Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The New Day are the best thing going!

Image Credit:
It's hard not to acknowledge how good Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods have been in the last several months. Since their post-Wrestlemania push, they have done everything in their power to get over as a grating but well oiled unit built around taking titles and pushing their own cause to the masses.

Look no further than their most recent campaign, the important #SaveTheTables campaign.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Flashback: The Muppets take Raw

One of the best new weekly episodic television series of 2015 is easily The Muppets, the "behind the scenes" take on the characters as they work on a new variety show starring Miss Piggy. The first episode debuted to monster ratings, but it equally gave just a great story with some real laughs for Muppet fans of all ages.

But as a Muppet fan and a wrestling fan, it makes me only think back to the day when The Muppets guest starred on the longest running weekly episodic television show, Monday Night Raw. It was the Halloween episode back in 2011 and WWE made the most of having some great comedic bits with the characters. Santino mispronounces some names, Sheamus chats with his previously unknown cousin, Gonzo gets bullied by Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler, Animal shows off his time keeping skills, Statler & Waldorf share their thoughts on WWE's talents, and more with the likes of Cody Rhodes and John Morrison.

Monday, September 28, 2015

For the first time in two years, WWE has a wellness policy violation

Let's be honest, while it still isn't a perfect system, the WWE Wellness Policy has done wonders to reshape the backstage of wrestling for the better. In the last ten years, it has helped make the WWE locker room a far more positive place and one free of the excessive drug use pervasive in wrestling well into the early 2000s.

So while Hornswoggle suddenly going out for 30 days on a violation of the Wellness Policy is a bit of a surprise, especially when he hasn't been featured regularly on television for months, it comes with a single positive. His violation is the first since July of 2013 when Ricardo Rodriguez was suspended.

While WWE has its share of blame in the deaths of wrestling talents over the last two decades, it also deserves a strong share of credit for helping to clean it up. With free rehabilitation programs for any former talent no matter their current employer, they have put together a system that continues their quest for healthy talent and former talent while also continuing their place of dominance over the wrestling industry worldwide. And all of that's okay, because they're doing the right thing by their talent.

As to Hornswoggle, whether this is the end of Dylan Postl's WWE career is anyone's guess. He hasn't had a storyline since the Wee-LC match of last year, but serves as a major brand ambassador for the company. As a talent that could be valuable to another promotion should he be fired, it's likely he will continue to be employed by WWE for some time to come. Let's hope that whatever the Wellness Policy violation was in response to, he gets the help he needs to stay healthy. Because that's the most important thing for the stars we love to watch week after week.

WWE LIVE! in Toronto

So I finally got to see a live WWE event. I was actually expecting a bigger spectacle but that was because I've been watching it on television for so long. The house shows have much lower production values, more like what he see in televised independent matches.

Right off the bat, my respect for the people in the show went up. I've been tearing Byron Saxon for months over his shoddy work as an announcer, but seeing him amp up the crowd in person made me feel a little bit of sympathy for the guy. Seeing them live made me appreciate just how hard it must be to travel and work every single night and still keep that energy level up. Despite all the negativity some of these guys endure, they still give it their all (most of the time). So on behalf of the city of Toronto and all the people that went to the Ricoh Coliseum that night, thank you guys for making the effort for us.

The show opened with New Day taking on the Prime Time Players. Lot of dancing from New Day, with Xavier Woods doing a Rick Rude style dance at one point. New Day controlled the match and ended up with the victory. As much as I want to support the PTP, their lacking in something. Not sure what it is, but they just can't seem to get over.

Curtis Axel made an appearance in a handicap match against Los Matadores. Apparently they've turned heel now, but Axel defeated them with a little help from a friend, Torito. My wife didn't know who Axel was until I told her he's the guy that used to think he was Hulk Hogan. Obviously that gimmick didn't pay off for him.

Kevin Owens got himself disqualified with another rake of the eyes in his match against Ryback. Great to see a Canadian IC champion, I think Owens is going to one day be a legendary heel in the way Owen Hart was. I was shouting "Pop Him Up!" but I don't think I've seen Ryback get Pop Up Power Bombed yet. Maybe he's too big?

