Month: November 2020

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The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner has always been the most underrated night of the campaign season.

Two presidential candidates. New York City. The Waldorf Astoria. Lots of jokes, and invariably very good ones at that. And if you’re lucky enough to get a media credential, you can practically walk right up to a Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE and Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE and snap a fitting photo like this:



The tradition of the Al Smith dinner goes back to 1945, the year after Smith — the first Catholic presidential candidate — passed away.

And almost every election cycle since, America is treated to an evening not of personal attacks and harsh rhetoric, but self-deprecating humor and a little benign roasting of one’s opponent, all while raising millions for needy kids via Catholic charities. It’s almost always the last event where the presidential candidates share a stage before the election.

The aforementioned scene of the harmony being described was largely what came to fruition on Thursday night. Trump and Clinton were funny, biting, charming (yes, Trump was actually charming at times).


“You know the President told me to stop whining. But I really have to say the media is even more biased than ever before. You want the proof? Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaThe Hill’s Morning Report – Treasury, Fed urge more spending, lending to ease COVID-19 wreckage Budowsky: Michelle Obama or Tammy Duckworth for VP Michelle Obama urges class of 2020 to couple protesting with mobilizing, voting MORE gives a speech. And everyone loves it, it’s fantastic. They think she’s absolutely great. My wife, Melania, gives the exact same speech and people get on her case. And I don’t get it. I don’t know why. And it wasn’t her fault … Oh, I’m in trouble when I go home tonight. She didn’t know about that one.”

“And even tonight, with all of the heated back and forth between my opponent and me at the debate last night, we have proven that we can actually be civil to each other. In fact, just before taking the dais, Hillary accidentally bumped into me and she very simply said, ‘Pardon me.’ (long pause to let the crowd get the joke, which took a few seconds). “And I very quietly replied, let me talk to you about that after I get into office.”

“It’s great to be here with 1,000 wonderful people. Or, as I call it, a small, intimate dinner with some friends. Or, as Hillary calls it, her largest crowd of the season.”

“You know, last night, I called Hillary a nasty woman. But this stuff is all relevant after listening to Hillary rattle along and on and on. I don’t think so badly of Rosie O’Donnell anymore. In fact, I’m actually starting to like Rosie a lot.”


“It’s a treat for all of you, too, because I charge a lot for speeches like this.” 

“I’ve got to say, there are a lot of friendly faces in this room, people I’ve been privileged to know and to work with — I just want to put you all in a basket of adorables.”

“People look at the Statue of Liberty and they see a proud symbol of our history as a nation of immigrants. A beacon of hope for people around the world. Donald sees the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4. Maybe a 5 if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.”

“And Donald, after listening to your speech, I will also enjoy listening to Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence posts, deletes photo of Trump campaign staff without face masks, not social distancing Pence threatens to deploy military if Pennsylvania governor doesn’t quell looting Pence on Floyd: ‘No tolerance for racism’ in US MORE deny that you ever gave it.”

If the night was left to jokes like those told by each of the candidates, the headlines would be something like, “Trump, Clinton show lighter side at Al Smith Dinner.”

But Trump veered off onto a road Manhattan’s richest 1 percent didn’t like very much.

“We’ve learned so much from WikiLeaks. For example, Hillary believes that it is vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private.”

Before Trump could get to the punchline, some in the crowd booed. Loudly. One guy about 10 feet from me yelled several times, “You’re a jackass!”

Trump pressed on, knowing some were turning on him quickly.

“That’s OK, I don’t know who they’re angry at, Hillary, you or I. For example, here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.”

But as The Guardian described and my notes show, Clinton got some booing of her own. Not with the vitriol and volume Trump’s detractors displayed, but it was apparent.

The Guardian listed these jokes under a section called: “Some of Clinton’s would-be zingers elicited a mixture of laughter and booing”:

Clinton: “You notice there is no teleprompters here tonight, which is probably smart, because it may be you saw Donald … dismantle his own. Maybe it is harder when you are translating from the original Russian.”

Clinton: “I have deep respect for people like Kellyanne Conway. She is working day and night for Donald, and because she is a contractor, he is probably not even going to pay her.”

