Remember The Rumble

santino-rumbleThis Sunday is the 30th anniversary of the Royal Rumble, the WWE’s most exciting hour of action every year.

30 Superstars compete in one match – each man drawing a random number and entering the ring in order every 2 minutes. The only way to be eliminated is to be thrown over the top rope and have BOTH feet hit the floor. The last man standing after all 30 men have entered wins a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania, the grandest stage of them all.

I love the Royal Rumble because it’s always full of surprises including debuts, returns of injured wrestlers, and one-off appearances by retired hall-of-famers. There’s a great sense of unpredictability in the air. For at least 60 minutes there’s wall-to-wall action and entertainment.

I also love the Royal Rumble because at its essence it is a grace-filled affair. Continue reading

The Story Never Ends

(It’s WrestleWeek on POP GOD! In celebration of WrestleMania 32 this Sunday we’ll be looking at the intersection of faith and wrestling. You don’t have to be a fan to hop in the ring on this journey. Read on to see how this fake sport provides real lessons for anyone who’s ever grappled with God.)

wm main eventOn Sunday April 6th, 100,000 people of all ages, races, genders and nationalities will congregate upon Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. This happening could possibly set an indoor attendance record. The fans crowded in will scream and cheer for 6 hours until the main event where 2 middle aged warriors will set foot in a predetermined battle inside a structure known as “Hell In A Cell”.

This, my friends, is WrestleMania.

If you’re not a wrestling fan this must seem bizarre to you. How is that professional wrestling can possibly draw so many fans to its biggest attraction? How is that the WWE Network is one of the top 5 streaming video services in the world? How is that WWE’s signature show “Raw” has been on the air for over 20 years and over 1,100 episodes?

The answer is actually quite simple. It’s all because in pro wrestling the story never ends. Continue reading

Chasing The Championship

(It’s WrestleWeek on POP GOD! In celebration of WrestleMania 32 this Sunday we’ll be looking at the intersection of faith and wrestling. You don’t have to be a fan to hop in the ring on this journey. Read on to see how this fake sport provides real lessons for anyone who’s ever grappled with God.)

WWF Belt“Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Jake “The Snake “Roberts. The “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Razor Ramon. Mr. Perfect.

What do these wrestlers all have in common?

They’re all iconic performers. They’re all WWE Hall Of Famers.

And none of them were ever World Champion.  Continue reading

God’s Announce Team

(It’s WrestleWeek on POP GOD! In celebration of WrestleMania 32 this Sunday we’ll be looking at the intersection of faith and wrestling. You don’t have to be a fan to hop in the ring on this journey. Read on to see how this fake sport provides real lessons for anyone who’s ever grappled with God.)

jerry-lawler-jim-rossOne of the most underrated and important aspects of what makes pro wrestling so great is the announce team. 

From my personal favorites of the early 90s Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan to the Attitude Era staples Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler, the best pro wrestling commentators truly take the in-ring spectacle to another level.

I once dreamed of being a pro wrestling announcer (ok I still do). I had my own toy headset that I would wear and call the action on my old WWF videos and with my action figures.

But being a great pro wrestling announcer isn’t as easy as simply calling the action in the ring. The best commentators share a few common traits: Continue reading

How To Create A Wrestler

(It’s WrestleWeek on POP GOD! In celebration of WrestleMania 32 this Sunday we’ll be looking at the intersection of faith and wrestling. You don’t have to be a fan to hop in the ring on this journey. Read on to see how this fake sport provides real lessons for anyone who’s ever grappled with God.)

IMG_7739I spent a lot of time during my formative years playing wrestling video games. 

The first one I ever owned was WWF Royal Rumble for the Super Nintendo. It was a pretty basic game – as most were back then – with 10 or so characters that all could do pretty much the same moves. Still, I played it for hours on end.

Video games evolved over the years and thus so did wrestling games. From WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64 to WCW Nitro for the Playstation all the way up to the WWE Smackdown Series for PS2 and beyond.

With new systems came expanded rosters of characters, new match types, better graphics and in-depth story modes.

Without a doubt the greatest feature ever added to wrestling games was the Create-A-Wrestler feature.  Continue reading

The Run-In

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(It’s WrestleWeek on POP GOD! In celebration of WrestleMania 32 this Sunday we’ll be looking at the intersection of faith and wrestling. You don’t have to be a fan to hop in the ring on this journey. Read on to see how this fake sport provides real lessons for anyone who’s ever grappled with God.)

The momentum in a wrestling match can swing in an instant.

All it takes is one right move or one reversal to bring a competitor back from the brink of defeat to a momentous victory.

Sometimes though a wrestler is so exhausted they can’t fight anymore. Their only hope comes from a run-in. Continue reading

Is Saying Yes Really Worth It?

IMG_7018The Yes Movement came to a painful end last night.

Former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan finally ended months of speculation and announced his official retirement from professional wrestling last night live on Monday Night Raw.

The man who garnered global fame and success from his spontaneous chants of “Yes! Yes! Yes!” had to finally say “No” to his desires to go against doctors’ wishes and return to the ring after suffering a debilitating concussion last April. Continue reading

We Are Action Figures

Kids these days – they don’t know how good they have it.

Have you strolled through the toy section of Target or Walmart lately? It’s amazing how far things have come from when I was kid. Especially with the wrestling figures.

(Click Here if you can’t see the video above)

Now that’s how you sell toys! Gosh, I know that commercial by heart. “So close to the real thing it’s like being in the ring!”

Except as awesome as this advertisement was the toys really didn’t live up to the hype.  Continue reading

POP GOD POPcast: Episode 27 – Marc Mero

10408026_10152114986056701_1541056051440319210_nWelcome to Episode 27 of the POP GOD POPcast – a podcast interview series exploring the presence of God in the present tense.

This week’s guest is Marc Mero. Marc is a former professional wrestling superstar, touring the world for WWE, WCW and TNA. Today he’s touring the world as a highly in demand inspirational speaker touching the lives of students about the topics of bullying, drug use and faith through his Champion Of Choices program. Marc shares openly about how he hit rock bottom through a series of devastating events in his life and how he made a choice to see God through the pain. He also talks candidly about how the tragic turn of events in his friend Chris Benoit’s life challenged him to start reaching out to students.

1800413_10100294707017265_5359138410208692344_n(1)Marc is bringing his story across the southeast this month including a special event at Mount Paran Church in Marietta, GA on January 30 at 7 PM. It’s free, open to the public, and is an event that can change a child’s life. Listen to this podcast preview then make plans to go hear Marc’s incredible testimony in full:

Or Download on iTunes or Listen on Podbean

Follow Marc Mero on Twitter and on Facebook. Check out his website to find out where to see him and how to bring him to your church’s next event. Continue reading

The Difference Between Ultimate And Ordinary

warrior_hof.0_cinema_1050.0The Ultimate Warrior is finally going into the WWE Hall Of Fame this year.

The Warrior is a bit of a controversial candidate for induction. He certainly was not an outstanding in-ring performer.

But there’s a reason why The Ultimate Warrior is remembered so fondly by a certain generation of wrestling fans.

The Ultimate Warrior dared to be different. 

While other wrestlers wore plain tights and boring boots to the ring, The Ultimate Warrior wore wacky tassels and neon colors and flashy face paint.

While other wrestlers walked slowly to the ring, The Ultimate Warrior rushed down the ramp like a wild animal unleashed.

While other wrestlers delivered promos like this: Continue reading