Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #6

It’s time for another qudojotingsick update on my adventure to become a pro wrestler. Pete couldn’t make it this week, so Marshall stepped in to help train us beginners, while Ryan looked after the experienced guys.

It was a very valuable session, despite the loss of Pete. I was well pleased with the additional thirty minutes. I hope that continues going forward. It felt like we had a lot more time to work on the physical stuff, and we only went over by two minutes after finishing the promo part. We are usually way, way over time.

So we put the extra half an hour to good use and worked on a lot of technical wrestling. First we did the usual gruelling warm-up and rolling drills, then we moved on to taking bumps, and then learned some holds. I got a good chance to work on some of the stuff I already know, something you can never do too much of. I also got to try out a few new things. My favourite part of the session was doing flips and taking bumps on the mat. I think that’s the thing I enjoy the most about practice at the moment.

Having said that, I was real happy to learn how to apply a wrist-lock, hammerlock and even work on some reversals. That’s the kind of stuff that I want to use a lot in my style if I ever get the chance to actually wrestle a match in the future – but I’m a long way off that right now. As essential as this basic training is, I couldn’t help but occasionally glance over at the advanced guys and check out the crazy suplexes and throws that they were performing. I’m determined to work hard and keep showing up until one day in the future I can be doing that stuff too.

When it came to promo time, I was as nervous as I am every week. The nerves haunt me. God knows how I would get on in front of a crowd because I can barely speak in front of ten trainees. Nonetheless, despite the nerves, I knew that this week I was prepared. I had spent much of the previous week making notes, practising, recording myself. I took it really seriously. After being probably the worst promo every week up to this Tuesday, I was committed to making an improvement.

Ryan made it clear as we went in that we needed to really try and make some progress with these promos. He stressed the importance of it, and I actually think that helped. I mean, it kind of upped the stakes a little bit, but in the end it seemed to pay off for me. I wasn’t going to stay home. I knew I needed to get better. So I tried my utmost to just forget the nerves and focus on the stuff I’d prepared and practised. What do you know!? It went down well! Ryan said it was “very, very good” and it looks like I’ve made some strides.

I’m still not close to being the best, by a long shot, but I’m getting better. That’s all that matters! For next week, I know I need to focus on keeping those catchphrases that I’ve come up with, and learning how to adapt them around different opponents. I’m going to watch and listen to a few things on improvisation and see if I can pick up some good tips. The promo side of things isn’t what I’m really interested in, but rather than cry about it and stop coming, I’m just going to do the best I possibly can. Who can ask for more?

Hopefully in the coming weeks and months, my performances on the mat and on the “microphone” will continue to improve, and I will edge closer to achieving my dream of wrestling a real match in front of a crowd.

I’m Craig Hanson.
No gimmicks, no thrills. Pure talent and skills.

Thanks for reading :p

Craig [Editor]

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Kamikaze Pro: Broken Down City

broken4Kamikaze Pro – Broken Down City
The Cadbury Club, Bournville
Sunday 25th May 2014

Yesterday was a great day. I had the pleasure of taking in yet another Kamikaze Pro event. This time, I even got to jump in the ring for a training session before the show. I’ve been documenting my experiences at the promotion’s dojo learning to become a pro wrestler. If you’re interested, they won’t be hard to find in the Kamikaze section of this site. Myself and a few of the other trainees got to run the ropes, work on some rolls and even Irish whips. This wasn’t the first time I’d tasted in-ring training, but it was really fun and far less brutal than the first time. I’m extremely excited to do the same thing at Pro Wrestling Kingdom on June 6th. I’ve signed up for a seminar with Uhaa Nation, so that should be pretty amazing. For more info on that, go here. I’m expecting that to be a bit more gruelling, but I’m chuffed nonetheless!

After the fun in the ring and helping to set up some of the stuff before the event, we took our seats like all the other marks and got ready for a great show. My good friend Dan came to check it out too, which was cool. Everybody was excited to see “The Juice” Juventud Guerrera in the main event. But if you ask me, all of the matches leading up were good.