I am pretty sure this is not the sequence of matches, but I can't recall the exact order they came out. At first I was trying to take pictures and post them live to my blog, but after the third match I realized it was becoming a hassle to try and get the clear shots, my phone camera sucked, so I decided to stop taking pictures and get more involved in the matches.

Speaking of Canadians, Chris Jericho showed up. I actually saw him drive in as we got off the subway. There was a crowd gathered around the tour bus and Jericho drove right behind them. of all the entertainers that night, Jericho got the crowd the best. After beating Luke Harper in a great match, Jericho was able to direct the crowd in a series of cheers. It was nice to see the Canadian boy still has it. Luke Harper spoke at the beginning of the match, not sure what he said, probably some Wyatt family brainwashing stuff, but Jericho snatched the mic from him and gave the crowd a "Toronto is Jericho" pop.

Just as seeing the show live gives you a deeper appreciation for the men and women out there entertaining audiences every night, you also lose some of the magic. The Big Show is a perfect example. The man is a monster of a human being, he moved passed the crowd like a triceratops or something, just massively tall and broad. Cesaro, for all this talent, just couldn't sell his moves. The Big Show is just so big that when you see him getting hit, you know its totally fake. Unlike the televised show, where the lights and the camera work add to the effect, seeing someone try to hurt a guy the size of the Big Show in real life just looked silly. He's simply too big to manhandle and you can tell he's simply allowing the other guy to push him around. I don't think you could really hurt this man in a real life fight. Big Show had a few bright moments interacting with the crowd, even taking the mic for a bit to shout down those telling him to retire. My wife sort of felt bad for him, but he's playing a heel, he's supposed to be hated.

Damien Sandow VS Braun Stroman. The Wyatt Family carried the show as heels, with every member fighting that night. Damien put up a good offense but eventually succumbed to Braun's submission maneuver. Sandow appeared to be the same height as Braun which made the move look a little silly; Sandow actually had to lift his legs off the mat to appear to be held aloft. As Braun went through the screens after the match was over, he looked back at the crowd and gave a little smile. Truth is, the guy has a friendly look in his eyes in person. I bet you he's a really nice guy in real life.

After an intermission, Team Bella faced Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Even with the third person in their corner the Bellas just could not get it done. Nikki looked great but Brie was forgettable, I can't even recall her doing anything in the match. At the end of the match after Charlotte locked in her Figure 8 and Nikki tapped, Team Bella carried Nikki backstage. There was an almost circus-like feel to the end of the match, the girls were overacting to the point where they looked like they were putting on a performance, in the way amateur stage actors do. It was a good match, but Nikki really should just dump the rest of Team Bella and go her own way.

Dean Ambrose faced Bray Wyatt in a No Holds Barred match. Bray came out to a simplified version of his intro, so we got a bit of the fireflies in the audience, but I don't recall seeing a lantern. This was by far one of the best matches of the show. Bray tied the kendo stick to the turnbuckle and sent Ambrose into it face first, blinding him for a while when the stick poked him in the eye. The rest of the Wyatt family came to Bray's aid only to be foiled by the Dudleyz and Ryback. Luke Harper ended up the victim of a 3-D, destroying one table, with another table being destroyed later by Dean coming off the top rope onto a laid-out Bray Wyatt. Ryback went after Braun, which makes me wonder if this is Ryback's next feud.

The final match was for the US title, between WWE World Champ Seth Rollins and defending US champion John Cena. Lots of support for Cena from the crowd, which prompted Rollins to stop mid-match and remind the crowd in his whiny, weasel-like way that he is the world champ. I kept chanting "You Broke Sting" throughout the match. It was a great match, made up of all the moves we've seen these two do in the last two or three matches they've had. The big change came at end, when Cena stunned the crowd with an F-5 from the second rope.

