Marco Ianni, an assistant coach with Chelsea, ran in front of Mourinho after Chelsea had just tied their English Premier League game against Manchester United thanks to a 96th minute strike from Ross Barkley. Mourinho didn't like Ianni's reaction and tried to confront him but couldn't as he was being held back by security.

This happens so often in sports I don't blink an eyelash at it anymore. This is what people do when something exciting happens – they celebrate. Some people don't like said celebrations and go to tell the offending party about it. I've been on both ends of it. I've let others know about my excitement and I've also tried to kneecap the person who's just tried to stick it to me.

Why the Football Association plans to punish Ianni over this bugs me. Let it go. And here's an interesting question: why is Mourinho getting off without so much as a stern finger wag? The FA won't punish Mourinho but he was the one who wanted to have it out with Ianni. Punish them both or punish none. Besides, it's not like Mourinho is innocent of sticking up other teams, right?


And finally…

Good Idea: Giving a kid a puck at a hockey game.

Bad Idea: Watching some dingus take away a puck meant for a kid at a hockey game.

Seriously, we can't have nice things in life, can we?
There's nothing worse than seeing some adult take a souvenir puck/ball away from a kid at a sporting event. Why is it you adults can't understand that the puck/ball isn't meant for you? It's meant for the kid that the player is trying to get the puck/ball to.

We take you to Vancouver on Oct. 22, where Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals was doing something he's usually doing in the pre-game warm-ups: trying to get a puck to a kid. He grabbed a puck, tossed it over the glass to where the chosen child has his hands outstretched … only to have some indescribable twit use his longer reach to snatch the puck from the child's awaiting hands.

The only silver lining in this is the death stare Holtby gave the idiot who stole the puck. Not just one or two seconds, this was a good five to seven seconds of Holtby just giving this guy the silent treatment. Even the guy's girlfriend noticed and was muttering to him. He didn't care – he was a hero to his Facebook friends as he dutifully typed away about how Braden Holtby gave him a puck.

And no, it's not catch-as-catch-can and bad luck for the kid. Holtby was tossing the puck to this specific kid and our hero took that away. People like this need to be called out early and often. Whoever you are, moron, congratulations – you ruined the moment for a young fan.


Until next time, folks…

About the Author: James McCarthy

I'm the managing editor with NNSL Media and have been so since 2022.
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