Damian Dunne & Princess Nadia v Chris Brookes & Nixon Newell
(Mixed Tag Team Match)

The opening match featured the debut of the first two female competitors in Kamikaze Pro, and in my opinion, they really impressed! Nadia was perhaps the best heel on the show. As I heard people nearby murmur “Aghhh! She is so annoying” I reflected on what a great job she was doing. Her opposite number Nixon Newell brought an impressive physical element to the match. Of course, Damian and Chris were as good as ever, but I think most people were focused on the newcomers. The whole match was entertaining, and the two image-obsessed heels picked up the win – a great way to kick-off the show!

Van Damage v JD Knight

Next up was a battle of heavyweights. The newest member of Marshall X’s crew Van Damage brought his innovative offence to the party, but that wasn’t initially enough to keep down the babyface Knight, who was making his debut with the promotion. The crowd was firmly behind the newcomer as “JD rocks!” chants took over the room. Unfortunately for him though, the dastardly big guy secured the W and continued to build momentum.

Pete Dunne v James Mason

This match was the match that I was most excited for going in. James Mason is a British legend, with a victory over MVP on WWE Smackdown to his name. Pete is my favourite performer from Kamikaze Pro. It was set to be a great encounter. The action did not disappoint as these two battled in the centre of the ring, on the mat, for most of the match. Some fans may be bored with this style, but I loved watching this human game of chess play out.

It wasn’t all just about technical mat wrestling. James Mason in particular, played with the crowd really well. He often had the whole place laughing one minute, and then enthralled the next. As the pace quickened, the older man did not wilt under the lights. He brought a speed and intensity that really shocked me. These two ended up in a back-and-forth war which came to a close when “Dynamite” Pete Dunne beat the old lion and cemented his place as one of the top players in the British wrestling game.

broken1Robbie X(c) v El Ligero
(for the Relentless Division Championship)

This was the match of the night, in my humble opinion. Despite some disrespectful and out-of-order heckles from some members of the audience towards Robbie X, these two terrific high-flyers rose to the occasion and put together a thrill ride that was impossible to look away from, and almost impossible to bring down. Some moronic fans tried. I actually heard some “You can’t wrestle” chants after the match was over. The people chanting that – whoever you are – clearly can’t even watch wrestling, et alone wrestle yourselves.

Moving onto the positive. As “Mexico’s Own” El Ligero stepped up to try and take away Robbie X’s crown, the stage was set for an exhibition in entertainment. The vast majority of fans – including myself – were not disappointed. There were high spots, bridges, flying strikes and everything in between. The title hung in the balance on multiple occasions, and it was hard to predict a winner. However – despite seeming vulnerable after appearing to injure his knee half way through the match – Robbie X dug down deep and defeated the most talented of challengers to retain his precious Championship.

broken2Marshall X v Morgan Webster

This match appeared on paper to be just a buffer between the two title matches, but it actually proved to be much more than that. My friend Fonzo (who I actually knew before even becoming aware of Kamikaze Pro) took up his usual role as the manager of Marshall X. He hopped off the commentary table and stood outside the ring to cheer on his boy. Sadly for him, he ended up taking a huge bump for his trouble.

As for the action in-ring, it was great. I’d never actually seen Morgan wrestle before, and I was very impressed. Marshall is solid, capable and always puts on a good match. However, Morgan was an entirely unknown entity to me. I was blown away by his ability, tenacity and aerial endeavour. I also loved his gimmick. He came to the ring looking like something from the film “Quadrophenia” – in a good way! – and was announced as being from “A Town Called Malice”. I loved his whole package. Sadly that couldn’t save him when Van Dam ran in and got involved behind the referee’s back.

