Top-Down Smackdown: We Interviewed the Iron Sheik Again

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 5:00 pm


Last week we interviewed Igal Hecht, director of the Iron Sheik documentary The Sheik, which is a must-watch for any fan of either pro-wrestling or the way performers create characters. But we couldn't stop there. No blogger in his right mind - particularly at a site like this that does not censor profanity - could write about the Iron Sheik movie and not talk to the Sheik himself. Especially when it went so well the last time.

As before, the interview was conducted by email, so it's anyone's guess whether it was Khosrow Vaziri himself who wrote back, or his managers Jian and Page Magen. Not that it really matters - there are mirrors and smoke aplenty in the wrestling business, very few of today's performers write all their own material, and the character of the Iron Sheik is very much in evidence.

Several of the questions came from Facebook fans of TR; the Iron Sheik's responses are entirely unedited...

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Thank You, Gotham; Here Comes Krypton

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm


I'm probably being sarcastic.

It's coming to Syfy, which certainly doesn't mean it'll have terrible CG or anything like that. And it'll center on Jor-El's father, sometimes called Jor-El I in the comics.

Extrapolating from what we've seen in other TV shows, I imagine one of the characters will be a very bright and kind kid named Zod, and a strange gray-skinned man named Duum Z'Day. For sweeps, the Abin Sur Green Lantern will probably show up. And the main character, be he called Jor-El I or something new entirely, will go on and on about how he needs to blend the colors of red and blue just-so to create the ultimate spacefaring uniform.

Mark Hamill Will Play the Trickster Again for The Flash

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 11:26 am


He probably will not have such an awesomely 1990 costume and hairdo (what would be the 2014 equivalent - lumbersexual?) but we'll get to see what his Jedi Master physique looks like today. Per Hitfix:

"Mark Hamill returns in a brand new interpretation of James Jesse (aka The Trickster), a role he originated on the 90's 'Flash' series. In this new iteration, The Trickster is an anarchist terrorist con man serving a life sentence in Iron Heights who helps Barry (Grant Gustin) and Det. West (Jesse L. Martin) to foil the city-wide attacks of a wannabe Trickster eagerly following in the original's deadly footsteps. The episode will reunite him with John Wesley Shipp who went up against him as the original 'Flash' on the CBS version."
So the new Trickster will presumably be Axel Walker, then? This kind of makes me wish John Wesley Shipp had been cast as Jay Garrick rather than Barry's dad. Hamill's "Trickster" performance more or less became his Joker performance a couple of years later, so it'll be fun to see how much of that remains.

h/t SlyDante777

Skeletor and He-Man Are Workout Bros in New Honda Commercial

Friday, December 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm


Following an initial series of ads featuring '80s toys, Honda follows up with a holiday themed set, featuring the likes of Jem, GI Joe, and of course Eternia's two greatest foes. Entitled "Jingle Bros," it's mainly Skeletor rapping about how he and He-Man are pals now, and showcasing what they do together. It really doesn't have anything to do with selling cars - Skeletor rides off on Panthor rather than a Battle Ram or anything - but it does feature a disturbing moment when Skelly and He-Man both get matching She-Ra "heart" tattoos.

I guess it's cool that bone-dome loves his niece and all - but the artwork just makes me think of something more than familial, especially since no canon has ever made clear that Skeletor knows he's related to her.

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The First-Ever Tom Skerritt Action Figure Needs to Be Bigger News

Friday, December 5, 2014 at 11:30 am


Listen: it is fantastic that Sigourney Weaver finally agreed to let Alien and Aliens figures be based on her specific license, rather than a generic female sculpt. Especially since she allowed the subpar-at-best Avatar figures from Mattel to kinda-sorta look like her.

But without diminishing that, why aren't more people celebrating the first lifelike Tom Skerritt figure? Star of Alien, M*A*S*H (the movie), Top Gun, The Dead Zone (movie AND TV show), SpaceCamp, Picket Fences and so much more...the man has been acting since 1962, and at last he is immortalized in a pink samurai spacesuit. As a character with the manly name of Dallas.

Skerritt. Real man wearing pink. Toy. This is awesome, you guys. Bow down.


Krysten Ritter Is Marvel's Jessica Jones (Plus Cumberbatch Is Strange, and Reynolds Is Deadpool)

Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm


That's the B from Apartment 23, and also of Breaking Bad, who is being reported to be the lead of the Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones. If you're asking, "Who?", I'll refer you to our own Eric Diaz:

Jessica Jones was the star of Brian Michael Bendis' acclaimed series Alias that ran from 2001 to 2005, and who - after that series ended - appeared in Marvel's New Avengers comics. The original concept of Alias was that Jessica Jones was once a short-lived super hero named Jewel, a classic-era Marvel heroine with super-strength and super-speed, who wore a stylish sash. Unlike Ms. Marvel and her contemporaries though, "Jewel" was a hero whose career never really took off. Pretty much all washed up, she eventually she gives up her superhero identity altogether and opens a detective agency that specializes in cases of the superheroic kind.

The same report notes that Halo's Jameson Locke, Mike Colter, is the frontrunner to play Luke Cage. And in related yet completely unsurprising news, Ryan Reynolds will probably play Deadpool again.

UPDATE: and Benedict Cumberbatch is re-confirmed as Dr. Strange.

TR Interview: Igal Hecht, Director of That Iron Sheik Documentary

Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm


The films of documentarian Igal Hecht have previously focused on Israel - 2011's The Hilltops centered on West Bank settlements, while 2013's A Universal Language covered Canadian comedians on a trip to the Holy Land. An Iranian pro wrestler might not have immediately seemed to be the next logical step, but it will probably become the film he is best known for. Self-described as a huge wrestling fan, Hecht was hired to assemble many, many hours of footage of the Iron Sheik that his managers had shot - and somehow turn it into a feature.

He has, and it's a good one, documenting the erstwhile Khosrow Vaziri's career in Iran as a bodyguard and wrestler, the reasons why he left, his early career and marriage, his success as the Iron Sheik, and the tragedies after he fell from WWE's good graces the first time, and had to suffer the pain of a daughter being murdered. These days, of course, he's a must-follow on Twitter, where he tells everybody reading to go fuck themselves.

I spoke to Hecht to find out what it was like working with the self-proclaimed Legend.

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The Flash/Arrow (#Flarrow) Crossover Part 2 SPOILER Thread

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm


Well, we wound up getting a pretty decent response on the other one in the end. So let's see how it wraps up.

New Disease! Still-Wooden Billy Campbell! Here's a Look at Helix Season 2

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm


Ah, Helix. The show I took so long to watch that my wife deleted the last few episodes form the DVR before I could get to them all. And I wasn't even particularly upset by that.

But while the Resident Evil rip-off story didn't excite me, former Rocketeer Billy Campbell in his "old and hammy" phase was always fun. Looks like season 2 is more of a Cabin Fever riff...check out the first extended clip, if you like.

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Agents of SHIELD SPOILER Thread - In Puerto Rico!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 6:00 pm


Did you know that something which just looks like a pile of bricks and mortar to you and a wall ta' Koenig?

Big things supposedly afoot tonight.