And this one under a one-joke section called, “And awkward is the word for this Clinton line”:

Clinton: “If Donald does win, it will be awkward at the annual presidents’ day photo when all the former presidents gather at the White House, and not just with Bill. How is Barack going to get past the Muslim ban?”

USA Today summed up the evening thusly with this accurate headline:

“Trump, Clinton draw laughs, boos at Al Smith dinner”

Piers Morgan, formerly of CNN, summed matters up nicely on Twitter:

Having been there, that USA Today headline and Piers Tweet, respectively, are 100 percent correct. But we live in a world of myopic media possessed by all-things Trump.

No matter: All you’re going to read and watch all of Friday was about how Trump got booed, Trump was harsh, Trump blew it again.

What won’t be mentioned is the context: Republicans — especially those named Trump — aren’t popular in New York and certainly with the wine and cheese crowd at the Waldorf last night. And even Clinton got some boos and awkward reactions. Oh, and the event raised $6 million for needy children, an all-time record.  

Microcosm: Coverage of Thursday night’s event is a classic example of why there’s a serious trust issue with the press these days.

Here you have an example of Trump making remarks to an audience comprised of Manhattan’s crème de la crème — many tickets were $3000 each at face value — and the national media that’s based there, from which we’ll say generously Clinton wins 80 percent of the vote.

A recent poll shows Trump down 21 points in his home state of New York. The same poll has him down 70-18 in New York City. Of course he got booed.

This New York Times headline explains why:

Donald Trump Heckled by New York Elite at Charity Dinner

“New York Elite.”

If there’s one group the Trump brand doesn’t appeal to, it’s the elite — with a close second being the other “e” word: “establishment.”

But Clinton didn’t exactly embrace at times the spirit of the evening either. The USA Today headline captures what the feeling on the ground was: Both Trump and Clinton should have dialed back a few of the jokes.

Muscle memory from a bruising campaign everyone can’t wait to be over ruled instead. Captain Obvious says these two simply do not like either other and therefore can’t resist going over whatever line that even a traditional charity dinner draws in the sand.

But the media decided what the narrative would be the moment the first hecklers gave Trump the first Bronx cheer:

He’s the mean one. He can’t even do jokes right without offending all those big fans of his in the room.

Per CNN’s Charles Blow, also a New York Times columnist:

Who would think the 2016 Al Smith Dinner would encapsulate the prism our media sees this campaign in so perfectly?

A prism where only one candidate exists.

Because as we’re seeing on television and in print today, it just somehow did.

Concha is a media reporter for The Hill.


The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill

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Former WWE Superstar MVP recently appeared as a guest on The Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling podcast for an in-depth interview. Below are some of the highlights.

On excitement regarding his Major League Wrestling (MLW) debut: “It is funny that you say that because I don’t think there is any expectations to look to simply because every individual that you’ve named so far on the roster, it doesn’t matter what promotion it is because when they lace the boots up and climb into the ring they have the highest expectations of themselves and I think that everybody on the roster would have no problem with me speaking for them in that regard. As far as MLW goes they do have the history of providing very eclectic shows. The first time I ever saw Kojima LIVE was in Ft. Lauderdale for MLW. I remember I saw a match with Sabu and LA Parka that to that point without question was one of the greatest matches I’d ever seen and add to it LA Parka and Sabu were a little edgy towards each other and it turned out to be a phenomenal match. MLW going back to its origins and to the shows that I saw always put out the best talent from all over the world even before it was cool. They were ground breaking in that regard. Once again in Orlando they put together what I always think wrestling should be and that is a buffet with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.”

On the MLW talent roster and his upcoming match against Sami Callihan: “You’ve got Jeff Cobb and Tom Lawlor who will take care of the technical grappling aspect and not to mention that phenomenal athleticism of Jeff Cobb, I think he is going to surprise a lot of people who have never seen him before. You’ve got me and Sally… (I mean Sami) Callihan, tell him I called him “Sally”. “Sally Callihan” we are just going to beat the f*ck out of each other and that is not going to be pleasant and it is not going to be pretty and it is not going to technical or high flying it will be painful. You’ve got phenomenal aerial acrobatic style of Ricochet and Stickland. I think overall the card in general is stacked from top to bottom and nobody is going to come away dissatisfied.”

