Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Million Dollar Idea

The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase

No new update on the MMWA DVD project. I did get a few emails and facebook messages about my last post, so I wanted to follow up on that. I mentioned in the last post that at the anniversary show for the MMWA if Joe Legends team won then they would name a new owner. A few people wondered who I had in mind for that role. Was it going to be Mike Galloway, the actual in real life owner of the MMWA? The answer to that question is yes and no.

My choice for the new owner of the MMWA was The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase.

There was history in this choice. When I book wrestling I follow the rule of 3M. Basically the three most important things in wrestling are Matches, Moments, and Mania.

I believe the first is pretty self explanatory. It's the very basis of wreslting. The reason everything is going on is because of the ring and the action that goes on between the ropes. At the very least, even if there is no purpose past the bell, try to put on a good match. If the wrestling sucks then nobody is going to pay to come see it again.

The second is creating a genuine moment be it Hogan slamming Andre or Piper smashing a coconut over Snuka's head. You can have an average match if the moment after the match is the true selling point. At Kalkaska if you watch AJ Styles vs. Jimmy Jacobs, it was more about the moment than the match. The two were supposed to go mess around for 6-8 minutes then Raven would hit the ring and begin the moment. The moment ends up in Jimmy vs. Raven at the end of the night.

On television this would have paid off two fold. It gave us AJ Styles, the NWA champ, on two weeks of television. It also gave us a small storyline to carry from one week to another with Jimmy and Raven. And thanks to Raven, it also gave me the seeds for a brother vs brother feud with Jimmy and his real life brother Bobby Numbers, but that's a story for another time.

The last is a generalization to fit the mantra. WrestleMania is the biggest event for the WWE. Every company from the WWE down to the smallest indy needs their "Mania". The one event that is a class above all. It gives you a destination to build towards for your stories. The MMWA's Mania was going to be the anniversary shows.

Now that you know the 3M rule, Ted DiBiase was going to be a moment.

Mike Galloway was a HUGE Ted DiBiase fan. He always wanted to find a way to get the Million Dollar Man in the MMWA. The thing was, Ted DiBiase couldn't do much. He couldn't wrestle or take bumps. He was great on the mic and he could do a meet n' greet with fans. That was it. So I decided to weave a storyline that utilized what Mr. DiBiase could do, and give Mike Galloway his memorable moment because his emotion was going to sell it.

The October event was our anniversary show in Cadillac, MI. The next event was going to be our first time in Mt. Pleasant, MI. This is the home of Central Michigan University. It probably was going to be our biggest market. We had a ton of students there that were fans and a huge base for a street team. I wanted our first event to be a big one. The Million Dollar Man was the kind of name that would do that.

After the WarGames match Joe Legend was going to celebrate with his team and then announce that the new owner of the MMWA was "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. He then would tell everyone that the new owner was going to fly in to meet all the MMWA fans at our next event in Mt. Pleasant. We then would promote the next event under the guise of "Meet the new owner" with a pre-show meet n' greet.

Before intermission Ted DiBiase was going to come to the ring to give a "State of the MMWA" address. He would then call out Mike Galloway. The two would have an interaction in the ring and Ted would name Mike the acting General Manager or whatever title worked. I believed this would have been a real special moment for Mike.

DiBiase would then call out Matt Maverick. Ted would give Mike the chance to fire Matt, which would lead to Mike telling Matt to beg for his job. In the end Mike would give Matt a chance to save his job by facing Tommy Starr later that night. If he wins then he's in. If he loses then Mike was going to fire him on the spot. He'd then send Matt to the back and we'd have an intermission where Mike and Ted take pictures together in the middle of the ring with fans.

Of course I was going to have Matt win the match against Tommy. I wanted to kickstart a good feud between the two and felt Matt needed to build back some heat after the WarGames match. I'd always felt that both Tommy and Matt would have a great feud because they both worked an old school style to their matches. They both told amazing stories in the ring.

So to those that asked, that was who would have been the owner. We would have had the ability to bring Ted DiBiase back anytime we wanted and it got Mike Galloway into the position to be the regular authority figure. Plus I thought it'd be cool to have backstage segments where Mike was on the phone with Ted DiBiase. He would have enjoyed that part of his character.

I'll keep you updated on the DVD project, so check back often for details.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Booking Out Of A Bind

Good news, I got the green light from the man who holds the rights to the MMWA footage to put together the shoot interview/DVD package. Also Dod March, MMWA play by play man, has told me he has much of the footage already that we can use to put together this collection. So now it is figuring out how to present everything, and sitting down to record a shoot interview.

I've been jotting down notes for the shoot interview. I'm a professional talker and I know it is important to create a road map before you start jabbering on. I could talk and tell stories for hours. If I'm unscripted, and probably drinking, then I'd talk forever with all the tangents I'd go on. Somehow we'd start talking MMWA then detour into my hatred for a variety of things before taking a brief stop to wax poetically about the NFL draft and end on the MMWA. I'm pretty sure nobody wants that.

Don't worry the shoot interview won't be ten hours long. I'm aiming more for two.

As I write down notes, I figured I'd share a few things here on the blog. It'll help me weed through the thoughts. The biggest one I am tackling right now is the problem I faced when taking over the booking for the MMWA. That being the evil owner angle that had taken center stage since the first anniversary show in October of 2003.

It's maybe the most common angle in indy wrestling. A wrestler or authority figure challenges ownership for control of the company. That person is usually a bad guy. He, or she, wins the feud and the company is changed forever under their cruel rule. The large flaw that always gets overlooked is how do you resolve the situation in a believable manner. The same went for the MMWA.

Let me rewind things a bit.

I was put on the booking committee just before the anniversary show. The plans for the takeover angle had already been locked up. Talent was booked. I was brought in to help plan out the fallout. I can remember the big booking meeting we had at Jim Hall's fortress of solitude (A.k.a. MMWA Video Production Dungeon). Myself, Jim, Dod March, and MMWA owner Mike Galloway huddled together to plan out the next few shows.

We started putting together January, February, and March (which later became May). We knew that Matt Maverick and his stable, Magnificence Inc, would have control of the MMWA. We also had "Spyder" Nate Webb as champion, who was going to be in & out for the promotion with him traveling overseas to wrestle for Big Japan. We needed to get the belt off him and onto Matt quickly. That is where Shane Douglas came in.

As stated in an earlier blog, Shane Douglas was booked for the January show. At the time I thought this was a great get. Now that I'm older, I know that was far from the truth. Don't get me wrong, Shane was awesome. He did everything we asked and was great for our locker room. There was just no way he was going to draw anywhere near what his his price tag was. It was our fault for not booking for our market.

In any business you need to know your customer base. If you are running a business in a town where everyone is allergic to peanuts then you're going to go broke selling snicker bars. Snicker bars are awesome, but nobody will eat them in this fake town. Northern Michigan was the same way with Shane Douglas.

To that crowd ECW never really existed. Some people through the internet knew about ECW but it wasn't on their TV like old 1980-90's WWF was. Shane wanted over a thousand dollars plus trans & hotel to come up to Cadillac for the event. I was asked what I thought about it and at the time I was 100% behind it. That was my fault for not knowing the market. That mistake costs us huge.

For that price tag we could have booked two former WWF stars. I could have gotten Mr. Hughes to drive up from Atlanta & booked a local former WWF star like Pat Tanaka. I'd worked with Mr. Hughes in the past and his character would fit what we had in mind for Shane Douglas.

The way the angle played out was Shane wrestled MMWA champ Nate Webb for about 10 minutes before getting disqualified when he bashed Nate's head in with a chain wrapped around his fist. He then grabs the mic and talks about how he has always been about the money and the reason he was at the MMWA was because he was paid to do a job. Shane then puts on a referee shirt and announces Matt Maverick will be facing Webb right now for the title. We could have done the same with Mr. Hughes.

I'd bet, knowing what I know about Hughes & Tanaka's price tag at the time, that we still would have saved about 35% booking both former WWF stars than what we paid in total for Douglas. It's decisions like this that helped bring down the MMWA. Not only would it have been cost effective, but in the market it might have drawn better because of them both being former 90's WWF stars.

See a tangent just happened. Now back to the actual topic of this blog.

Matt had taken control of the company. We got the belt on him as it should have been. If you're the evil power hungry wrestler that just won the company you're next goal is the title. Now where would we go? He can't just keep torturing baby faces. We needed to build towards an end game. Our choice for his challenger, and MMWA hero, was Joe E. Legend.

For those that went to the bathroom during Joe's run with the WWF, he played the character Just Joe. I kid, I am forever grateful to have worked with him. He not only was great in the ring but an amazing sounding board behind the scenes. He had a mind for the business and was always looking for the best way to have angles make money.

In fact on the booking sheet for Kalkaska in the notes section I simply wrote "Joe Finish". It pissed off Matt cause he thought I was changing the finish for Joe to win or make Joe outshine him. When we sat down and I let Joe explain his idea, everyone was on board. It was the finish that was going to help us draw going forward.

We started gearing our TV to help build Joe up as the challenger and Matt look like the evil boss. He would set up obstacles and Joe would conquer them. This led to their first match at Kalkaska Karnage.

