Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Super Cena… By Helen Robinson

I'm sure some of you were wondering when this would come about. A column about one of my favorite wrestlers of all time. Love or hate John Cena, you have to respect him. His work ethic is what every boss in the world wishes his staff had. He works hard and reaps the rewards. Gone are the days where we could just watch wrestling and enjoy it. Now we over think it, analyze the arse out of it and are far more critical of its characters. We forget at times that they are indeed characters played by extremely talented individuals. I have read recently from fans, and pro wrestlers some dreadful personal verbal attacks (mostly I believe from Nash and former stars that for one reason or another didn’t continue with their careers in pro wrestling), not only regarding Cena, but many other wrestling legends. Sure, we all have our favorites and wrestlers we dislike; but, who they are on screen is a persona cleverly made by a creative team. It disappoints me at times that some people cannot differentiate between the character and the person.

The attitude era will never return, WWE now have to cater for a younger audience, and politics as we've learnt in recent times play a big part in decision making. We need to accept that those days are over and move on. I'm under no illusion as a fan that the primary goal for WWE and Vince is to make money, as much money as possible. Cena is a massive draw for the younger generation (and the slightly older like myself) and WWE are right to capitalize on that. He sells, fact. I admire how hard he has worked to further his career and the work he does on his own time for charity is to be applauded. A good role model for the younger generation, his character always stands up for what he believes in, treats others with respect and is humbled by his fans. The real love he has for the industry is clear for all to see.

I have been a Cena fan from the beginning, and have seen all his gimmicks, catch phrases and ring gear. Chaingang Soldier, Dr of Thuganomics, rapper, baby face, Super Cena, hustle, loyalty, respect, rising above the hate, I've seen it all. I would be lying if I said I've enjoyed EVERY minute of it. It's always difficult being a Cena fan, he never loses, he can’t wrestle etc etc. I have supported Cena for some years, and he has always attracted criticism from the slightly older generation. This year saw him lose the biggest match of his career. He was always going to lose to the most electrifying man in sports entertainment, but it still came as a massive disappointment. On Raw the night after WM28 Cena was booed louder than ever. Emotion was running high and I think he struggled to even deliver his promo. Then Lesnar came out and crucified him even more, things were not looking good for The Champ. Since April 1st he has worked hard to build his character back up. His fight with Lesnar was great. He got the crap beaten out of him, yet still prevailed. I said after WM28 he needed to do something big to win the WWE Universe back over. Turning Big Johnny into super heel was his cue for action. He played the part great and taking back WWE from Laurinaitis and Lesnar certainly didn’t harm his plight for popularity. It did however seemingly make true the fact that Super Cena never loses the big one, and again attracted some criticism. At Raw 1000 The Rock ran down to the ring to Cena’s aid when Show was attacking him, another clever move by WWE Creative. The feud with Big Show is absurd and I’m hoping this is Shows last big push before leaving WWE. Triple threat hell at SummerSlam was awful too! I was glad the championship didn’t change hands is such a ridiculous match, but was also disappointed not to see The Champ with the belt again. Last week on Raw, Cena cut an epic promo! Talking about his loyal fans and respect. It was wonderful for him and really put him over. I’m hoping for lots of one on one Cena / Punk action. They are both great wrestlers and I’m certain Cena will work hard to prepare. I love the pro wrestling industry and I get a lot of stick for supporting Cena, but I stand by my man!

I am inclined to agree with fellow fans that not all Cena's matches are of the best quality, and some storylines are totally absurd. However, we don't need to look back all that far to find some matches critics forgot! Cena has had some epic matches, brutal matches and damn right crazy matches. He is a beast of a man, always performs and gives 100% every match he has. His match at Royal Rumble 2007 with Umaga was one of the best I’ve seen, the other and most brutal I remember seeing was the first blood match with Angle. If you have never seen these matches, look that shit up!

I have got high hopes for Cena this year. I believe he will face The Rock again at Royal Rumble, and I believe he will win. I have always said Cena will take away the streak, this seems unlikely now, but a girls got to hope!

It’s not always easy being John Cena, constant pressure, training, travelling and some of the time carrying the company on his shoulders. When raining down the criticism we should remember that he does as he is told. It’s his job, he does it excellently and always gives 100%, that much at least can never be denied!

Thanks for reading. As always you can follow me on Twitter @helenrobinson82

Monday, 27 August 2012

What’s The Deal With The Divas? By Helen Robinson

The divas matches have long since been the toilet break of WWE. You know we all do it, as soon as ‘the following will be a divas match’ is announced it’s time to either go to the toilet or make a sandwich. The matches are more often than not over quicker than sex with a premature ejaculator and contain no viable wrestling. Gone are the days of Lita, Chyna and Mickie James, women that could actually put on a show worth watching. And in come the days of Kelly Kelly, Layla and Alicia Fox. I can’t remember the last time I was the slightest bit interested in a divas bout for glory. The AJ storyline I like, however, there is little to no good wrestling involved. Are there any divas worth a mach and not just a storyline?

