2015 M Awards: Favorite Concessions

 

Nobody in the Bluff city does concessions quite like the fine folks over at FedExForum.  With a courteous crew and tasty snacks it is easy to see why they won.  AutoZone Park did themselves no favors in the eyes of many Memphians when they decided to outsource the hometown favorite barbecue nachos to a private catering company this year.

FedExForum, First Place: 60.4 %
AutoZone Park, Second Place: 22.5%
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Third Place: 9.9%

Visit MemphiSport.com daily from July 13th to July 18th for this year’s Big Brothers Big Sisters M Awards winners.  The M Awards are presented by the 18th Annual Sports Ball Black-Tie Tennis Shoe Gala.

SPORTS BALL: BUY TIX TO THE SPORTS BALL BLACK-TIE TENNIS SHOE GALA BENEFITING BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS

MORE WINNERS: VIEW ALL OF THE M AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED SO FAR

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2015 M Awards: Favorite Sports Venue

 

fedexforum nightIt is no surprise that FedExForum wins this category.  After all, it is the most up to date sporting venue in Memphis. However, what is surprising is that a sporting venue that has not been used in nearly a decade comes in second.  (Learn more about the quest to put the professional wrestling Hall of Fame in Memphis and maybe the Mid-South Coliseum)

FedExForum, First Place: 68.1%
Mid-South Coliseum, Second Place: 15.1%
AutoZone Park, Third Place: 9.7%

Visit MemphiSport.com daily from July 13th to July 18th for this year’s Big Brothers Big Sisters M Awards winners.  The M Awards are presented by the 18th Annual Sports Ball Black-Tie Tennis Shoe Gala.

SPORTS BALL: BUY TIX TO THE SPORTS BALL BLACK-TIE TENNIS SHOE GALA BENEFITING BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS

MORE WINNERS: VIEW ALL OF THE M AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED SO FAR

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Top 5: WWE Fast Lane at FedExForum

After one of the most controversial Royal Rumbles in WWE history, the fans of Memphis, TN were treated to a night of action and surprises while WWE set the table for WrestleMania 31.  The capacity crowd at FedExForum witnessed the return of one of WWE’s biggest superstars, a Championship changing hands & a couple of very shocking defeats.

It has been 8 years since WWE brought a pay-per-view event to Memphis.  Was it worth the wait?

I took to Facebook & Twitter to see what you thought.  So, let’s take a look back at the top 5 moments from last night’s WWE Fast Lane. (in no particular order)

1.  In his first advertised appearance with WWE, Sting made his return to Memphis to square off with Triple H.  The two men will meet at WrestleMania 31 for Sting’s first match ever in the WWE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Randy Orton shocked FedExForum by making his long-awaited return.  He cleaned house after the six-man tag team match and is gunning for Seth Rollins.  The roof blew off the Forum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Rusef shocked the world by defeating John Cena.  Whether the fans were cheering or booing – John Cena had the loudest reaction of the night.  Cena was defeated with Rusef’s patented Camel Clutch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Just when we thought The Undertaker was making his way to the ring, the casket opens to reveal Bray Wyatt.  Wyatt laid out a challenge to The Deadman for a showdown at WrestleMania.  Some say Wyatt “stole the show” with his promo.  The takeaway?  The Undertaker is coming back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan via pinfall – clean victory with the spear.  Who saw that coming?  The road to WrestleMania ends a little short for Bryan.  As for Reigns – he’s headed to WrestleMania to face Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a night it was.  If you attended WWE Fast Lane at FedExForum, be sure to share you photos and highlights by tweeting myself or @MemphiSport.  Also, be sure to listen to our predictions and interview with Dave Meltzer from The Wrestling Observer to see how well we did (or didn’t) do.

Photo credit: WWE.com

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

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‘Mr. Belding’ Dennis Haskins previews WWE’s Fastlane PPV in Memphis (AUDIO)

mr belding

Dennis Haskins (aka Mr. Belding) joined Kevin Cerrito on radio show Cerrito Live (Sports 56 WHBQ/87.7 FM) and talked about Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Saved by the Bell’ reunion, WWE’s Fastlane PPV at FedExForum, Memphis, Jerry Lawler, the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame and more.