Marshall X and his crew continue to run roughshod over Kamikaze Pro, using underhanded tactics and blatant cheating. I’d love to see another match between him and Morgan though. Perhaps a feud could be on the cards?

broken3Ryan Smile(c) v Juventud Guerrera
(for the Kamikaze Pro Championship)

The main event carried a lot of expectation, and in some ways it delivered. In others, it was a little bit disappointing. On the whole, I’d have to say it was a good match. There were a lot of things that I did NOT expect to see, and that’s always a good thing. One of those was the beautiful lady accompanying “The Juice” to the ring. I’m not sure if they are a couple, or she is a valet, or whatever. Regardless she did a great job of getting the crowd pumped from start to finish, parading outside the ring and leading the chants. She was awesome!

When the former WCW Cruiserweight Champion came to the ringside area, everybody went wild. That reaction quickly turned sour when the All Day Star came out to face him. He continuously refused to get in the ring, like a true cowardly heel. This got the whole place riled up and the atmosphere reached fever pitch as the two finally collided in between the ropes. However, they didn’t stay there for too long.

broken5The two battled outside for several minutes, bounding across the room and striking each other with whatever was around. After brawling by the bar, the former leader of the Mexicools took a big gulp of lager and spat it straight in the face of Ryan Smile. He then bounced the Champ’s face off of a table, and led him back to the ring.

After the two of them were back between the ropes, the action continued, but not really for as long as everyone expected. I think a lot of people hoped for a longer match, but in my opinion, the shorter length was justified by the overall entertainment of the spectacle – the lady, the classic heel tactics, the brawling outside. However, sadly for the fans and for Juve, Damian Dunne came out and helped Ryan to cheat and win, thus keeping his title and lengthy reign in tact.

After the bell, the two heels began to beat-down the Mexico City superstar. As all looked doomed, Pete Dunne came running out and helped Guerrera clear the ring. As the two good guys celebrated together to bring the show to an end, I pondered whether or not this may lead to a monumental title match between Pete and Ryan, perhaps at the anniversary show. That is something I would love to see!

Overall, this show was a blinding success! Combined with my chance to jump inside the ring and practice some stuff, I’d say I got a pretty awesome day and evening, all for a tenner – I really can’t complain. If you’re living in the West Midlands and still aren’t catching these Kamikaze Pro shows, you really are missing out!

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]

EPL: Top 10 Most Improved Players in 2013/14 Season

lukeshawSouthampton’s Luke Shaw – Getty Images

Here is my selection of the ten most improved players in the Premier League 2013/14 season. They are in no particular order. Leave a comment and let me know who you think should have been on the list.

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)

Massive improvement from a player that at times was shaky during Brendan Rodgers’ first campaign at Anfield. This was an improvement you would expect from such an exciting young talent as Sterling, but I don’t think anyone expected what he has shown this past season. He has produced incredible pace and dribbling ability, as well as being brave as a lion. At times, he has been unplayable and has certainly made a wide berth at Liverpool his own for the foreseeable future. The youngster was deservedly selected for the World Cup in Brazil and should shine as an impact sub at the very least, possibly even as a starter.

Fabian Delph (Aston Villa)

This young midfielder has begun to show why his early promise got so many people excited during those early days at Leeds United. He has been one of the few bright spots for a Villa side that struggled for long portions of the season. His ability when playing box-to-box is impressive. One minute, he is on the edge of his own box making a tackle or block, and the next he is on the edge of the opposition box getting a shot on goal or arriving on the end of a cross. His tenacity and energy means he is a firm favorite with the fans and a key player for Villa, as they look to improve next season. In my opinion, he was unlucky not to get picked for the World Cup.

Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

This boy has shown this season that he is versatile, strong, quick and has great technique. He kept arguably the best left back in the history of the Premier League out of the side for much of the season, despite being a natural right back. He has now established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet for Jose Mourinho, and Ashley Cole has actually left the club. He thoroughly deserved his call up for the Spanish national team for the World Cup.

