Monday, June 13, 2011

Layin' The Smackdown in Roanoke, VA.


    There is nothing else like it: The electric anticipation that fills the arena as people take their seats. The buzzing darkness when the lights go down. The very first note of a Superstar’s entrance music, and the crowd’s instant, deafening roar. The moment when a Superstar finally emerges, or the way time slows down when a high-flyer takes to the air. Every show is an infinity of moments. And everyone in attendance knows they are witnessing something unforgettable, something great. Each of them will forever be able to say… “I was there.”

    This is the paragraph on the first page of the WWE Official Souvenir Program from 2011 that I purchased at the Smackdown taping in Roanoke, VA on the Tuesday of June 7th, 2011.  Anyone that knows me knows that I love wrestling. I grew up watching the likes of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, “The Macho Man” Randy Savage, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat; the list goes on and on.  Now 20 years down the road I find myself still a fan and have attended more live events than I ever did growing up. So last Tuesday was no exception. After I was informed by my good friend Cindy that Smackdown was coming to Roanoke plans were made and tickets were purchased. 

    This was a pretty nice trip because we got to see three shows in one basically. Before they film Smackdown they film WWE: NXT and WWE: Superstars. Now I haven’t watched NXT since season one so I had no idea what was going on. Apparently this season is called “NXT: Redemption” and it is allowing past contestants to compete for one more shot at winning a WWE contract. It was a pretty solid show that set the tone of the night. We got to see Yoshi Tatsu vs. JTG, Darren Young & Chavo Guerrero vs. Conor O’Brian & Vladimir Kozlov and Titus O’Neil vs. Lucky Cannon. This show only airs on WWE.com and YouTube at the moment so the entire episode can be seen here.





    WWE Superstars is complied of various matches filmed from both Raw and Smackdown. The Smackdown side of the matches saw Mark Henry come out with nobody wanting to accept a match with him. He was interviewed by Matt Striker in the ring and it looks like they are going to build Mark up again. He has been in the title picture since coming to Smackdown and it looks like they are going to continue that angle. I for one love this because he has been in the WWE for so long that I genuinely believe he deserves to be The World Heavyweight Champion.  The only actual match that happened was Yoshi Tatsu vs Tyson Kidd. Again not much going on but after it was edited together it turned out to be another solid show.










    So after these two shows were recorded it was time for Smackdown. I have been totally behind Smackdown since the WWE 2011 Draft. It seems Smackdown has had the best roster and matches since the draft I only watch Raw for The Miz and CM Punk. This Smackdown started with Christian coming out to explain turning on Randy Orton the previous week. It’s almost like they used the fans reaction to gauge whether or not they were going to turn Christian heel. Apparently Roanoke, VA is where WWE decides to do this because it was very similar to when CM Punk turned heel in 2009 in the very same arena.

    The matches we saw throughout the night were The Corre vs. Ezekiel Jackson and The Uso’s. Trent Barreta vs. Jinder Mahal with The Great Kali. AJ with Natalya vs. Tamina with Rosa Mendes. Ted Bibiase and Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan and Sin Cara. Eventually leading to The Main Event of Sheamus vs The World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton in a No DQ Match.





    Every one of us that went on this trip are huge Randy Orton fans, so the main event was what made this trip for me. This match was insane with a ton of back and forth action and near pin falls. It’s probably one of the best Smackdown matches they have had that wasn’t a PPV match. In the end Orton did loose but it was after the cameras stopped rolling that things got really cool. They kept the on air story going but wanted to send the fans in attendance home happy.  The heels continued to beat down Randy Orton even having Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase hit the ring to assist Christian and Sheamus. Orton fought back and ended up getting the upper hand eventually hitting an RKO on each and every one of them.  This of course got the crowd going nuts! With each RKO the cheers just got louder and louder. Orton even went around giving high fives, signing a few autographs and interacting with the crowd. We stayed around talking to other fans and met a guy named Jeremy who took some amazing pictures. All in all this was a great trip made even greater by the group of friends I was with. So in closing; to Derick Body, Cindy Hogan and Troy Martin, Thanks For The Great Time Guys! Can’t wait to do it again next time! 




Thursday, June 2, 2011

The History and Future of Xanatos Productions


    OK so it’s been awhile since I have done anything with my brand “Xanatos Productions” but I have felt it’s time for all that to change. For those of you who don’t know what Xanatos Productions  is allow me to take a few minutes and explain what it is I do here. First off allow me to introduce myself if you don’t already know me. My name is Robbie Croy a.k.a. “Xanatos” is you will.  The idea for this came about in the early part of 2001 when I started to become fascinated with video editing and video games.  I have worked on a few short stories that have never seen the light of day but will eventually be posted here on the Blogger page.