Start at 12:12 mark for pro wrestling talk:

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MemphiSport Live

Kevin Cerrito hosts Cerrito Live on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Listen to more podcasts at CerritoLive.com.

Memphis Grizzlies President of Business Operations discusses FedExForum’s non-compete clause (AUDIO)

 

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On Saturday,  Memphis Grizzlies President of Business Operations Jason Wexler joined joined Kevin Cerrito on Memphis radio show Cerrito Live  (Sports 56 WHBQ/87.7 FM). During the interview, Wexler discussed FedExForum’s non-compete clause in relation to saving the Mid-South Coliseum.

Start at 5:33 mark for talk about the non-compete clause, the Mid-South Coliseum and the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame:

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MemphiSport Live

Kevin Cerrito hosts Cerrito Live on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Listen to more podcasts at CerritoLive.com.

Throwback Thursday: Hulk STILL Rules

Hogan & Big ShowFedExForum has played host to quite a few epic wrestling moments throughout its history.  From Daniel Bryan’s “YES! Movement” in 2014 to Ric Flair’s surprise appearance at Memphis Grizzlies Wrestling Night just last week – something big always happens at FedExForum.

But do you remember when Hulkamania ran wild in 2007?

Rewind back to April 27, 2007 inside FedExForum where “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan went one on one with “The Giant” Paul Wight (aka WWE’s Big Show).  This showdown between two former WWE Champions also happened right here in Memphis, TN at FedExForum.

This week’s classic clip features highlights from that battle.  Listen to the fans, as Hulk begins to mount his comeback.

When The Hulkser bodyslammed the 400-plus pound giant, the top nearly blew off The Forum!

Do you have a favorite wrestling moment that happened at FedExForum?  Share your moment and it could be featured right here on Throwback Thursday.

Fun Fact:  The match was originally scheduled to be Jerry “The King” Lawler versus Hulk Hogan.  Since Hogan wasn’t under WWE contract, WWE wouldn’t allow Lawler to wrestle the mach.  Big Show was brought in as a replacement.

Rumor has it, promoter Corey Maclin beat WWE in court and was awarded a considerable amount of money.

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

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Throwback Thursday: Grizz don’t bluff

GrizzamaniaOur Memphis Grizzlies are no strangers to the squared circle.  Being known for arguably the best game operations crew in the NBA, they know all about the rich history of Memphis Wrestling.  Don’t believe me?  Show up on Saturday night (Jan. 31st) and see for yourself.

Memphis Grizzlies present Wrestling Night at FedExForum with the first 3,000 fans receiving their very own World Grizzlyweight Championship belt.  If you want to know just how sweet they really are, just ask The King.

Rumors have been circulating for weeks on what the Grizzlies have planned.  Not only have we heard that there will be a wrestling match, but legendary Memphis Wrestling broadcast team Lance Russell & Dave Brown will be there to call the action.  If that wasn’t enough, The King hinted at an appearance by 16-time World Heavyweight Champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

No official word or confirmation has come from the Grizzlies, but I know one person in particular who is fired up – GRIZZ!

What better way to get ready for the big game… and big match then to take a look back at some of my favorite antics from Grizz  himself?

Last season, Grizz paid tribute to several of his favorite professional wrestlers.  He impersonated The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan & even the Ultimate Warrior.  But none were more memorable than this week’s clip!

Memphis Grizzlies vs OKC Thunder tips off at 7:00PM CST inside FedExForum this Saturday night (Jan. 31st).  For more on ticket information, click here.

 

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

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Randolph on Conley for All-Star appearance: ‘I want the young fella to get in there’

DALLAS — No one, it seems, is more impressed with Mike Conley’s body of work this season than Zach Randolph.

The Memphis Grizzlies power forward, in fact, has been complimentary of Conley’s display since the early stages of the season.

Tuesday night was no exception.