On how independent wrestling promotions are influencing WWE: “I think you have to recognize that there has been a philosophy shift at the top of WWE. Once upon a time they refused to acknowledge that wrestling existed outside of their universe and now they are actually embracing the fact that wrestling exists outside of the ‘WWE Universe’ and with the popularity of NXT and allowing guys to keep their identity and not hijacking a guy’s identities like they were so known to do.

“The popularity of social media and YouTube it is an amazing time for the business like we’ve never seen before because and I’ve said this before on my own podcast ‘The VIP Lounge’ it is phenomenal that now a guy from England can show up at PWG Guerilla in Los Angeles and wrestle in ‘The Battle of Los Angeles’ and everybody there already knows who he is. As far as WWE recognizing that fan base, I think they realized that they had to change their business model in some way because you can’t just continue to deny that there is a boom of wrestling going on in England and that New Japan is blowing up and all of these independent wrestling companies popping up (some are awful) and some are very good.

“I don’t know who was responsible for taking this new course of action at WWE but it behooves them to recognize that there is a lot going on and there is talent outside of their main roster and as far as the fans are concerned I am happy for the fans.”

On the origins of his MVP character: “I had numerous tryouts and I roped Johnny (Ace) off one day and asked him if I could get five minutes and he said he was busy. I asked can I get two minutes? Can I get thirty seconds? He finally stopped and said you’ve got thirty seconds and I said for him to tell me what the f*ck I’ve got to do for you to hire me? I think Johnny was pleasantly taken aback by that because who the f*ck talks to Johnny Ace like that? He said we like you but don’t have anything for you and to come up with a more character based personality and something we don’t already have. I was pissed off because I felt he had written me off again but at that time I was working down on South Beach doing nightclub work and bodyguard work and I’d see these self-absorbed and pompous overpaid pro athletes show up feeling like the world owed them something. I remember guys like Shaq or Barry Sanders or Dr. J all established legends would come through and stop, shake hands and talk and were very humble and I’d see guys who were first round draft picks busts who would show up with entourages like the world owed them something and being rude and disrespectful and I thought that hadn’t been done in wrestling yet. This was a relatively new phenomenon because every time you turned on SportsCenter there is another pro athlete getting into trouble saying or doing something stupid so I put together a package that to this day if you ask Court (Bauer) he will tell you it is one of the most impressive things he has seen because they had never received anything quite like it.”

Check out the complete episode of The Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling podcast featuring the MVP interview at

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Former WWE Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella (Anthony Carelli) competed in his first Judo tournament in over 19 years this past weekend.

Marella took to social media after competing in the tournament to comment on his return to the competitive genre’, as well as to share some video footage of himself in action.

“This weekend I did something kind of crazy, I competed in my first judo tournament in about 19 years,” wrote Santino via his official Instagram page (see below). “I have been working out consistently each morning and sort of found myself in OK shape, plus my body has been pretty pain-free so on a whim I decided to fight this weekend at the Asahi annual tournament in the open weight category, I will admit I was not in judo competition shape however I had a great time out there.

Santino continued, “I won three matches and lost one in overtime by penalty and wound up with a bronze. It was great to compete in front of some old friends, my wife, my dad, my students, and some old teammates. 43 years old, post WWE, post 2 neck surgeries, I’m a little banged up but damn that was fun.”

This weekend I did something kind of crazy, I competed in my first judo tournament in about 19 years. I have been working out consistently each morning and sort of found myself in OK shape, plus my body has been pretty pain-free so on a whim I decided to fight this weekend at the Asahi annual tournament in the open weight category, I will admit I was not in judo competition shape however I had a great time out there, i won three matches and lost one in overtime by penalty and wound up with a bronze. It was great to compete in front of some old friends, my wife, my dad, my students, and some old teammates. 43 years old, post WWE, post 2 neck surgeries, I'm a little banged up but damn that was fun.

A post shared by Santino Marella (@themilanmiracle) on

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— Jimmy Jacobs, who was working with WWE as a writer/producer, is no longer with the company according to reports by both and

— The reason Jacobs was let go is reportedly due to the fact that he posted a picture on Instagram where he posed with members of the Bullet Club during their so called invasion of Raw for their YouTube show “Being the Elite.”