That night I made the decision to put the match on last because for 3 months our TV was all about Matt avoiding Joe. This was the first time Joe was going to get his hands on Matt for the title. That meant Joe vs. Matt was following Raven vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Petey Willams vs. AJ Styles (the first time those two had met). At the time AJ was the NWA champ and Raven was his #1 challenger in TNA. Needless to say a lot of people thought I was crazy for putting Joe & Matt on after those two matches.

Those matches were awesome. I'll go deeper into both on the shoot interview. Both had really special moments. Yet the most pleasing was Matt and Joe. Their match started and the crowd was into it. For months this had been building and we got the payoff we wanted. Every person wanted to see Joe take the strap from Matt.

Of course Matt found a way to keep it. Joe was thwarted by outside influence. Matt pinned him clean in the ring. The crowd was hot for all forty minutes from entrance to end bell. Then we had our tag champs, the Bump-n-Uglies, come out for the save post match. They backed Joe for a rematch in June. To persuade Matt to give it to him they would put their titles on the line. If Joe lost they would forfeit the belts.

This is when the promotion ended. We were too far in the red to go on and the owner was burnt out. He had a family to think about. Nobody should go to the poor house for pro wrestling. Yet I had already written the rest of this story.

During the Kalkaska show, which was supposed to be a TV taping, I began working on a story with Jimmy Shawlin. He was a great lovable goofball. He was part of Maverick's stable. So I had him be the reason his team lost the tag belts. Then I made him the reason his partner lost the Marquee belt. Finally he almost cost Matt the title in the main event. These events would have played on different weeks on TV painting Shawlin as the weak link of Team Maverick.

In June as the event started Matt was to come to the ring and announce some special guests for the main event. Jaime D would be the guest time keeper, A-1 would be the guest enforcer, Frankie the Face would be the guest ring announcer, and Jimmy Shawlin the guest referee. Each of course is a member of Matt's stable.

In the main event they would keep taking advantage of Joe as he fought against impossible odds. I had this great vision of goofy Jimmy Shawlin covering his eyes as Matt & co kept cheating. Eventually the Bump-n-Uglies would try to help but be outnumbered. This would lead to "Death Dealer" Tommy Starr coming out of the crowd.

Tommy was a crowd favorite before I got to the promotion. After Matt took over in the anniversary show, he fired Tommy in story line. Tommy would come back in June to help Joe and the Uglies. I wanted a funny scene of Shawlin pressing his face in the turn buckle as a brawl was going on so he didn't see anything only for Starr to come out and cane everyone including Maverick. Then when Shawlin peaks his head up and turns around the Uglies & Starr would have fought Jaime, A-1, and Frankie to the back leaving both Legend & Maverick laid out.

Legend would be the first up and pin Matt. Jimmy would be forced to fight counting but eventually do a really slow count. Matt would kick out at 2. I wanted Maverick to yell at him for that. Then the two would team up on Legend. Matt would get the belt and try to slam it into Legend but almost hit Shawlin. As Matt turned around after the near collision Legend would load up a superkick that Matt ducks and it hits Shawlin. Matt then rolls up Joe with a fistful of tights as senior ref Art Mendez hits the ring for a two count. Joe & Matt wrestle for a minute and Joe hits his finisher. He pins Matt as Art makes the three count.

Joe grabs the belt and leaves the ring. Matt at first would demand the belt back. He would say he is stripping Joe of the belt. In his fury he would blame Shawlin, who is finally back to his feet, for the loss. Then fire him for it.

Over the rest of the summer Matt would demand that Joe give the belt back. I wanted to do a reverse stolen belt angle. Normally it is done where the heel takes the face's belt. I wanted the face to steal the belt here and not give it back. Then have Joe do the lawyer bit that a heel would normally do that says he is legally entitled to the belt. Basically stopping Matt's power from forcing a belt stripping. They would then meet for a rematch that Joe again would win in August.

In August Tommy Starr would also beat Frankie the face for the Marquee title. That means Joe, the Uglies, and Starr would hold all the belts. This needed to be known going forward because it plays a huge roll.

All of this sends Matt off the deep end. At the September event he would announce at the start that since he can't have the belt, and he can't strip any of his champions because of fear of legal action, then nobody will have a title. He does have the power to end the MMWA. He would say this is the last MMWA show.

That brings out Joe, the Uglies, and Starr. The four men say that the fans deserve for the MMWA to go on. Joe offers to have an all or nothing match at the 2nd anniversary show in October. If Matt's team wins then he gets to keep the company and all the titles. If Joe's team wins then they get to pick the new owner of the MMWA. He then proposes a 5 on 5 WarGames match.

They've got their five and Matt could find his fifth. In fact Matt will meet Joe's fifth member tonight when they face off later. Of course Joe's fifth man was going to be Jimmy Shawlin, who was fired months earlier. The two would face off in a match that ends in an all out brawl between the groups. Where the 5 faces chase off the four heels.

This is where Matt says he has found his fifth member. He will keep his company and get his gold even if he has to make a deal with the devil, and that is exactly what he did. Next month their fifth member will be "The Taskmaster" Kevin Sullivan.

I'd worked with Kevin in the past a lot. We had a good relationship at the time and I was already working on getting him up for shows before our May event. He would have been great in the WarGames environment and it was the kind of match where it would highlight his strengths and hide his weaknesses. Plus his team could lose without him taking the loss.

I would have done the Matt vs. Jimmy match on the September card before intermission so we could go into the break hot. I'd then hand out flyers as people left after the event with Kevin Sullivan on the event flyer promoting WarGames.

That was how I had it booked to get out this bind. I don't know if it would have worked, but I would have liked to see it.

It will be stories like this that will be on the shoot interview. I'll keep people posted on the progress. Keep checking back for more details.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Territories Tour

Earlier this week I talked about my idea for a DVD set that would include the last MMWA show from Kalkaska, other matches, and a shoot interview that goes into depth about my time with the company from joining the creative team, becoming head booker, and plans for the time beyond Kalkaska. In that post I mentioned some of the things I thought could have saved the MMWA.

One of the things mentioned was a territory style touring schedule to help keep the houses up for the promotion. As I stated, Northern MI towns probably aren't big enough to support a monthly wrestling promotion. They are big enough to support an annual event. The fact that the MMWA would come to a city only once a year would add a bigger feel to the promotion. Add that with the television show, and we might have looked/seemed like a bigger deal than we actually were.

I have been digging through my old stuff lately. I keep a tackle box full of old notebooks, pictures, and misc crap. This is kind of what sparked this whole trip down memory lane. In those notes I found what I was going to pitch for a tour schedule to begin in late September of 2004. For those that wanted to see a glimpse into my vision for the MMWA future here is that schedule. (Note: Just in case you're confused, these are all cities in Michigan)

Late September: Big Rapids
October: Cadillac
November: Mt. Pleasant
December: Kalkaska
January: :Ludington
February: Gaylord
March: Manistee
April: Alpena
Early May: Traverse City
Late May: Petoskey*
June: Sault Ste Marie*
July: Cheboygan*
August: Escanaba (UP State Fair)*
Early September: Marquette*
*"MMWA Sunshine Slam Tour"

There is what I was hoping to do from Late September 2004 to Early September 2005.

I front loaded the schedule with three big cities for the MMWA. Big Rapids and Mt. Pleasant would have been great towns because of the college atmosphere, but also because we got huge responses from people in that area when it came to our TV. Mt. Pleasant probably would have been a huge draw for us because we had a great base for a street team there. Cadillac in October was must to celebrate our anniversary shows.

I put some of the small towns in the middle because colder months are easier to bring people into a events. You're not competing with outdoor activities and most high school sports are during the week. Manistee really showed how strong those cities could be with a little effort on our part to get the word out.

I decided to close the schedule with Alpena and Traverse City because those are two big anchor towns for Northern MI. I believe each would benefit from a year of TV building towards the events. Alpena was a market I thought could have been a corner stone for the MMWA.

The Sunshine Slam tour was just a marketing tool to make our trip into the UP and the far north of the LP sound special. Really I picked those times because it would have been easier for talent to travel and those areas have festivals & fairs around that time to help bring people into the area. We could tape some TV and use these towns to help build new stars going into year two of the tour schedule.

I've had more talks with the MMWA folks who own the footage. Things seem to be moving forward nicely. I'll let everyone know more as I know more. This project is looking up as we speak.

Keep checking back for more details.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Greatest Promotion That Never Happened

(Jimmy Jacobs, MMWA Play by Play man Dod March, and Jimmy Shawlin)

It has been a long time since I pulled out the digital quill and ink. I guess there are two reasons for this.

One, pro wrestling has sucked lately. Oh how bad has it sucked. I don't even watch regularly. When I do tune in I find myself tuning out minutes later. It just sucks. No need to mince words. Sucks pretty much covers it all.

That goes for both WWE and TNA. I don't get RoH in my television area, and don't have the attention span to watch on the internet without surfing over to other sites minutes later. This means the world of televised wrestling as a whole is just a big ball of suck.

The other reason I haven't written is in June my mom lost her battle with cancer. I guess it is hard to be creative when your heart isn't into it. I have put a lot on hold the past few months as I took time to grieve. I think now it is time to be gettin' on with life. I would say my creative fire finally got it's pilot light ignited again.

