Shawn Michaels' return to WWE ring just gained new hope
The Royal Rumble is returning to San Antonio in January.
It's been 20 years since it last visited the home of The Alamo and 30 years since the debut of the historic WWE event that starts the "road to WrestleMania."
In 1997, the Rumble in San Antonio drew 60,525 fans, a figure that rivals today's WrestleMania numbers. The record for any event at the Alamodome is held by a George Strait concert in 2013 attracting 73,086. You know that Vince McMahon isn't going to be outdone. He has never satisfied his craving to conquer stadium attendance records in sports and entertainment.
Normally, the Rumble is held in an arena with a more modest turnout of less than 20,000. So, this year's event needs to be Trumped up at its larger venue. That's right, put The Donald in the 30-man Rumble match. After all, he's in the WWE Hall of Fame, and he can certainly employ Drew Carey's strategy.
Alright, maybe that's not the best answer. But let's not take anything off the table.
The real answer is San Antonio's favorite son, Shawn Michaels.
The Heartbreak Kid has been retired and held to that by pro wrestling standards. He's done some appearances, been a special referee and delivered Sweet Chin Music. However, he's never had another official match despite WWE's attempts behind the scenes.
Michaels hasn't came out retirement because he had a storybook ending to his career against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 26. There was nothing else for him to accomplish.
I think that could be changing, and it's all about the pitch and purpose. Rumble in his hometown and WrestleMania in Orlando which might be his new home.
HBK has spent some time in Orlando guest appearing and coaching at the WWE Performance Center. It's been a heavily discussed rumor of Michaels re-locating to Orlando to take more regular position at the training facility. Nothing official has been announced but WWE executive and talent Triple H even acknowledged it on a conference call with the media in August.
Triple H says HBK loves NXT & PC and being around it excites him & he asked about being able to spend time there w/ talent.
— Justin LaBar (@JustinLaBar) August 17, 2016
Triple H says if HBK wants to be there full time than that's greatest thing ever but he can also show up occasionally. Says it's all on him.
— Justin LaBar (@JustinLaBar) August 17, 2016
So, let's start from the beginning, which is the build to Royal Rumble.
Triple H already tweeted about the event with the final line leaving open to interpretation of who could show up accompanied by a picture of his surprise entrance last year where he won the Rumble.
A return 20 years in the making...
January 29, 2017 the #RoyalRumble returns to San Antonio @Alamodome. You never know who will show up... pic.twitter.com/eKFai1pXtB
— Triple H (@TripleH) September 30, 2016
Perhaps this year it's Triple H inviting Shawn Michaels to be in the match in front of his hometown all in the name of it being "best for business." Michaels continually declines, saying those day are behind him. Triple H persists with the offer that it's all in the name of this being a big-money event. Michaels declines again. Finally, Triple H flips the switch by challenging Michaels' pride and courage. Triple H can insist Michaels has walked away, not because he's accomplished everything, but because he can't stand to be in the shadow of Triple H who has become more successful.
A promo like only heel Triple H can cut and an emotionally charged exchange only two guys who are so close in life can execute.
Michaels accepts the invite to the Rumble match but makes note that Triple H has just made things personal.
WWE production can put together another excellent video, as they do so often, highlighting Michaels at the WWE Performance Center training and preparing for his big return.
Michaels, 51, showed us with his appearance last year at WrestleMania he's still in phenomenal shape and can hang with guys half his age. The sight of his intense training will only enhance the realization this is happening and what he's still capable of in the ring.
Have him enter the Rumble match halfway and go the distance to the final four rallying his hometown crowd behind him.
Of course, Michaels shouldn't and doesn't need to win. This would be a prime situation to elevate a younger heel talent who can rain on the comeback parade.
With Triple H being the father of NXT and the plethora of talent who was or is there, it offers a lot of room creatively. You can have a talent make a statement by being involved in Michaels' elimination and potentially under the instructions of an angry Triple H.
Does it go beyond Rumble? Yes, the story has to.
Michaels could have another WrestleMania match if he's up for it. If not, another successful option would be him in the corner endorsing a young babyface talent to oppose Triple H and his heel.
He can always call upon the "HBK line" on the Pittsburgh Penguins for some help and celebrity appearance at the grand event. The last time they all supported each other a Stanley Cup was won. Certainly, they can pull off a WrestleMania win.
From City Paper: Pittonkatonk is not a music festival.
It's a series of community activities that includes a music-bolstered, family-reunion-style party in Schenley Park each May, but Pittonkatonk is active year-round.
It's a protest, it's an educational program, it's a community-organizing catalyst.