Adam Lallana (Southampton)

Adam is one of my favourite players to watch in the whole league. He has really been flourishing under Mauricio Pochettino’s fluent way of playing, whether it’s on the left, right or in a classic free-roaming number ten role, Lallana makes an impact on almost every game. His has great balance and an ability to go either way, along with vision and a goal tally that continues to improve. There is talk of a move to Liverpool, and that tells the whole story for a player who came all the way up from League One with the club. Excellent call by Roy Hodgson to take him to Brazil, and he should start.

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

The Frenchman had a tough task last season replacing Robin Van Persie, who went on to win the title with Manchester United and played a starring role in doing so. He somewhat flattered to deceive. However, in his second season, he has certainly improved and carried the Gunners frontline by himself, particularly when Aaron Ramsey was lost for much of the second half of the season. Giroud was integral in helping end a nine year barren run with victory in the FA Cup final and once again qualification for the champions league.

giroudArsenal’s Olivier Giroud – Getty Images

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

I’m still not sure if he is worth his price tag but he has become a very valuable player for Brendan Rodgers. As highlighted earlier with Fabian Delph, his best quality is his box-to-box energy. He also has the ability to harass and pursue possession of the ball from the opposition. To add to this, he has scored some important goals along the way this season, and can also play numerous midfield roles, allowing a manager like Rodgers to be flexible and change tactics during games. He should start for England in Brazil.

Luke Shaw (Southampton) It feels strange to say that this guy is eighteen, as he certainly doesn’t look like a teenager barely out of school. He is an imposing figure at 6’1 with powerful electric pace. He loves to get forward and play in the opposition’s half, but is also good in the tackle and defends the back post very well, which is very important for a full back. He’s also blessed with great technique. This kid has emerged as the true definition of the modern full back.

Like his team-mate Lallana, the youngster is also subject to speculation, with talk of a big money summer move to Manchester United under Louis Van Gaal. That tells you all you need to know about his progress. He could eventually move into a more attacking forward role, as comparisons to fellow Saints Academy graduate Gareth Bale refuse to go away. He got a much deserved call up for the World Cup squad, and I feel he should start over the highly overrated Leighton Baines.

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)

It’s been a magnificent season for the Welshman, who has improved drastically upon his previous campaigns. He added goals to his already good technical qualities, and his box-to-box range should continue to get better and better under the guidence of Arsene Wenger, providing injures don’t stunt his growth. Unfortunately he suffered a long lay off this season which cost the gunners immensely and may have cost the midfielder a shot at the PFA Player of the year award, which he was running away with earlier in the season.

Seamus Coleman (Everton)

What a great season it has been for the Republic Of Ireland international. He has really blossomed under the guidance of first year Everton coach Roberto Martinez. He’s been given more freedom in the Spaniard’s attacking system to showcase his best qualities, which come in the attacking third. He has scored a lot of goals for a full back and they were real goals, unlike team mate Leighton Baines’ goals which pretty much all came from the penalty spot. His searing pace and direct running are always a threat to the opposition. It’s hard not to take into account, the best full back at Everton.

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) What can you say about this guy that hasn’t already been said? After not making the grade at Chelsea or Manchester City, the young forward appears to have found his home under a manager who believes in him 100 percent and fans who love him undoubtedly. He is helped by the presence of such a wonderful player as Luis Suarez and the attacking system used by Brendan Rodgers, but you can’t argue with the facts. Alone, he is an incredibly dangerous player – be it through the middle or wide – and has a wonderful left foot. He scored some real peaches this season and has that touch of arrogance that all top players need. It will be fascinating to see if Daniel could be the man all by himself, if Suarez is continuously courted by the likes of Real Madrid. Sturridge really MUST start at the World Cup.

Thanks for reading,

Glenn

Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #5

peteydunne“Dynamite” Pete Dunne

So week five at the dojo is done, and I think I’m one of the only people to have made it to every single session. I need to keep that up (and probably add to it) if I have any hope of becoming a professional wrestler. Every practice has been fun, daunting and challenging at the same time, but this week’s was one of my favourites. Under the tutelage of Marshall X, Pete Dunne and Ryan Smile, we in the beginners group ventured into new territory and brushed up on some of the stuff we learned before. Here’s how it all went down.