Natalya and Beth Phoenix are the only two viable wrestlers on the roster. Yes the other ladies are knock out gorgeous and look good to teenage boys heading towards puberty, however, as far as I’m concerned, none have any talent in the ring. Natalya and Beth are more than capable of putting on a good show, hard working, tough women who are not afraid to go the duration and get thrown about. It seems of late they have been put on the back burner whilst the other divas get some undeserved air time.

Wrestlemania saw Beth and Eve get beaten by Kelly Kelly and some tiny little woman I’ve never even heard of (she is not famous in the least in the UK) in one of the most ridiculous matches of the year. In reality, K2 and the other one would not have stood a chance! I watched in amazement as Beth picked up Maria and raised her above her head. A massive show of power! Both Eve and Beth are strong, well built women. I’ve seen more muscle on a butcher’s knife than K2 and Maria put together. Wrestlemania saw the start of Beth and Natalya seemingly becoming jobbers.
Beth lost the divas championship to Layla (as if this would EVER happen!) and several matches after that. Natalya was attacked by AJ and to my recollection the two together have not won a tag team match in a while. Such a shame. WWE is not pornography, its wrestling! They need to stop concentrating on how good people look and more on how good they can perform in the ring. Bring back the Divas of Doom. There are no viable divas that could beat them.

I don’t even want to think about the beach battle royal and Queen Diva Vickie! I feel sorry for Vickie. I read an article recently in which she said she wasn’t keen on being on screen full time, but after Vince publicly vowed to financially keep her after Eddie’s death, felt indebted to the company. Playing such an unlikable character she said she sometimes struggles with all the hate from the fans, but shrugs it off and carries on. She has great potential and used correctly could be excellent to add character to the divas division again.

And let’s not forget that this week it was reported that allegedly Kharma was released from WWE for being too fat?? Is this the message we need to be sending to the next generation?

I have no idea what could be done to revamp the divas division. What I will say is it was awesome to see Lita on Raw1000 and a good starting point as she got a great reception. She would make an excellent manager for an upcoming star. I like AJ a lot; she is however, not a very good wrestler! It’s all about Beth and Natalya for me. Given the right push they could massively improve the prospects of the divas division. Maybe then I’ll watch the fights rather than making a toilet break! TNA is where the diva action is at (minus ‘Clare’ the porn star). I have found myself favouring TNA a lot lately. The women there actually wrestle; they last more than 2 minutes and actually beat the crap out of each other!

Until next time folks, adios!

Follow me on Twitter @helenrobinson82

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Fight Club: Pro - International Tekkers 2012, Review by Derrie Catton

(Photo credit to John Searle)

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There was a buzz around Fight Club: PRO on Friday the 24th of August. The tweeters got to tweeting, and the facebookers did some facebooking, and the general consensus was that International Tekkers had the potential to be the “biggest” event they had ever presented. With a Davey Richards here and a Johnny Gargano there, the fans were inclined to believe the hype, but were they left disappointed or with their expectations exceeded?

Jonathan Gresham vs. Johnny Gargano - DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Championship Match

Two Jon Gs came together to make it impossible for me to refer to them by anything but their surnames. Gresham is always a perennial favourite in what has been dubbed his spiritual UK home. Gargano on the other hand hails from Dragon Gate USA, a company which he finds his likeness plastered all over due to the matching championship in his possession. Each brings a reputation to the table and said reputations are placed on the line as this match is for the Open the Freedom Gate Championship. Quite a mouthful, but also quite an honour to head a promotion that is growing more and more popular, a fact that would hopefully ensure a match in which each competitor brings their best.

Gresham received the expected ovation and a surname chant, but Gargano received a mirroring treatment which confirmed that many DGUSA fans had been brought to the FCP that night. As the two shook hands, the crowd showed excitement and anticipation by loudly banging on the fence that surrounds the Fight Club: Pro ring. The two competitors began by showing off their technical attributes, each performing expert holds and counter holds in the early going. Fans quickly found it easy to get caught up in the technically sound efforts which were reminiscent of World of Sport Wrestling at its best. Each successful effort was met with applause and whenever the two came apart, the fans encouraged them to square off again with plenty of noise. Holds, transitions and reversals grew more clever and interesting before the pair got more physical. The crowd moved up a level and Gresham followed suit, showing the best of his style; A dropsault, a fake dive to the outside, a top rope moonsault to the floor. Gargano also gave his shine, supermanning Gresham into a turnbuckle before locking in an intricate submission that impressed all. The two then displayed more outstanding technicality with their countering before Gresham could match Gargano’s submission. He followed with creative maneuvers that are always a welcome sight, and brought perfect execution to unique approaches. Gargano did regain his control however with dives to the outside and a fantastic slingshot spear, from the apron and through the ropes onto Gresham. There were now nearfalls a plenty, each kick out surprising the crowd and each following move amazing them. After a fantastic and lengthy pin exchange, the pair showed they could trade strong blows before their latest string of moves garnered a well-deserved ‘this is awesome’ chant. More great sequences developed before Gresham managed his best offence with a 450, which he quickly transitioned into a submission, but Gargano would earn his victory with a superkick and two full nelsons into reverse STO's.

