The Art of the Wrestling Promo

Promos are a dying art in the world of professional wrestling. Gone are the days of countless charismatic wrestlers taking the time to simultaneously build themselves up as superheroes and belittle their opponents with nothing but their own oratory abilities. Frankly speaking, there are so few wrestlers in the current wrestling scene who possess the skills to even touch the promos of old. Microphone work, in my opinion, is one of the things that is beyond lacking in today’s wrestling product. So, today, as I yearn for the days of old when jacked-up dudes could be seen on any wrestling program eviscerating each other on the microphone, I will be discussing some of the greatest promos in the history of professional wrestling.

We’ll start with what I consider to be the greatest heel promo of all time. Shawn Michaels cut this masterpiece in Montreal, Canada in 2005. Capitalizing on the immense hatred Canada has for him due to his role in the infamous Montreal Screwjob, The Heartbreak Kid absolutely destroys Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, and the entire Canadian population. I am skeptical that anyone in the modern era of professional wrestling has ever had as much heat as Shawn Michaels had during this promo. It is truly a masterful example of one of the all-time great talents delivering an all-time great promo. I love it.

I would have to be delusional to not include the most charismatic man in the history of professional wrestling, and perhaps the world, Ric Flair. There are so many classic examples of the Nature Boy cutting world class promos to choose from. Ultimately, I had to go with the classic. This promo is an embodiment of everything Ric Flair is about. From the hilarious “spilt liquor” line, to the legendary rolex-wearing, diamond ring-wearing bit, to everything else in this relatively short promo, Ric Flair is at his very best here. You really cant argue when anyone says that Flair is the best promo of all time.

For my last example of classic wrestling promos, I turn to the greatest talker in the history of wrestling, Mr. James E. Cornette. Not only is Cornette the greatest manager in the history of wrestling, he also possesses one of the greatest minds for the wrestling business that has ever existed. It is no wonder he is such a good promo. Nobody has ever mastered the art of getting heat via a promo quite like Cornette. In this very short promo, Cornette absolutely buries the state of West Virginia, as well as rival tag team The Rock’ n’ Roll Express. This is just one of countless examples of a masterful Cornette promo. On a final note, look at interviewer Brian Matthews’ epic mullet. That is the stuff of legends.

This is exactly what the world of professional wrestling needs. Charismatic figures have driven wrestling for as long as it has been popular. If half of the current WWE roster had a quarter of the charisma and mic skills of these men, wrestling would be in an infinitely better place than it is now.

Thanks for reading. Make sure to check out some of the other great content here on Mid-American Culture!

 

Check out this awesome YouTube Channel!!!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I will be unable to upload an article containing my usual wit and Pop-Cultural expertise. Therefore, I hope to make up for it by plugging an awesome YouTube channel I stumbled upon a few weeks ago. The channel is called Rock Reacts. The premise of the channel is that two guys, neither of which are heavily involved in hip-hop culture, react to some of the biggest hits of hip-hop and R&B. I find their reactions immensely entertaining and their takes on the music to be very interesting. I would recommend watching their videos in chronological order, so as to experience the evolution of their opinions and reactions to the music! Instead of reading whatever I would normally be talking about this week, check out their channel and some of the other great content here on Mid-American Culture! I’ll see you next Wednesday!

Check out Rock Reacts here!

The Most Underrated Restaurant Chain

Earlier in my tenure here at Mid-American Culture, I wrote a piece on what I considered to be the most overrated eating establishment in the world. This week, I will be flipping the script on that particular topic and writing about what I consider to be the most understated restaurant chain. The chain that I will be writing about today is none other than the sensational Pizza Hut.

For most of my adult life, I grew up with the notion that Pizza Hut was average at best. Their pizza was never my first choice for any pizza-appropriate occasions and therefore, my experience was very limited for a long time. However, I couldn’t imagine my life today without Pizza Hut. As dramatic as that sounds, it is only partial exaggeration. I am at a point in my life where I have cut out a lot of unhealthy things that once consumed my lifestyle. With that being said, Pizza Hut is the one food-related vice that I haven’t really managed to bring myself to give up. I eat food from there generally around twice a week, usually opting to have it delivered to my house. With my busy schedule, the delivery service is so convenient, being that I live just a few short minutes from a Pizza Hut location. It is, without a doubt, my most frequented eating establishment.

