Thursday, September 30, 2010

What the Hell (in a Cell)?

Photo courtesy: WWE.com
Since my predictions turned out so well for Night of Champions, I figured I'd give HIAC a shot too.  Let me start off by restating, the pic above is from wwe.com.  Although I was at this pay per view in person.  It was In Your House: Badd Blood 1997.  Undertaker's brother, Kane would debut at this event and help Shawn Michaels win this first ever Hell in a Cell match.

That being said, here's my look at the pay per view.  I'm not going to grumble and complain about the fact that it's too soon for another PPV.  No sir, I'm going to stick to making predictions. :D

Undertaker vs. Kane:  For some reason, I'm still not convinced that Taker will win this one.  I'm expecting a heel turn from Paul Bearer and he realign with his "son" after all these years.  Taker doesn't need the title to be over, the fans love him regardless.  I'd like to see Kane defend and move on to a new number one contender.  But right now, the Smackdown roster doesn't inspire me much in terms of the faces.  Rey and Big Show have both held the title and Christian (who'd be my pick) is on the shelf for 6 months.  Kofi Kingston is the next logical choice in my book.  That is if we're going traditional heel champ vs. face contender.  Otherwise you could throw Jack Swagger or CM Punk back into the mix.

Wade Barrett vs. John Cena: I see this one going in the favor of the Nexus.  It's too soon to split them up, but then again this is a company who has divided every set of tag team champions its had for the last couple of years (see my previous rant)  I say Cena joins the Nexus, and honors his commitment.  But it won't last long.  A rematch at Bragging Rights or Survivor Series will likely break his bond with the group.

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus:  Orton wins this one.  He's over like nobody's business.  Plus, I see Triple H running some kind of interference on this one and attacking Sheamus to resume that feud.  I'd expect Orton to then move into a program with either Edge or the Miz.  Although I would like to see the Miz hold off on cashing in MITB.  Hope it doesn't happen at HIAC.

John Morrison vs. the Miz vs. Daniel Bryan: The Miz is red hot, but he's got to get out of this feud with Bryan and move on to the main event picture IMO.  I see Bryan winning this (especially with the submission stipulation) by forcing the Miz to tap.  Then Morrison can claim he never lost and continue the program with Bryan.  The Miz moves on to the main event picture. I like all three guys involved in this one and wouldn't be disappointed with anyone taking it.

So, it looks like that's it for now.  Only 4 matches announced 3 days before the PPV.  I don't read Smackdown! spoilers, so I don't know if they've added anything to the card.  Let's see how good my guesses are this time...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nuk, Nuk, Nuk

Curly, Curly, Jr., and I on the morning news
The last couple of days have been more fun than usually for me at work.  On Tuesday, I got to do an interview and demonstration with a local MMA fighter.  Wednesday morning, I welcomed a couple of local wrestlers on the show.

Dan "Curly" Summers as you can tell from the picture above is a big fan of the 3 Stooges.  He has 99 tattoos honoring the comedy trio.  Not only is he a fan of the Stooges, but Curly also loves wrestling.  His new group Southern Illinois Wrestling Entertainment will be holding a show this weekend.  They're raising money for the Shop with a Cop program.   It's a community outreach that provides kids in the area (West Frankfort for this fundraiser) with toys and clothes for Christmas.  And that's why Curly was on the show.  To promote the matches coming up Saturday night.

You may notice the little guy in the pic too.  That's Curly, Jr. and he plays a role in the matches too at the tender age of 3.  He helped dad perfect his patented eye gouge.

Our interview was going well until we were "interrupted" by the devious Tyler Hatton.  He played the role of the heel to the hilt, insulting Curly, his young son, and even me.  Then things got interesting, take a look...SIWE on News 3 This Morning

The guys told me about 30 seconds before we went on air what was going to happen, so I just followed their lead.  It was a lot of fun.  I may be no Josh Matthews or Todd Pettingill, but who cares.  It's segments like these that make my job even more fun.  I get to be more of myself and have a little fun talking about something I love.
  

Tap, Snap, or Nap

MMA Fighter Josh Hewlett keeping me in place.


I'm straying off the wrestling path for this post today instead to explore the world of Mixed Martial Arts.  It's a sport I know little about.  But I do know it's becoming very popular.  In fact, that's why I'm writing this.
As you may know from my profile, I'm a TV news anchor.  Luckily, I do the morning show, so we can have more fun with the stories we do and the guests that we book.  Recently, I got an email from a trainer who told me about a young fighter named Josh Hewlett.  He's an MMA fighter and heading to Israel for a pay per view match in November.  I thought this could make for some interesting television.  

The more I thought about it, I thought it might be fun to have Josh demonstrate some of his moves on me.  Of course in a way that wasn't going to inflict too much pain or alter may appearance.

So Tuesday morning, Josh and his trainer Mike Ben Avi arrived at our studio.  We had made arrangements to roll out the anchor desk and put down a thick black mat on the floor.  Mike said he liked the fact that the mat was thick so I wouldn't hurt my hand and wrist from tapping out.  Then he and Josh laughed.  That had me a little worried.

I started the segment with a quick interview with Josh.  He's a pretty quiet guy, and does his talking on the mat.  He trains hard for this and follows a strict diet, high in protein.  As a high school athlete, he told me this was the best option for him after graduation.  


After the interview, my coanchor Emily interviewed Mike as Josh and I went to work on the mat.  Josh first took me down and wrapped me into a submission move.  The first hold, an armbar, he didn't put a whole lot of pressure on me and let me up pretty quick.  

The triangle choke was next.  Josh was on his back, with my legs over the back of my neck and his hands on the back of my head.  Then he applied some pressure.  This time it was a little tighter than the arm bar.  I never left like I was going to pass out, but I tapped pretty quickly, just to make sure.

Next, Josh told me to kick him in the leg.  When I did, he grabbed my leg and swept me off my feet again.  He quickly rolled on top of me again and put me in a hold called the Americana.  It's basically s another type of arm bar.  And in doing my research I found it's one of the top 20 submission holds in the sport.  Gotta agree with that one.  More pressure.

The segment was a lot of fun, I learned something about MMA.  Some of the moves Josh (and other fighters) use are being replicated in the wrestling ring.  The Undertaker's Hell's Gate move is similar to the Triangle Choke Josh used.  And Kurt Angle of course uses the ankle lock submission.

MMA fighters also use their fists to win.  Luckily Josh didn't hit me.  Of course that was part of the agreement before he got there.   Best of luck to Josh as he heads overseas in November, and I wish him the best in his future fighting career.
  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Independent's Day 2

AAPW at Rent One Park May 2010

More talk on the independent circuit.  Yesterday I talked about my experiences in Alabama.  Now time for talk of wrestling in southern Illinois.  Ironically, when I lived in West Lafayette, Indiana I didn't attend any wrestling shows at all, independent nor national.  Part of the reason, I don't know if they ever existed in the area. 

