Thursday, June 22, 2017

WWE exists in an endless cycle of one step forward, two steps back

WWE's worst booking decision in a series of abominable booking decisions.
Image credit:
WWE has made its share of announcements in the last week, but nothing they can do will overcome the bad blood many fans feel after the debacle that was the first ever women's Money in the Bank match. James Ellsworth won the match for Carmella, basically showing exactly how much WWE management really cares for its supposed women's revolution.

Let's be honest: Tuesday's Smackdown wasn't originally booked the way it was booked. Damage control was in full effect, as even major news outlets started to notice the ill fated storyline WWE produced on Sunday night. Vince lives in a world where exposure is always a good thing, but even he can't fix that problem.

Coupled with the ongoing problematic players still in positions of powers (folks like John Bradshaw Layfield and Michael Hayes) creating hostile work places, all while WWE pushes its anti-bullying narrative, the company seems divided between a newer generation of management that wants to take the company into the 21st century and Vince's old boys club.

Mauro is back... in a role far from the auspices of JBL and
Vince McMahon. Image credit:
Don't get me wrong. WWE has tons of bright points in the last week. Braun Strowman, arguably the biggest new star the couple actually developed in house since John Cena, made an impactful return on Monday night. Abbey Laith, better known to indie fans as former Chikara Grand Champion Kimber Lee, will make her debut in the Mae Young Classic. And perhaps the biggest news of all: WWE has signed a deal to bring Mauro Ranallo back into the company as the new play by play commentator of NXT (opening Todd Grisham to be Smackdown's lead full-time.)

However, while the Mae Young Classic has announced several great talents in the likes of Laith, Tessa Blanchard, Sarah Logan and Jazzy "Alpha Female" Gabert, the competition also has already added two homegrown WWE talents with almost no wrestling experience. Lacey Evans has worked a series of uninspiring job matches while MMA veteran Taynara Conti has exactly one match under her belt, and a battle royal no less. It again leaves a lot of wrestling fans disappointed to see amazingly talented females left by the wayside while WWE pushes unknown stars instead. It's entirely contrary to the hopeful spirit created by the Cruiserweight Classic.

WWE's booking on both main brand shows remain a complete mess as well. Mike and Maria Kanellis debuted at Money in the Bank, but barely blipped on Smackdown. Roman Reigns continues to be pushed over all others, though at least WWE seems to be letting him embrace his heeldom at last. The Raw tag division continues to be a complete mess despite a half dozen great teams on its roster. 50/50 booking and Orton's continued challenges against Mahal (seemingly for no reason after two straight losses) threaten to neuter the drawing power of names like Kevin Owens, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, all of which are arguably bigger draws than Randy Orton has ever been in his career.

I love to look on the bright side, but in the last two months I have felt zero urge to renew my WWE Network subscription. With the advent of the Mae Young Classic this summer, my opinion might change, but for now WWE still has a logn way to go to earn back my eight dollars a month.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Best of the Indies: AR Fox Open Invitational Scramble

Most of the time I'll use this feature to just focus on any exemplary match in the world of wrestling. Sometimes though, I'll use it to focus on a local promotion featuring some amazing talent. Pro Wrestling Revolver is easily the biggest thing to hit Iowa in years. Sami Callihan's little engine that could has put on some amazing events, but one of the first matches on their first card was this doozy of a match pitting AR Fox against multiple opponents, Dave Crist, recent Impact signee Dezmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz, Curt Stallion, KLD and Iowan regulars Chainsaw King (who has an uncanny resemblance to Deucalion of Chikara's Horde) and SCW regular Connor Braxton. It is an absolutely crazed match and definitely worth a watch to see these men throw everything out into the ring.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Adam West and The King

Adam West died over the weekend. He left a lasting legacy, most notably his decades connected to Batman. And through his long and storied career, he made millions of public appearances. But for wrestling fans, there's one notable moment: when he encountered the nefarious Jerry "The King" Lawler on an episode of Memphis television. Check out this wonderful moment from wrestling history.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Best of the indies: Sami Callihan & OI4K vs. Shane Strickland, Dezmond Xavier and Lio Rush

Today, we keep things simple as I start a new video sharing post just looking at some great modern independent wrestling matches. We start with action from Texas's Wrestle Circus promotion, a company with some controversy behind it but the ability to bring in some amazing talents. they put on this amazing match featuring the team of Sami Callihan, Dave Crist and Jake Crist, who have torn up the indies as a unit. Their opponents are an interesting cross section of Lucha Underground, Impact and EVOLVE stars in the form of Shane Strickland (a.k.a. Killshot), X division newcomer (and midwest indie darling) Dezmond Xavier and Lio Rush. Check it out. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, June 5, 2017

What do Lucha Underground and Wrestling Weekday have in common?

Much like the best hour of wrestling every week, The Wrestling Weekday finally returns after too long a hibernation. And while Lucha Underground went off the air to extend Season Three throughout 2017 to stretch out the show's run (and possibly several talents' contracts), this site disappeared while I worked on other projects, from a Kickstarter to a move from my house of too many years.

But with the return of Wednesday night's top show (sorry, NXT), it felt like the perfect time to bring out a few thoughts on the big return.

And it certainly was a big return: the second ever All Night Long (a.k.a. Iron Man Match) between Lucha Underground champion Johnny Mundo and a man that once was fired from WWE before he could make a single appearance: The Mack. The man sometimes known as Willie Mack showed why WWE failed miserably by letting him go as despite his size and build, he put on an epic battle with the leader of the Worldwide Underground.

Of course, Morrison used his fair share of cheap shots, weapons and his allies in the Worldwide Underground. The Mack gained some aide from the Underground's foe Son of Havoc and his friend (and former champion) Sexy Star, but Mack's own need to destroy Mundo ultimately lead to a draw... and potentially a second All Night Long match in a row.

Image credit: Lucha Underground.
But really what the match, no matter how overbooked it may or may not have been (and what kind of 40 minute LU match isn't overbooked?), it served to prove why Mundo and Mack deserve all the success they have received in this promotion. Mundo and Mack are world class competitors and I for one am glad to see them get a forum for their talents.

This is far from the end for either men's careers. Here's hoping either in Lucha Underground or elsewhere both these men get all the accolades they both deserve for many years to come.