All of this leads to an inevitable question: what’s so special about Pizza Hut? Well, let me tell you. The food selection there is unreal. Up until the one day I randomly decided to order food from there since it was so close, I never thought of Pizza Hut as anything more than a pizza place. I was unbelievably wrong. The first thing I tried from there other than their pizza was their wings. I immediately found my favorite item on their menu. Whether you prefer bone-in or boneless, Pizza Hut is fully equipped to satisfy any desire you may have for chicken wings. My personal favorite is their Buffalo Medium sauce. I might also add that the little packets of ranch dipping sauce that you can order with your wings is some of the best that I have ever had. That certainly doesn’t hurt their case. After a while, I grew more adventurous with the Pizza Hut menu. I decided to be bold and order some of their pasta options, which I found to have very mixed reviews. The marinara-based pastas weren’t for me, but their chicken Alfredo is sensational, exemplary, glorious, and pretty much any other adjective of positivity that you can think of. Outside of my mother’s Alfredo, and maybe Olive Garden’s, this is the best Alfredo I believe I have ever had. These have become two staples of my Pizza Hut order. I also occasionally delve into their pizza options, particularly when I earn a free one with their rewards program. As far as the pizza goes, I recommend going with the stuffed crust and adding extra pepperoni. The crust is very good dipped into marinara sauce, which can be added to any order for an extra 60 cents and they have a knack for getting the pepperoni to the point of perfect crispiness. Some other highlights of the menu are their dessert options (particularly their Hershey cookies), their stuffed pizza rollers, and their surprisingly good Cajun French fries. Pizza Hut has an abundant menu that is perfect for exploring and attacking with great variety. I highly recommend to anyone looking for delicious, convenient food to give their local Pizza Hut a try.

That’s all for this week. Make sure to check out some of the other great articles from the writers here at Mid-American Culture!

Bring Back NCAA Football Games

Today, I will be briefly ranting about two things near and dear to my heart: football and video games. More specifically, I will be talking about NCAA Football video games. NCAA 14 was the last college football game released by EA, do to licensing disputes and a plethora of other issues. At the time in which the games were still coming out, I wasn’t an exceptional fan. I liked them, I always purchased them, but with the exception of 2012, I always preferred Madden games to their NCAA counterpart (Madden 12 was awful). However, I recently started watching a YouTube gaming channel which featured an NCAA 14 Dynasty series, which hit me right in the nostalgia spot. So, for the first time in years, I hooked up my old Xbox 360 and played some NCAA 13. I ended up not buying NCAA 14 for whatever reason, so I made do with what I had. I was immediately enthralled by the game. I had forgotten just how in-depth and fun the Dynasty mode was. I absolutely love the recruiting process and I find it to be just as fun, if not more so, than the actual games themselves. The nature of college football forces players to constantly be looking to the teams future, as you have a maximum of 5 seasons at most with any and all in-game players. Currently, I am going into my 4th season as head coach of my local team, the Marshall University Thundering Herd. I hold an immaculate record, having lost only 4 games in those 3 completed years (playing on Heisman difficulty, of course). I have both a Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl victory, and two C-USA Championships to show for my success. I’m pressing on in my dynasty, not feeling the slightest hint of exhaustion or boredom toward the game. This has led me to raise the question of why in the world the NCAA and EA Sports have not revived this series. The game is exceptional. I obviously don’t have exact figures, but I’m 100% certain that the NCAA Football series made millions of dollars for EA. It undoubtedly exposed a significant amount of people to college football, to the benefit of the NCAA. Surely the two sides could reach an agreement on a way to bring the series back. On top of that, the game could be heavily beneficial to the players themselves. I have always been a strong supporter of paying college athletes. While I do not believe that they should receive any compensation outside of a scholarship from the school’s themselves, the players should be able to monetize their likeness, in the form of profiting from their respective jersey and merchandise sales, as well as actual usage of their likeness in things like the NCAA Football video game series. The reintroduction of the game could be the best possible way to ensure a higher quality of life for both college athletes and causal video game players. The series has provided me with countless hours of fun, and continues to do so, despite the last rendition of the game being 5+ years old. The revival of the game could help bridge the gap between the millions of dollars made by the NCAA and the lack of compensation for college athletes. Bringing back the game would be a win-win-win situation for the NCAA, collegiate athletes, and video game players alike. In my opinion, this is something that really, really needs to happen. I hope to one day be able to turn on my new-generation gaming console and again be able to enjoy the fun of the college football experience, sooner rather than later.