The name Xanatos has been with me for awhile now. It all started when I was younger and started watching “Gargoyles” from the 90’s.  I always found the character of Xanatos intriguing because you never knew what he was up to. In one story arch he would be portrayed as a good guy. Than next a bad guy but no matter what side of the fence he was on Xanatos always had his own agenda. Much like the character of Lex Luthor, Xanatos was a character that was deeper than everything else going on around him. I always thought it was a cool name so I adopted it as my Xbox handle while playing “Halo: Combat Evolved” with my friends Phil, Chris, Kory and Derick back in the day. Today it has become my XBOX Live Gamertag and it’s also on my licenses plate on my car.



    Back in 2006 I started tinkering around with Video Editing since I finally had a PC capable of running the needed programs without crashing. It’s no secret I love Star Wars and when Episode III came out I thought it was the best of the prequels. Nickelback was being played on the radio like crazy during this time so one day I started teaching myself the fundamentals and within two days I had made my first video called “The Fall of Anakin Skywalker”. To me it was just done for fun, I was learning the ropes of editing and just seeing what all I could do as a hobby. Nothing on a huge level, it was just something for my friends and family to enjoy.

I uploaded my Video to YouTube and within 2 months it was pushing over a million views. I was shocked that something so simple was getting as many positive comments as it was. Later on I found out my Video was featured on Starwars.com and Yahoo Videos during the “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The Sith” craze. All my friends were asking me “Robbie when are you going to do another one like that?” It wasn’t until I heard everyone talking about “Robbie’s Video” at work that I really wanted to get motivated and do another one. I tried to think of something else but just could not come up with anything. Then it hit me one night while talking to my good friend Brian Ferguson. Brian is probably the biggest Ghostrider fan I have ever met so I went home that night and created another video called “The Legend of The Rider”. I dedicated it to him and his family and I had it finished and uploaded in the first part of 2008. 



    Unfortunately for me as well as the millions of other YouTube users out there in 2009 there was a huge falling out with Warner Music Group and YouTube. What it came down to was any fan made video which featured any music in it owned by the artist under the WMG Label was taken off YouTube. Sadly this was enough to kill my creative flow because in the end “The Fall of Anakin Skywalker” was deleted from my account. I was pretty devastated because like I said, it was my first video and I saw the affect that it had on a lot of my friends and fans on YouTube. Finally YouTube and WMG worked out an agreement and thankfully user created content featuring their music was allowed back on YouTube. I was able to finally re-upload my first video and it seems like things are running smoothly again. The downside was it lost every comment and view it had obtained during its time on YouTube.



    So what’s next for Xanatos Productions? Well honestly I think it’s time to take it to the next step. I’m currently in the middle of writing a few all original web shows that will be featuring me and a small group of my close friends.  There is of course going to be a Wrestling Discussion Show, that at this time  is loosely titled “Break it Down!” inspired of course my the first words in D-Generation X’s theme song. I also plan on doing a small series called “Boba Fett, Boba Fett, Where?” It will focus of Boba Fett escaping his death in “Return of The Jedi” but seeing himself a failure as a bounty hunter thus seeking to find a new way of life. As soon as I get all the equipment together I plan to start filming soon. Right now I’m just in the writing process but trust me Xanatos Productions is transforming into a whole new form of entertainment. If you haven’t see the videos I have done please take a few minutes to watch them.  I have embedded in this Blog and they can also be found at http://www.youtube.com/XanatosProductions






"The Fall of Anakin Skywalker" - The first video I ever made set to the tune of "Savin' Me" by Nickelback. It depicts the love that Anakin and Padme' share as well as highlights the events of "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The Sith" that result in The Fall of Anakin Skywalker and The Rise of Darth Vader.




"Legend of The Rider" - The 2nd video I ever did. Set to "Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi it's dedicated to my good friends The Ferguson Family. I had learned a lot more about the programs I used by the time I did this one so I kinda feel it has a slightly higher "production vale" than my first one did.




"A Tribute to Wrestling" - Nothing fancy with this one just a few pictures of me with my friends and some of the greatest wrestler to ever step foot in a squared circle. Set to the tune of  "Rasslin Song Electric" by Adam's Housecat.