I don't know if this happens for everyone, but during this time I took a look back at life. The good, the bad, and the shitty. One of the times I looked back on was my days in pro wrestling. Talk about a time full of accomplishments and regrets. My time with the MMWA was full of both.

I've been thinking about this time a lot, and I think I want to do a detailed shoot interview going over this time. Indy wrestling fans seem to enjoy seeing the behind the scenes stuff even if it isn't WWE. It'll be good for my soul to tell these tales.

I am currently working with the people who own the footage for the MMWA because I don't want to just release a shoot interview of me on a couch talking wrestling for two hours. I want to put together a package that includes the final MMWA show that features Raven, AJ Styles, Jimmy Jacobs, Petey Williams, Joe Legend, and many more. I also want to put together a best of DVD to go with it that shows all the great talent and matches the promotion had like Chris Hero, Chris Sabin, Monty Brown, Jerry Lynn, etc.

I hope this happens but right now it is too early in the process to give any updates. I literally just facebooked the people involved last week with this simple message, "Hey, I've got an idea". There is of course money involved and the fact that most of the people had checked out of the world of wrestling years ago.

Fingers crossed kids.

May 1st, 2014 will be the ten year anniversary of the last show that the MMWA ran. It originally was going to be a TV taping for MMWA Rampage, but ended up being the swan song show that we sold as a stand alone DVD called Kalkaska Karnage.

I was the head booker at the time of this event. It was my second show where I was leading things for the MMWA creative team. I was 23 and looking to make my mark on the scene with this promotion. Jim Hall had handed the reigns over to me after the January show and I thought I could put out all the fires that had popped up.

The thing is I should have been putting out these fires in August, not when I took over in January.

I'll cover all of this in the DVD set. I want to tell the story from the start. From when I walked in the door. Go from being put on the booking team to heading it up to the plans I had post May 1st. There is a lot of behind the scenes stuff that never made the light of day. A lot of blame to go around for everyone involved, myself included.

To me there were three things that could have changed the outcome of the MMWA. I'll give you a taste of what will be on the DVD with these.

1. Should Have Taken The Money

MMWA Rampage was on Fox 33. That station covered all of Northern MI from Mt. Pleasant to the bridge. A lot of people don't know that we were offered two options when it came to MMWA Rampage. The first option was that we got to sell our own ads. The second was that the television station was going to offer us $150 per episode and they would handle ads. It's a basic syndication deal.

Of course you can make more money if you're selling the ads, but there is a lot more work involved. The owner at the time had sales experience and thought he could make a mint on ad space. Turns out it was like pulling teeth. Instead, if you do the math on how much money we made in ads vs. money that could have been made on a 13 episode syndication run, we ended up losing money.

The thing is we still could have sold advertising on the TV while taking the $150 per episode, just not in the traditional sense. We had a great segment with Mt. Dew called the "Mt. Dew Slam Of The Week". Also there was an interview area that could have been sponsored. These types of ads wouldn't have violated our deal and would have given us the chance to make more cash on our TV deal.

Had this been the way we went I believe MMWA could have survived. It would have freed up the owner from the pressure of chasing advertisers, brought in a steady cash flow, and established a successful model to pitch to other networks to expand the brand. We did our own video in house from taping to editing. It was at a professional level by 2003 standards.

2. Book A Different Building

In January the MMWA ran a building in Cadillac that the WWE runs when it does house shows. I should have stood up against this. Some people wanted to be big fish in small ponds and decided running a local armory or high school gym wasn't good enough. They needed to have the MMWA name up on the same marquee as the WWE. In the end it probably cost the company everything.

I don't know what the rent was for the arena. I wasn't privy to financials at that time. I mean it is the same exact arena the WWE runs. There were cheaper venues by far. If these venues would have been used then not only would it have saved the promotion money, but probably wouldn't have put the MMWA in a deep debt that it couldn't escape.

On that same show we booked Shane Douglas as the headliner. I gave this the thumbs up. Knowing what I know now this was a waste of money. Not to say Shane wasn't great to have, but Northern MI is an old school area. We would have been better served paying half the price of Shane for an old WWF name like Greg Valentine or Big Boss Man (who passed suddenly 9 months later).

The same building problem goes for the final show in Kalkaska. We ran this huge ice arena and used maybe 1/6 of the space. It could hold thousands of people, and we didn't need that many. The thing about this show is we had a local business man helping us out. He was connected to everyone. We had access to a smaller gym that would have been dirt cheap to rent. Had we run this gym, and not this massive arena, it would have made a four figure difference in the final tally. As the head booker that is on me for not drawing a line in the sand on the arena choice. I should have known it would put us behind the 8 ball.

Put both of those building decisions together and maybe the MMWA is here today. Add it in with 600 dollars in syndication money each event would have been worth (4 shows tape per event), and maybe the MMWA is actually making money monthly. Again I don't know for sure.

3. The Territories Aren't Dead

In wrestling most people run one town once a month. In Northern MI this couldn't happen. Most people up north aren't shelling out the money to take their family to wrestling each month. I grew up in that kind of area. When something rolls around once a year then you come out cause it's a unique event. Think about local carnivals coming in the spring/summer, would they make money if they came to the same town every month? Probably not. Wrestling in Northern Michigan is the same way.

When I took over booking, I was pushing for a new territory model to the MMWA. Thanks to the TV coverage on Fox 33 we had a huge area of potential markets. I was putting together a touring schedule that would have taken the MMWA to at least 14 different cities during the calendar year including the large four in the TV area: Cadillac, Traverse City, Mt. Pleasant, and Big Rapids.

We could have popped each town then let it simmer for the year while watching our TV and then come back again a year later to pop them again. Rinse, repeat.

I was even working on booking Rick Steiner for a loop run with us. Most promotions couldn't bring in big names for 4-5 straight shows. The allure of the name usually wears off in a market after the first appearance. Yet with the touring territory model it would have been his first appearance at each show. It also would have allowed for our TV to have the presence of Rick Steiner as an MMWA regular. I wanted him to feud with Conrad Kennedy III (most know him as Krimson now).

I believed this model of touring would have kept attendance numbers up but the challenge would have been getting a building in each city, selling sponsorships, and getting the word out.

If we could have put all three together: TV money, booking proper buildings, and a touring schedule. Then I believe that the MMWA would have stayed in business. This didn't happen because of a lot of people, but it was also because of me. I let these mistakes happen. I'm as much to blame as anyone else.

It is things like this and other stories that I want to tell on the DVD. I want to talk about how we got Raven for Kalkaska on a sweet deal. I'm talking bargain basement cheap.

I'll let you know more as it builds. I hope this project comes together.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Only Good Thing From WrestleMania

If you missed WrestleMania, and I'm jealous of you for not wasting an entire Sunday evening, then you missed one good match. It was the match that closed RAW. Probably should have been the match to close Mania. It was the respect vs. the streak. It's CM Punk vs. The Undertaker.
Here is the match in full. I hope these two meet again at WrestleMania. It looks like next year will be Cena vs. Taker at WM30. My fingers are crossed they don't break the streak with Cena. That would be a wasted investment. Beating the Undertaker at Mania is something a talent could live off for decades. The kind of thing a guy in his 50's still talks about at local indy shows 25 years later.
If Punk doesn't snap the streak then a Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan, Antonio Cesaro, or Dolph Ziggler would be the logical choice. Then again maybe it is one of those things that should never be broken. That is the true debate.
And that debate is for another time.
Enjoy the match, and realize this was the only thing worth paying for on Sunday night. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I'd Pay To See The Crowd

WrestleMania was horrible. I watched the Cena and Rock match again yesterday, as I fell asleep during it the night before. The finish was fun, but the first 75% wasn't. I had to watch RAW last night because you can't skip the night after Mania. Especially now that it has become the night where the hardcore fans pack one arena and take over the show.

Remember last year? (Daniel Bryan's bank account does) YES! YES! YES!

It would seem that the night after WrestleMania has actually become the don't miss event. The actual BIG show has all the stars but none of the energy. The show last night was a blast and I'd watch that crowd again.

They had energy. They had anger. They had fun.

How special was it for Dolph Ziggler to capture the title last night in front of those crazy fans who truly appreciate all he has done despite the best efforts by the WWE creative team to bury him? He might be #Heel, but even he wants to feel the warmth of the most vocals fans.

Also, maybe Fandango should give a big thanks because that crowd made him a star last night. The humming of his theme song during his match, after his match, matches later on, as the show ended, in the parking lot leaving the building, and even by car horns as the crowd left the parking lot. Amazing.

Maybe the WWE should stop paying The Rock and Brock millions and just pay this crowd to be at every event each week. I bet rating would be better. I know the shows would be more entertaining.

Some worker friends of mine shit on the crowd. They couldn't believe these "marks" could be so disrespectful.

My response: Look in the mirror. The fans wouldn't chant during your match if you gave them a reason not to. Randy and Sheamus have been crammed down people's throats for years, well guess what not everyone is a 12 yr old boy or their Mom (Sheamus & RKO's demographic).