That’s all for this week. Be sure to check out some of the other great content from the writers at Mid-American Culture. Thanks for reading!

Waffle House: My First Impressions

This week, the staff at Mid-American Culture was tasked with reviewing a restaurant with which we had little or no experience. I decided to write about the enigmatic Waffle House. I also tweaked the title everyone else is using a little bit to include this piece in  my “My First Impressions” series (because why not?). For the vast majority of my life, I was part of the significant minority of people who had never had Waffle House. People around me had always told me that it is a brilliant eating establishment, but for whatever reason, I never made time to try it. That is, until recently. To be fair, I went once as a small child but I have little to no memory of it and I couldn’t remember what I had or if I liked it. However, I consider the trip I made a few months ago to be my first true visit. I went with a friend from my work who was flabbergasted at the thought of a 20 year old who had never really had a Waffle House experience. I am eternally grateful to her for putting me on to the magical wonder that is Waffle House.

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During my first visit, my friend recommended to me that I try the chocolate chip waffles. This will undoubtedly be my go-to order moving forward. These are, without a doubt, some of the best waffles I have ever had. I am still a pancake guy to the core, but I can still respect a good waffle. That experience was very pleasant, but it left something to be desired because I didn’t truly get the full Waffle House experience. For that, I feel you have to go late at night and order one of their sensational side options. It was during my most recent visit that I really got that experience.

While driving to Tennessee for my recent vacation (check out my piece on that vacation here), we stopped at a Waffle House after a long day of being stuck in the car. It was approximately 11 p.m. There was only one other group in the restaurant and they looked exactly like what you would expect the late-night Waffle House crowd to look like.  The atmosphere was perfect. I ordered my staple chocolate chip waffles and also added an order of country ham. This was one of the best food-related decisions I have made in a very long time. The ham was great and the waffles never disappoint. I also sampled some of my mom’s hash browns and those were immaculate. I will most definitely order those on my next trip. Everyone in my family loved the Waffle House visit. The service was very prompt, the staff was surprisingly friendly given the late hour at which we were there, and the food was great.

Overall, I loved my first Waffle House experiences. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it before. In the words of some tweet I saw on twitter a few months ago, “it isn’t a Waffle House. It’s a Waffle Home”. That sums it up perfectly. I hope to go back to my Waffle Home very soon.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the rest of the Mid-American Culture restaurant reviews this week!

My twitter: @BigRedAFerg

M.A.C. Twitter: @M_American_C

Scorpion-Drake: In-Depth Review

In the unlikely event that someone reading this is unaware, Drake released his newest album, Scorpion, five days ago. The album is currently shattering several streaming records on various platforms. Upon release, the album drew large amounts of praise from loyal fans, its fair share of hate from those predisposed to disliking Drake, and mixed reactions from various media outlets. As I have confessed any number of times before, I am a huge Drake fan. This inevitably impacts the way I view the album. If my take comes off as too biased, there are plenty of other reviews out there, including one from a self-confessed Drake hater at Mid-American Culture, available here. For my review, I will go song-by-song and briefly say what I liked or disliked about it and at the end, I will give my final thoughts on the album.

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A Side

Survival- Drake never disappoints on his intros. Pretty much every intro he has done has been solid. I really liked the “Mount Rushmore” line at the start of the song. I love me some overconfident Drizzy.

Nonstop- This track appears to be the most popular new song on the album, which upon first listen, I did not see coming. However, after a few more listens, I can somewhat see it. The track is catchy and Drake’s delivery is pretty enjoyable.

Elevate- I didn’t find this track to be anything particularly special. It isn’t bad by any means. It just doesn’t stand out to me.

