TNA: Impact poses the question, who’s side is Hogan on?

hoganstillaliveWhy and how is Hulk Hogan still alive? – Source: Impact Wrestling

IMPACT WRESTLING
26/09/13

Tonight’s show starts with Sting confronting Dixie Carter about her decisions towards AJ Styles. He says she’s not being herself, but she thinks everything is being handled.

Bully Ray and his bird Brooke Tessmacher come to the ring, and come to think of it, Bully starts a lot of Impacts with a promo, but he is the World Champion so maybe that makes sense. He says he was thinking about how to beat AJ, but now he doesn’t have to. He sucks up to Dixie and insults the crowd. Knux and the other Aces come out, and Knux repeats the ‘Bros before Hoes’ line from last week. He says the three of them are going to handle ‘club business’ tonight in a six man tag against the MEM. He says if they lose their match, they will be banished from the club (I presume he means the person who gets pinned). Why they’re dragging this out so long I have no idea, how can Bully and two jobbers comprise a stable?

Backstage Segment – Eric Young and ODB stop Joseph Park from shaving in case he cuts himself and goes mad. All I could imagine was him cutting himself on a regular day and Black Hole Slamming the postman.

INTER GENDER 6 MAN TAG – ODB, ERIC YOUNG & JOSEPH PARK VS GAIL KIM & THE BRO-MANS

I read a report recently that Mickie James’ contract had run out, so by my count the Knockouts Division is down to…4. If there was ever a time for TNA to reap the indie scene, now is the time. Even if they just get them in on a single match basis, I’d be interested to see something like that. Standard Inter Gender match, with either lady not doing much. EY really showing his skills in this match, with a beautiful belly-to-belly, which lead to a splash by Park and an Elbow Drop by Young from over half the ring away. Entertaining I must admit, but nothing you haven’t seen before.

Backstage Segment – Austin Aries tells us he’s been taking some new photos (okay mate), and Hulk Hogan tells us he’s hear to fix the AJ/Dixie mess.

Aries comes to the ring and says even though he’s not in the main event at Bound For Glory this year, his future is just fine. He’s then interrupted by a returning Kenny King. I hadn’t actually realised King had been gone, and I actually like him. He insults the other X-Division wrestlers, says something had gotten ‘under his beautiful brown skin’ and says he’s the future of the company. Nice heel promo by King, leading to AA challenging him to a match right now.

arieskingVerbal warfare between King and Aries – Source: Impact Wrestling

AUSTIN ARIES VS KENNY KING

When we come back from commercial, King is slumped in the corner, bleeding like a stuck pig! Weirdly, AA attacks the wound, which would make sense in a grudge match, but doesn’t really work here, just looks overly vicious. Ignoring this, AA is super over with the crowd, who go mad for the Pendulum Elbow. As this is Kings return match, he gets a lot of impressive offence in, including a second rope T-Bone suplex which sounded hard. AA eventually hit the running dropkick and brainbuster for the 3 count. I think I’d rather have had King win by cheating, so I hope TNA draw attention to how well he did against an ex-World Champ.

Backstage Segment – Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky run into Aries, Sabin gives AA some backhanded compliments, furthering his Heel attitude.

Backstage Segment – Sting tells Magnus to get his head in the game and starts taking his shirt off.

Hulk Hogan comes out to a huge ovation, as the camera pans over two fans- one in a CM Punk shirt, the other in a Daniel Bryan shirt, laughing to each other. Hulk talks about himself as usual, but finally mentions Dixie and TNA. He asks the crowd if they want to see AJ Styles win the title, and they don’t really care.

They then show a promo package for Kurt Angles return at BFG, and I’ve got to say, he’s urgently needed to freshen up the show.

After that the screen shows ‘ETHAN IS COMING’ in diamonds for about 10 seconds…no idea!

AFTER THAT they show the graphic for the forthcoming X-Division Title match, that they haven’t updated yet, it’s still the old belt.

MANIK (C) VS CHRIS SABIN (FOR THE X-DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP)

Manik attacks Sabin like a man possessed, I’d forgotten Sabin had sucker-punched him last week (should have reminded us TNA). I cannot stand Manik’s match, it shows no emotion AT ALL. How are we supposed to care about the guy if we can’t sympathise? Sabin feigns a knee injury, and heads to the outside to speak to Velvet. Manik wanders out to see what’s going on, and gets Velvet pretty much thrown at him. Sabin then climbs to the apron and kicks Manik in the face. Obviously this was a huge heel move, but it took so long the crowd lost interest. Velvet looked surprised at the time, but when Sabin’s knee had ‘recovered’, she went back to cheering for him. So many moves in this match I couldn’t even start to write them down. The ending came with Sabin pulling Velvet into the ring (she was protesting) and holding her as a human shield. When Manik came towards him, he attempted a roll up, but got reversed into another pin and the Champ retained.

Sabin blindsided Manik after the bell, only for Austin Aries to make the save. I’m sure AA assaulted Manik and stole his gear a couple months back?

Backstage Segment – Bobby Roode, Kazarian and Christopher Daniels are discussing Kurt Angles return, and start plotting to fuck him over. Kaz and Daniels start laughing really theatrically, but Roode won’t join in. More of this please.