BOLD PREDICTION --- Following the shorthanded Grizzlies’ decisive 109-90 win against the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night in American Airlines Center, Grizzlies star Zach Randolph hinted that he anticipates point guard Mike Conley to be named to the All-Star team, a milestone he’s been seeking for some time. (LM Otero, Getty Images)

BOLD PREDICTION — Following the shorthanded Grizzlies’ decisive 109-90 win against the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night in American Airlines Center, Grizzlies star Zach Randolph hinted that he anticipates
point guard Mike Conley to be named to the All-Star team, a milestone he’s been seeking for some time. (LM Otero, Getty Images)

Following the shorthanded Grizzlies’ decisive 109-90 win against the Dallas Mavericks in American Airlines Center in which the team was without Conley, Randolph hinted that he anticipates the Grizzlies’ starting point guard to achieve a milestone he’s been seeking for some time.

“It’s big when you can play like that without your All-Star point guard,” Randolph told reporters after posting a game-high 22 points on 10 of 15 shooting and 10 rebounds against Dallas.

While Randolph doesn’t shy away from the notion that he would like to see Conley, his teammate of six years, earn his first All-Star appearance of his career, the seven-year veteran won’t know for certain until Thursday when the East and West reserves are announced.

Just as it has been in recent years, making the All-Star team undoubtedly will be monumental for Conley, in large part because the Western Conference is loaded with a slew of All-Star-caliber point guards such as Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook, among others — all of whom have played in the NBA’s annual midseason showcase.

The 64th annual All-Star Game is February 15 in Madison Square Garden.

While many media pundits believed Conley should have been named to the All-Star team last year, the 27-year-old Fayetteville, Arkansas native certainly has made a strong case to earn a spot for the West this season.

At 33-12, the Grizzlies currently own the NBA’s third-best record and are second in the Western Conference standings behind Golden State. Add to the fact that Conley, Memphis’ second-leading scorer, has been as assertive on both ends of the floor as he’s ever been since he entered the NBA ranks, and it’s no wonder many believe this year could very well be his to crash the All-Star party along with fellow Grizzlies teammate Marc Gasol.

A 7-foot-1 Spaniard, Gasol will be making his second All-Star appearance and his first as a starter.

“You know, it’ll be nice if it happens,” said Randolph, when asked if making his third All-Star appearance was one of his personal goals in this, his 13th season. “I said the other day in Memphis I prefer it be Mike Conley. He deserves it. You know, I’ve been there before. So it’ll be nice if someone else from our team makes it and hopefully it’s him.”

CASE CLOSED? While many media pundits believed Conley should have been named to the All-Star team last year, the 27-year-old Fayetteville, Arkansas native certainly has made a strong case to earn spot for the West this season.

CASE CLOSED? While many media pundits believed Conley should have been named to the All-Star team last year, the 27-year-old Fayetteville, Arkansas native certainly has made a strong case to earn spot for the West this season.

According to a four-panel of CBSSports.com writers who cover the NBA, neither listed Conley as an All-Star reserve in a story that was released Wednesday afternoon. During a preseason interview with MemphiSport, however, Conley reiterated that making his first All-Star appearance was something about which he would strive for this year and that being left off the roster “would suck.”

“Obviously, I want to make my first All-Star appearance,” Conley said.

However, whether the former Ohio State star will be shown some love Valentine’s Day weekend in the Big Apple as a member of the West roster remains a mystery.

At least until sometime Thursday.

“It’ll be nice,” Randolph said of Conley being christen an All-Star reserve. “It’s a lot of politics in the All-Star Game. But I’m not going to lose any sleep (if I don’t make it). Like I said, I want the young fella to get in there.”

Still, regardless of how things stack up when the All-Star reserves are announced, Randolph said nothing overshadows the bigger aspirations for a team that figures to be a legitimate threat to make its first NBA Finals appearances this year.

“Right now, we’re focusing on winning and that’s our big picture right now…especially mine,” Randolph said. “We’re playing good. Our team is playing good. Our bench is playing good. So that’s our main focus right now.”

Something even the team’s starting point guard would agree with as the season progresses.

All-Star appearance or not.