One of the Pittonkatonk collective's biggest campaigns is to bring music education to underserved local schools and communities. Some schools don't even have a music-education program, and many don't have enough instruments to go around. Some students have never seen live musicians perform, and the idea of becoming a musician is one that's inaccessible to many of them.
Pittonkatonk aims to change that.
The Pittonkatonk website displays its educational mission with a call to action: "Pittonkatonk may just be a day in the park for you, but for us it's a year-round initiative that we feel is essential in building community, empowering youth voices through musical expression, and an innovative way of producing grassroots events unlike anything else."
And don't miss this year's May Day Brass BBQ on May 6 at the Vietnam Veteran's Pavilion in Schenley Park from 1-11 p.m.
As if crapping your brains out from E. coli wasn't bad enough, Chipotle announced it recently detected unauthorized activity on the network that supports its payment system in restaurants.
According to the Associated Press:
An investigation is focused on restaurant transactions between March 24 and April 18, and would not provide further details since the investigation is ongoing.
A Chipotle representative said the company has notified card networks, which notifies issuing banks, which in turn notifies customers.
The company released a statement that said those that visited the restaurants recently should monitor their card statements: "Consistent with good practices, consumers should closely monitor their payment card statements. If anyone sees an unauthorized charge, they should immediately notify the bank that issued the card. Payment card network rules generally state that cardholders are not responsible for such charges," the statement said.
Fifty-three people in nine states were sickened with the same strain of E. coli in 2015; 46 had eaten at Chipotle in the week before they fell ill.
DISH Network customers in the Pittsburgh area can again watch WTAE-TV.
DISH announced Wednesday night it had reached a multi-year agreement with Hearst Television for carrying the broadcaster's local channels in 26 markets across 30 states, including WTAE.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Heart's stations had been unavailable to DISH customers since March 3 because of a contract dispute.
A WTAE representative could not immediately be reached for comment, but Hearst issued a statement from its television president, Jordan Wertlieb.
"We are grateful to once again have Hearst Television stations providing DISH customers the quality local and national programming which we invest so heavily to offer our local communities," Wertlieb said. "We are thankful to DISH subscribers and to our supportive advertisers for their extraordinary patience during this prolonged process."
DISH Network had about 13.7 million paying subscribers as of Dec. 31, 2016.
The phone rings. The voice booms.
"Rob-ERT! How are things, my friend?"
They sucked for former ESPN employees on Wednesday like they have sucked for former employees elsewhere on days past, like they will suck for future former employees somewhere on days to come. They suck in ways equally insulting and indecent. They suck for everybody involved, and that group includes an audience whose connection to a journalist was suddenly severed. But they mostly suck for the journalist that the audience rarely knows.
After 13 years of sticks and pucks can share that as of today my tenure at ESPN is at a close. I look forward to the next adventure.
— Scott Burnside (@OvertimeScottB) April 26, 2017
Scott Burnside is my friend. And it sucks knowing he'll probably begin our next conversation the way he has started all of them for well over a decade.
"Rob-ERT! How are things, my friend?"
In a past life, Scott often pulled me from an abyss I couldn't help but seek. His arrivals in Pittsburgh as a national columnist for ESPN's web site usually seemed perfectly timed to coincide with a professional drama that was damaging me personally.
Covering the Penguins as the Tribune-Review's beat reporter was my dream job. But I never liked dreaming, so I made a bad habit of trying to turn the dream into a nightmare.
How would I have covered Sidney Crosby had I known about my ADHD? Differently, I think. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
I can look back on those days without regrets because I know the guy making mistakes wasn't a jerk. Rather, he was an undiagnosed case of adult ADHD and all the good and bad that comes with the condition. He couldn't let go because of his hyper-focus, or his anxiety, or his obsessive-compulsive leanings, or his depression. He couldn't let go because his body couldn't produce the proper chemicals that "other" people who were "normal" might have in abundance.
He still exists. But I keep him at arms-length through counseling and medication, and the only reason that I'm writing about him is because of the friend that Scott was to me a couple of years ago.
The dream gig had gone away, and with it went the comfort of control that had existed.
As a columnist, I was miserable. The variety of subject matter that accompanied my promotion had driven me to a dull despair. Without the Penguins' world to bury myself in, I began to see mine for what it had become.
It had become whatever I could make of it. And the fear of that responsibility sent me home most nights to reruns of sitcoms I had long ago memorized, re-readings of stories I had long ago finished, and re-enactments of scenes I had long ago vowed to forget.