MAGNUS, SAMOA JOE AND STING VS KNUX, WES BRISCO AND GARETT BISCHOFF

Lightning fast offence from Magnus against all three opponents, and then everyone jumps in about 2 minutes into the match, that’s not how hot tags work guys. As Magnus is stood on the top rope, he’s pushed off to ringside, and seemingly gets injured. Not sure if it’s a work but I saw Samoa Joe holding up the X towards the stage, and the cameras didn’t draw any attention to it. The crowd absolutely love Sting, which I can’t really relate to, I think it’s an American thing. Joe grabs Wes in the naked choke and he taps…MEM were outnumbered but still won easily, yikes.

stingjoeThe victorious Sting and Samoa Joe – Source: Impact Wrestling

Bully Ray walks to the ring looking super pissed off, and demands Wes takes off his Kutte (the club waistcoat). When Wes refuses, he orders the other members to take it by force. When they hesitate, Bully takes him out himself with a sloppy piledriver. He forces Knux to hand the Kutte over, which after pausing, he does. The crowd were dying to see Bully get decked but they’re obviously saving that for the coming weeks.

Hulk Hogan is in the ring, holding a clipboard, which in Wrestling means its time for a signing. Hulk talks about himself a bit more, before telling us he’s holding AJ’s new contract. They seem to be telling us that AJ has a title shot, even though he hasn’t got a contract right now. Dixie comes to the ring, and gets a ‘DIXIE SUCKS’ chant, must be a first for that one. She rips up AJ’s contract, and says the people need her, even though they criticise her daily. She says Hulk needs to decide what team he is on, and he has 7 days to make his mind up.

Dixie actually did well here, I was honestly surprised. Must be weird for her to be playing a character all of a sudden.

As always you can contact me with any thoughts, or even if you just want to chat about wrestling at @jrholberry on twitter. Thanks a lot!

Joseph Holberry

UFC: Team Rousey regains momentum on The Ultimate Fighter

jessicabadboyJessica Rakoczy preparing to throw down – Source: Bleacher Report

Here is a quick recap of what went down on this week’s episode of The Ultimate fighter.

The girls fought and Tate is still in control. She picked her Roxanne, the master of all things Japanese, against the one with issues, but the mother of the house, Jessica. They’re doing a great job of introducing the fighters. They are both coming across as genuine people. Roxanne came across as the old guard of WMMA but she is only 30. I picked Roxanne by sub.

The fight began after some jabbing for position. Roxanne got an easy take down. Jessica reversed so she was back on top. Roxanne stretched her with a string of arm bar attempts. After some nifty gymnastics, it was back to the feet. Then another easy take down for Roxanne and the round ended. In round two, the girls-swinging Roxanne was seriously rocked. Jessica defended takedown attempts while striking the whole time. The referee paused the action due to a cage grab.

The fighters restarted from position, with an immediate takedown for Roxanne. Jessica reversed with a big Rampage-esque slam. Roxanne was hurt and it was fight over. Jessica is a beast. Roxanne is emotional. Great fight though.

Team Rousey is back in control. Next fight up is the men: Davey from Liverpool from Rousey’s team v Louie. Next week we meet Rousey’s Mum! Exciting times. The biggest disappointment from today was that Rousey’s fruitcake coach didn’t go all out berserk like I hoped he would. Also, Brian Caraway is getting way to much air time.

Thanks for reading, and keep on following.

Arun Paul Smith

WWE Smackdown: Triple H gets better every week in his authoritarian role

hunter

Behold the King of the mic – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

This week’s episode of Smackdown started with Triple H coming to the ring and once again claiming to be a good, fair guy. The Miz came out to challenge him on it, but was brutally buried. He did pretty good verbally and laid a few stinging barbs in the old lion, but Hunter was just too hilariously condescending to be beaten. He gave Miz the “opportunity” at a rematch with Randy Orton, for the main event!

Alberto Del Rio v R-Truth: This was a decent match. Del Rio pinned him after a savage kick to the head. He saw some blood coming from his own mouth and, in a blind rage, decided to lay the cross armbreaker on him after the bell. Rob Van Dam came to make the save, and used a steel chair for an innovative attack. He celebrated with the title belt. It’s a shame he won’t actually be winning it, and I’m not being sarcastic. Triple H was backstage with Vickie afterwards and decided to make the Battleground match a Hardcore Rules affair. That was pretty awesome, and fits in well with the regime’s recent strategy of booking matches that appear to favour babyfaces in order to distract the crowd from their insidious, evil agenda.

Prime Time Players v Real Americans: A good tag team match here. The fans really love the “million dollar dance” but they also love “We the people” so I guess it was a split crowd. The highlight of this match (and probably the entire night performance wise) saw Antonio Cesaro bring out the giant swing again, but this time on the behemoth Titus O’Neill – insanely impressive! JBL’s flabbergasted reaction summed it up well. When Young got the hot tag, he put in another particularly impressive performance, but ended up tapping out to the ankle lock of Swagger. The tag division is actually starting to take some decent shape (despite popular opinion) but the guys could do with a bit more time, and they definitely need to be featured on pay-per-view more.

Bray Wyatt v Zack Ryder: This was another disappointing placement on the card for the family. Ryder got some minimal offence in but Bray squashed him pretty quick, not literally.

Dolph Ziggler v Dean Ambrose: Kofi and Van Dam were at ringside for this one to even up the numbers. There was plenty of fast, exciting action in this short-lived fight, but the referee called it off after they all got into a brawl on the outside. Shockingly, Tag Team Trips came out and booked the inevitable six man tag.

Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston & Rob Van Dam v The Shield: This was a very exciting, well executed middle match, which ended with a flurry of signature moves and Kofi eventually losing to Ambrose, after Rollins hit his trademark foot stomp.

reignsdolphReigns takes out Ziggler with an epic spear – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

An impassioned Big Show gave another tragic crying performance during a backstage interview, but was interrupted by Hunter. He got right in his face to gloat and goad him – so funny! He even mocked his crying. I love this whole position Big Show is in, regardless of the lack of logic to it.

Jim Duggan and The Barbarian faced off in the Vault match. Fuck off am I sitting through that! I skipped it entirely.

AJ Lee v Cameron: Tamina accompanied AJ to the ring because apparently she is the new Big E. Incidentally, where the fuck is Big E? If you know, please leave a comment. I would love to know! It was rare to see Cameron actually having a match, and Naomi being outside. She got clotheslined to hell out there by the dominant Tamina, before AJ put away her partner with the shining wizard – Really cool!

Paul Heyman was out being the sickly bragster again, to my glee. He cut a really, really awesome promo, thanked his boys Axel and Ryback, and thanked “each and every one of you” for encouraging Punk to keep falling into his traps. He made what I think was the first official mention of Ryback v Punk at Battleground. It’s been painfully obvious since the last pay-per-view but I’m pretty sure it hadn’t been announced until this point.

Santino Marella v Heath Slater: A “comedy” match involving a terrible parody rock band, a mincing fake Italian, the worst professional wrestler in the history of the business (Khali) and a midget. I skipped the whole thing. I don’t have time to waste on that.

Cole and JBL gave a really cool recap of the whole Rhodes storyline, including a really awesome excerpt from the exclusive interview Cole did with Triple H in the week. They also showed the video response from Goldust and Cody Rhodes, in which they agreed to come to Raw on Monday and hear his proposal, along with their father Dusty. I can’t wait to see what happens!

faceofortonThe face of the WWE – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Randy Orton v The Miz: The Miz was on the attack aggressively in the early going of this main event rematch, but he hurt his shoulder on the turnbuckle. When the doctors were checking him, Randy started beating him down and the bell was inevitably rang. Hunter came out and said Orton wasn’t going to get out that easy, and in a “face” move restarted the match and made it No DQ. The look on The Viper’s face made it clear that he knew this was another veiled gift for him. He took it with both hands and mercilessly beat down the below 100% Miz, who provided little resistance but was brutally obliterated.

8/10

Notes: There was a lot of good development to further storylines in this episode, and some good Battleground build. The giant swing was another moment of insanity that leads me to believe that Cesaro must have slept with Stephanie. It’s the only explanation for his lack of being in the World Title picture. Triple H was flawless once again, carrying both weekly shows now with ease. My only concern is that there were eight matches, and none of them were really special. My suggestion would be to reduce the amount, but increase the time given. That’s just me. On the whole, a good showing from WWE. I hope you enjoyed the show too and I hope you enjoyed reading. Thank you!

Craig [Editor]

The Wrestling Review Corner – Pinfall [DOC]

pinfallAdam in the ring stirring up trouble – Source: YouTube

Welcome back to The Wrestling Review Corner. This week I watched another great documentary (not for the first time) and wrote a little review. Let me know what you think, and if you’re a true pro wrestling fan, be sure to check out Pinfall on YouTube here.

So, to give those who haven’t seen the film a bit of background, Adam Pacitti appears on screen as a young British guy who wants to break into the wrestling business. He doesn’t go to the Power Plant, he doesn’t meet Dusty Rhodes. He gets hooked up to do a rumble for an independent promotion, and joins a local wrestling gym to get in shape to compete. It’s a very low budget, simple but really enjoyable story. Some of you may remember the story in the news about a guy who spent his last £500 on a billboard with his face on it.

employadamAdam’s innovative take on getting the name out there – Source: Adam Pacitti

When my friend showed me this movie, I knew I recognised the guy. I confirmed that it was him and realised that we had actually spoke over email a couple of months before. I reached out to him again and congratulated him on Pinfall. He comes across as a down-to-earth, genuine guy and that shines through in this film. It’s the tale of a perfectly average guy who loves wrestling, and chases his dream. Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

The movie is unapologetically British: the mannerisms, the accents, the humour. That makes it a little easier for me to love, being a proud Brit. You don’t see a whole lot about the world of British wrestling these days, which makes these gems pretty hard to come by. It’s very intimate: you learn about his family, his childhood, his personal dreams. You really feel like you get an inside look into who Adam is. It’s not an easy skill to be able to create a piece that’s less than an hour long, and still offer depth. That helps you feel touched by an honest story.

One of the core parts of the film surrounds the time Adam spends at the gym trying to work himself into shape. When he isn’t downing a glass full of raw eggs and running around the block, he seems to be inside the ropes with veteran wrestler UK Dominator. This stuff was really cool. He learned all about respect, paying your dues and camaraderie. Dominator cut a pretty touching speech at the end of one of the sessions, and basically said that when someone joins the family (including Adam) they will always get help if they need it. The guy was such an honourable legend!

It was really cool getting to see behind the curtain and check out these guys executing the basics, running the ropes, etc. I’ve seen a lot of these things, but in this kind of setting it’s different. It reminded me so much of the place that I did my one and only three hour wrestling session at. The room looked cold, thrown together and real. This made me relate to the guy on the screen ever more. The sheer barbarism of starting out in the business the hard way is something you never forget, and I only did one session.