— While other WWE superstars have appeared on “Being the Elite” in the past and most people didn’t think much of the “invasion”, it’s clear that WWE did not react well to the incident (some suggest that officials were downright furious), going so far as to send the Young Bucks cease and desist letters.

— WWE officials are not confirming that Jacobs is gone from the company but according to sources, he parted ways last week after drawing major heat for posting the photo online (seen below).

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Pleasant surprise to see old friends in lovely California. #BCInvasion #RAW #youngbucks #bulletclub #villian #hangmanpage #WWE

A post shared by Jimmy Jacobs (@jimmyjacobsx) on

— Tonight’s Smackdown Live preview:

Sami Zayn to kick off SmackDown LIVE
Sami Zayn left the WWE Universe in utter shock last week, first pulling Kevin Owens out of the way of Shane McMahon’s leap off the top of Hell in a Cell, then showing no remorse for his actions and embracing his once-estranged best friend on the blue brand. Zayn’s sudden change of heart has left WWE fans with even more questions, and has learned that Sami will address the WWE Universe at the start of SmackDown LIVE

WWE Champion Jinder Mahal to make Survivor Series announcement
After defeating Shinsuke Nakamura to retain his WWE Championship at WWE Hell in a Cell, Jinder Mahal returned to his homeland of India as a conquering hero to promote WWE’s December tour there. Now back on SmackDown LIVE, The Modern Day Maharaja is planning to reveal some big news for his plans at Survivor Series on Sunday, Nov. 19. What does the WWE Champion have in store for the 30th anniversary of WWE’s Thanksgiving time tradition?

Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler meet in WWE Hell in a Cell rematch tonight on SmackDown LIVE
The heated rivalry between Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler will reach a boiling point when the brash Superstars clash in a rematch from WWE Hell in a Cell tonight on SmackDown LIVE. Last Tuesday on SmackDown LIVE, Roode called Ziggler out for a fight. The Showoff appeared ready to give The Glorious One what he wanted, but backed out, saying their rematch wouldn’t go down that night. There won’t be any backing out in this WWE Hell in a Cell rematch, though. Who will be victorious: Bobby Roode or Dolph Ziggler?

United States Champion Baron Corbin to be in action
Baron Corbin cemented his place as the United States Champion last Tuesday on SmackDown LIVE with a huge victory over AJ Styles in his first title defense, and immediately after the bout, The Lone Wolf took glee in rubbing his win in the face of the WWE Universe, promising to “buy a boat and float down a river of tears” from fans. Corbin will be out to set sail on SmackDown LIVE, as he will once again be in action. Will The Lone Wolf’s journey to antagonize the WWE Universe continue?

Breezango break open their next case in “Pulp Fashion”
When one case closes, another opens, which was, quite literally, the case for The Fashion Police. A mysterious briefcase that gave off a golden glow was left at their precinct’s doorstep, leading to the start of a new investigation. What will this new case have in store for Breezango?

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— Kane is backstage at Raw and is expected to begin a program with Braun Strowman, leading to a match between the two at Survivor Series.

— As noted earlier today, Shane McMahon is backstage at tonight’s Raw, presumably to begin setting up the Raw vs. Smackdown matches scheduled for Survivor Series next month. It appears that along with Shane, several Smackdown superstars are also backstage. With the crew headed back from South America, there is no Smackdown house show tonight so pretty much everyone is available.

— Raw women’s champion Alexa Bliss is not planned to be in the traditional Survivor Series match with her Raw counterparts and instead is scheduled to take on Smackdown’s women champion Natalya at Survivor Series.

— As of now, there is a plan in place to have a multi-woman match tomorrow on Smackdown, with the winner getting the right to captain the Smackdown women’s team at Survivor Series.

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As noted, WWE veteran Goldust recently appeared as a guest on E&C’s Pod Of Awesomeness for an in-depth interview with WWE legends Edge and Christian. Below are some additional highlights.