The warm-up segment seemed a little more manageable this week. I think maybe my cardio is slightly improving, despite my neglecting it for weight training in the gym every time. Nonetheless, I was still gasping and sweating like a pig after the sprinting part was over. After a quick water break, we all lined up to practice giving and taking clotheslines and shoulder tackles. I am still nowhere close to having these down, so it was good to spend some time on them.

Then we were separated into the two groups: experienced and beginner. Me and the rest of the novices got to work on a scoop slam for the first ever time. This was the most fun I’ve had yet – even better than the vertical suplex! If I ever make it, I want this in my move set. It was so enjoyable. We faced issues with different sizes and weights, but the challenge made it all the more fun. I loved the feeling of actually getting someone on my shoulder, tucking their head and slamming them on the mat. It was awesome! I think everybody in the group enjoyed this. Even taking them was exhilarating!

But not everything you do can be fun, and we had to move on to some other stuff. Ryan came over and worked with us on strikes. Other than clotheslines and tackles, I’d never tried anything like this. It was very tricky to pull off a kick to the torso, without hitting the other guy, while making it look real. It goes without saying that I still need a lot of work on this, but it was cool to get started. The forearms were even trickier. My lower arms are notoriously bone-dominated. Trying to use the “meaty” part of my arm and not hurt my opposite number Karl proved extremely difficult. With enough work in the gym, hopefully I can get those arms to be a little more forgiving. As with pretty much everything we learn, we were encouraged to sell and make noise from the start, which is good practice.

Then came the dreaded promo section at the end. When we get told to grab a water and sit on the mats to do promos, I always feel like “Woah! We only just got here” – time really flies when you’re having fun! However, despite my debilitating nerves and lack of ability to cut a promo, I gave it the best I could. I’m really not making progress though. At the time, I was pretty distraught about the whole thing.

However, over the last week I have been making notes, practising and really putting a lot of thought into this thing, so I’m way more optimistic about next week. Ryan said they are bringing the cameras in – that terrifies me! But I know I need to get better and make progress, and I’m determined to do so. I’m not just gonna roll my eyes and try and get through it. I really want to give the trainers what they want, and get better each week. I’m hoping that starting Tuesday I’ll have something tangible to build on.

Tomorrow is Kamikaze Pro’s awesome event Broken Down City in Bournville. It features former WCW Cruiserweight Champion Juventud Guerrera. If you’re in Birmingham or the surrounding area, check out this link and come down to see the show! Why do I bring this up? Because not only will I be there tomorrow in person taking notes (come here for a review of the show next week) but I’m also taking part in an in-ring training session before the show starts. That should be really cool! It should be painful but fun to take some bumps in the ring and run the ropes. Maybe I’ll even get a cheeky picture with Juve!

That’s not the only taste of in-ring work I have lined up. On June 6th, before Pro Wrestling Kingdom’s show Consurgo 2014 (check it out here), I’ll also be attending an official wrestling seminar with indy sensation Uhaa Nation! That’s very exciting indeed. It only cost me £10 to get the session and the show afterwards (on which he features) so I’m chuffed and uber excited about that.

Lots of practice to be done over the next couple of weeks, and hopefully by the summer I can be making some noticeable strides on my journey to go from super mark to professional wrestler.

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]

WWE’s Heartbreaking Tribute to Connor the Crusher

bryanconnor

Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwes-heartbreaking-tribute-to-connor-the-crusher/

This is my seventh article for Geek Pride. Unlike my usual pay-per-view reviews, this piece is a look at the WWE’s heartbreaking tribute to Connor The Crusher. The video contained within this article is a MUST SEE for anyone who is unsure of the magic of pro wrestling.

Craig [Editor]

Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #4

ryansmile

Ryan Smile – Kamikaze Pro Champion

Today is Wednesday and last night was my fourth training session at the Kamikaze Pro Dojo. The group continues to grow in size and stature, and both of our trainers were on hand to do some great work with everybody present. Us beginners were trained by Ryan, while Pete did some stuff with the advanced guys. After our usual cardio/warm-up, we were split into the two groups and ready to get down to business.