Anyway, I've been to a lot of independent shows here.  High school gyms, armories, civic centers, even a bar one night.  Saw "Cowboy" Bob Orton wrestle there one night.  He was in a tag team match.  My buddy Chad and I were so close to the ring, we could have tagged in and taken part of the battle.

Many times, these shows will feature a lot of local and regional talent.  From time to time, they'll bring in a legend, like Jerry the King Lawler, Brutus Beefcake, or Jim Neidhardt.  Renegade Pro Wrestling in Metropolis is run by Tojo Yammato, Jr.  He seems to have a working relationship with a lot of the past stars.  Sid, Scott Hall, and Koko B. Ware all recently worked shows there.

Most of the indy shows I've been to here are with the All American Pro Wrestling group.  They put on some decent matches.  The guys work hard and get over with the crowd.  Again, it's more cozy in these venues, so there's a better chance your cheers (and jeers) are going to be heard. 

I have had a chance to talk to some of these guys, most notibly "Curly".  He's actually going to be on our morning show tomorrow promoting an upcoming show for his Southern Illinois Wrestling Entertainment event this weekend.  One of the wrestlers on the show, Matt Storm recently answered some questions for me.

As I suspected, he has dreams of one day making it to the big leagues.  He wants to perform for TNA.  He told me, "I do it because I love the athletism of it, the physicality of it, the acting part of it, I love the crowd reactions, and finally I love the intense atmosphere."  Payment for the indy wrestlers varies and is based on the ticket sales and items purchased in the stands.  These guys depend on us, so don't let them down when you attend a show.

Sure the guys that wrestle for this indy groups are smaller than the ones you'll catch on Monday or Thurday nights.  But their hearts are just as big.  They love to entertain and perform too.

I'll wrap this discussion up with a teaser.  One of my best memories with the independents came about 5 and a half years ago with Ian Rotten and his IWA: Midsouth group.  I'll save that story for another blog.  It's a good one though.  Honest. 





Monday, September 27, 2010

Independent's Day

Over the next few days, I'm going to write about some of my experiences with independent wrestling.  I think the WWE's new "breakout" stars Kaval and Daniel Bryan have created some buzz over this often overlooked and misunderstood form of wrestling.

My first time ever seeing an independent show came when I was living in Alabama.  The event was being held at a local high school in early 1998.  This show actually had quite a few recognizable names on it, including The Bullet Bob Armstrong, Bunkhouse Buck, and Ricky Morton.  Morton was there teaming with his "son" in the new Rock N Roll Express.  The "son" would actually go on to become Kid Kash in ECW, WWE, and TNA.

I enjoyed the show, and was actually there as more than just a fan.  I had talked my boss into letting me cover it for a news story too.  So that allowed me access to some of the wrestlers to do interviews with them.  Ricky Morton was one of them.  If I could figure out how to get my VHS tapes dubbed over, I'd post the story.  Be patient, I'll figure it out soon.

On that same card, I got to climb into the ring during intermission and shoot a standup.  That was a lot of fun too.  Until that point I had never been in the squared circle before.  And it wouldn't be my last time.  (More on that to come later.)

This was one of several independent shows I got to attend while working in Alabama.  While the crowds are small, they are loyal.  They cheer for the good guys and heckle the bad guys.  And because the venues are typically small (high school gyms in these cases), you're up close to the action.  I think that let's the fan be more in touch with the action.  It's also a heck of a lot more affordable than attending a TNA or WWE or back then WCW house show.

As I said, one group in Alabama who promoted shows always brought in some of the bigger name guys.  I also had a chance to interview Sid Vicious on two different occasions.  One time, he even came into our studio and did a live interview on the 6 p.m. news.  Probably not something you'd see everyday.

Of course the big names help draw fans to the show, which sells tickets, and gets the local guys some much needed exposure.  Sure, none of those guys on those Alabama cards made it to "big leagues", but that never stopped them from getting out there and putting on a good show.

While I was in Alabama, I learned of another independent group, one that ran a WEEKLY show.  I wanted to know more about them and see if I could help them in anyway.  Back then, I had aspirations of my own to be an announcer for the WWE.  So I contacted their management and offered to do whatever they needed.  I ended up running the video camera for their shows.  They recorded it each week and sold copies to die hard fans.

Each Tuesday night, I would finish the 6 o'clock news, hit the drive thru, and cross over the O'Neal bridge high above the Tennessee River.  I'd make my way to Muscle Shoals and to the Millenium Wrestling Alliance arena.  It looked to me like an old bar, that got converted into a wrestling arena.  Every week the place was packed.  Fans crowded into their seats to see the likes of "Cold Hard Cash" Tommy Green, Brain Damage, and "Frat Guy" Jeremy Westmoreland do their thing.

This was truly a great experience.  I was getting to see some great action each week, and there was a continuing storyline.  Fans that came each week knew what was going on and like I said so many of them were regulars.  Plus, they had the opportunity to check out my fancy video work and catch up on shows they'd missed.

During this time, the WWE (F) had an opening for a ring announcer position.  So I put together a tape and did a story with the men and women of MWA.  They told me why they do it (for the love of the business) and shared their hopes and dreams.  I put it together and sent it off, hopeful to catch my break, just as many of them had hoped for too.  But it never happened.  Instead, a woman you might remember well got the gig: Lillian Garcia.

So when I attend independent shows even today, I know what these guys and gals are reaching for.  I've kinda been there myself.

More tomorrow, thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Death of a Giant

Photo from WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Another death in professional wrestling.  Jorge Gonzalez, aka the Giant Gonzalez (and El Gigante in WCW) passed away the other day.  He was only 44 years old.

Gonzalez spent about two years wrestling in WCW, where he made his debut in 1990.  He had been playing basketball in his home country of Argentina.  Scouts from the Atlanta Hawks liked what they saw on the court, but owner Ted Turner offered the big man a job in his "wrasslin' company."  The rest is history.

At 7 feet 7 inches tall he truly was a giant.  Just look at how he towers over the Undertaker in the above picture.  Gigante was a babyface in WCW and teamed with the likes of Sting and took on the 4 Horsemen group.  He battled Ric Flair for the WCW title, but never won the gold belt.  I think he may have picked up a non title win over the champ.  I also remember him battling Sid Vicious in Sid's final match before leaving for the WWF in 1992.  It was a stretcher match, and I don't it lasting long.  

Since Sid was leaving, Gigante needed another "big" man to feud.  The One Man Gang and Kevin Sullivan attacked him after the match, setting up a new feud.  Gigante beat the OMG in a match that cost the Gang his hair.  Sometime in between his time with WCW and WWF, he was in an episode of Baywatch.  Although I don't think he wore the little red swimsuit.

When he arrived in the WWF, he changed his attitude, his name, and his look.  No longer was he the popular and lovable El Gigante.  Now we had the Giant Gonzalez, a monster heel complete with full body, flesh colored unitard with hair in the right places.  He took on Harvey Wippleman as a manager and the big man's first target was the Undertaker.  