It was brutal! Anybody who says this business is fake needs to try that. I couldn’t walk for a week, just from doing all the insane warm-up exercises, running the ropes, taking bumps and taking hip tosses. I felt like I had something in common with the guy when I saw him in this fragile situation, fucking his leg up and taking insane chops – plus the guy has the exact same 5kg weights as me, and even does the weighted backpack running trick. As far as the gym stuff goes, think Louis Theroux, but this time actually trying to become a wrestler.

billboardI guess the first billboard paid off – Source: Adam Pacitti

The ending was really cool too. When he had gone through all that, he finally made it to the dance. He was involved in an over the top rope battle royal. He was eliminated first (I think) but he was in there for a while, and seemed to do a pretty good job. There were a few hundred people there, and for the British scene it actually seemed like a pretty good crowd. It kind of reminded me of the social club wrestling we get in my area, run by an organisation called K-Star. This whole part gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.

He even got to cut an epic heel promo earlier in the night, in a suit, in which he proclaimed to be “the future of British wrestling” – He did a real good job of this for someone with zero experience, and it was very entertaining! He seemed to have a lot of fun with it too!

On the whole I’d say the movie is inspiring, emotional and sincerely British. If you like wrestling, it’s really worth watching! It will surprise you, and it may inspire you.

Check it out.

Craig

UFC: Jon Jones wins epic encounter with Alex Gustafsson at UFC 165!

jonesalex

Jones and Gustafsson put on a clinic – Source: The Telegraph

So it’s a big fight night tonight and I have a choice to make. Do I spend the night at my girlfriend’s place or stay up and watch UFC? Life can be tough at times.

Predictions:

I’m assuming that the main card has five fights. I’m going to pick who I think will win and break down the main card at the end. The undercard looks pretty good. I might have a little gum flap about that too. First up was Nurmagamadov v Healy. Healy is a veteran who is tough as hell. Nurma is still quite green to the game. He rocks a blonde afro and eats suplexes for breakfast. I’m torn on this fight. I think I really, really, really want to pick Nurma but I think Healy is too much too soon. I expect a ground war. I predict that Healy gets the win by decision.

Phillipou v Carmont up next. Phillipou is a boxer, who is adding to his mma game all the time. I thought UFC were building the guy up for a title shot, But Carmont is the worst kind of match-up for a guy like Phillipou. Carmont wants to take the fight to the ground and hump for a decision. I really want to be wrong but I think that is how it will end. Phillipou needs to put a starching on Carmont as soon as they meet in the middle. Carmont will get the win by soul destroying decision.

Schaub v Mittrione saw us step into heavyweight time. A match featuring two big guys who are both very athletic. These guys are friends and when friends fight it can be horrible. No action, no thrills, just dancing. Mittrione can get the KO. Schaub has been put to sleep, and when that happens it’s highlight reel hilariousness. I’m not hoping for much but I feel Mittrione takes it.

Barao v Wineland competed for the interim title. I might be wrong but I think Barao has defended this title more than Cruz has defended the real title. I love both these guys because they both bring it like killers. I think Eddie chokes when it comes to bigger fights. Therefore, I want Wineland to get the upset. I really should pick him because I was there when Barao nearly killed brad Pickett. But seriously, this is Barao time. He is a monster and really he should be the Champ. Barao by whatever and whenever he wants.

It’s time for the main event of the Evening: Jones v Gustuffson. I’m just going to say this fight is Jones. All about Jones. I’m not a Jones nut-hugger but the fact is he has the insane ability to make other fighters look terrible. Let’s talk about the fact that Gustuffson’s only loss was to Phil Davies. I know it was years ago and I know he now trains with Phil, but Jones is a wrestling freak. Their common opponent is Shogun and Matt Hamil. In their respective Shogun fights, Gustuffson won by decision. Jones finished him with ease. I’m not sure how the Gustuffson and Hamil fight went down. Jones toyed with Hamil and lost the fight by D, but Hamil had no answer to Jones. The only person that even came close was Vitor Belfort but that was shoulda woulda coulda. Jones still won that fight.

How do you beat Jones? The answer is simple. You have to be better than Jones. Is Gustuffson that guy? Hell no. To beat a guy like Jones, his weakness must be his legs. I’m not sure Gustuffson has the kicking game to chop down Jones. Take away Jones’ legs and he loses his explosion – the one thing that makes him unique. Who else can look like their driving for a take down then hit you with a spinning elbow? Jones can be beat but not tonight. Back to Ragnarok with you Gustuffson.

Results and thoughts:

Wow wow wow. I didn’t get to watch all the fights as I was done before the pre-lims. So man! I went 3 and 2 on the main card. Nurma is a beast and completely outclassed Healy out of the top ten. Schaub actually turned up to fight and won by a sweet arm triangle. Meathead might just have to be nice to Bellator now.

Everything else played out as I expected, apart from the main event. Bones got blasted by Gustuffson, and had me in a panic a couple of times. It was a great fight and it had it’s moments, but maybe I completely over-looked Gustuffson and found myself frustrated by Jones. Obviously he still won but I think my frustration kept me from truly enjoying the fight. Ill watch it again no doubt.