On working with Roddy Piper leading up to their memorable Hollywood Back-lot Brawl from WrestleMania 12: “That’s where I really got to know Roddy and kind of get close to him. And, man, he was gung-ho and ready to go. I didn’t really find out until the TV, I think, when [WWE personnel] came up to me and said, ‘you’re flying to L.A. with Vince [McMahon] and Bruce [Prichard] and Roddy after our TV.’ And I’m like, ‘okay, what are we doing?’ I don’t have any idea what I’m doing, so I was going to go shoot this back-lot brawl with Roddy Piper. I was like, ‘wow, this is pretty awesome.’ Yeah, I was just like a kid in a candy store, man and it was very cool.”

On how the blood became part of their match, despite Vince McMahon’s wishes: “I was really wanting to get some juice back then, really badly. Vince did not want it, so I asked Roddy to open me up the hard way. And that was my way of, ‘okay, Goddang it! I’m going to do bleed whether you like it or not because I want to blade. It gets you into it more. And so [Piper] slammed me up on the hood [of the car]. That’s the only thing I told Roddy about this whole thing: ‘please, hit me. Bust me open.’ And you’d think that Roddy being in the [professional wrestling] business for has long as he had, he would know how to do that, right? So he put me on the hood, and he mounts me, and I’m ready for it, man. He’s looking straight at me and he throws his fist straight down, but he hits me square in the forehead and I mean hard. It’s like a brick hitting cement. And I’m just like, ‘what the hell?’ And still in my head, ‘ah, nothing, man.’ He’s still beating me up. ‘Do it again!’ He reaches up and he drills me again and you hear a crack and it’s his hand that breaks on my head.”

On hitting Piper with the golden car during the match: “I started revving up the car and I’m looking at Roddy and he’s probably a good 20 feet away, so I put it in park and I start to drive. I speed up just a little bit and I’m looking dead at him and I’m thinking, ‘please, dear God, move.’ He doesn’t move. He doesn’t move and his knees hit and it just buckled the whole car. It was gross sounding. His knees too, man. I mean, when I watch it back, his fist on my head, you can see it and hear it. You’re not really seeing it or hearing it while it’s happening, but I remember his knees specifically hitting the front of that hood of the car, man, buckling. And I was like, ‘ooh, man. That sounded terrible. I just killed Roddy Piper!'”

On Vince McMahon taking he and Piper to the hospital after the match: “Vince took us both to the hospital. He had his hand fixed. I had a concussion. One take. One take. I went into that dumpster hard too, but I was fine. It was more Roddy’s hand than anything. And Roddy’s tough, man. They didn’t have a cast on his hand. I don’t think. I can’t recall that. He just tapes. That’s the way they did it back then. Those old school guys, they just tape up and go, man.”

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Check out the complete Goldust interview from E&C’s Pod Of Awesomeness at

– WWE announced their new WWE Network Collections for the month of November via Twitter today. Check out the details in the following tweets.

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– John Cena is featured in the latest issue of Parade magazine. Cena, who is on the cover of the latest issue, was interviewed for the publication. The official Twitter page of Parade Magazine posted the following today to promote the issue and the interview with Cena.

Curt Stallion vs. Raul Mendoza set for WWE 205 Live

November 30, 2020 | News | No Comments

Curt Stallion will face off with a member of Legado del Fantasma on 205 Live tonight.

WWE has announced that Stallion vs. Raul Mendoza will take place on tonight’s episode of 205 Live. The match was set up by a promo from Legado del Fantasma’s Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde. Mendoza challenged Stallion and — responding to comments from Stallion last week — said Stallion doesn’t even deserve to mention Santos Escobar’s name.

Stallion won a fatal five-way match on 205 Live two weeks ago to become the number one contender to Escobar’s NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Last Friday, a promo from Stallion aired. It ended with him telling Escobar to smarten up.

A Legado del Fantasma video then aired on NXT this Wednesday. They listed the cruiserweights Escobar has defeated and asked who’s next. Escobar pretended not to know Stallion’s name and mockingly said he’s sure Stallion is going to be a huge challenge.

WWE hasn’t announced when or where the Escobar vs. Stallion Cruiserweight title match will be taking place. 

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August Grey vs. Ariya Daivari is also set for tonight’s 205 Live. The show airs on the WWE Network at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

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