It's the 10PM hour and there isn't a sign of CM Punk, Brock, HHH, or Rock. Hell the Shield was only on screen for 5 minutes. Also where is Antonio Cesaro? That is why you chant, because if the WWE doesn't care about the WWE fans, then the fans don't need to care about the WWE.

I'm probably done for a bit with watching wrestling. I want my last memory to be that crowd. Like being able to die during sex. You want to go out with a bang. (Get It)

I'll keep checking the dirt sheets, but it looks like it is time to cool my heels for a bit. That is until the Monday after WrestleMania next year. That is must watch TV.


Monday, April 8, 2013

I'm done

I watched WrestleMania last night.

I'm done.

I regret not watching Game of Thrones and reading a good book.

Pro wrestling in the WWE is dead. That is now a full blown television drama. Not even one of the best 20 on TV.

If the WWE was looked at the same way as most scripted television is they would be destroyed. Their characters are horribly developed. Their stories make little sense. I'd cancel the show and order a new one about zombies.

Worst event in the companies history. Even read my older posts. Damn near called this one three weeks ago. That is sad.

Fuck you WWE, fuck you for ruining what was once something entertaining. Heartless bastards.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Why it sucks

The WrestleMania times have been leaked. God how do I hate the WWE. You can't even keep the basics under wraps. If you want to see it. Look below.

* Chris Jericho vs. Fandango has been given 10 minutes
* Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston has been given 12 to 15 minutes
* Ryback vs. Mark Henry has been given 12 minutes
* The Shield vs. Randy Orton, Big Show and Sheamus has been given 15 minutes
* CM Punk vs. The Undertaker has been given 20 minutes
* Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio has been given 15 minutes
* Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar has been given 20 to 30 minutes
* The Rock vs. John Cena has been given 25 to 30 minutes
* A Diddy musical performance has been given 8 minutes
* The WWE Hall of Famers coming out to wave to fans has been given 7 minutes
* The show opener and National Anthem has been given 7 minutes
* Other assorted segments throughout the show have been given 10 minutes

The longest three matches all involve part time talent. One match is all part time talent (and the second longest match on the card). Why build talent when we can just remind people of guys that used to be here, but now are just using Mania for a good pay day.

Also P-Diddy is getting about the same time as Chris Jericho. That makes sense. Mother fucker.

Anyone catch The Ultimate Fighter this week? Uriah Hall has a better build as character than most new WWE characters (Shield excluded, but that might be more the talents doing than the writers).

Still not sold on buying this show. Might be my first missed Mania in a decade.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It's not me, it's you.

Normally I don't post when life just gets hectic. I am now working from home and taking care of a 3 month old. That would be enough of an excuse as to why nothing new has appeared here. If that was the truth.

The truth is I haven't watched wrestling in three weeks. I know, we're almost upon WrestleMania! The thing is, I don't really miss wrestling. The WWE hasn't put out a solid product in years. Every once and awhile they do something right but lately that ratio has been way out of wack.

If the WWE doesn't give a shit about me, and would rather cater to a demographic somewhere between MTV's Buckwild and that stupid humor of that fat British chick from the Chelsea Lately show (who isn't funny, but I believe mentally handicapped), then I say I don't give a shit about them.

I don't know if I'll order WrestleMania. I just don't see the sense in plopping down 60 dollars to see out comes I already know and a WWE champion that misses three straight weeks to promote his movie. Here is what 11 PM this Sunday will look like: Undertaker streak continues, John Cena is the WWE champion, and the semi-retired CEO will beat the legit former UFC champion.

There might be a surprise or two thrown in, but the big stuff. The stuff that shapes the WWE going forward. That stuff will be the same old same old. The WWE learned a long time ago, it easier to change nothing and accept the fans who won't leave than to try hard and chase the fans that have left.

I think I might be part of the latter now. When the clock strikes 6 on Sunday, I'll make up my mind. If that was today, I wouldn't be watching WrestleMania. I'll spend my money on Sonnen vs. Jones. It has a better storyline.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Little Something While You Wait

Been a crazy weekend, and a fun one. I headlined a sold out show in Virginia this weekend and had a blast. It is so funny how much pro wrestling and stand up comedy are the same. Even the little tricks from my days in wrestling apply to when I am on stage. Nothing better in either one than hearing the crowd go nuts when you're doing your thing. I don't know if this weekend was the perfect show, but it was sure a good time had by all.

I fell asleep last night before RAW. I had been with my son all day, and he tired me out. My wife was watching those real housewife shows. I choose sleep over hearing those broads talk. I'll watch RAW on DVR tonight and get a review in tomorrow. As you wait here is a funny audio dub of Jim Ross calling the amazing DeAndre Jordan dunk on Detroit's Brandon Knight.

Check back tomorrow for my weekly ramblings on WWE Monday Night RAW!

Friday, March 8, 2013

El Generico

Last night independent superstar and recent WWE signee, El Generico, worked for the first time without his trademark mask and name. The Canadian born wrestler worked using his real name, Rami Sebai. It could be a sign of things to come for the generic luchadore as he moves forward in the WWE machine.

Personally I think it is a mistake. A mask is part of a persona. It takes years to develop a good persona, which El Generico is. He developed the little quirks that made this character such a fan favorite. Now taking the mask off won't change his abilities in the ring. He'll still be able to do all his moves, but it will end up missing something.

I commented to a friend earlier that this is like signing Prince Fielder, a power hitter, and telling him he's your lead off man. Sure he'll still be a good baseball player but his developed skills that he spent years perfecting won't be utilized, and he won't be as effective as he could be.

The WWE does this to make sure they have the rights to all the characters and likenesses for their merchandising. CM Punk might be the last indy star to keep everything he developed. Now he makes cash but if he ever leaves the WWE, they can't stop him from making bank off his WWE fame. The fed doesn't like that.

I hope this is another instance of a talent trying new things in developmental as he waits for his call up to the show. They don't need to call him El Generico, but they should consider keeping him under the mask. Plus kids like to buy masks, and the WWE loves things kids buy. Why not just call him, "Mr. Unknown". or "Mr. E". That's a quick 10 second idea that would benefit all parties involved.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

R.I.P. William Moody

It's a sad day today. A true icon, especially to managers like myself, Paul Bearer passed away. The details of his passing aren't known currently. William Moody would have been 59 next month. He just loved professional wrestling.

He was on WrestleMania. He helped craft three of the greatest characters in professional wrestling in Kane, The Undertaker, and Mankind. He was a star and house hold name to fans. He also acted like being at an indy show with 80 people in the crowd was the best place to be. Again, he just loved professional wrestling.

I never got to ride with him from shows, but those who did often tell stories about their experience. Paul Bearer was always willing to listen and he was always glad to give advice. He was a nice guy in a business of cheats and hustlers. He will be missed.

Enjoy these videos and may Paul Bearer Rest ... In ... Peace!




Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monday Night RAW: Blame The Crowd

I’ve been doing entertainment in one form or another for almost fifteen years now. I started in Radio in 1998 and had been in and out until 2010. From 1999 until late 2006, I made my money in a professional wrestling ring. In 2007, after my second hip surgery before I turned 26, I started doing standup comedy and continue to travel the roads telling my stories today. I’ve spent a majority of my adult life in front of crowds.

Normally only shitty entertainers blame the crowd for a bad show. They usually can’t bring themselves to admit they stunk the joint up. As comic legend Jim Wiggins once told me in a bowling alley in bumfuck, Indiana, “There aren’t bad crowds, just horrible comics”. I believe this applies to all genres of entertainment. Then there was Buffalo, NY last night. They proved there is always an exception to the rule.

I can’t fault the WWE for last night’s RAW. It was a really good showing and it was booked as a very strong show with multiple angles getting over and plans for Mania getting a little clearer. It just sucked that they basically had an empty arena feel with a full crowd. It was like the fans showed up expecting Disney on Ice and a wrestling show broke out.

Since the return of the Rock this has been more apparent with crowds. Dallas was a shit crowd last week. There have been a few more, but they escape me. It can’t be just the return of the Rock. Maybe it is a run of bad luck, but it makes no sense as the WWE has had some strong episodes of RAW recently. It has to be a mix of Cena fans, who only show up to cheer their hero, and Rock fans, who only show up to see the movie star. I don’t know.

Maybe it was the green screen promo that told all the marks they’re dumb for believing this is real, and this is what we get for exposing Oz. What I wouldn’t give for an old school crowd during an old school RAW. Instead all I got was Buffalo. If it wasn’t for your wings, I’d sell you to Canada for Windsor. 

You can’t dwell on the bad stuff forever; especially when this was a pretty big episode of RAW. There wasn’t an epic match like Cena vs. Punk from last week, but those are a true rarity for any show. This week had tons of movement towards WrestleMania mixed in with some great nostalgia.

I dig the cold opening with Undertaker. He’s back. No promo, just the best entrance in wrestling history. That was enough to let everyone know business was picking up. Then the set up for the main event was pretty basic. No over complicating things as beating the Undertaker is now on par with being the main event at Mania. Let’s face it, many people will win WWE titles at future WrestleManias, but only one person will break the streak, if that ever happens. It’s the modern equivalent to slamming Andre.