Ron Swanson would not have approved of how often I watched his personal government shutdown. (Getty Images)
It about a year ago this past January when Scott rang after I hadn't returned a few emails. Whether or not he remembers the conversation, I have no idea.
You can surely guess what was first said.
"Rob-ERT! How are things, my friend?"
My answer was full of lies. After the talk, I couldn't let go of my disgust with having lied to a friend who had phoned only to check on me.
Why? All Scott had ever done was be there for me.
He had introduced me to agents when I was an inexperienced, unknown reporter. He had helped me flesh out ideas when I was transitioning towards chasing national stories. He had counseled me when I was covering my first labor stoppage. He had given me responsibilities within the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. He had paid for rounds at Smokin' Joe's Saloon. He had offered his vacation spot as a getaway.
He had been a friend and a mentor and a guidepost and a leader and... well, he had been more than I deserved. And I lied to him when he sensed I needed to come clean with how things really were.
A terrible rest of that day bled into a lustful, lousy night. The next morning, my iPad screen was full with links to profiles of local therapists.
If he would be so kind as to ask again, Scott would be given an answer.
OK, so things are fun, too? (upgruv)
Things are better. Not always great. But better. A lot better.
Things are better for me because of Scott.
I was at a Penguins practice on Wednesday when word came down that Scott, Pierre LeBrun and so many others had been done dirty by the supposed "worldwide leader." A lot of the hockey folks at the Lemieux Complex came up to me and asked if I had "talked to Scotty."
Not yet. Soon
The great thing about a great friend is that you know that person well enough to know when to say what needs said.
Things sucked for a lot of sports journalists on Wednesday. Included in that group is a damn fine hockey writer named Scott Burnside.
But he's a lot more to a lot of people. Hope he knows that more than a few of us in his beloved Pittsburgh are thinking of our friend on another day that sucked.
Rob Rossi is our sports editor
The news isn't so new: It was reported back in December — via Coaster Hub — that Kennywood would be adding a virtual reality experience to its Sky Rocket coaster.
Then today, this appeared on Kennywood's Instagram:
The comments took a few people by surprise. They had no idea.
Looks like what is already a very popular ride could get even busier.
Of course, not everyone is behind the concept. Here's a comment from Coaster Hub:
If you want to know what's in store for VR riders on the Sky Rocket, check out this very similar experience at Six Flags:
You'd think it'd at least be some kind of awesome craft brew. Nope.
A man faces obstruction charges after police in South Dakota said he ignored orders from firefighters and ran twice into a burning building to "save" his beer.
Sioux Falls police spokesman Officer Sam Clemens told KELO that Michael Casteel, 56, ignored a police officer who tried to stop him on Sunday from running into a burning apartment building. He ran into the building a second time, despite protests from firefighters battling the flames, police said.
On his second exit, Casteel carried a pair of Bud Ice beers with him, KELO reported.
1 in custody after obstructing fire and police.It is not advisable to push past PD and Fire in an attempt to "save your beer" #besmart /803 https://t.co/Y67WgOzlVp
— Sioux Falls Police (@siouxfallspd) April 23, 2017
Authorities determined Casteel had a blood-alcohol content level of .082 percent, KELO reported. He was charged with obstruction and violating a 24/7 sobriety program.
Just in time to match your dark soul, there's now black ice cream.
The Little Damage Ice Cream Shop in Los Angeles is serving up the treat — a dark gray Almond Charcoal soft serve delivered in a black charcoal-infused waffle cone.
It's $1. And it's blowing up on Instagram.
Danielle Salmon at Follow My Gut has a review:
"Within a few licks it was clear that the flavor was delicious! The almond was a prominent accent within the incredibly smooth and cold soft serve. The charcoal flavor came through subtly and offered a deep richness that lingered long after the ice cream was gone. What I loved about the flavor was that there wasn't any gritty taste that you would assume would be present when you hear "charcoal" in the name."
Oh, black ice cream isn't new.
There's been other versions around the world. (Just last year, Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream in New York did it up.) And if you look, there's plenty of black ice cream goodness out there.
But Little Damage's version seems to be the flavor of the week.
From WTAE: Investigators said a Facebook Live video helped them get the break they needed to file charges against a suspect in the murder of a 25-year-old woman in December.
Myanne Redman, 25, was shot and killed in Pittsburgh's East Hills neighborhood on Dec. 19.
According to a criminal complaint, police developed Isaiah Booker, 23, as a potential suspect in the case very early in their investigation.
In February, Booker had posted a Facebook Live video in which gunshots are heard along with what sounds like a police officer saying "Stop, get your hands up. Stop." The video goes off after a police siren is heard.