Obviously Teixiera is the next in line, but he shouldn’t be. There needs to be a rematch immediately. This hasn’t happened since Couture v Rizzo, but there is a clear and compelling argument for it to happen now. They will fight again for sure so why not now? Obviously what happens next depends on Jones. He clearly came away from last night injured. The subsequent length of the lay-off is anybody’s guess. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Gustuffson v Teixiera before Jones comes back.

Let’s be fair here. There really is no more credible contenders at 205. I’m sure that Zuffa doesn’t want to lose Jones as their champion, epecially with the sponsors he pulls in. Bate Jones to heavyweight with an immediate title shot. In the meantime have a mini tournament play out involving the top six. That’s how I would go. If Jones were to become Champ, vacate the 205 title and crown a new one. When and if Bones loses, he could fight the current 205 champ at that time and commit bloody murder on the division once again. To have Bones beat Teixiera and Davies because he hasn’t yet would be wasting a star in his prime. The UFC needs Bones more than he needs the UFC at this point, and they need to capitalise now. A loss to Jones at 205 now is far more damaging than a loss at heavyweight. The risk now at 205 will always be greater than the reward. Right now Jones is UFC gold but last night we found out he is made of skin, blood and bones, just like the rest of us.

Thanks for reading,

Arun Paul Smith

Neutral Dave on Classic Wrestling: Eve Torres v Brie Bella

evebrie

Eve displays her athleticism with a fine moonsault – Source: WWE

After Neutral Dave’s first piece received such warm praise, I decided to send him over another video. I got many match suggestions from people and went for Eve Torres v Brie Bella. The match was about four minutes long, and was taken from an episode of Monday Night Raw. I know it’s not a classic match, but I was just fascinated to see how he interpreted it, as a neutral. If you like these features, hit ‘Follow’ and get more. Also, leave comments and keep the match suggestions coming in! Craig [editor]

Neutral Dave on Classic Wrestling
Eve v Brie Bella

This match had less context around it so I only judged on the proceedings themselves; just to see if my reading was different from people who have seen the whole story.

As this is a more recent match it seems that the directing has tightened up. With the more classic era wrestling you can sometimes see the joins where the punches are pulled in order to not completely immobilise each other. Here it is seamless and it does look like both Eve and Brie Bella have taken the full force of the violence that has been dished out.

It is also really nice to see how agile the combatants are. There is almost a ballet-like quality to the way they move (especially Eve) which shows how far away wrestling is from the popular conception of two brick shithouses lumbering at each other.

While there was not much context to use, I gravitated towards Eve. This was partly because of her aforementioned wrestling style which was a joy to watch. I also felt really sorry as she had only lost because of a pretty shoddy trick by the Bella twins. She was winning and they didn’t even get called out on their shenanigans by the ref. This might be because in the context of the writing as Eve was the reigning champion she needed a fall.

The twins themselves came off as villains of the piece. They seemed pretty ungracious in victory, giving the ‘loser’ sign to Eve when she was down and their propensity to cheat by pretending to be each other as the commentators noted. In terms of acting they did play these qualities well judging from my reaction.

While it was short, it was a shocking match due to the surprise ending. I would have preferred it to have gone on longer and watch more of this style of wrestling. However it has peaked my interest in more and I am going to be watching more Eve Torres matches.

David Smith

The Weekly Editorial: What’s up with Attitude Era fanboys?

attitudeThe most successful period in wrestling history – Source: Bleacher Report

I’ve decided to shoot from the hip with this week’s editorial, so I won’t be referring to any planning or notes of any kind. I’m giving myself a 600 word limit, in the hope that this will be concise, and not too ramble driven.

Now this isn’t a big tirade on how much I despise people who love the Attitude Era. I grew up on it myself. There are many, many things that I loved about that period. I also have a number of close friends who feel the same way. My only problem is with those people you encounter who refuse to accept anything new. Granted, they are often casual fans. Often times they are TNA fans. Most of the time they can’t provide a legitimate answer as to why they hate the current WWE product, but can only harp on about days gone by.

Now one issue is clearly the PG rating, and the lack of blood. I enjoyed the hardcore division. I loved the brutality of the Attitude Era. It also wasn’t even close to the top of the list, in terms of why I watched wrestling. Guys like Eddie, Jericho and Benoit proved in ECW that high quality competition can be much more enthralling (and overall more easy to respect) than barbaric matches that don’t make sense. Again, that’s not a pop at ECW. I absolutely loved the product. It created some of the best talent we had at the time, and a lot of those guys are around the business now still making a really positive impact.

I just feel that sometimes people don’t want to accept anything else. Another issue I always seem to find is that certain people won’t watch WWE because “There’s no Rock, there’s no Stone Cold, there’s no Undertaker, wah wah wah” – Do you see Argentina fans saying “I don’t fancy following the national team anymore. I liked it when that Maradona was around!” – It’s ludicrous! If I wiped your memory clean, and showed you a six minute Steve Austin match from Sunday Night Heat in 1998, you wouldn’t be saying “I will only watch wrestling if this guy is in it” – Move on!

Wrestling is all about cycles. Characters, styles, feuds, storylines – they are cyclical. The new and improved Corporation storyline is proof. Just because those guys you loved when you were a kid have some respect and go and do other things (unlike Hogan and Flair) doesn’t mean wrestling is ruined. It means that by stepping aside, those legends are allowing a new breed of future icons to replace them. A few years ago, I would have understood that there may be some concern over those replacements, but now?! With Bryan, Punk, The Shield, Dolph Ziggler, John Cena, Randy Orton – the product is doing just fine. The matches these guys are having will be seen in the same light as those that Michaels, Triple H, Taker, Austin etc had back in the day, if you give it a few years and let that nostalgia kick in.