Gonzalez eliminated the Dead Man from the Royal Rumble in 1993.  That set up a match between the two at Wrestlemania 9 in Las Vegas.  This was 'Taker's third Wrestlemania, so his streak was in its infancy.  Undertaker won the match by disqualification.  If I remember correctly, GG delivered a low blow to trigger the DQ.  Fun fact:  Giant Gonzalez is the Undertaker's only Wrestlemania opponent not to be pinned.

Months later at SummerSlam 93, the Undertaker defeated the Giant in a "rest in peace" match.  Basically there were no countouts and no DQ's allowed.  Harvey and Giant had previously stolen the "powerful" urn owned by the Undertaker and Paul Bearer prior to this match.  After the defeat, Gonzalez was supposed to turn face and feud with Wippleman and his new charge Adam Bomb, but that never really materialized.  Gonzalez left the WWF after spending less than a year there.

He wrestled off and on in Japan until retiring in late 1995.  In the years that followed, he spent his life in his home country of Argentina.  He spent the last year or so in a wheelchair, suffering from the side effects of diabetes.  

Rest in Peace, Giant Gonzalez.    

Friday, September 24, 2010

Freak(s) of the Week: The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

The GLOW Team


Okay, I'm not sure how freaky they are (were) but because of special request, today's blog is about the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.  The GLOW girls.  Who out there remembers them?  My best memories of these ladies are the Farmer's Daughter (for obvious reasons)  She's the one in the front row dressed like a farmer's daughter in case you didn't know.  And also, Mt. Fiji.  She's the woman in the back row with the yellow shirt and the REALLY big black hair.  
I don't remember much more about the group, so I'm doing a little online research for this too.  The group started in 1986, really the height of the rock 'n' wrestling connection that Vince McMahon and his World Wrestling Federation created about a year or so before.  

GLOW was pretty unique though.  Other than the referees, there were no men on the show.  At least I think that's how it was.  And most of the women had over the top, stereotypical characters.  It was created by Jackie Stallone, (yeah Sly's mom) and a guy named David McLane.  Mando Guerrero of the famed Guerrero family helped to train the ladies.

Again, I didn't watch too much of this, but remember catching a few matches.  It was hokey and cheesy, but I don't think it was meant to be taken too seriously.  This was the precursor to the Divas era and the Knockouts featured on TNA.

Some of the names included "Jail Bait", "Jungle Woman", and "Stinky".  Almost an adult version of the 7 dwarves.  

So this week, I salute the ladies of GLOW as my Freaks of the Week.  Welcome ladies.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hi, I'm Awesome!

Me & the Miz in Cape Girardeau (Jan. 2010)


I think few would argue that the Miz is the breakout star of 2010.  At least that's how I feel about him.  He's come a long way in the few years he's been with the WWE.  A contestant on Tough Enough, host of Smackdown, ECW "chick magnet", tag team champion (playing second fiddle to John Morrison at the time), U.S. Champion, Mr. Money in the Bank.  The Miz certainly has evolved.

As you can see in the picture, I had the chance to meet the Miz earlier this year.  I must say it was one of the coolest experiences I've had.  When I found out the WWE was coming back to Cape Girardeau, (a city about an hour from the station I work for, and a part of our viewing area) I inquired about any wrestlers being available for interviews.  Every other time the WWE has been in town, they've said there was no one available to talk to the media.  So I was stoked when the rep from the Show Me Center informed me that the Miz was going to be doing interviews that Friday afternoon.

I made the hour drive from southern Illinois to southeast Missouri, the city I knew well from my days in college.  I was nervous about meeting the Miz.  I had never really interview a current WWE superstar before, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  Plus, what if he was like his on camera persona (a class A douche bag, but I mean that in a good way.  It's his character.)

Much to my surprise, the Miz was very cool.  You might even say awesome.  We talked for a few minutes before the interview, he told me about his hectic schedule that day.  He'd landed in St. Louis early that morning, made the two hour drive to Cape and was waiting to start the media rounds.  I was up first, then he was heading to the local radio stations to promote the show that night.  Then on top of that he had to wrestle on the card.  Once the show was over, it was back on the road and repeat the process.  He had to be exhausted.  I can't imagine that kind of schedule.  I'll never forget how nice he was.  Here's a look at the story I did with the Miz on WSIL.

This was about two weeks after his infamous JBL promo on RAW.  We talked about that and he opened up about being treated like a second class citizen in the locker.  He said it made him stronger.  I believe him.

I've always thought the most successful characters in wrestling are the ones who are allowed to inject some of their own personality into the gimmick. Stone Cold, the Rock, and John Cena immediately come to mind.  I like how the Miz has used his early struggles in the locker room and with the "WWE Universe" to become the superstar he is today.

It's only a matter of time before he becomes the champ and proves a lot of people wrong.  I was one of them.  When he first arrived in the E, I had little expectations for him.  When he and Morrison split, I did think he would be the "Jannetty" of the duo.  Not to say Morrison won't be successful, but I see big things in the Miz's immediate future.  If he stays healthy, he'll be a major player and a leader in the locker room. 

No pressure, Miz.  But I agree, you are awesome.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Diva's Champion: Good or Bad?

Me and then women's champ Beth Phoenix @ Wrestlemania 24 weekend.

The Night of Champions pay per view on Sunday marked the end of the an era.  The WWE Women's title no longer exists.  Instead, the championship has been merged with the Diva's title.  Must admit, not a big fan of the move.  I don't mind the merging of champions, but to call it the Diva's Champion just doesn't sound right to me.

It's the word Diva I think that bothers me.  That and the fact that the belt is obnoxious looking.  I'm more of an old school type, as if you couldn't tell from previous posts.  Don't get me wrong, I don't mind change.  But in this case I guess I do.

The women's title in the WWE has a lot of history.  Fabulous Moolah really helped pioneer women's wrestling.  By the time I started watching in the mid 80's, Moolah had been the champ for decades.  Then Wendi Richter came in and ended the streak.  That was all part of the rock n wrestling connection and women's wrestling enjoyed a bit of a boom.  But it wasn't long before the ladies were put on the back burner again.

I know for sure the first two Wrestlemanias featured women's title defenses.  After that, women's wrestling, at least on the grandest stage of them all was almost nonexistent.  If I remember right, the next time we saw a women's match it was part of the inner gender match with Randy Savage and Sherri vs. Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire at Wrestlemania 6.  I'm not even sure if the title was around at that point.  It seemed like for years we didn't see any type of defense from any of the ladies' champs.

An infamous moment in the women's title history was of course Madusa tossing the title she wore as Alundra Blayze in the WWF live on WCW Monday Nitro.  I know it's all scripted and what not, but I thought that was a really classless move back then.  I still do.  But it was war, and you've gotta do what you've gotta do I suppose.

Anyway, back to my original point, it seems like the line has been blurred between who can show and who can go when it comes to the ladies, umm, I mean divas.  I'm not going to diss the women of the WWE, as I believe many of them are there to entertain, and most of them get that job done.