I am going to try and take my son to the show in December. After seeing these guys live, I'm itching to see Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins face off. Both these guys have a great in-ring style and I hope they do eventually have a feud, because those two men can take the sport to the next level.

I had a great time, all the visibility at times was a pain in the ass. Floor seating meant we couldn't see the mat or anything going on outside the ring. Next time  I am going to try and find a spot farther back and perhaps up a bit so we can see clearly.

You can see pics from the show on my blog at:

They aren't very good, in fact I was much closer to the show than these pics made it appear. The Ricoh Coliseum isn't that big.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Classic match: Pentagon Jr & Hijo del Perro Aguayo vs. Rey Mysterio & Mysteziz

I am a fan of all four men in this ring, during this great AAA match, most recently of Pentagon Jr. who broke out as a huge star in Lucha Underground. But this also marks Hijo del Perro Aguayo's final television appearance for AAA as he would lose his life in an unfortunate in ring accident just three days after this show.

So enjoy some great action between three legends and one of the biggest names in the future of lucha libre.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Introducing the WWE Top 10!

I like Top 10 lists because I am someone that enjoys being on the internet regularly. The internet may in fact be about half list at this point, but as this blog has developed, I felt it was important to have a way to express who I feel are the important players in WWE and the other corners of wrestling for any given month. Because of this, I have conceived a regular Top 10 list for every Wednesday, starting today. WWE will receive a list the week after every major pay-per-view, while NXT, TNA, ROH, Japan, the indies and Lucha Underground will all see lists filling the spaces in between. So stay tuned for a look for the countdown every week starting right now, with your WWE Top 10.

The Cosmic Wasteland has elevated Stardust's game. Image credit:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Some of the greatest news ever...

Via one simple graphic on one tweet, Lucha Underground made it clear they're returning for a second season. Finally we will learn what the future holds for the reigns of Mil Muertes and the Disciples of Death, whether Fenix can use his Gift of the Gods status to unthrone his arch-rival, and how long it will take Angelico and Pentagon Jr to find their well deserved place in the Lucha Underground title picture.

No return date is set outside 2016, but I would expect it to hit early in the year.

Monday, September 21, 2015

With great talents and great matches, Night of Champions proved to be a solid transitional PPV

Surprisingly, response to Night of Champions online seems lukewarm at best. I personally enjoyed the card, which I think featured solid matches from top to bottom, even from the feuds I find less than interesting.

I'm already a huge fan of this unit. Image credit:
I especially enjoyed the opening kickoff match as the team of Stardust and The Ascension, a.k.a. The Cosmic Wasteland, may be the best thing WWE has done in quite some time. While I think they are probably an after-thought for WWE's writing staff, the unit works so well on so many levels that I hope they have a long life as a faction, and one that comes with the much-needed push Stardust deserves. I personally would love to see his new unit lead him to a feud with John Cena for the United States title.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Night of Champions promises a lot, but will it deliver?

I'm going to be honest, Night of Champions has one of the best looking cards WWE has put on in months. But I'm also honest that often the weaker cards are the shows that turn out better as the stars and writers are forced to push a bit harder. So while on paper, I'm optimistic about the show, it is anyone's guess what it will actually bring.

Still with Sting, the Dudleys, The New Day, Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens and super-indie wonder John Cena all in action, I see a lot of potential here.

Image credit: WWE.
My run down of the complete card is after the break.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

SCW makes big moves with "Supremacy" this Saturday

Last month at a show I sadly had to miss due to travel, Sean Morrow took control of SCW after his team won the best of five series against Mark Storm's Sindicate. With the face commissioner now in control of the company and Storm on the outs, SCW looks to be on a righteous path. But anyone that watched years of TNA know that face authority figures never last and even when they do, they tend to fade into the background.