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley: ‘Obviously, I want to make my first All-Star appearance’

EDITOR’S NOTE: When Mike Conley, Jr. entered the NBA ranks in 2007, he was widely viewed as an unproven rookie and the son of Olympic gold and silver medalist triple jumper Mike Conley, Sr. Now in his seventh professional season for the Memphis Grizzlies, Conley, the longest-tenured player on the roster, has emerged as arguably the most underappreciated point guard in the NBA. No doubt, the 27-year-old Conley is the catalyst of a Grizzlies team that boasts the league’s best record and is a legitimate contender to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals this year. During a recent exclusive interview with MemphiSport NBA Southwest Division reporter Andre Johnson, Conley spoke about the lofty expectations for this year’s team as well as assessed what has been a stellar career for the native of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Here are 11 questions for No. 11.

BOLD CONFESSION --- Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley doesn't shy away from the notion that he's aiming to make his first All-Star appearance in this, his seventh NBA season. Conley is Memphis' second-leading scorer, averaging 16.6 points per game. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE Getty Images

BOLD CONFESSION — Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s aiming to make his first All-Star appearance in this, his seventh NBA season. Conley is Memphis’ second-leading scorer, averaging 16.6 points per game. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE Getty Images

ANDRE: A lot has been said about the organization drafting Memphian Jarnell Stokes back in June. What’s so special about his presence on the team?
MIKE: Jarnell’s done a great job for us since Day 1. He has brought energy to our team. You know, he’s a hard-nosed worker and he wants to get better. He has two great big men to learn from in Marc (Gasol) and Zach (Randolph) and even Kosta (Koufos) and Jon (Leuer). You know, those guys have a wealth of experience and can help Jarnell. I think he’s done a great job with the minutes he’s been given. He really hasn’t been able to show much out there as he wants to. But for the most part, in his short time, he’s done a great job, knowing the plays, where to be on the floor, being in the right spots and capitalizing off that.

ANDRE: Zach Randolph decided in the offseason to return to the organization. There were many speculations as to whether he might move on, but he’s back in a Grizzlies uniform. In your estimation, how special is it having Zach back?
MIKE: It is huge. He’s the head of this ship, man. He always will be. He’s made this team what it is today. So without him, we wouldn’t be here. With him, we’re like family, so it’s awesome to have him back.

ANDRE: Did the Grizzlies get better in the offseason?
MIKE: I thought we did get better in the offseason. And not only because of (the acquisition) Vince Carter and the rookies, but a lot of guys have added a little bit more to their game. So we’re looking forward to a lot of guys stepping up and taking on different roles. They’ll have more on their plate, so hopefully that’ll improve our team and give us a chance to make a deep run.

ANDRE: Much had been said about your constant progress last year, particularly before the All-Star break. In fact, there were a lot of national media prognosticators who sensed you should have gotten serious consideration to represent the West in the All-Star Game. But because the West is so deep at that position with the Chris Pauls and Damian Lillards of the world, you weren’t selected. Do you feel at this stage in your career you’re getting the respect you deserve?
MIKE: Um…slowly. You know, it’s a journey, man. It’s been a journey for me just trying to get better every year and getting attention by adding more to my game and proving that I can play. So I think people are starting to understand my style of play and I just want to keep getting better and not worry about whether people will respect me or not. I just want to go out there and play the best basketball I can.

HUGE IMPACT --- A majority of Conley's seven NBA seasons has been spent under the direction Lionel Hollins. Hollins coached the Grizzlies from 2009-2013 before being hired as the Brooklyn Nets' coach in July.

HUGE IMPACT — A majority of Conley’s seven NBA seasons have been spent under the direction Lionel Hollins. Hollins coached the Grizzlies from 2009-2013 before being hired as the Brooklyn Nets’ coach in July.

ANDRE: Obviously, this team would like to finish in the top three or top four in the Western Conference standings heading into the postseason. But what are your personal expectations in this, your seventh NBA season?
MIKE: I want to be a better leader. I want to be a better leader for this team, want to be someone everybody can count on. Obviously, I want to make my first All-Star appearance. You know, everyone wants to be an All-Star. But I’m beyond that. I just want to win. If we win, I think we’ll get the attention we deserve.