Say what you will about Chyna, but I think in the late 90's, she and Ivory, and Jackie helped reblaze the trail to women's wrestling.  Then Trish Stratus and Lita added more legitimacy to the group too.  Now that these women are gone, there are few who have been able to fill that void.

Beth Phoenix is by far the best in that division.  Gail Kim has a lot of talent.  Melina has potential.  Mickie James was one of the best too.  Wish they hadn't let her go.  It just seems like they're going with that cookie cutter image.  I think they need to diversify the division.  Go after Awesome Kong who has left TNA.  Change things up.  But as long as the word "Diva" is in the name of the title, I don't know that we'll see any change.  Of course, I like that over "knock out."  Just sayin'...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tag Team Turmoil

Money Inc. wanna be's at Wrestlemania 26

Think back to the 80's.  Wrestling was going global, thanks to the efforts of Vince McMahon and the WWF.  Besides big name single stars like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, we had a ton of great tag teams.  The British Bulldogs, the Hart Foundation, the Killer Bees to name a few.  Over in the NWA we had the Road Warriors, the Rock n Roll Express, and the Midnight Express.  Again, just the tip of the iceberg.  

In fact, tag team wrestling was so big back then, the NWA held a 24 team tournament.  Most of those involved were actual tag teams, not just a couple of guys paired up together.  And who can forget the first two Survivor Series pay per views.  We had a 10 team elimination match on both those cards.  

Fast forward a couple of decades and the tag team scene is on life support.  At least in the WWE.  Cody Rhodes for example, who is now a coholder of the tag team titles, hasn't even been in the WWE for three years and has already held the tag team titles with 3 DIFFERENT partners.  Then there's Kane, he's held the tag team gold with six different partners over the last 12 years.  Edge has been a tag champ with 5 different partners.  You get the point I'm trying to make.  Big Show is another multiple tag team champ with 4 partners in the WWE and 3 partners in WCW.  

Today's tag teams are mostly a couple of guys that seem to be lost in the shuffle.  Mark Henry and Evan Bourne, I'm looking at you.  Same goes for Drew and Cody.

I thought with the introduction of the Hart Dynasty, we might actually see a return to tag team wrestling. Real tag team wrestling.  Not the champs getting beat by a singles wrestler in a cage match.  I mean, come on, they have the word DYNASTY in their name.

I don't watch a whole lot of TNA, but I do know their tag team ranks are a bit more robust.  They seem to have some good combinations.  I like Beer Money and MCMG.  

The days of the classic tag teams are obviously over.  I just wish the E would give the division a little more love.  Right now, you've got the Hart Dynasty, the Usos, and the Dude Busters (remember them?) who seem to be "legit" teams.  Then the pairings of Cody & Drew (could they be the next Chuck & Billy?), Vladamir & Santino, and Bourne & Henry (maybe Power & Glory 2.0)  

One other pet peeve about tag team wrestling.  It seems like they split many of the teams up in a matter of a year or two or three.  Look at Cryme Tyme, MNM, Morrison & the Miz, The Colon Brothers, ShowMiz, JeriShow (you get the point)  Then there's the "you guys are enemies, now we're going to make you team together" booking that annoys me too.  Cena and Otunga are the most recent pairing I can think of.  I'm sure in the coming weeks, we'll get a Daniel Bryan-Miz tag team match too.

Okay, sorry for the rant.  I just miss the days of the British Bulldogs, the Rockers, the Hart Foundation, Midnight Express, Road Warriors, Demolition, etc...



Monday, September 20, 2010

Night of Champions: My Thoughts

Rarely am I ever right when I make guesses on what will happen on a WWE pay per view. But this time, I was pretty darn close in my predictions. Maybe it's because I posted them publicly for the first time. Admittedly, I only saw a fraction of Night of Champions, but I have read over the results so here are my 1-2-3 cents. (Get it?)

Orton wins the 6 Pack challenge. Miz drops the U.S. title. My hope is we're going to see a connection here. I really expected the Miz to cash in MITB last night. Kinda glad he didn't now.

Talking with a friend, they ended the Kane - Undertaker match with a clean pin. I'm assuming we'll see them again at Hell in the Cell in less than 2 weeks (another pet peeve). But what's the point? Why would Kane agree to that? He didn't do anything underhanded to win. There was no interference. Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse, because the match hasn't technically been announced.

Ziggler defends against Kofi. I'm glad. I'd like to see a solid run out of Dolph. Who would have thought he'd be the surviving Spirit Squad member?

Disappointed with the tag team title results. Why, oh why are random singles wrestlers paired together and put into a tag team title match. Mark Henry and Evan Bourne and Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre. I really feel the Hart Dynasty has the "it" factor and never really had much of a chance to shine. Plus, where are the Dude Busters (seriously) and Vance Archer & Curtis Hawkins?

LayCool reigns supreme. This one didn't surprise me. I'm curious now, will she (they) defend the title on both Raw & Smackdown? I hope that is the case.

Daniel Bryan is the future of this business in my opinion. I like the fact that he has won the U.S. title. I'm hoping this will help launch him to the next level like it has with other men who wore the title in the past. I'm also quite high on Kaval. Hoping he gets to see some more face time in the future.

No major thoughts on Punk vs. Show. Still not sure why it was on the card as neither man is a champion.

Hell in the Cell is just 13 days away. Again, let's rush another PPV and then 3 weeks later we get Bragging Rights, and then Survivor Series a month after that. Four PPV's in over the course of 2 months and 2 days... sigh.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Night of Champions Predictions

Old championship belts on display at WM 26

I figure everyone else shared there predictions on upcoming PPV's, so why not me?  I'm basing these without having watched last night's Smackdown! although I did catch the tail end of it with the Undertaker being destroyed by Kane.

6 Pack Challenge
Interesting that they've made this an elimination match.  Everyone's money is on Randy Orton.  Right now he's the "it" guy.  It seems that they're almost making him into a "Stone Cold" type character with hitting everyone with the RKO.  So, based soley on that, I'm going with Orton to win.  Second runner up, Super Cena.

Kane vs. Undertaker
I don't expect a clean finish on this one.  If Kane actually gets the pin, it will come with help from someone or by some sort of underhanded tactics.  Most likely, I expect there to be a double DQ or a double countout, which will then take us to a rematch at Hell in a Cell.

Michelle McCool vs. Melina
Sorry, this one does nothing for me.  But I suspect McCool will win.

Dolph Zigger vs. Kofi Kingston
I must admit the Kofi Kingston character has really grown on me.  I wasn't big on him at first, but I find him entertaining.  He can really work in the ring and has an interesting style.  But, I don't think that's going to be enough to over Zigger.  Zigger will get the win, but it won't come cleanly.

The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan
In my opinion, this will be the most interesting match on the card.  I'm torn on how it will go down.  Since Bryan has made the Miz tap out before, and he beat him up on Raw last week, I could see the Miz getting the win with the assist from Alex Riley.  But I could also see Bryan getting the win, taking the title and launching the Miz into the hunt for the world title.  Perhaps even cashing in Money in the Bank at the end of the 6 Pack Challenge.  This match, could go either way.