Poor Cesaro gets the jobber entrance. Ryback is being heavily protected with good workers two weeks in a row. Last week his tosses Ziggler around, this week it’s the United States champ. A nice match, but there was nothing special here. I like Ryback in the opening hour as he has the energy, but is still learning how to be a bankable talent. I also like that they are positioning him for a match (and feud) with Mark Henry.

The World’s Strongest Man is one of the enjoyable parts of the WWE. He has become the best monster in the business. I truly believe he could wreck anyone in his path. He didn’t have a match as much as a persona cementing moment. It was good for what it was intended to do. When Ryback and Henry finally do collide, it should be a really fun match. I’m thinking opening hour of WrestleMania. Unless the Rock wants to use that time to cut a really long promo with no real point or purpose.

I could really care less about Zack Ryder. Just cause you want to be something, doesn’t mean you deserve to be it. I wanted to be a pro athlete growing up, but I didn’t have the talent. The same goes for Ryder and wrestling. He’ll make some good coin on the indy circuit in the future.

Flair is Miz’s mentor. Miz can’t do a figure four unless it is in slow motion. Dolph Ziggler is being jobbed like his name is Steve Lombardi. We have officially entered the twilight zone. It is always good to see the nature boy, and he’s great as a manager. Too bad he was in the wrong corner. I really hope he turns on Miz in the future. I bet he’d do it for a make out session with AJ. She’s his kind of crazy, and crazy chicks dig space mountain. The match was good, but again Miz is off his game. Luckily Ziggs picked up the slack. Hell, I swear I saw Dolph put the figure four on himself as Miz just stood there.

The Rock comes out and tells a drawn out story. His promos are like Mad Libs. Same stuff with a few new one liners sprinkled in. John Cena comes out and now the crowd is happy. The two they came to see are in the ring. Too bad there will still be 2 hours of show left. Don’t want wrestling to get in the way of Cena-Rock fest.

I didn’t like this segment one bit. It has this weird vibe to it. I can’t exactly put my finger on it. I felt like I was watching two guys court each other not for a fight, but for a Craig’s list hook up. The Rock tried to be serious and so did John Cena, and it came off as both being less that genuine. Maybe this should have stayed a once in a lifetime match. I have a feeling this sequel will be on par with Caddyshack 2.

The legends all got crammed into three segments. Why did Dusty and Slaughter come out with Hacksaw Jim Duggan to face Jack Swagger? A simple backstage segment between Hacksaw and Zeb could have helped get that over with the fans. Zeb could say Duggan isn’t a real American, and the two other legends could come to back Hacksaw up. It would have made the attack by Swagger make sense.

The same goes for Million Dollar Man. He and the Prime Time Player did something on the WWE app. Yet DiBiase doesn’t get more than a quick mention during what amounts to a glorified WWE Superstars match. I did like the hundred dollar bill bit, and Bryan sneaking back to take it was funny. The PTP are done. I have a feeling Titus is going to drop Young and begin a singles push. Young will begin his push for Zack Ryder’s spot.

Finally the Honky Tonk Man is maybe part of a six man tag with the dancing duo of Tensai and Clay. They crush 3MB. Honky gives the guitar shot to Slater. I actually liked the booking. Would have liked to see Honky with the New Age Outlaws in this same match, but it looks like Road Dawg and Mr. Ass have bigger plans. When Clay was playing the guitar he looked like a bloated New Jack.

I like Faaaaaan-Daaaaaaan- GO. Any other crowd and that segment was gold. I was surprised to see Kofi in the ring, but it makes sense with Fandango refusing to wrestle until the announcer gets his name right. This does two thing very well. First it is good heel heat to refuse to wrestle, and the second is it establishes his name with the audience. Like him or hate him, you know who he is. Now he can keep talking about how great he is, and people will get pissy cause he never gets in the ring to back it up. I hope this continues until after WrestleMania. I’d even do it on the internet pre-show before the PPV.

Triple H cut one hell of promo. He made this a very personal issue. Sure it was long winded, but by HHH standards it was short. This is the second week in a row that this feud has hit the bullseye. The description of Vince, his family, and Triple H’s inner feeling added a ton to essence of this match. I expect a brutal encounter during Mania.

Best Shield promo yet. Holy crap was that good. Seth Rollins is coming into his own, but again Ambrose steals the show. I don’t know how long they can stay together but the WWE has something special here. This could be the modern age version of the Horsemen. They’re that good.

Del Rio and Barrett had a good match. It was more to get Wade on television to promote his movie, and to get Del Rio a win as he builds towards Swagger. Zeb and Jack come out to watch. They aren’t touching Del Rio. It’s a small thing, but it will pay off in the long run. It helps Zeb sell his point as only Del Rio has been the one getting physical. This segment could have been an hour earlier and let the WWE break up the legends block in the 9 PM hour.

Uncle Zeb and Jack Swagger were all over the TV again. The WWE is really pushing them as top tier heels. The best part is Zeb. He is amazing on the mic, and he makes you hate him for every word he says because he almost sounds like he’s right because he is so vague. Yes people are not respecting our laws for immigration, but it is only because they are coming here for the same reason our fore fathers did, to find a better life for their family. I will be interested to see where this goes after Mania and Del Rio.

I love the New Age Outlaws. If this was a one shot deal then I would have put them with Honky Tonk man for the six man angle. It looks like the NAO could be back on a semi-full time basis. They still can bring it in the ring. Road Dawg is top five on the mic in the current WWE. Billy Gunn looks to be in better shape now than he did in the 90’s. They could sell a lot of merch, and a tag title run could do the WWE a lot of good. That was a really good match with the Colons to get them back in the groove as the next step looks to be a feud with the Rhodes Scholars.

I wouldn’t be opposed to a big tag team three way at Mania between Team Hell No, Rhodes Scholars, and The New Age Outlaws for the straps. That way Rhodes Scholars could win the titles without pinning the NAO, and then the next few months can be the Outlaws chasing the Scholars for the titles. If done right when NAO wins, it’ll blow the roof off the joint. Also it would elevate the tag division, which has been resurrected over the past few months from being a step above the Divas title.

Mae Young is cool. She’s old and she doesn’t give a shit. She deserves everyone’s respect. She’s like that old war vet at the bar that nobody messes with. I have no doubt that Mae will try to wrestle when she is 100.

The fatal four way was cool. I think everyone kind of knew that Punk was winning, but how kept everyone watching. Again the Buffalo crowd crapped all over this. It was smart booking by the WWE as Punk has had a few bad losses lately, and if he is going to lose to Undertaker, then a win over Big Show, Orton, and Sheamus keeps him strong. I would expect a few more wins over big name talent for Punk in the future. He needs to look unbeatable going into Mania.

Overall a strong episode of RAW that set up HHH vs. Brock and Undertaker vs. Punk for WrestleMania. They trudged along with Cena and Rock. Uncle Zeb and Swagger continued their build towards Del Rio. Finally we even got a tease that Ryback and Mark Henry would collide soon. That is a lot accomplished for a show that was built around the older era of the WWF. If the WWE could do this much during a regular show, then the build to Mania would be in good shape.

We’re 33 days away, and I can’t wait. WrestleMania might be the most loaded card in years. The Hall of Fame is stacked. There are three to four matches that could close the show. Too bad Buffalo didn’t think so. I hope they enjoy their future of house shows. They’re the #52 media market in the country. Not a must hit for the WWE. Just run DC four times a year, and you’ll never have to go back. Buffalo can only blame themselves for this. They suck.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dragon Gate USA Weekend: Johnny Gargano vs. Jimmy Rave

It's Monday! I'm wrapping up the Dragon Gate USA weekend today with the DGUSA champion. The belt above is a pretty damn cool looking title. I would say this belt is one of my favorites and is by far better than that WWE spinner belt. Then again I've seen indy belts made with aluminum and a bedazzler that looked better than that title.

I find it fitting that I wrap up DGUSA weekend today with an Old School Monday Night RAW tonight. Talk about two opposite ends of the spectrum. Then again I'd love to watch the late 80's/early 90's WWF stars try to do half the things the guys (and girls) from Dragon Gate USA pull off.

I don't know if Dragon Gate will ever be one of the top two promotions in the country. I don't believe they even want to be. Don't get me wrong, they would love to sell out 20,000 seat arenas. What I mean is that the promotion has never made serious attempts to secure a national television deal, and they haven't run a full slate of house shows like a TNA or WWE. I really think that their current iPPV and DVD business structure is what works best for the japanese off shoot. As long as the product in front of the camera doesn't change then I'm happy with that.

Today's match is a little older, but I couldn't do a DGUSA weekend without showing Johnny Gargano. He is probably the biggest home grown star for the promotion. He came in as part of a stable known as Ronin, and played second fiddle to Chuck Taylor (a funny funny guy). He ended up being the breakout star of the group and catapulted himself in the DGUSA title picture.

Over a year ago, like CM Punk, Gargano won his title and hasn't looked back. His biggest test is coming up at WrestleCon during WrestleMania weekend when he defends the title against japanese icon, Shingo. This will be a match that can't be missed. You can see it on iPPV for like 1/4 the price of WrestleMania. That's a helluva deal.