If you want the nostalgia now, and don’t want to see the present, there are other companies who are happy to let old thieves of the past headline over their young and more talented superstars. If all you care about is blood, there are promotions who will provide nonsensical, pointless barbarism, with no class. If you want Austin and The Rock, go to the cinema. If you want the best overall product (despite it’s shortcomings, which of course it does have), stop being ignorant and give today’s WWE superstars a chance to impress you.

Thanks for reading. Leave a comment and let me know if you disagree with me. If you agree, that’s great too. Hit ‘Follow’ for daily wrestling articles!

Craig [Editor]

WWE: Another huge handicap match caps off Monday Night Raw

facesThe army of faces – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

WWE RAW
23/09/13

So I’ve decided to take a look at this week’s episode of Raw an hour at a time. I made a note of anything noteworthy that occurred during each hour. Let’s see how the show went down. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

The first hour

The show opened with a Triple H and Stephanie McMahon promo. In-keeping with their weird tendency to switch between heel and face every five seconds, they decided to book The Shield v Bryan and his rebel mates in an 11 on 3 handicap match. Kofi Kingston and Alberto Del Rio had a very long and surprisingly good opening match, which the Mexican won with the cross armbreaker (after taking advantage of a mid-match injury, sold very well by Kingston) The Wyatt Family beat Prime Time Players in a very good tag team match.

The second hour

The Miz invivted Big Show to be his guest on Miz TV, and challenged him to stand up to Stephanie. She took offence to this and came out. She really is on fire with this total bitch character right now. She made Show knock him out, which he seemed a lot less reluctant to do than he has been in previous weeks. A record breaking 1,000,000th heel turn could be in the pipeline for the big man. Rob Van Dam was chosen on the app to face Randy Orton, but the match never got started. Orton just viciously beat him down. He went to the back and bumped into Brie Bella on the way, and threatened to do the same to Bryan. Fandango and Santino faced off, to a chorus of Summer Rae chants. The returning speed-walker’s winning streak was cut short by the top rope leg drop.

The third hour

Now you will notice that a lot happened in the last hour. I made three or four times as many notes just for that last period. It was a really eventful and momentous way to finish the show. CM Punk came to the ring and cut a really inspirational promo. The hometown hero got a predictably insane reaction from the crowd. He compared his struggle to that of the Chicago sports teams (especially the newly crowded Stanley Cup winning Blackhawks) and that of the everyday Chicago resident. He was passionate, fired up and really powerful on the mic, as always. The guys in the truck did well to silence his curses when he got a little too emotional.

punkblackhawksPunk proudly sporting his Blackhawks jersey

Paul Heyman came out alone to the ramp on his wheelchair to poke fun, and remind everyone of his historic win. After a lot of goading, Punk engineered a great bit of psychology by asking him “Can your goons get to me, before I get my hands on you?” The stand off ended when he rushed out of the ring and made his way straight to the walrus. He was simultaneously jumped by Axel and Ryback, of course. The three of them brawled around the stage area, and despite offering a great show of resistance to struggle, Punk was eventually left laying lifeless.

This was followed by a generic heel/face diva tag match. Brie pinned AJ for an apparent “big win” – CM Punk was still being helped to the back as they came out for the match. Then Daniel Bryan came out and cut a really good in-ring promo. He suggested that there may be a conspiracy between Armstrong and Hunter, hinting at the large severance package the former referee was paid. He was wearing such an awesome hair band. Bryan said he is coming back for the title, and warned Orton that one word is going to haunt his nightmares after their match: “Yes!” – Standard development but good passion from Bryan.

The Shield made their way to the ring, but before they could climb in, they were attacked by two intruders in black hoodies: Cody Rhodes and Goldust – so awesome! Before they could inflict any real vengeance, they were subdued by security and The Shield were able to start their crazy match. I can’t wait to see how this goes. The rules were the usual one man at a time tag rules, with an elimination stipulation. Once pinned or made to submit, you had to go to the back. An uphill battle for The Shield!

In the early stages, Ambrose killed off the already banged up Van Dam and Kofi with his awesome faceplant thing. He looked really, really strong! Titus and Reigns had a really cool face off, but after some classic tag isolation, he was speared and eliminated. Gabriel was speared and done pretty much immediately. Ryder got a bit of momentum and actually knocked the big man down, but he got speared and eliminated trying to do his stupid “woo woo” boot thing. It’s a shame to see how far Zack has fallen.

Down to six on three. Bryan came in and combined very well with both of The Usos to eliminate Roman Reigns, using all three of their respective finishing moves on him consecutively. Young came in at 6 on 2 and built some good initial momentum. Unfortunately for him, Rollins got the blind tag on Ambrose, just as Young had him rolled up. He hit that epic foot stomp from the top rope and put him down. Shortly after that, Dolph Ziggler eliminated Ambrose with the Zigzag and it was down to 5 on 1.

rollinssurroundedRollins is surrounded by fantastic four – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Rollins didn’t lie down straight away. He scored with a vicious foot stomp to eliminate R-Truth. Down to 4 v 1. I loved this match idea and thought it was executed brilliantly. Then in a strange change of pace, the four surrounded the ring, and pounced inside to give Rollins a taste of his own medicine with the gang beating. The other members came back to help but were taken out almost instantly by over the top rope acrobatics. Bryan pinned Rollins, after the referee peculiarly ignored the huge beatdown involving three non-legal men. That was kind of lame and lacked logic, but oh well. I was a little disappointed with the ending to the match because I was really rooting for Rollins to pull off the Rocky dream. I guess that wouldn’t be logical to the story either really though. The show ended there after a really great main event. Despite my personal reservations, this possible train-wreck of a match was pulled off very well and served as a great ending to the night!