CM Punk vs. Big Show
Last I checked, neither one of these guys is a champion, so why are they on a pay per view called "Night of Champions"?  Besides, Big Show has already beat the SES in a couple of different handicapped matches, so why would we expect him not to win in a singles match?  Show wins, and hopefully puts an end to this feud so Punk can move onto something where he goes over.

I'm wondering why we're not getting a tag team title match?  Will one be added at the last minute?  I thought we'd end up with a Nexus vs. Hart Dynasty match.  I've complained about it before, the tag team division is in need of some serious work.  Leaving the champs off a card called "Night of Champions" just adds to my frustration.

Hart Dynasty vs. Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre
Like I mentioned, I didn't see Smackdown! last night.  A friend said he heard this match was happening. If it is, I amend my comments above.  Personally, I like Drew and Cody as singles wrestlers, but I guess we are lacking in the tag team division.  If the match happens, I give the nod to the Harts, and hopefully setting them up for a more tag team title defenses in the future.


So, I guess that's it for my predictions.  Tomorrow we'll know if I was right or not.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Freak of the Week: The Missing Link

From the Daily Skew

"Bang your head!"  Remember that song by Quiet Riot?  It was the theme song for this week's freak, the Missing Link.  Everytime I hear that song I think of the Link.  Or Dewey Robertson.

My first memories of the link date back to the old World Class Championship Wrestling days.  As you can see from the picture, he was quite unique looking.  Green and blue face paint.  Crazy hair cut.  He would jump up and down in the ring like a kid who had forgotten his ADD medicine.  And of course there was that headbutt.  I can remember him climbing the top rope, grabbing his bushy black hair, and diving on top of his opponent head first.

One match that sticks out to me in World Class was a battle with the Junkyard Dog.  He also used the headbutt and the two went toe to toe or head to head in that battle.  I think it ended in a double disqualification.  Another match I remember was one he had against Kerry Von Erich.  If I remember right, that was the Link's first opponent who wasn't a squash.  Again, I think that one ended in some sort of split decision.

Link played the role of the heel, which seemed natural. He was a brute who didn't talk, instead letting the  sinister Skandar Akbar do his bidding.  Link teamed up with Freak of the Week alum Kamala from time to time.  They were two pegs in the Devastation Inc.  A group of, well, freaks who ran wild over the fed's baby faces.

The Missing Link character for the most part stayed in Texas.  I know he ventured off to the WWF sometime in 1985 or 86.  Other than squash matches, the only match I really remember with the Link was on Prime Time Wrestling (or Tuesday Night Titans) against Paul Orndorff.  Link was managed by Jimmy Hart, but Bobby Heenan had offered him money to take out Mr. Wonderful.  Orndorff won the match.  

In the WWF, Link mostly beat up on the jobbers like SD Jones and Lanny Poffo.  But he jobbed to the likes of Orndorff and Tito Santana.  So he was a lower midcard guy I suppose.  He didn't stay in New York long and returned to Texas, but eventually headed to Bill Watts' old UWF.

That's where they turned him into a babyface.  He and Dark Journey feuded with Missy Hyatt and John Tatum.  I remember Tatum beating the Link on one episode after the Link became distracted as Hyatt and Journey were engaged in a cat fight.  Link would eventually retire and died in 2007.  

Seems like a lot of wrestling "freaks" start off as heels and eventually become faces.  Kamala did it.  George Steele did too.  Kane, Vader, Great Khali have all followed in those foot steps too.

In closing, Link was one of those interesting characters from my childhood who definitely made wrestling even more memorable.  Bang your head!  


Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's Real to Me, Dammit!

My friend Chad created this for me.  

If you've never seen the Youtube hit, "It's Real to Me, Dammit" click and watch it real quick.  It's only 30 seconds  long.

While this guy does not necessarily speak for all wrestling fans, I think he does make a very valid point.  One of my biggest pet peeves as a fan is when someone who doesn't watch asks, "you know it's fake, right?"  I respond the same each time.  I'm aware that it is scripted, the outcomes are pre-determined, but please don't call it fake.

I view wrestling the way non fans would view a movie or a television show.  Do we really believe that Bruce Willis could survive all he did in Die Hard?  Or that Kevin James would have such a hot wife?  I mean really, come on.  It's all entertainment.  Or mostly entertainment.  It's sports entertainment.  A phrase coined by Vince McMahon (I guess he was the first) many years ago.

Just because it's "sports entertainment", the men and women who participate are some of the most physically fit people on the planet.  Don't believe me?  Look at John Morrison, Beth Phoenix, A.J. Styles, Evan Bourne.  I could go on and on.  They put their bodies on the line week in and week out, traveling around the world, and many times working through injuries.  

Immediate examples I think of are Shawn Michaels working Wrestlemania 14 against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.  Michaels back was shot at that point and after that epic battle, HBK had surgery and was gone from wrestling for more than four years.  I'm amazed he even came back after that.

Another would be the Mr. Perfect-Bret Hart match from SummerSlam 91.  Perfect too had a lot of back trouble in that match.  I remember Bret giving him props for working the match and putting him over.  Perfect would be sidelined with that injury for about a year.

Of course there's also the death of Owen Hart, which happened in the ring. While it had nothing to do with the actual wrestling, and more about the gimmick, I think it's another obvious sign that wrestling is indeed not fake.  

Another reason I get frustrated by the "fake" talk, wrestling doesn't have an off season.  Wrestlers work their weekly shows, the PPVs, and then tour the world on the house show circuit.  It's my understanding, they typically get three or four days off a week.  Even when they're not in the ring, they're doing promotional work.  Visiting TV and radio stations getting the word out that they're in town.

So to the nay sayers who try to remind me that wrestling is fake, I point to the examples I've listed.  Of course that's only the tip of the iceberg.  I could make a better argument, but if you're reading this, chances are we already agree with one another.




Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thank You, You're a Beautiful Audience

Me vs. HTM in 1997
My job has helped get me behind the scenes of several wrestling shows and meet some of my favorite superstars.  It's been a big perk.  My first such meeting was 13 years ago, almost to the date.  The Honky Tonk Man was doing media for the upcoming In Your House: Badd Blood PPV in St. Louis.  This was the one that featured Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels in the Hell in a Cell.  

Anyway, I was a production assistant at a TV station in the Lou at the time.  The morning anchor informed me that after the show, she'd be interviewing the Honky Tonk Man.  She invited me to go along.  I was so incredibly excited.  I rushed home and got my camera and promptly returned to the station.  We were meeting HTM at Union Station where he'd be "arm wrestling" fans for a chance to win a ticket in the nose bleeds to the PPV. 

Little did HTM know, I already had my ticket (thanks to my friend Rick).  I just wanted the opportunity to meet one of my favorite wrestlers.  In 1987 HTM shocked the world and won the Intercontinental championship from Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat.  Even more shocking, he held that title for more than a year, and is still on record as the longest reigning IC champ.