SCW debuts Supremacy this Saturday night in Walcott, Iowa, and the main event is yet another rematch between two men that have faced off in the majority of SCW shows I've attended: Nevin Knoxville and Marek Brave. Unlike the previous encounters, this one comes with Marek as the new SCW champion, as he beat Knoxville at the last event. I don't suspect Marek will drop his title here, but I could see a heel turn in his future to match his personas in AAW and 3XW. Fans of the Dudley Boyz return in the last few weeks should be happy to here the battle will be a Tables Match, which should be wild in the Walcott Colosseum.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

WWE get four new signings to seriously boost the NXT roster

Over the last week, four different independent stars have been revealed as new WWE stars, all in the wake of the announcement of Kana's new ring name Asuka. None have planned debuts as of yet, but they are all likely to make an impact in the months ahead.

Sarah Stock as Sarita in TNA.
Image credit: Ribbon Salminen.
The first signing is former CMLL and TNA star Sarah Stock (a.k.a. Sarita) who will be joining Sara D'Amato as the second female trainer at the Performance Center. She joins an already great list of trainers including head trainer Matt "Albert" Bloom, Billy Gunn, Robbie Brookside, Adam Pearce, Steve Keirn and Norman Smiley.

Monday, September 14, 2015

NJPW on AXS brings a classic title match to English language television!

I don't have AXS at home because it is not in the list of networks I conveniently can stream online. However I caught last week's episode of NJPW on AXS and it was a doozy, as the entire show was devoted to the AJ Styles / Hiroshi Tanahashi IWGP Heavyweight title match from last October.

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I have grown fond of the American version of the show as commentators Mauro Ranallo and Josh Barnett add a lot to the already amazing wrestling New Japan brings to the fold. Styles and Tanahashi brought it in a nearly thirty minute battle, with each man going for his signature maneuvers more than once. AJ came with Jeff Jarrett to the ring, his Bullet Club guitar in hand. More than once Jarrett saved the IWGP Heavyweight title for AJ Styles.

But a big equalizer came in the form of Yoshitatsu (now spelled as just one word post-WWE.) He threw Jarrett to the back and forced Styles to fight a fair contest. Ultimately a High Fly Flow set up the win by Tanahashi to give him his unprecedented seventh reign as IWGP Heavyweight Champion.

I cannot speak highly enough of the AXS series. Anyone with it on their cable provider should tune in on Fridays at 9 Eastern / 8 Central and see why New Japan is definitely worth watching.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Chikara appears to be remaking the No Mercy game engine

For most wrestling video gamers, no games have still topped the playability of Wrestlemania 2000 and WWF No Mercy, the final two games Aki produced for the Nintendo 64. With a deep wrestling engine that emphasized technical maneuvers, it is beloved by fans that love a deeper style than that offered by the later Smackdown series that morphed into the current eponymous line.

But the fine folks at Chikara have wanted a video game for awhile. While their previous attempt to make a Streets of Rage-esque brawler fell flat after two developers and a failed Kickstarter, But now they are going with an Unreal Engine based wrestling grappler that feels incredibly familiar to fans of No Mercy. Check out the full video below:

The game is currently on Steam Greenlight and Chikara is asking fans to help support it for a Steam release there. Head to Greenlight Chikara to lend your support.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Introducing the Gallur Gallery Challenge!

Over at Super Powered Fiction this week, I have introduced a new challenge that combines my love of heroic super powered adventure and great wrestling from south of the border! The Gallur Gallery Challenge takes art from the amazing Mexican artist Rafael Gallur and asks the readers of that blog (and in turn this blog) to write their own one paragraph synopsis of what is going on in the shot. It is a chance to flex some creative skills while also admiring some amazing art by a premiere artist of wrestling.

The first challenge is up now, featuring El Hijo Del Santo. Click over to Super Powered Fiction to share your thoughts on what is happening in the image below!

Image copyright Rafael Gallur.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kana is officially a WWE superstar

The news came out just in the last day that perhaps the best competitor in modern Japanese women's wrestling has signed a deal with WWE. It appears to be an interesting one as well, since she will keep her current in-ring name as she makes the sojourn into WWE waters.

Image credit: 
I first discovered Kana a few years back when her name was first announced for a SHIMMER show. I ended up learning about Tajiri's SMASH promotion from researching her and immediately became a huge fan of her work. She's an incredibly woman inside the ring with all the charisma necessary to make it as a stop wrestling star. Even without perfect English skills (though to my understanding her English is better than most Japanese wrestlers), she should have no problem interesting fans.