ANDRE: Now, of course, (Grizzlies head coach Dave) Joerger is back after much reshuffling in the front office in the offseason. Describe your relationship with your coach.
MIKE: It was good that Dave came back because we didn’t need a new rotation of coaches coming in. We need that stability. He’s been here pretty much my entire career and just to have him here as the head coach two years in a row will be great. After his first season, he’s going to be much better.

ANDRE: Speaking of head coaches, Lionel (former Grizzlies coach Hollins) has resurfaced in the head-coaching ranks in the league. Of course, a lot of people felt he should have landed a head coaching job last year. Lionel was very, very big on you, particularly when people said negative things about your style of play. How happy were you when he resurfaced in the NBA?
MIKE: I was very happy for him. I texted him, called him and congratulated him. It was well-deserved, man. He’s a great coach. I know they (Brooklyn Nets) got a good one and he’s looking forward to that opportunity and he’s going to make the best of it.

ANDRE: In terms of NBA point guards, you’ve made a name for yourself. Clearly, your stock has risen and people are now starting to respect your overall body of work. But who are among of the NBA point guards Mike Conley likes to watch?
MIKE: Who Mike Conley likes to watch? Well, I like to watch the ones on all 32 teams.

ANDRE: Of course, I can’t let you off the hook that easily, Mike. Tell me. Who do you like to watch the most?
MIKE: Well, every team has a great point guard. You have athletic points like Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose. You have some smaller points…Isaiah Thomas is a good one and plays well. Eric Bledsoe is another good one. So you have a lot of good ones. But I can tell you it’s tough to play against them. It’s not too much to watch them. But I have to deal with them on the court.

ANDRE: Is there any player on the team you hang out with on a regular basis?
MIKE: I pretty much hang out with all of them. We try to do as much together as we can. But Marc is probably the closet one I’m with.

ANDRE: Do you expect to be more vocal this year as the Grizzlies’ floor general?
MIKE: I do. I figured I’ve earned the respect to do that, just coming out and being assertive and more vocal because they believe in me running the show.

ANDRE: Here’s a bonus question, Mike. Of course, you’re an Ohio State man after having played two seasons for the Buckeyes. This is seemingly a down year for Michigan football. But I’ve got to ask you this as these schools prepare to meet in a few weeks. Ohio State or Michigan?
MIKE: Ohio State, man.

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Throwback Thursday: Lance Russell appears at RAW

When WWE Monday Night RAW comes to FedExForum, Memphis is always in for a big surprise.  Back in March, Memphis fans witnessed John Cena and Hulk Hogan in the ring together for the very first time.  Along with that, we also saw the beginning of the “Yes Movement” that propelled Daniel Bryan to the World Heavyweight Championship.

WWE never fails to deliver in Memphis, especially last Monday night.

This week’s Throwback Thursday brings a clip that has only been seen by those who purchased tickets and showed up to FedExForum to watch live.  So, this week’s clip was not televised and has only been shared with the wrestling fans of Memphis, TN.

Before RAW went live on the USA Network, Jerry “The King” Lawler is introduced to the live audience, as usual.  Instead of taking his seat at the broadcast table, The King introduces a very special guest to the jam-packed Forum.  Listen to the ovation, as the legendary voice of Memphis Wrestling takes the stage.

As many of you know, Lance Russell was in town for last week’s Memphis Wildfire Wrestling event “Long Live the King”.  Lance was reunited with Dave Brown for the special evening that paid tribute to Jerry Lawler’s career and accomplishments.  Russell was approached about appearing at FedExForum with Lawler and couldn’t refuse.  This was Lance Russell’s very first appearance in the WWE.

Be sure to keep up with Lance Russell on his Official Facebook Page.

Next week, I’ll share with you highlights, matches and results from Memphis Wildfire Wrestling at Minglewood Hall.  In my best Lance Russell voice, “Until next time, so long everybody!”

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

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