Anyway, as you can see in the pic, Honky and I did in fact arm wrestle.  He looks to be in pain, which is all a part of the act.  He put up a little bit of a fight at first, but in a matter of moments, he let me win the bout.  My first battle with a WWF wrestler, and I won.  Ha ha.  

The reporter did her story, previewing the upcoming show.  It was a surreal experience, one that I thought I'd never be able to duplicate.  But as time goes on, I will post more stories about my experiences with some of wrestlings most interesting personalities.  Some of them were brief encounters, others were interviews and conversations that latest longer than a couple of minutes.
Until next time...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Raw Thoughts about Raw

Because I get up at 2:55 a.m., I don't get to watch Monday Night RAW on Monday nights, so I watch Tuesday afternoons when I get home from work.  So you've probably already seen the show and read others' react to it.  I hope you'll read mine too.

How was hoping the wheel would have landed on a pillow fight between Cena and Orton?  Would they have gone on with the match?  Is that wheel even legit?  Of course not.

I'm glad they didn't totally give away the Miz-Bryan match for free on RAW.  I liked the Miz having Alex Riley sub for him, but my question is this.  Is Riley even a WWE superstar?  Did I miss something?  He didn't win NXT.  I never saw them announce that he is a part of the company.  What about the other NXT members from season 2?   I'd love to see Husky Harris under contract.

When will Evan Bourne stopped being jobbed out?  Even in a bodyslam challenge match, it sucks to see him lose week after week.  Please tell me they are NOT planning an Evan Bourne-Mark Henry tag team.

As annoying as I find R Truth and his "what's up?" song, I can't help but sing it everytime he comes out.  BTW, what the heck is a Song and Dance match?  Really?  So lame.  Ted DiBiase has so much more potential in my opinion.  This match is definitely focusing too much on the "E" of WWE.  Although I don't know if entertainment is the way I'd describe what I just saw. 

Why have the King and Cole switched roles in who is the heel and who's the face?  And I believe Cole is more annoying than anything.  Just sayin'...

I wonder if and when John Morrison will ever move up to the next level.  From where I'm sitting, he's ready.  He's got the moves, he's got the look, he can work the mic for the most part.  What's holding him back?  I don't know.

Okay, about the cage match, shouldn't it have ended when one member left the cage?  Would Jericho have to pin both DHS and Kidd to win the match?  Loophole.  Something else that erks me is the way the tag team division is basically in the toilet.  Why are the champs jobbing in a handicap match anyway.  I think I would have come up with a different way to get Jericho back in the 6 Pack Challenge.  The Hart Dynasty should be working their own program, not the guys putting over others.

After all these years, I still love Goldust.  Regaldust isn't so bad either.  It was a fun switchup.  Interesting to say the least.  I had to laugh when my daughter walked into the room and asked "Are those boys?"  Good stuff.  I think the wig Dustin wore looks more like Mae Young than Regal.  LOL.

I fast forwarded through a lot of the main event.  Figured Nexus would get involved.  I guess Cena and Orton are the new Mega Powers of the WWE.  They can take out all the villians, even after having gone toe to toe with each other for 15 minutes.  I guess the match ended okay.  It looked more to me like they both went through the table.  I would imagine that was a tough move to pull off.  From the other camera angle it looks more like Cena did go through the table.

So who will win the 6 Pack Challenge at Night of Champions?  I'd like to see someone else in the main event picture.  My guess is though that Wade Barrett will not win.  I don't think Jericho or Edge or Shemaus will either.  I figure it will either be Cena or Orton.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Many Faces of Mike Shaw

Mike Shaw aka Bastion Booger (from the Ultimate Wrestling Gallery)

The world of professional wrestling has lost another superstar.  Last night Mike Shaw, who wrestled in the WWF as Bastion Booger passed away.  He was 54 years old.  The reports I've read online say Shaw had a heart attack Sunday night.

While he wrestled last as Bastion Booger, a really gross and disgusting character, Shaw had several other "faces" during his career.  In fact, some of you might remember his short lived gimmick as Friar Ferguson.  A heelish monk, who of course upset the Catholic Church.  According to those in the know, that's what lead to the demise of that character and the creation of Booger.  

Even before his days in the WWF, Shaw wrestled as Norman the Lunatic for WCW.  First as a heel, Norman was managed by Teddy Long.  He came to the ring dressed in hospital clothes with long, unruly hair and a beard.  He really did look as though he'd just escaped the mental ward.  Long would carry a key with him, I guess implying that he'd be locked back up in that facility if he misbehaved and didn't do Long's devious work.  I think that's how the gimmick went.  

Of course, the overbearing Long created a soft spot in the hearts of fans, who began to cheer for Norman.  Much like they did for George 'the Animal' Steele years before.  Norman turned face and got a job as a truck driver.  Trucker Norman was a tribute to his late father.  

And even before all those crazy gimmicks, Shaw wrestled in the Stampede area as Makhan Sighn.  He was the champion there at one point and feuded with the soon to be rising star, Owen Hart.  

Shaw never stayed in one place very long.  As Booger, he was only in the WWF for about a year, but will may be best remembered for that gimmick.  A few years back he returned to WWE television for the Raw homecoming show.  The E also did a feature on him on their website a while back.  

Going through my own memory bank, I don't think I ever saw Shaw wrestle live.  Although I've got plenty of memories of him as Norm and Bastion toward the end of his career.  I'll have to check out his work in Stampede on line now.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Shaw.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"The Real World's Champion"

Ric Flair shortly after arriving in the WWF in 1991.

"This happens to be the real championship belt."  That sentence was uttered by WWF manager and commentator Bobby "the Brain" Heenan in the summer of 1991 at the end of a WWF Superstars show.  Heenan stood there holding the giant gold belt held by then WCW world champion Ric Flair.  Heenan went on to say to compare the two men who held the world titles was like comparing ice cream to horse manure. Fellow announcers Jim Neidhardt and Gorilla Monsoon stood by, totally dumbfounded.   Awesome stuff.  Go to Youtube and search Ice Cream and Horse Manure if you want to watch it.  I can't figure out how to embed it.

I remember that moment very well.  I still argue it's one of the greatest moments in the history of wrestling.  This was in a day long before the internet provided spoilers on what was going on with wrestlers' contracts and comings and goings.  While the NWO angle was great, we all knew that Scott Hall and Kevin Nash weren't really under WWF contract and invading WCW.  Maybe not all of us, but those who were online and reading the various reports knew their WWF contracts ended and they were heading south.

Ric Flair signing with the WWF was huge.  Plus, he was still the world champion for rival company WCW.  And now, that company's belt was in possession of the WWF.  In my opinion pure genius.  There was no disrespecting the belt or the man who held it.  He was coming in as "the real world's champion."  Every fans' dream was about to come true.  The WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan would finally meet the WCW World Champion to see who really was the best.

While the delivery of Flair's arrival was far better than any current wrestling angle, the actually booking of Nature Boy was a bit lackluster.  I only say that because as a WWF mark all my life, I really wanted to see Hogan vs Flair at Wrestlemania 8.  But instead the two met in a series of house shows, events that aren't televised.  