Now Gargano has not only become one of the best wrestlers in the promotion, but he has also become one of the best promo men on the independent wrestling circuit. Check out his latest promoting WrestleCon:

Johnny Gargano has become the total package. I'd go see him fast because pretty soon he'll only be seen in Tampa, Florida. If you don't believe me then check out today's match with indy main stay Jimmy Rave. It's a two parter, so sit back and enjoy!

That is a talented dude, and one of the reasons that DGUSA is successful. I hope you enjoyed this Dragon Gate USA weekend. I'll try do more weekends in the future with independent promotions and talent. Please leave any suggestions in the comment box, or click the contact link to drop me a line.
Also don't forget to swing by the Dragon Gate USA site and pick up some merch. It supports the cause and a small business. When you do that you help create jobs. That helps the country. Don't you want to help the country? Aren't you a Real American?
See that segway! Remember to check back tomorrow for my weekly Monday Night RAW review. It's Old School RAW tonight, which should be a fun show with all the stars for glory days passed. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed for our first Undertaker vs. CM Punk at WrestleMania encounter. That and more of Uncle Zeb's amazing mustache.
Until tomorrow remember this advice: Life's a work, duck the clothesline. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dragon Gate USA Weekend: Ricochet vs. Mike Cruz

The Dragon Gate USA weekend continues! How much fun was yesterday's match? Hopefully you learned more about DGUSA. The promotion is a unique idea that really stands out by being fresh and inventive.

Since becoming a fan, I will say they have had their head scratch moments. Some of the names of the stables don't exactly strike fear into me. I mean who is scared of "Mad Blankey". I have more fear for a pot smoking towel. But I guess that is something normal over in the japanese wrestling culture, which makes it kind of interesting here in the states.

Today's match features a talent everyone should know: Ricochet. He might be the most athletically gifted wrestler I have seen since Rob Van Dam. He is still young, but has become a main stay for the japanese Dragon Gate promotion along with Dragon Gate megastar CIMA. He's also a member of the group known as "World-1 International". I like to call them the international flip squad. And then I start humming the beginning to that song, "Game Over" ... flip flip flip.

Just watch this match and try to keep your jaw from hitting the floor. It's really cool stuff and he does it with ease.

That shooting star is sick and he makes it look like it is no more difficult than putting your socks on. Most people can't do that move when their opponent is so far out and he probably could go further.

Remember to visit the Dragon Gate USA site and pick up some merch. Support the little guy and maybe even try to expose your friends to this new fast paced product.

Tomorrow come back for the last day of the Dragon Gate USA weekend. I'll have a match with the current DGUSA champion. Johnny Gargano. He's an american wrestler from the Ohio area that has become one of the top stars in the country. He'll be on you're Monday night television before his career is over.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dragon Gate USA Weekend: AR Fox vs. Arik Cannon

It's the first weekend in March and I decided to do something special. Today through Monday I will be putting up one match from Dragon Gate USA a day. If you don't know who DGUSA is then here is your chance to learn.

I'm not one for iPPVs. I'm still from the generation that does most of my watching on a TV and not the internet. I did however go buy Apple TV because I wanted to see Dragon Gate USA after I'd heard the buzz they were generating. Ever since my first DGUSA iPPV, I've been hooked.

The quick background is this: Dragon Gate is a japanese wrestling promotion that was born from the ashes of Ultimo Dragon's Toryumon promotion/school. The promotion focuses on more atheletic high risk wrestling with the size of the wrestlers taking a dimished role. The best known talent to come out of DGUSA would be CIMA, Shingo, and Akira Tozawa. Currently they are considered the fourth largest wrestling promotion in the United States behind WWE, TNA, and RoH.

A few years back when Gabe Sapolsky was relieved of his duties with Ring of Honor, he started up the United States off shoot of Dragon Gate. The promotion looked to carve a niche into the wrestling DVD market while giving the japanese talent a place to work in the states and American talent a chance to be scouted for japanese tours. Now with the invention of internet pay per views, DGUSA has become one of the leaders in the new media trend of professional wrestling.

Today I've found a match featuring two of my favorite American stars: AR Fox and Arik Cannon. Fox has been gaining fame lately for having the best matches on the card no matter where he shows up. He is a true breakout star. Cannon is a ring vet that is the current spokesman for Pabst Blue Ribbon. Yup, he's a PBR man. That alone makes me a fan. Arik also used to wrestle in a garbage bag looking singlet when I saw him years ago in IWA:MS. He's good people.

Watch as these two smash each other's faces and pull off some crazy moves in the video below.

Now go visit the Dragon Gate USA site, buy some merch, and maybe even check out a show.

Swing back here tomorrow for day two of the Dragon Gate USA weekend as I'll feature a match with Ricochet, the man taking japan by storm.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Harlem Shake

I'm officially old. The Harlem Shake tells me so. A wise man once said to me that life is like a train, and each fad is a stop. Eventually you get bored of getting off the train, so you just watch the rest scramble as you wait for the train to keep moving. That is how I feel about the Harlem Shake.

First off, what the fuck is the Harlem Shake? I get it is some kind of flash mob dance craze inspired by Michael J. Fox from his days working in the New York city government as deputy mayor to Brad Majors from Rocky Horror. They had a lot of dancing in that movie, and the shake is Fox's twist. That's my best guess.

Every few years this stuff pops up. In my life I've had more dance crazes than I care to count. I even did line dancing once. My wife tried to show me supermaning. We even had some other crap tossed in too. Yet when did shaking it and acting like a mental patient hopped up on meth become the most entertaining thing in the world. Then again I write a blog about pro wrestling, so I don't have much to stand on.

Now I can't escape this fad because it looks like it has made its way into wrestling. A few weeks back SHINE held their iPPV and the Harlem Shake made a run-in. Even resident women's wrestling badass Awesome Kong got in on the fad. If I see the Rock and Cena do this at Mania, I might Elvis my television. You can watch the video below:

Don't we all feel special now. I know people enjoy watching these vidoes. I just don't see the entertainment part. I watched all forty seconds, it did nothing for me.

Now if you'll excuse me I have some kids to yell at until they get off my lawn before Matlock is on. Where are my pants?

Thursday, February 28, 2013


If you haven't heard yet, ESPN is covering pro wrestling. Not only does their off-shoot site,, have an article every couple of weeks by the Masked Man, but each Tuesday ESPN features a WWE top ten ranking system. It is put together by Jon Robinson.
This is what Jon's bio says about him, "He's been covering the gaming beat professionally for over 15 years, starting his career writing as "Johnny Ballgame" for GamePro magazine before becoming the founding editor of IGN Sports. Robinson co-wrote the book "The Madden Phenomenon," and his two latest works, "Rumble Road" and "WWE My Favorite Match," were released by Simon & Schuster in July 2010 and July 2012". Sounds like a pretty cool guy. 

Usually I agree with his rankings. He is pretty dead on with his criticisms and praise. He also agrees with me that the WWE Wellness policy is about as believable as that dude from "King of Queens" getting married to that hot chick with attitude. Man that show is great on mute. Almost as good as "Boy Meets World" the college years. Topanga. Yeah.

If you haven't, swing on by and check out this week's rankings and a small rant from Mr. Robinson. It is his neighborhood after all.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Punk vs. Cena

Not going to do a lot of talking today. On Monday fans witnessed maybe the greatest match in RAW history as CM Punk faced off with John Cena to see who would go to WrestleMania to face the Rock for the WWE title. It was a match two years in the making.

It all began in Las Vegas during the summer of 2011 when Punk grabbed a mic and tore the wrestling world a new ass. He then went to Chicago, beat John Cena for the title, and left through the crowd leaving fans to wonder what would happen.

The two faced off again at Summer Slam to battle in a champion vs. champion match after Cena won a newly minted WWE title when CM Punk left the company. He returned and claimed to be the real champ. Cena and Punk had another classic. Once again CM Punk won.

They weaved around each other for awhile and even had another massive match at RAW 1000 when Punk started his turn to the dark side. The match was over shadowed by CM Punk laying out the Rock. That led to Punk vs. Rock at the Rumble. If you're wondering, CM Punk won this match against Cena too.

The loss by Punk to Rock at the Rumble led to the match Monday night. The crowds knew both had a heated on and off feud. They had an emotional investment in the match. Cena had done everything in the WWE except defeat CM Punk. It was the perfect storm as all of this came together to give us, the WWE fans, a match for the ages.

That is the Cena vs. Punk feud in a nutshell. Now if you missed the epic match from Monday, here it is. Big props to the WWE for putting this match online with the commercials edited out. It's awesome!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monday Night RAW: Powerbombs and Piledrivers and Hurricanranas, Oh My!

Buckle up Dorthy, this isn’t Kansas anymore, it’s the road to WrestleMania! Lately when I have been really excited for an episode of Monday Night RAW I am usually cursing my television by 9:30. I could do the same with this episode because it had its head scratching moments. For one, this is the second Monday Night RAW in February where the WWE champion didn’t even bother to show up. And no, recap clips don’t count. Come on Dwayne, you’re better than this.