Emotionless- This is one of my favorite tracks on the entire album. The production on this track is absolutely outstanding and Drake addressing real issues in his life always makes for enjoyable music.

God’s Plan- Released before the album, the song is a huge hit. The video is amazing and the song is solid.

I’m Upset- Also released before the album. Average Drake song. Not bad, not amazing.

8 Out of 10- I love the delivery of this track. The way Drake hits the beat running, so to speak, is awesome. The beat is solid and this is one of the more standout tracks from the A Side of the album.

Mob Ties- Another standout track, Mob Ties has a catchiness that not a lot of songs have. Drake changes up his delivery a good bit out of his typical comfort zone here and I found it really enjoyable.

Can’t Take A Joke- This track features some of the best bars on the album. The beat is one of the better ones and I like this track a lot.

Sandra’s Rose- I was expecting this one to be really deep and passionate, given it is named after Drake’s mother. I was wrong. The song isn’t bad, but it’s not anything that stood out to me either.

Talk Up- This is my favorite song on the A Side. The track features one of the hardest beats Drake has ever rapped over. I’m not a big Jay-Z fan by any means but his guest verse is phenomenal. The last few bars of his verse are stellar.

Is There More- This track is very meh. It didn’t do much of anything for me.

B Side

Peak- Not a bad introduction to the R&B side of the album. The instrumentals and overall production are top-notch.

Summer Games- This song is a brilliant commentary on modern relationships. It’s songs like this with relatable aspects in which Drake is at his best.

Jaded- I don’t know who broke Drake’s heart, but the world needs to take a moment to collectively thank them. Jaded is one of Drake’s all-time great feels songs. I love it. It is probably the best song on Side B.

Nice For What- Released before the album. This is a solid club banger.

Finesse- The chorus of this song is excellent. As stupid as this sounds, I love the way Drake says “finesse”. It is definitely my favorite part of the whole song.

Ratchet Happy Birthday- This is the worst song on the entire album. It has few, if any, redeeming qualities. With that being said, I’m probably still going to bump it when my birthday rolls around.

That’s How You Feel- I wasn’t feeling this song at all until the Nicki Minaj snippets. They kept me hyped up for the rest of the song.

Blue Tint- This is a Drake and Future song about being rich. It is a classic formula that rarely disappoints. This is a solid track.

In My Feelings- I was very let down by this song. When I saw it on the tracklist, I assumed it would be a Marvin’s Room caliber feels song. It isn’t a bad song by any means. It just isn’t what I expected and it is very hard to get past that.

Don’t Matter To Me- This is the song that I was most excited for on Scorpion. I love Michael Jackson and the concept of the biggest music stars from two different generations on the same song together is very appealing. I think MJ would have approved. I know I did.

After Dark- This is another one of the stronger songs on the entire album. The Ty Dolla $ign feature is superb.

Final Fantasy- This is the most underrated song on the entire album. I have hardly heard anyone really talk about it. I can’t overstate how good it really is.

March 14- This is the song that everyone who followed Drake’s drama leading up to the album release was waiting for. He addresses his son and the controversy that surrounds him. In my opinion, he handled the entire situation in the best way possible and listening to this song makes me happy. You can hear the love Drake has for his son and it makes me smile.

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Overall, I give the album a 7.5/10. I think this is probably Drake’s 4th best project. This sounds negative,  but given how highly I think of the top 3, this is actually a fairly complementary ranking. Scorpion sounds fairly similar to the sounds of Views and More Life. If you enjoy this type of sound, you will like Scorpion very much. If you do not enjoy the more recent Drake projects, there is a good chance Scorpion isn’t for you. Myself being such a big Drake fan, I highly recommend the album and feel that Drake certainly delivered, as he always does.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out some of the other great content on Mid-American Culture.

