Close shave (cont.)
Posted: Monday April 2, 2007 12:22AM; Updated: Tuesday April 3, 2007 12:59PM
As Daivari speed-walked past Jimmy Hart, Slick, Haku, Bobby Heenan, Nick Bockwinkel and other former wrestling greats up in the family room, he walked down to the front row of the press box and soaked in the scene. "Wow," he said. "I've never seen anything like this."
The most hyped match of the night obviously was the hair vs. hair match between Trump's Lashley and McMahon's Umaga. While many wrestlers were busy downing drinks at the open bar or munching on hamburgers and hot dogs at the buffet table in the family room during matches, most everyone made it a point to get in front of a television or find an open seat to watch McMahon get his head shaven.
I sat down with Ken Kennedy and his family as he was still basking in the glory of winning "The Money in the Bank" match, which opened the show. "This has been a surreal night," said "Mr. Kennedy." "I don't want it to end but what a way to end it, seeing Vince McMahon get his head shaved bald. He looks crazy, right. Well, crazier."
I've never wanted to write wrestling storylines but hanging out with Chris Nowinski during WrestleMania week, we both figured we should at least come up with one before we left Detroit. So we took it upon ourselves to light a feud between Elijah Burk and Shelton Benjamin, with the premise being that Benjamin won the THQ Superstar Challenge four straight years before "retiring," allowing Burke to win the title this year.
When we ran into Benjamin at a party at the Hyatt in Dearborn, where all the wrestlers were staying at, we asked Benjamin what he thought of Burke taking over his crown. "One time doesn't mean anything," he said. "I won it four times in a row. The fact that Carlito gave him a run for his money shows you something. No one could even get an offensive move off on me."
When we relayed the information to Burke later in the night at the same party, he laughed and said, "Unlike Shelton, I have a well-rounded life with women. I don't play video games all day."
Benjamin laughed when we told him what Burke said. "It's not that Elijah spends his time with women," noted Benjamin. "He spends his time braiding his hair like a woman."
We even continued our proposed feud during WrestleMania when we asked Burke for a response. "If he took note of my fashion sense, he wouldn't be wearing such gawd-awful clothes to the ring," he said. Benjamin shook his head when he heard what Burke had to say. "Elijah is nothing more than someone who dresses like a clown," he said. "He's really biting off more than he can chew. He isn't even half the man I am, in or out of the ring."
Well, I did my part. Let's see if they can get these two guys in the ring or at least in front of a TV to play Smackdown vs. Raw 2008. If my schedule permits, I might be able to serve as the special guest referee.
One of the last acts McMahon did before getting his head shaved was accepting a personalized Harley Davidson motorcycle from the Ford Family about an hour before WrestleMania began. McMahon was grinning from ear to ear as he sat on it and thanked the family for the gift. "I love bikes," he said. "This is fantastic!" While wife Linda liked the bike, she probably wasn't thrilled that her husband would be cruising around in his new toy. McMahon got in a motorcycle accident about eight years go. "This is where you pegged your leg," she said as she pointed to the back of the bike. "Watch out for that."
Not surprisingly WrestleMania attracted quite a few celebrities around ringside, including, Rev Run and the Simmons family, Billy Corgan, Aretha Franklin (who sang America the Beautiful), Wade Boggs, Tommy "Hit Man" Hearns, Randall Godfrey, Chris Webber, Dominik Hasek, Curtis Granderson, Sean Casey, Joel Zumaya, Gary Sheffield, Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, Craig Monroe, Tara Conner and the current Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, who all arrived with The Donald. After the show, many of the celebrities and athletes rolled backstage with their commemorative folding chairs in hand. "I came with my nephews and I had a great time. I've always wanted to go to WrestleMania and I finally got to come," said Webber. "The highlight was getting to meet John Cena with my nephews. I was just as excited as they were."