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?