We didn’t really venture into any new ground this week, but I thought that was justified. There is still a lot of progress to be made – for all of us in that group – in terms of the basics. I still struggle with my form on a lot of the moves, but I’ll get there. I love working with Ryan to be honest. He explains to you why something is done the way it is. He doesn’t just tell you to do it. He is willing to show by doing, and that helps a lot. Pete is the same way, two great trainers! Also, found out that Ryan used to be a dancer yesterday, and that explains a lot. There is grace is everything he does. Hopefully I can continue to make progress the two of them.

So given our need to brush up on those basics, we worked on the following: forward/back rolls, lock-ups and headlocks. I know those guys probably think that they are boring us, but I love everything we get to do. From bumping on the mat, to applying a headlock, it’s all so fun! I would gladly do that for months before moving onto anything else, if that’s what needs to be done. I respect the judgement of the trainers, and just hope to move forward at the right pace. If that means doing lock-ups for months (rather than moonsaults) to be better in the long run, I look forward to it. I’d rather know how to work a coherent match, before I learn flashy moves that won’t make sense.

We also did the promo thing at the end again. I always find this excruciating. I’m not the shyest guy in the world, but I’m also not the most outgoing, and this is way out of my comfort zone. I know that is the idea, and I think it makes sense. I totally get it, but it’s difficult. I’m hoping I can get better as the weeks go on, but it’s so daunting. Most of the other guys and girls are pretty good at it too, and some of them are just hilariously good! Hopefully I can get to that level eventually.

The whole point of the exercise is to build our confidence and build some camaraderie between all of us. I love that idea. One of the guys from training suggested that a few of us get together to help set up the ring before the Juventud Guerrera show for Kamikaze Pro on May 25th. The plan is to do some work before the show, maybe take a few bumps, and then go for drinks after the show. I’m very excited for this! It should be an awesome day. I was going to the show anyway to review it. There are some excellent matches booked. It will be even better getting to hang out with everyone too.

If you wanna check out K-Pro’s Broken Down City with Juventud Guerrera on May 25th at Cadbury Club, Bourneville – check out this link.

I’ll be back next week with another update on my attempt to transform myself from struggling writer/journalist into ring general.

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]

Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #3

dynamiteOkay so today is Thursday, and it’s been around a day and a half since my latest wrestling session. This week’s practice was just as good as the last. It was cool to have Ryan back. With the two trainers switching between the experienced and beginner groups, we got to learn some really great stuff from each of them.

A couple of my buddies who had been there last week couldn’t make it. Luckily for them, we mostly tried to go over things that we had already been working on. We spent quite a lot of time going through clotheslines and shoulder tackles, which I enjoyed. Pete encouraged us to hit harder, louder and with more venom. I don’t think I can do too much of anything right now. I just want to learn. If it means I get to take a hundred more bumps and hopefully get a little bit better at doing so, that’s a positive for me.

We did however still venture into some new territory. We began learning how to take our lock-up technique (which we started in the first session) into a full nelson and a snapmare. This part of the class was really fun. I struggled to get the hang of how to roll through it, but it always takes me 10x the amount of time it would for a regular person to take something in. Ryan was patient with us, and I think I was starting to get it at the end.

To finish off what had been another really awesome evening, we had the dreaded promo part. All of us had to pair off and come up with a few things to use when cutting a promo on each other. As long as we put in the key promotional material (date of the show, venue and name), we were on the right track. I forgot the show name, or the venue. I can’t remember. Either way, mine seemed so terrible. It’s really gonna take me a while to get the confidence to do this well. Some of the other dudes came with some hilarious, witty shit. I enjoyed that part of the class for that, but wish I could get better myself. Maybe that will come with time, or maybe not. We shall see.

Anyway, I had a great time once again. I really, really can’t wait for next week.

Craig [Editor]