My twitter: @BigRedAFerg

M.A.C. Twitter:@M_American_C

Drake’s Most Underrated Songs

We are a mere two days away from the release of Drake’s highly anticipated album, Scorpion. This is the perfect time to write another piece on the great Drizzy Drake. My intense Drake fandom is well documented, both on various social media platforms, as well as in some of my previous pieces on Mid-American Culture. In my opinion, Mr. Aubrey Drake Graham is the greatest hip-hop artist who has ever lived. His discography has produced a countless number of classics which span multiple genres. There are also a number of hidden gems mixed in that never received the critical acclaim or commercial success that they deserved. The latter is what this piece will focus on. Here are some of what I consider to be Drake’s most underrated tracks:

Wu-Tang Forever

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Upon listening to Nothing Was The Same for the very first time back in 2013, I immediately identified Wu-Tang Forever as one of my favorite tracks on the album. It wasn’t until much later, however, that I realized just how good it really is. Wu-Tang Forever serves double duty, both as an emotional and reflective track about a former love interest and as an introspective metaphor for Drake’s journey through the rap game. The song is both a great storytelling piece and a sonically pleasing song. In short, Wu-Tang Forever is classic Drake at some of his finest.

Find Your Love

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In my earlier piece, Ranking Drake’s Major Projects, I boldly stated that if Find Your Love were to have been released today at the height of Drake’s popularity, as opposed to his first years in the spotlight, it would be his most successful song ever. I still firmly believe that. This is not to say that the song did not receive its fair share of acclaim. However, it could have and should have been infinitely bigger. This song has the credentials required to be a chart topper in multiple different genres, being Pop, R&B, and Hip-Hop. It beautifully fuses the three in a way that only Drake can. I don’t think I will ever stop raving about just how good this song really is.

Cameras

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I think what makes Drake truly great is his ability to create music that feels as if he is consistently flexing his superstar lifestyle, while still being honest, deep, and relatable. Cameras is a perfect example. In the song, Drake uses a very passive, almost uninterested flow to try to calm the concerns of a certain woman about his glamourous and public lifestyle. He argues essentially that the man, Aubrey, is different from the superstar, Drake, portrayed by the media, particularly by the paparazzi. My favorite part of the lyrics is that while Drake acknowledges a number of his suspect behaviors, he never once apologizes for them, instead portraying them as an unfortunate side-effect of his fame and lifestyle. This is a brilliant commentary on popular culture, and a huge part of what makes Cameras so brilliant.

Can’t Have Everything

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In recent years, Drake has transitioned further away from rap, opting instead to focus on musical experimentation. With Can’t Have Everything, he reminds the world that he is still a dominant force in the rap game, willing to go toe-to-toe with anyone and everyone. Drake replaces his generally emotional tone for one of aggression and utter disgust at the criticisms placed on him by some of his peers. Drake essentially spends an entire song flexing the hunger he still has while still citing his status on top of the music world. The song concludes with a voicemail recording of his mother, in which she addresses her son’s recent spat with Meek Mill, and asks her son to let go of his resentment and return to his more positive tone. She concludes by paraphrasing Michelle Obama’s famous “when they go low, we go high” line. This is some of the most brilliant contrasting we’ve ever seen from Drake and only adds to the aura of this song.

5 A.M. In Toronto 

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5 A.M. In Toronto is the song that Drake haters love to pretend doesn’t exist. The song is nothing but pure greatness. It is 3 minutes and 30 seconds of Drake at his absolute best. However, this is certainly the most controversial entries on this list. Most major Drake fans rank this song among his best. However, the more casual fans very well may have never heard this song. It doesn’t appear on any major albums and it doesn’t appear on Apple Music or Spotify. The lack of availability  of this song is an utter travesty because I consider it to be the best track of Drake’s career. For me, 5A.M. In Toronto is the song that cemented Drakes status as one of the all-time greats. With it, he put to rest any claims that he is not a superb rapper who deserves a place on music’s Mount Rushmore. It really doesn’t get any better.

While there are any number of underrated tracks I could have added to this list, these are the 5 that I felt most needed to be shared. I have been listening to more than my fair share of Drake lately in preparation for Scorpion. Next week, I will do a My First Impressions article on the album, and will likely provide a full, in-depth review of it the following week. Prepare for an abundance of Drake content from me in the coming weeks. Until then, check out some of the other great content on Mid-American Culture. Thanks for reading!

My Twitter: @BigRedAFerg

M.A.C. Twitter: @M_American_C