Posted Thursday, April 12 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
I'm currently on paternity leave but I'll throw in a few items ahead of time. Please check Jennifer Brett's AJC Buzz for the latest celebrity news.
Legendary WCW/WWE wrestler Bill Goldberg used simple weapons in the ring: brute strength, acrobatics and a fiery attitude. But he is now co-hosting a show focused on weapons that hails to the beginning of mankind: knives.
A spin-off of History Channel's "Forged in Fire" with the added moniker "Knife or Death," the show was shot in a stark warehouse setting in Atlanta over 11 days and feels like a cousin of the popular "America Ninja Warrior" shows.
Producers built fancy obstacle courses where competitors are required to use their own knife and athleticism to slice and hack through a variety of objects such as crates, ropes, ice blocks, watermelons and fish. It's like an extended version of the final challenge on the original "Forged in Fire." Knives range from a Bowie knife to a Viking Seax, from a medieval sword to a traditional Japanese Katana.
The new show debuts Tuesday, April 17 at 10 p.m. and goes for six episodes, a typical test run for a new series. If successful, History can shoot plenty more and might throw in live spectators to juice up the spectacle even more.
"We need to get our feet cemented in the space before we throw in an audience," said Goldberg, who now lives on the West Coast but spent many years in Atlanta when WCW was based here. "That's a different dynamic, hopefully something we can segue to."
Goldberg is no blade expert, he admits. To help him out, he is paired with Special Forces veteran, martial artist and edged weapons guru Tu Lam.
"Tu Lam is a hero," Goldberg said. "He's a red-blooded American and a guy who laid it on the line."
As for knives themselves, he added, "they are really a cool thing. Knives are a way to express your individuality, something which is being taken away from us at every turn. You can forge a blade any shape or style you want."
Goldberg said he enjoyed handicapping contestants before they come on the course based on body type and blade structure - and sometimes miscalculating. "We have these stereotypes and it's really cool to see a lot of those myths destroyed," he said.
Ultimately, he tries to be the eyes and ears of the viewer. "I feel the pain and anxiety and stress," he said. "We try to be positive and put everyone to their limits. What they're doing is mostly a pride thing and not necessarily about the money." (The prizes are relatively modest. This isn't ABC or CBS!)
Goldberg, by the way, was on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" in 2010 and finished eighth the year Bret Michaels won.
"I try to repress those days of 'Celebrity Apprentice' as much as humanly possible," he said, with a chuckle.