Monday, September 7, 2015

What a Summer for Wrestling Fans!

It's been a while since I posted anything on the blog, in fact I haven't posted since before SummerSlam. I was simply overwhelmed with the sheer amount of wrestling there was. Each of the three events from the WWE visit to New York were at least 2 hours long, which meant a total of 8 hours plus of WWE entertainment from the Barclay Center.

I have to agree with Nick that the return of the Dudley Boyz was a great move for the WWE tag team division. Every team in the WWE had a unique brand and style, but none of them came off as dominant or powerful. The Dudleys have always been one of the most over and popular tag teams in the history of professional wrestling and I was happy to see them back in action. I'd love to see a Dudley Boyz VS Vaudevillians match at Wrestlemania this year. Yes, I am a big fan of the Vaudevillians, I love the gimmick and style of wrestling they use to promote the gimmick. Everything from their intro to their finishing pose makes me laugh, in a good way. Okay, so let's break down everything that has happened so far.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Global Force Wrestling's Grand Slam Tour comes to Iowa!

While I missed the GFW event Thursday night in Cedar Rapids, my eldest daughter and I made the hour drive to Waterloo on Friday to take in the action for Global Force's second stop on their Iowa tour before heading to the town of Clinton for a Saturday show. The cards for all the nights of action are the same though, so I can safely say fans saw similar action on all three nights.

Image credit: Global Force wrestling.
I'll run down the card match by match with a few thoughts on the talent as I go. But before I do, I just wanted to say that the show really had a great independent feel as the talent were available to meet and greet even to the non-VIP fans. My daughter got pictures with Mickie James and DJ Z, and I got to say hello to Tommaso Ciampa (a man I've wanted to see live for quite some time and who will make his NXT debut next week), Magnus and many of the other talents. It was a great chance to get to know some great talents before they went on that night.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Chikara King of Trios Preview

Before my neck surgery, I made tentative plans to attend this year's Chikara King of Trios. It looks like another amazing tournament from a company famous for putting on amazing tournaments. With a huge group of talent in place, I expect it will be as big or bigger than last weekend's Battle of Los Angeles in California. Chikara continues its tradition of running the show in Easton, Pennsylvania, a great site with tons of room for them to jam the thousand plus fans that will show up for the three day affair.

This year, the regular factions of Chikara were rearranged due to the Challenge of the Immortals tournament. Instead of most of Chikara's regular trios, the teams are based around the COTI teams, which leads to break ups of long running groups like The Osirian Portal and The Colony. I'll run down all the teams as I look at their first round tournament matches.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

3XW All Stars of the Midwest brings some great action!

The local Des Moines wrestling promotion 3XW has been bringing quality wrestling to central Iowa for years now. They also have been bringing some of their great talent to television and the internet on a regular basis.

Their most recent episode features Midwest stalwart Mark Sterling challenging another long time 3XW regular Jeremy Wyatt in a Dog Collar match for the 3XW Heavyweight Championship. The card also features the legendary Malia Hosaka against local Stacy O'Brien as part of the slowly growing women's division of 3XW. It is a very solid showing by some Midwest originals that always need more exposure. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It has not been a good week in the world of wrestling

Monday did not kick off well for the wrestling world. While Seth Rollins learned he would have two title matches at Night of Champions much to his chagrin (and apparently ignorance of the whole "every title is on the line" stipulation of the show), that was far from the worst news. Reality came in the way of simple storylines with two big nasty happenings. And as I write this a third case seems to slowly be coming forward, one decades in the making.

Rollins got some bad news on Raw. Image credit:
GMA kicked off things with Hulk Hogan's apology tour getting underway. It was nothing really of note, just the expected thing for a celebrity to do in the wake of a very public misstep. It was newsworthy at the time, but quickly faded from the wrestling news radar as far more disturbing actions came to light.