Why the WWE dusted off that old video of John Cena and JBL from when WWE went Hollywood I don’t know. I get that the Oscars were last night, but is your go to footage a few weeks before WrestleMania a video from 8 years ago. A silver lining is it did make me realize that John Cena has won 10 WWE titles in less than 8 years. CM Punk held his last reign for over a full year (Cena did have a year run, but who really talks about it. That’s sad). This means tonight’s main event is truly a battle of quality vs. quantity.

CM Punk’s two WWE title reigns are both more memorable than all 10 of John Cena’s reigns put together. The first being the infamous Vegas promo and the Chicago title win that ignited a national fever dubbed “The Summer of Punk”.  The second was a win with less fanfare but resulted in the longest title run since Hulk Hogan in the 80’s when the WWF was running wild. Both are signature achievements in the WWE history books while John’s runs as champ are mere footnotes.  He did get to make 12 rounds, so that’s special.

I could bitch about a lot but if the WWE gives me two segments like the opening and the main event, then I’ll happily shut my trap. That was probably the hottest start to Monday Night RAW in 2013. I can hate on Vince McMahon but the man is a top tier worker. Paul Heyman is no slouch either. The two are always must watch TV.

Brock and HHH stole the show with an amazing brawl and Lesnar took one hell of a hard way gash. With the WWE cutting back on blood during matches, it really stands out as something special when it happens; even if it is by accident. I think Lesnar looks scarier when his face is covered in his own blood. That dude is fierce as in if we both ended up in a jail cell together then I would just accept the fact that I’m his wife.

That opening had the place going nuts and would be hard to follow. That is why the WWE has guys like Dolph Ziggler to handle such sticky situation. Poor Dolph can’t even get a TV entrance, which is an insult cause the guy made Ryback look like a million dollars. You can tell that the months working with Punk have helped develop Ryback. He and Ziggler had a good match to get things started on RAW. I know some don’t enjoy the circus around Dolph but I think AJ and Big E add a lot to his persona. I say add more people to the mix. What is David Otunga doing?

The CM Punk promo wasn’t his best. It actually felt out of place on the show. It did serve two purposes. One is that it hyped the main event for later. That is always good, and something the WWE tends to skip over. The second is that it began his build towards believing himself a “god”. He is calling himself immortal and legendary. Who else could say that? I bet it is the same guy who is undefeated at WrestleMania. My fingers are crossed.

They inducted Donald Trump into the Hall of Fame. I think it is kind of fitting that he goes in around the same time that the WWE is doing a crazy right wing nut character. Will Trump ask Del Rio for his birth certificate? I don’t have an issue with him being the celebrity inductee. It’s in New York and Trump is a symbol of New York like rats, urine filled subways, and the Jets.

Mark Henry beats up Khali. I approve of this. It was short. It was sweet. It helped push Henry as the biggest baddest dude in the WWE. It’s simple and I like simple. Plus it keeps Khali from trying to wrestle, which benefits us all.

It looks like Jack Swagger won’t be suspended. The WWE Wellness Policy is a joke. Again I will state that this runs parallel with the McMahon life motto of, “Money over morality”. Remember kids don’t do drugs, unless you’re making us rich. In that case, roll a fatty and go make some Youtube videos with the dwarf from Lord of the Rings.

I liked the Miz TV segment. If the Dallas crowd wasn’t a total waste then that would have gotten a bigger reaction. Uncle Zeb is a great character. Jack Swagger is truly taking a back seat to him. It works because Swagger is a better second fiddle than a leader. Alberto Del Rio came off strong and held his own against Wilford Brimley (diabetes). This will pay off down the line because one of the arenas is going to have a lively crowd that will give these men the reaction they deserve. Given New York’s strong relationship with this country’s immigrant population, I would say that WrestleMania should be an interesting crowd.

They sure as hell put the duo of Zeb and Swagger on TV a lot tonight. They got a long segment, a tease on the all-important WWE app, a match with Miz, and some video promo time. I don’t mind it because this whole thing is going to take a few cracks with the bat to get established. I will say that every time I see the videos from Zeb’s basement all I can think to myself is, “Johnny Lawrence grew up and left the Cobra Kai dojo to join a militia led by Gwildor from He-Man”.

It’s Old School RAW next week. The WWE then gave us a match straight out of the 80’s with Cesaro vs. Orton. Or should I say Nikita Koloff vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Another fun match as both men work really well with each other. Cesaro does what mid-card champs do and jobs to Orton. No shame it that, just wish it didn’t happen so often.

Sheamus likes movies. He makes fun of Wade Barrett. Wade gets cocky. It is a simple build to what should be a good feud. Still confused because I thought Sheamus also was feuding with the Shield. I guess he can take on four men at once. He probably will and win. It’s not a far stretch when the tag champs beat the former #1 contenders blind folded with an arm tied behind their backs. 

The Prime Time Players are finished. I don’t care if they tag together until 2020, they are finished. You can’t take a team serious that just lost to a blind folded one armed team. That is literally losing an ass kicking contest to a one legged man. Darren Young should start filling out applications at Home Depot, his future is bleak.

R-Truth and Rhodes was a backdrop to Sandow setting up a future singles match. They are getting closer to a Rhodes Scholars reunion. The announcers try to insinuate that Rhodes and Sandow are more than friends. Billy and Chuck are jealous. It should be a good low-card tag feud for both teams. Not much more I can say about this.

Dean Ambrose is clearly the breakout star of the Shield. Seth Rollins is getting better every week, and this was clearly his best promo, but Ambrose has it all. In baseball they would call him a five tool prospect. It would seem the WWE is setting up another WWE All Stars vs. The Shield match for WrestleMania. I think Orton is on that team. I would even say Chris Jericho too. Maybe Ryback is the third. All in all I am enjoying their run so far, but it could get stale unless The Shield moves beyond flavor-of-the-month six man tags.

The Miz wrestled Jack Swagger. They had a good match. Both men can bring it in the ring. Swagger and Colter are starting to gain momentum with the fans. The WWE again tries to bait the right wing media by name dropping Ann Coulter. This match established how deadly the Patriot Lock is as a finisher. The next few weeks should be interesting. I don’t see Swagger losing much going into Mania. He needs to look almost unbeatable.

John Cena did a promo. He now cuts a promo the way a 5 year old tries to tell a story. It is usually all over the place with tons of misplaced energy. His parents shouldn’t let him have sugar so late on a school night. At least he mentioned his match coming up unlike some current WWE champions had forgotten to do two weeks ago. (7 minutes without mentioning the Elimination Chamber, come on Dwayne!)

If John Cena and CM Punk want to put on matches like that then screw the Rock. He can stay home for WrestleMania. That was probably the best match Monday Night RAW has seen since Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker in a ladder match. I would pay to see them wrestle one more time. It is that damn good. The last ten minutes of the match was as close to perfect as I’ve seen.

I liked that they showed Cena pulling out new tricks to beat Punk. At first Punk would counter his usual move set like the double shoulder tackle. He even countered the STFU. That is when the first banned move came into play. Always fun to watch the announcers squirm when somebody uses a crippler crossface. Chris Benoit would have been proud. John Cena also debuts his Powerbomb, and I hope he keeps it in his arsenal. It looked really good.

Then CM Punk pulls his own banned move and does the Piledriver 80’s style. Word is Vince McMahon blew his top when that happened because the move has been outlawed for years. Goes to show how much Punk and Cena not only trust each other, but understand their value in the company. It’s not like they’re going to get suspended. The crowd lost it for such a basic maneuver. It is dangerous, and can cripple, but this match was the kind of match where you push the line a bit. Kudos to both men for going beyond the limit.

Again the end was classic. It’ll be hard for any Mania match to top that last ten minutes. They told an epic story that neither man’s best was going to be enough to beat the other. They went at it like Apollo and Balboa by trading haymaker type move after haymaker type move. They should issue this match at wrestling schools as a requirement for graduation.

You can criticize Cena’s hurricanrana all you want. It was sloppy, but when a man his size does that move, it is impressive just to see it. Also he should thank Punk for protecting him during the move as he kept Cena from getting lawn darted in the middle of the ring. With that performance, John Cena deserves to be going to WrestleMania; I hope the Rock remembers to show up too.

There were some holes in this week’s episode but the good by far outweighed the bad. I’ll take that every single week with a smile on my face. I’m geeked to watch Main Event and Smackdown this week. I can’t wait for next Monday.

I want to know where CM Punk is going from here. I want more of Brock vs. HHH. I want to see how Uncle Zeb and Jack Swagger continue to grow. I want to find out what the Shield will do next, and if Orton will pay for his RKO. I also want the WWE champion to appear. That is a lot of wants.
Until next week, you can't always get what you want but if you try sometimes, well you might find you get what you need. This week I wanted the Rock, the Undertaker, and Jack Swagger suspended. I must have needed CM Punk vs. John Cena. Needs are always better than wants.

