1. ESPN’s The Last Dance has been the highlight of quarantine for many sports fans, but if you’re a WWE fan, The Last Ride has been just as engrossing.
The Last Dance worked for many reasons, with one of the biggest being that we haven’t seen or heard much from Michael Jordan over the years. The No. 1 reason The Last Ride has worked is because we’ve never heard anything from The Undertaker’s portrayer–Mark Calaway–ever.
The Last Ride airs its fifth and final chapter on the WWE Network this Sunday. If you are or have ever been a WWE fan, I can’t recommend enough that you binge the series over the weekend if you’re looking for something to do.
Just seeing Calaway pull back the curtain and talk about his character would make this a must-watch documentary, but what puts it over the top is seeing the relationship between Calaway and Vince McMahon. In one episode, Vince stops taping because he’s overcome with emotion when asked about what Calaway means to him. Throughout the series, Calaway’s wife talks about how Calaway will do anything Vince asks. And in Episode 4 you see the push and pull of Calaway wanting to call it a career and Vince telling him maybe not so fast.
As I said, for the past 30 years, The Undertaker has given us nothing in terms of publicity. That started to change last year when he did a podcast, out of character, with Stone Cold Steve Austin, which I named The Best Interview of 2019 in the SI.com Year-End Media Awards.
And during The Last Ride, Calaway revealed that he recently hired a social media team, which was just a jaw-dropping confession considering his personality.
To complete his transformation, Calaway did tons of interviews and podcasts over the past month to promote the series.
The Last Ride gives you a look at the old Undertaker and the new Undertaker and it was the perfect ride.
2. One last item on The Undertaker. This was a great read from ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski and Arda Orcal.
3. HBO announced Thursday that Hard Knocks would feature the Rams AND Chargers this season. I’m not sure how I feel about the show focusing on two teams instead of one, but I have zero expectations going into this year’s installment, which is a good thing. There was a lot of hype for the Raiders last year and the season was a complete and total dud.
4. Don’t expect to see Brooks Koepka mic’d up during a tournament any time soon, which is a damn shame.
5. Last Friday, while listening to the SiriusXM ’80s channel, I threw out this factual take.
The replies quickly came in with some people agreeing and some throwing out other songs for title of “Worst of the ’80s.” However, many songs suggested by readers were actually awesome songs. I’m went through a bulk of the replies here and set the record straight on where each song stands.
“We Built This City” is a great song and I will die on that hill.
Yes, “Puttin’ on the Ritz” is a terrible song, but Toy Soldiers is worse. At least “Puttin’ on the Ritz” has a rhythm. Let’s Go All the Way” is not even close to being the worst song of the ’80s.
“Kokomo” is a top-10 worst song of the ’80s.
“Sussudio” is one of the best songs of the ’80s and this is an absurd take.
Clearly, “99 Luft Balloons“ is a novelty song, but I enjoy it, even though I still don’t know what a luft balloon is.
I’m not gonna lie and you can judge me all you want. I enjoy “Tarzan Boy.”
Almost blocked this guy. How dare you insult Eddie Murphy and “Party all the Time!”
This is a fair point.
Three ridiculous takes in a row, all besmirching great songs.
5. This week’s Sports Illustrated Media Podcast features two interviews.
First up is New York Post sports media reporter Andrew Marchand to discuss several recent sports media stories, including MLB signing a new contract with Turner Sports for big money, the future of Trey Wingo at ESPN, how NFL broadcasts will handle kneeling this season, Drew Brees’s status with NBC and much more.
Following Marchand, L.A. Times sports columnist Arash Markazi joins the podcast to talk about Las Vegas’s reopening. Markazi was there for a week and tells us what the casinos, tables, pools and sportsbooks were like in the age of COVID-19.
6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: In honor of Father’s Day on Sunday, here’s the best sports dad in TV history.
7. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: Four years ago today. Game 7. The King.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.