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Hogan welcomed at WrestleMania in New Orleans

by The Associated Press on April 07, 2014 10:54 AM

NEW ORLEANS — The Hulkster showed he can host, 30 years later.

Three decades after he took part in the first “WrestleMania” at Madison Square Garden, Hulk Hogan presided over the 30th version of World Wrestling Entertainment’s signature event at the Superdome. The 60-year-old sported a sleeveless red T-shirt that showcased his still-considerable pythons, and a red bandanna with “Hulkamania” on it in bright yellow letters.

“This all started with me and Mr. T,” Hogan said. “Vince McMahon had the vision to make this entertainment as big as he did. Fast- forward to 30 years later and now I’m the host? I would have never believed that 30 years later I would still be here and people would be treating me in New Orleans like I’m still the champion.”

The man who helped popularize the athletic spectacle when he bodyslammed all 500-plus pounds of Andre the Giant was there with a microphone in his hand, overseeing the mayhem for 75,000-plus fans, and countless more watching on TV.

And what a scene it was. Cesaro won the Battle Royal — named for Andre the Giant this year for the first time — by heaving the sizable Big Show over the top rope.

In the night’s shocker Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker, ending his 21-consecutive match WrestleMania winning streak.

In other events, The Shield also beat the team of the New Age Outlaws and Kane in a six-man tag team match and A.J. Lee defending the WWE Divas Championship.

John Cena got his second consecutive WrestleMania victory with a defeat of Bray Wyatt. WWE superstar Triple H, McMahon’s son-in-law, was defeated by crowd favorite Daniel Bryan in the opening match of WrestleMania 30.

Hogan was joined in the opening by a pair of other WWE legends in “The Rock,” Dwayne Johnson, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin — who ribbed him for flubbing the name of the stadium.

The event was shown on the fledgling WWE Network by-subscription streaming service, which launched Feb. 24.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia and Indonesia have banned the biblical epic “Noah,” joining other Muslim nations that forbid the Hollywood movie for its visual depiction of the prophet.

Film censors in both countries said today that the portrayal of the ark-building prophet by Russell Crowe was against Islamic laws. Depictions of any prophet are shunned in Islam to avoid worship of a person rather than God.

“The film ‘Noah’ is not allowed to be screened in this country to protect the sensitivity and harmony in Malaysia’s multiracial and multireligious community,” Film Censorship Board chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid said in a statement.

Malay Muslims make up about 60 percent of Malaysia’s 30 million people, and Christians about 9 percent.

In the world’s most populous Muslim nation, the head of Indonesia’s censor board, Muchlis Paeni, said the plot of the film directed by Darren Aronofsky contradicted both the Quran and the Bible.

“We have to reject ‘Noah’ to be screened here,” Paeni said. “We don’t want a film that could provoke controversies and negative reactions.”

The Indonesian Council of Ulama, the country’s most influential Islamic body, welcomed the move, saying films that could corrupt religious teachings should be outlawed. Many Indonesians condemned the ban on social media.

“The decision was very regrettable, so sad,” filmmaker Joko Anwar said on Twitter, warning it was a backward step for Indonesia.

Much of the Muslim world, including the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, has already banned the film, which is a box-office hit in the U.S. Some Christian conservatives also have complained of its inaccurate portrayal of the biblical account of the flood.

Paramount Pictures added a disclaimer to its marketing material, saying “artistic license has been taken” in telling the story.

The Quran mentions only 25 prophets by name, including Noah. Muslims believe that Noah, who is referred to in Arabic as Nuh, built his ark after God charged him to do it as people in his community refused to worship God alone. While there are differences between the biblical and Quranic story of Noah, both mention a terrible flood and Noah’s vessel saving a pair of each species of animal.

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LOS ANGELES — The producers of the “Got Talent” franchise say the TV talent contest is a winner in its own right.

Syco Entertainment and FremantleMedia said today that Guinness World Records has deemed the series the most successful reality TV format worldwide.

The format that was launched as “Britain’s Got Talent” has been adapted for broadcast in 58 countries, the producers said. The latest versions to air include those in Iceland and Brazil.

Alistair Richards, president of Guinness World Records, said in a statement that “Got Talent” was the new record-holder. It displaced “Strictly Come Dancing,” another British format that’s sold to more than three-dozen countries.

The “Got Talent” format was created by music and reality TV entrepreneur Simon Cowell. He said he’s proud the talent contest is a “home-grown British show.”

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