If I remember correctly, the two never met one on one on TV during Flair's first WWF stint.  Instead Flair feuded on TV with Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, and Mr. Perfect.  Flair and Savage had a great match that year at Wrestlemania.  This coming after Flair went more than an hour in the over the top rope, winner take all Royal Rumble match.  One of the best rumbles in the 20+ year history of that event.  I'd actually call it my favorite.  Flair entered third of 30 combatants.  The fact that he outlasted everyone else was unheard of at that time.  

Flair didn't stay long in the WWF that first time.  He was there just over a year, maybe 18 months.  He brought something different to the fed.  Classic battles with Savage, Piper, Perfect, and Bret Hart, who he eventually lost the title to for a second time.  It wasn't long after that Flair lost a loser leaves the WWF match to Mr. Perfect and he was back in Atlanta working for WCW.   

Flair's second stint with the WWE saw a couple of tag team title reigns with Batista and Roddy Piper.  He also won the Intercontinental title.  He also had a memorable retirement match with Shawn Michaels that I've blogged about already.

So in closing, I enjoyed Flair's first run in the WWF, but wish things could have been a bit different in terms of that money match for Wrestlemania.  I also wish they could have worked something out that would have kept him there longer. 




Friday, September 10, 2010

Freak of the Week: Kamala

Kamala signing autographs at an ROH in Houston




I've decided to do a new feature here on the blog.  All of my previous posts seem to be me complaining about something, so I'm hoping to make this a little lighter.  It's the "Freak of the Week."  I'll write up something about one of my favorite "freaky" wrestlers each Friday.
I chose to Kamala the Ugandan Giant for my inaugural freak post.  After much thought, I think Kamala is probably my favorite gimmick.  He played the role so well.  As you can clearly see by the photo above, he is not the savage beast he played in the ring.  

My first memory of Kamala goes back to the World Class Championship Wrestling days.  It was sometime in 1984.  World Class had produced some vignettes of Kamala "on location" in his homeland of Uganda.  Being new to wrestling, I took it all in and believed everything I was seeing.  Of course I was 11 years old back then.  

Kamala had some epic battles while in WCCW.  He battled the faces of the company, the Von Erich brothers.  I still remember "marking out" when Kerry body slammed the giant.  Kamala also had some epic battles with Bruiser Brody.  They would slug it out like a couple of drunken sailors in a bar.  

As I was preparing for this post, I came across a Youtube video of Kamala scooping up Andre the Giant and slamming him to the mat.  I had heard this had happened, but until now had never seen it.  So long before Hulkamania ran wild on the Giant, Kamala did. 

Speaking of Hulk Hogan, Kamala had a run with him too during one of his tenures in the WWF.  If I remember correctly, the two had just battled it out in Madison Square Garden when Andre confronted Hogan for one of the first times before his official heel turn.

Another epic feud for the beast was with the Undertaker.  The two of them fought it out in a coffin match at the 1992 Survivor Series, which I have on VHS tape still.  Kamala came up short that night.  

It wasn't long after that that the character took a turn that I wasn't really fond of.  The powers that be in the WWF decided it was time for Kamala to be a fan favorite.  For more than a decade this guy was a brute and a savage, delivering his big splash to opponents and rolling them out of the ring.  Now, he was  a kinder, gentler fellow.  At least they gave him a manager (Slick) and didn't have him talk.  That would have killed the gimmick totally.

Kamala also had a run in WCW in the Dungeon of Doom, once again a heel.  He's made a few appearances on WWE TV in the last few years, putting over guys like Randy Orton and Umaga.  

The last time I saw Kamala in person was at the ROH show in Houston during Wrestlemania 25 weekend in 2009.  He didn't really wrestle that night, but he came out to the ring in his full gear:  the paint face, two stars on his chest, half moon on his belly, and that little leopard print "skit".  I know it's not a kilt.  Ha.

After the show, we saw him sitting in the lobby of the facility, fully clothed and no makeup.  It was strange to think Kamala is really a person (Jim Harris) and not the beast he plays on TV.   If by chance he reads this or has his man Friday do it for him, I have nothing but respect for you Kamala.

This of course is a quick few at his career.  For more on Kamala, Google him.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wooo!

Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels: Wrestlemania 24
Let me start off by saying that Ric Flair is my favorite wrestler of all time.  Growing up though, I loved to hate the guy.  He was so cocky and pompous, and a real pro on the mic.  Love him or hate him, most of us wanted to be "stylin' and profilin'" at some point in our lives.  And how many used that Space Mountain line?  Anyone?

Okay, I digress.  I'm writing this today because I read last night that "the Nature Boy" is wrestling Mick Foley on TNA Impact in a couple of weeks in a Last Man Standing Match.  I have a beef with that, and here's why...

More than two years ago, Natch retired from wrestling.  I was there.  I saw it with my own two eyes.  His last match was supposed to be at Wrestlemania 24 in Orlando.  My friend Chad and I sat in the 4th row that night and watched our boyhood idol give it his all, but come up short against Shawn Michaels.  It was a great match.  There was a buzz in the air that night, I think because most everyone knew Flair would lose.  And losing any match would make that his last one, as the stipulations had been laid out months earlier.

The night before the match, Flair was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  He gave a great speech.  Emotional.  Heartfelt.  Driven.  He spoke for more than an hour, but I think I could have listened to him all night.  He's got that kind of charisma.  

WWE went all out with the farewell too.  After all, Ric Flair is an icon.  36 years of wrestling, 16 world heavyweight champions, other countless secondary titles like the Intercontinental championship, the U.S. championship, and several tag team title runs.  The E sold special Tshirts honoring Flair's career.  The following night on RAW there was a special ceremony with many of Natch's old friends coming back to say goodbye.  Chad and I were in the crowd for that too.  What an amazing night.  Seeing guys like Ricky Steamboat, Tully Blanchard, and Arn Anderson come out to the ring was almost surreal.  

Undertaker pays homage.
Even current superstars came to the ring to show their appreciation.  Guys like Triple H, Chris Jericho, and the Undertaker (who actually came out AFTER the show went off the air.)  It was a really cool couple of days.  The mark in me was running wild that weekend.

While I was sad to see Flair's career I understood that it was probably time for him to hang up his sequenced, feathered robes.  He was 59 years old at that time and the years were catching up with him.  Of course he could still talk, and I was hoping the WWE would use him in a general manager or manager role.  Someone who could mentor the young talent and help mold a new generation.

The honeymoon of Flair's retirement didn't last long.  He was back on TV within months of his career ending match and had a confrontation with Chris Jericho on an episode of RAW.  I thought that might actually lead to him returning to the ring, but Flair held up his end of the bargain and instead backed a group of legends who challenged (and lost to) Jericho at Wrestlemania 25.

It wasn't long after that though that Flair left the WWE.  Once that happened, I was sure he'd climb back into the squared circle and do battle again.  And he did.  Against Hulk Hogan on a tour of Australia.  Shortly after that, both Hall of Famers signed with TNA and Flair has wrestled a hand full of times for that company. 