Plus I got to make three different Uncle Zeb look-a-like jokes. Dude must make a killing at the carnival running the mustache rides. And I’m out…

Monday, February 25, 2013

Armchair Booker: Pot & Politics

It’s Monday! That means a new WWE Monday Night RAW, and answers to the biggest questions of the week. Last Wednesday morning Jack Swagger was busted for pot possession in Mississippi, putting his World title shot at WrestleMania in jeopardy. This tossed a huge wrench into the plans of the WWE as they try to keep a public image that stands firm against drugs. They also have to weigh that against the instant media coverage Swagger’s new character has garnered them. It’s a sticky situation for any creative staff.
When I was booking I never had to deal with drug busts but I had my share of last second roadblocks. An instance I can think of is when I first started with the MMWA in northern Michigan. We were days away from the 1 year anniversary show.  One of the big matches being promoted was “The Future” Chris Sabin vs. Jerry Lynn. It was going to be the match we used to sell DVDs and help out our television product. I mean the two could have a five star match in wheelchairs.
Then I got a call on Friday morning from Chris that the night before he had wrestled for Ring of Honor. He got an eye injury that not only split open his eyebrow but almost closed the eye completely. It was a nasty injury and it happened only 48 hours before our event. Luckily he didn’t have a concussion, but he wasn’t at full strength.
At first he said he could try to gut it out, but I didn’t want to put him in any danger as he was just getting in with TNA and ROH. I wasn’t going to be the booker that cost him his career because I strong armed him into wrestling with a bad eye. Just try to run around your house with an eye patch on, now imagine doing it in a 16 foot ring with one of the best athletes in the business. Not exactly the safest environment. We had to call an audible.
We ended up shuffling the card and making Jerry Lynn’s opponent the MMWA champion Nate Webb. The two are really good friends and always have fun matches (usually with dancing). We put Sabin and me in Webb’s corner as I was doing an onscreen heel sports agent character that represented Sabin, and now had just signed Webb. During the match Nate ended up breaking his pinkie into what looked like an “L”. The match was cursed but it still came across great on camera.
We played up the angle that Lynn and Webb respected each other as the match went on. In the end Sabin and I jumped Jerry Lynn to save Nate’s title. Webb got angry that we would do such a thing and got in between us. This lead to an attempted attack on Nate, but soon he and Lynn teamed up to clean house. Nate became an instant face, and we put the ball in motion for a Lynn/Webb against Sabin/??? match in the future. It turned lemons into lemonade for the MMWA.
Now the WWE is in a similar situation. They need to make some serious brownies out of Swagger’s weed bust. This is how I would do it.
The Jack Swagger character isn’t relying on Jack Swagger. That is the beauty of it. He actually is the hammer for Uncle Zeb, who didn’t violate any wellness policy. In the WWE Wellness policy it states that Swagger could be fired, but since it is a first time offense then he should receive a 30 day suspension. I would suspend him on Monday night.
He and Zeb would come to the ring and talk about how a “real American” like Jack Swagger is hounded by the government but millions of illegals are free to take our jobs, our healthcare, and our education. Zeb says that Swagger will be suspended for 30 days because he is an honest man that does the right thing and accepts his punishment unlike people like Alberto Del Rio, who should deport themselves.
Swagger then leaves the ring to begin his 30 days as Zeb turns his attention towards Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, and Fox News. I for one wouldn’t break character. I get why the WWE did the now famous green screen promo, but I’m not one to knock down the fourth wall. Let Zeb call all of them out for anything and everything. Say they don’t support “real Americans” who speak the truth without sugar coating it. If the news outlets bite then it is free pub. It shouldn’t be the focus of the feud, but an off shoot to generate buzz.
Each week have more promos from Zeb and interaction in the ring with Alberto Del Rio. Zeb can do commentary during Del Rio’s matches to push the storyline. Let him really get into it with ADR, and even do an in ring debate one week. The tension the two can generate from just being near each other should help build the hatred for Zeb and the want by audience to see him get his.
Eventually it ramps up into Zeb getting Del Rio hot and bothered to the point that he wants to knock Zeb’s lights out. That leads to Del Rio’s buddy Ricardo Rodriguez trying to fight Zeb and challenging him to a match on Smackdown. Zeb agrees, but only if Del Rio is banned from ring area. He can make comments about not trusting the two and even toss in a couple of inflammatory remarks.
The match between Zeb and RR is promoted for the March 29th edition of Smackdown. The two hype it with promos through the night. I even would do a segment where Del Rio gives Ricardo that “win one for the Gipper” speech in the backstage area where he’ll watch the match.
During the main event it is back and forth with Ricardo getting the upper hand (as he should against an elderly man). Shortly into the match Jack Swagger comes from the back as the two beat up Ricardo in the ring including slapping on the ankle lock. Alberto Del Rio comes to make the save but the damage is done. The announcers play up the fact that Swagger’s 30 days ended on Tuesday.
The next Monday on RAW both Swagger and Zeb are back in full action with a match against Sin Cara. Swagger gets the dominant win and tosses Sin Cara from the ring like a piece of trash. The two cut a mean promo about this Sunday at WrestleMania and their quest to save this country. Del Rio comes on the screen standing next to Ricardo, who is in a walking boot. They are in Swagger’s locker room and say they are so happy that Swagger is back that they wanted to throw him a fiesta. The two trash Swagger’s locker room and really do a number on the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. I would even burn the flag as it hangs on the wall. Let that be the closing shot before commercial.
On Friday’s Smackdown do a pick your poison match where Swagger picks Del Rio’s opponent and vice versa. Zeb picks the Big Show to face Del Rio. It is a good one off match with the biggest man in the WWE plus it has some heat from their recent feud. Del Rio picks Rey Mysterio to face Swagger. He is a big name and it fits with the anti-immigration theme.
Swagger bests Mysterio with some underhanded tactics by Zeb in the first hour main event. In the closing match of the night Del Rio and Big Show wrestle until Del Rio is about to win. Then Swagger and Zeb come down to beat Alberto down. Ricardo tries to get involved but he gets crushed by Swagger.
If they could pull it off I would do a spot where Swagger grabs ADR’s ankle and drags him up a turnbuckle. He could do a top rope ankle lock that has ADR swinging upside down. As he swings the Big Show comes over and delivers a KO punch that flattens ADR. It all goes to black with Swagger and Zeb standing over Del Rio with the World title in hand.
At WrestleMania both men have a tight back and forth matchup. Zeb and Ricardo on the outside doing their thing with Zeb constantly getting involved to give Swagger the upper hand. Eventually Zeb and Ricardo are in the ring with Ricardo still wearing the walking boot. He delivers a big kick to the groin with the boot that sends Zeb to his knees and out of the ring. The crowd will pop for that spot.
Swagger goes after Ricardo as he quickly powders out of the ring. Swagger is against the ropes as he grabs Ricardo by the collar to try and drag him back in. This is where Del Rio school boys Swagger for the three count. Jack and Zeb lose it by bashing Del Rio including a Swagger bomb through the Spanish announce table after the match.
Then Zeb gets on the mic and says America is the land of opportunity. He invites Dolph Ziggler to come down as Swagger drags Del Rio into the ring for an ankle lock. Zeb can say that it might not be Swagger who wins the title but a full red blooded American is walking out of WrestleMania as champ.
Dolph comes to the ring to cash in the Money In The Bank briefcase. Swagger keeps the ankle lock on as Zeb continues to taunt Del Rio. When the bell rings for Dolph the two leave the ring and Ziggler quickly covers Del Rio but only for a two count. Dolph can’t believe it. Del Rio gets some fire as he hobbles on one leg. In a few minutes it is clear that Del Rio is injured and Dolph eventually is too much for the champ. He gets the three count on Del Rio, but only after it is clear that Del Rio is far from 100%.
Now Dolph is the World champ, and Del Rio has an even bigger issue with Swagger without putting the title on the guy who got popped for pot. Alberto can feud with Swagger for a few months as Dolph gets his reign as World champion established against challengers like Randy Orton and Sheamus. Eventually Del Rio overcomes Swagger as the storyline comes full circle with Del Rio finally getting his rematch at SummerSlam against Dolph Ziggler. That match, and feud, is a story for another time.
That is how I would book the Swagger angle with the handicap of a 30 day suspension. It isn’t ideal because you always want a talent on screen but with a talker like Zeb that can be worked around. I believe the theme of the feud is hot enough to really build interest. Immigration is a huge issue in this country and has supporters on both sides. That alone would be enough to keep Del Rio and Swagger strong going into Mania.
I wouldn’t put the title on Swagger because I’m not a supporter of rewarding guys who do stupid things like get suspended. That doesn’t mean you can’t make money with him. He and Del Rio could make some big money in a non-title feud that helps put Alberto over. The Swagger and Zeb characters have a lot of run in them. They can have feuds with numerous talents over the next year. You just don’t make him a main guy until you’re sure he won’t find himself with a second strike.
I’m excited to see how the WWE handles things. It would seem right now that they are more concerned with the buzz being generated by the character than with the actual feud. I hope that doesn’t become the focal point of this as Swagger and Del Rio both deserve more respect than being the side note of the situation. I guess we’ll know a lot more by tonight.
Check back tomorrow for the RAW review as big things are brewing for tonight. The Undertaker is back. John Cena will face CM Punk. Plus Vince McMahon wants to fight Paul Heyman. That is a packed show without the Swagger and Del Rio angle. Now I just wonder if The Rock will show up or does he have a hangover from the Oscars. I mean he had to be drinking, it’s not like he was winning anything.  Until tomorrow, remember the McMahon life motto, “Money over morality”.