8/10

The third hour was clearly the best, but I felt that the whole show moved at a good pace, kept me interested throughout and generally had good quality. The main event was clearly the gem, but most of the bouts were solid. The Punk promo was incredible, and the others were perfectly fine. Goldust and Cody showed up, and that gets me excited for the future! It’s good to see them add more and more levels to the regime angle. It’s branching off very well at this point. The build up to the pay-per-view is moving along nicely, but the line-up looks a bit like WWE Rematch 2013. Oh well, we shall have to see. I just hope it’s free.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll follow the site.

Craig

TNA: Main Event Mafia headline Impact Wrestling

memThe Main Event Mafia ahead of their main event match – Source: Impact Wrestling

TNA IMPACT
19/9/2013

Cameras start rolling on Magnus talking about how disappointed he was about losing to AJ Styles in the final of the BFG Series. He says he doesn’t know why E.G.O got involved just as Bobby Roode walks past. Bobby tells him not to blame anyone but himself and the two start brawling, Daniels and Kazarian join in and beat Magnus down.

Standard recap video of AJ winning the series and Bully Ray destroying Mr. Anderson.

Magnus walks to the ring, not selling what just happened to him, and calls one of his attackers out to the ring. Sounded a bit lacklustre on the mic this week. Kaz walks to the ring and the two fight, until they’re joined by Daniels. After Magnus fights back, Roode heads to the ring and they quickly get the upper hand. After a couple of minutes of watching their mate get battered, Sting and Samoa Joe run to the ring and clear house, setting up a 6-man tag match for later tonight.

We’re shown graphics for tonight’s card, one of which is AJ Styles confronting Dixie Carter, but when I looked up from my laptop, for a second I thought they were having a match.

Backstage Segment – Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky are talking to Manik, but Sabin is just talking about his own achievements, they then decide to watch the next match from ringside. Very heel sounding stuff from Sabin, they’ve hinted at it but I don’t really see why.

JEFF HARDY VS MANIK

Even though I’ve never been the biggest Hardy fan, I feel like he can work with most people competently. Even though Manik is the X-Division Champion, he’s definitely the underdog in this match, which shows as he gets dominated. After Manik hits one move and tries a roll up, Hardy gets to his feet and delivers a Twist of Fate and a Swanton out of nowhere for the win. Makes Manik and the X-Division look terrible. Sabin gets in the ring and holds up Manik’s hand, and then cheap shots him from behind. Hardy runs back to make the save, and Sabin makes some really weird noises whilst Velvet looks slightly shocked.

Sabin tells the cameraman backstage that no one gives him the respect he deserves and he will basically do whatever he wants.

MICKIE JAMES (C) VS ODB (FOR THE KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP)

The crowd are completely behind ODB as the match begins, the action is more on the rough side than usual, obviously both women can take their bumps. Some really nice spots in this match, ODB getting tripped on the apron, later reversing a hurricanrana into a running Powerbomb, hard hitting stuff. Mickie attempts a Tornado DDT, but gets reversed into a sloppy TKO and gets the win and the title! She definitely deserves it, super popular with the fans.

Eric Young and Joseph Park come to the ring to celebrate with her, with Park drinking a huge bottle of chocolate milk. The Bro-Mans (Robbie E and Jesse Godderz) come out and start insulting the three of them, until Park says he would fight them if he wasn’t wearing a suit. EY accepts the challenge and the match begins.

ERIC YOUNG VS ROBBIE E

Robbie misses a splash in the corner and gets rolled up for the 3! He gets on the mic and goes insane, saying he wasn’t ready, and calls Park a ‘fat bastard’ which fires him up to accept the fight.

ROBBIE E VS JOSEPH PARK

Robbie misses a splash in the corner and gets rolled up for the 3! Yes I copied and pasted that.

parkJoseph Park cleaning house – Source: Impact Wrestling

Robbie and Jesse throw Park out the ring and viciously beat EY, then throw Park in the corner post outside the ring. As they get back in the ring to carry on their assault, Park sees his own blood and reverts to his Abyss character, nails either man with a chokeslam to a Blackhole Slam as the crowd eat it up. I do like the Joseph Park character, but I never thought it would go this far.

Backstage Segment – Hulk Hogan asks Dixie what’s going on, or if she needs his help with AJ. She says no and Hulk looks all sad.

Aces & 8’s come to the ring, with Brooke Tessmacher wearing chaps, her arse gets more focus than half the roster. Aces is down to; Bully, Knux, Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff, making it just about the least threatening stable in wrestling history.

Bully grabs a mic and says the only reason he’s still World Champ is down to…Brooke T. The three remaining members all look at each other confused, as they got involved in the match last week too. What Wes lacks in wrestling skills, he makes up for in facials, as he looks absolutely FURIOUS. Each member fires back at Bully, ending with Knux getting in his face saying ‘bros before hoes’. The crowd start chanting ‘HOE HOE HOE’ louder than any other reaction I’ve heard tonight. Bully tries to intimidate him but instead grabs Brooke and leaves. If that wasn’t the end of Aces, I don’t know what it’ll take.