I don't blame the man. Wrestling is in his blood.  He's good at it.  I'm sure financially it is good for him too.  I just wish his opponents weren't guys he faced years earlier in WCW and WWE.  I also feel kinda jibbed being in the crowd at Wrestlemania that year when Ric Flair wrestled his last match.  Or so we thought.  It's an experience I'll never forget though, no matter how many more times "the Nature Boy" walks that aisle.

As Kenny Rogers said, you've got to know when to fold them.  Ric, I love ya brother.  But it's time to fold 'em.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Cost of Pay Per View

Wrestlemania 26 in Phoenix




This blog is inspired by conversations I have with my wrestling "buddies" Chad and Travis.  We have a weekly discussion on things we like, hate, and how we'd make the wrestling world perfect.

One thing we talk about often is the number of wrestling pay per views on the calendar.  Both World Wrestling Entertainment and Total Non-Stop Action have 12 PPVs a year.  Each.  So those of you who can add, that's 24 between the two companies.  In my opinion, that's too many.  Way too many.  I think it's starting to have an effect on the product.  It has for some time now.

When I was a kid, there were really four PPVs a year from the WWF.  Of course for a while, it was just Wrestlemania, but then we got Survivor Series, followed by SummerSlam, and then the Royal Rumble.   I personally would like to go back to that formula.  

Doing the four big ones each year, (RR in January, Mania in March, SummerSlam in August, and Survivor Series in November) would add some value to the PPV concept.  I think people would be more willing to buy a few quality PPVs a year vs. spending money (upwards of $40) each month.  Who does that anyway?  

But cutting back on PPVs cuts back on revenue.  I get that.  You'd also have to rework the way this weekly shows are done.  WWE for example is putting out 5 hours of fresh content a week.  That's 20 hours of "regular" shows and a 3 hour PPV on top of that each month.

By spreading out the PPVs, you could also give feuds time to simmer.  Right now, they seem to hot shot the matches we're seeing.  Look at the buildup for most PPVs now.  They're adding matches literally days before the event.  This has to stop.  Maybe it's more a lack of creativity than too many pay per views.

Another thing I'd do, stop showing PPV matches the following night or weeks later for FREE.  If I know that I'll be seeing the rematch on FREE TV, why would I spend my hard earned cash on a pay per view?  

Think back to the 80's.  There was a lot less wrestling on TV, but I think there was more interest in terms of the matches.  Now days, the focus seems to be too much on the entertainment side of things, which is important too, but wrestling needs to be more of the focus.

I'm starting to feel like I'm rambling.  Hopefully you understand what I'm trying to say.  



Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ending the Streak

Wrestlemania 24: Undertaker vs. Edge


The Undertaker has never lost at a Wrestlemania.  He made his debut back in 1991 at Wrestlemania 7, defeating the legendary "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka.  Every year since then, except 1994 and 2000, the Undertaker has "buried" the competition.  Everyone from Mark Henry to Randy Orton to my all time favorite Ric Flair.

For the last few years, it's been debated, should the streak end.  There was talk that Batista would be the man back in 2007.  But Taker not only kept "the streak" in tact, he also won the world title.  Same thing happened in 2008, this time, Edge was the victim.

In 2009, I think most people thought Shawn Michaels would be the man.  But he failed too.  And in 2010, he came up short and even put his career on the line.  

So should the streak end?  Undertaker isn't getting any younger, and maybe it's time to pass the torch so to speak.  It seems now that whoever faces the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, it becomes one of the most important matches on the card.  I think few could argue HBK vs Undertaker stole the show at Wrestlemania 25.

I've come up with a scenario to end the streak.  Let's see what you think of it.  This is under the assumption that everyone stays healthy and the WWE could actually hold this match off for the next 6 months.

Last week on RAW, the Nexus came to the ring and destroyed the Undertaker.  I'd have them come out again at the Night of Champions pay per view and jump the Undertaker.  That causes Kane to get disqualified, and keep the title and set up a rematch at Hell in the Cell PPV in October.  The plan would be to keep the Nexus out of the match.  But during the course of the match, Nexus gets involved again and interferes.  This time Kane gets the actual pin on his older "brother."

That then gives the Undertaker a new focus and gives Kane another opportunity to defend the world title against someone else.  I'd suggest Christian, but that's for another time.

Teddy Long and the "mystery GM" on RAW agree to let the Undertaker get revenge, but Undertaker must beat a member of Nexus at a PPV before moving on to the next member.  So at Bragging Rights in October, Undertaker defeats "A List" David Otunga.  He then moves on to face the returning Skip Sheffield at the Survivor Series.  Again, he wins this contest.  Undertaker defeats Heath Slater in a chair match at the December TLC PPV.  January finds the Undertaker and all of Nexus competing in the Royal Rumble match.  Taker gets eliminated by members of Nexus, intensifying the hatred.

Undertaker comes back out on top by beating Justin Gabriel at Elimination Chamber.  On that same PPV, Wade Barrett wins the WWE championship.  That sets up Undertaker vs. Wade Barrett for the championship.

Barrett not only successfully defends the title at Wrestlemania, but also ends the Undertaker's streak.

I know this is not the perfect plan, but I think it could work.  That would give a young member of the roster a much needed boost.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this.  Should the streak end?  And if so, who should end it?

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Opening Match

Me at the 2010 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.
Welcome to my new blog.  I've been a wrestling fan for more than 25 years.  I also enjoy writing, so naturally in this new era of social networking, it only makes sense for me to blog.  Right?

My love for wrestling started at around age 11.  I remember when I was much younger my dad, brother, and uncle would go to the Kiel Auditorium when the NWA would come to town.  Shows featured "King Kong" Brody, Harley Race, Ted DiBiase, and of course world champion Ric Flair.  At that time, I had no interest in wrestling.

I can't pinpoint the moment that my love for it happened, but I do remember it was around the time Hulkamania started running wild in January 1984.  This was the WWF, a much different promotion from the old NWA.  Die hard fans know what I'm talking about.  To me, the WWF was like a live action cartoon with larger than life characters like Hulk Hogan, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, The Junkyard Dog, and Andre the Giant.

My first house show came in December 1984.  The headline match was Hulk Hogan vs. Brutus Beefcake. This was years before he had become "the Barber."  A large group of us attended the show at the old Arena in St. Louis.  We had floor seats, and ran to the other side of the building to get a closer look at the wrestlers as they entered and left the ring.  Seeing "Superfly" Snuka and the Hulkster up close seemed like such a dream come true.  At age 11, I felt like I had lived a complete life.

As the years went on, my fondness for wrestling grew.  Fast forward to my early 30's and my first trip to a Wrestlemania.  For those who don't know, Wrestlemania is the Superbowl of wrestling.  As I continue to blog I'll talk more about my experiences with wrestling and post highlights from the four Wrestlemania events I've attended since 2006.

So welcome, enjoy, and please share your thoughts with me.