GUNNER & JAMES STORM VS HERNANDEZ & CHAVO GUERRERO

Chavo gets the mic and says he isn’t cleared to fight, but Gunner isn’t having it. He says he wants to fight, and they make it a one on one with Hernandez. Already ruined my title mate. James Storm says he’s gonna sit and drink some beers…fucking retire please. Recently Gunner has been insulting something called $5 Wrestling on twitter, (a comedy show by Colt Cabana and comedian Marty DeRosa), so I really don’t like him. Basic power match that Gunner wins with an average looking backbreaker.

6 MAN TAG MATCH – MEM VS E.G.O

First thing that comes to mind is how dark MEM’s music is, kind of moody and dirgey, kills the vibe really. Also I wish Sting wouldn’t wear a T-shirt, he doesn’t even look to be in bad shape! At least cut the sleeves off or something. Good heel psychology by EGO, firing the crowd up, especially when they’re beating up Sting. The match breaks down to all six men fighting, everyone timing the next sequence perfectly, avoiding a punch to run through a dive etc. The ending comes where Sting has Daniels in the Scorpion Deathlock, whilst Roode hits Magnus with the black baseball bat and gets the win. The crowd don’t exactly go mad or even boo, I think they were so sure MEM would win and they were just shocked.

ajstylesAJ ready to drop another pipebomb – Source: Impact Wrestling

AJ Styles comes to the ring and immediately starts destroying Dixie and her family. He mentions names such as Jerry Lynn, Low Ki, Petey Williams and Alex Shelley being under-appreciated/underused whilst they were around. He says he doesn’t have a contract right now, and he doesn’t know what he should do. Dixie comes out and apologises to AJ, but then swerves and says she’s apologising because she let AJ believe that he was actually anything special. I don’t think Dixie has ever actually had a character, it’s quite shocking to see. She makes a good point saying that she pays his wages, and should that he be more grateful. AJ tries to fire back with some accusations but she grabs the cameraman’s headset and demands AJ’s mic to be cut off, and that the show is over. The lights go off and that’s it!

Notes: Tonight’s show was decent, a solid card. Reading back on this quite a lot of stuff happened in two hours, a lot of storyline progression.

As always you can contact me with any thoughts, or even if you just want to chat about wrestling at @jrholberry on twitter. Thanks!

Joseph Holberry

Neutral Dave on Classic Wrestling: Undertaker v Steve Austin

fullyloadedAn historic battle for power – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

So I had a new idea for a feature. I have a friend who didn’t really watch wrestling so much as a kid, doesn’t watch it religiously now, but has a genuine interest. I thought it would be really cool to see wrestling through the eyes of an adult being properly introduced to it. I sent Dave a video of the match at Fully Loaded 1999 between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker. If Austin lost, he could never compete for the title again. If Taker lost, Vince McMahon could no longer appear on WWF television. This is one of my favourite matches from the beloved Attitude Era. Let’s see what my newest correspondent made of it.
Craig


Stone Cold Steve Austin(c) v The Undertaker (First Blood Match for the WWF Championship)

The thing with getting into wrestling (as with all long running shows, or even sports) is that there are worries about how vast a body of material there is and where to start. Therefore, credit must be given to the makers of Fully Loaded. Through flashbacks and the commentators (who could make paint dry seem exciting) put everyone up to speed. In the minutes before the match, we understand to some extent the relationship between these two fighters and what it means to them.

Another way this is shown is through the acting of both Steve Austin and Mark Calaway. From all that I have seen wrestling is an underrated art form and I do stress that term. Wrestling is a theatre performance with the extra pressures of their being no stage exit and the fact that they have to knock the stuffing out of each other. The hatred between these two and likable bastard boss Vince McMahon was apparent.

The production must also be praised. As it is recorded live, finding the right camera shot to trick the viewer (Psycho style) that these blows have really hit with full force is paramount. While I did notice some joins, the majority are carried off really well.

One aspect of the fighting I find interesting and dramatic is the slowness of the early stages, where the combatants move slowly when they are hurting each other. I enjoy this as it shows that they are battle weary. For The Undertaker in particular, this adds to his badass persona. He is Death, he can take his time if he wants to, but he is still going to get you and fuck your shit up. This made him my favourite to win this match. I have never been a huge fan of Stone Cold, as his persona is mostly that of a redneck, which reminds me of the worst stereotypes of conservative America. I still think it is an injustice that he beat the Adonis that is The Rock. However in this situation, Austin represents the fight against the corporate exploitation that McMahon tries to get away with. So his victory is something you can still wish for. Especially with the odds against him; even one of the commentators seemed to be out to get him. You can truly invest yourself in both of these characters.

My favourite part of the match was actually after the titular first blood was drawn. Then it just seemed that Stone Cold and The Undertaker just went for each other regardless that the match was finished. The Undertaker, incredulous that this could have happened to him seemed to take this blow on his person even more personally.

Therefore it seems rather churlish to dismiss wrestling because it is all fake. I think those injuries must hurt quite a bit actually. While you know that what goes on isn’t literal reality as with any story, with well-drawn characters it feels real enough.

David Smith