It was a top notch match that set an outstanding precedent for the night ahead. Gargano put in a champion’s performance, and left no one doubting why he was the atop the DGUSA mountain. Gresham however still looked strong inspite of the loss, having turned in one of his finest performances in the FCP arena. As the pair shook hands post match there was great applause, a buzz on whether the match topped ‘FCP best matches’ lists, and there was a great adoration for both men’s performance and ability.

A little context leading into the next bout– the night actually started with The Rockstar Spud, Dave Williams and Dan Ryder hitting the ring. Spud displayed his famous theatrics on his ring entrance before gaining the mic and expertly operating with the crowd. He chastised the crowd for banging the cage which ignited an incredible response from those gathered, reaching great volumes to spite the Baby Jesus of British Wrestling. A simple comment of refusing to speak while they hit the fence ignited an incredible response from the audience who made Spud eat his words with a lengthy cage banging session. Spud continued to antagonise the crowd with his wit so that every fan there could enjoy the interaction, whether it be by taking part or just watching. Finally Spud got to business and the business was eliminating one of his crew, and when Dave Williams failed to have a ‘smoking hot wife’ he was punished for his sins and made to apologise on his knees before receiving a beatdown from Ryder. It was this that summoned Clint Margera to the ring, siding with the fans on complaining about Ryder and Spud. before calling for a match.

Dan Ryder vs. Clint Margera – Falls Count Anywhere Match

The match is made all the more interesting by the pair’s history, which saw them entangled in a bitter rivalry that culminated in Margera’s call for a hardcore match which would impress the FCP fans and take Ryder out of commission for several months. Now they go at it again with expectations of topping themselves. The fans disdain for Ryder makes him a great figure for the threat of violence, while Margera’s hardcore history ensures a lot of violent content. Fans look to this match with hopes of seeing Margera break Ryder once more and in more impressive fashion.

Ryder uses his trademark technique of soaking fans with the contents of his water bottle upon his entrance, to which he is met with a resounding splashback from a pocket of fans. Ryder then retreats to the back and returns with jugs of water which one assumes he needs to douse the heat that the crowd has for him. His display of chasing down the culprits and drenching them is an entertaining one before he hits the ring. Margera then meets with great ovation, and no sooner has hit the ring before he clotheslines Margera to the outside. The two collide with no hesitation, beating each of fences, walls and between the fans gathered around the arena. As the two moved to the bar area, most fans rushed to get a view of the hardcore display which had moved from ringside. Margera made the most of his new locale, bouncing Ryder off the merch stand and launching himself from the top of a stairway. In time the two head back to the ring, allowing fans to reclaim their original positions, but the pair continued to an aptly placed stage area which Margera then saw himself backdropped off of. The word to describe the aftermath hasn’t been invented yet, ‘painful’ can only provide an idea. While many feared it to be the end of the match, Margera did manage to reach the ring again with Ryder and collect toys such as chairs, chairs wrapped in barbed wire, and a wooden board. As fans call for blood the pair each experienced tough times. Margera was brought down forcefully onto his barbed wire chair, while Ryder received a death valley driver from the top rope and through an impromptu table. In a creative display, Margera wedged two chairs together then lay them on their side and looked set to drop an interfering Rockstar Spud on them, before a big unknown man made an appearance and brutally powerbombed Margera onto the chairs that had no give in them. That was enough to end the match.

One has to appreciate everything that Margera goes through for the fans of Fight Club: Pro. His endurance of punishment is unparalleled and has established him as, and I mean this in the nicest way, a lunatic. The man received a great ovation as he was helped from the ring. Ryder leaves with the great lump of hate he has earned, and with a new and fearsome member to his faction with the Rockstar Spud. This leaves questions and many avenues for the future of the trio which is a solid hook to keep fans interested when they return to FCP.

Trent Seven vs. Davey Richards

Speaking of rematches. Speaking of all times bests. Seven/Richards numero uno was a prime example of FCP’s capabilities to bring in a highly regarded star and stick five stars on the quality of a match. Richards previously entered The Planet roughly a year ago as the ROH champion and is arguably the biggest star to ever grace their ring. Seven, who had little trouble holding up his British strong style as the then FCP champion, came up short in his shot at the ROH championship, but left the match with a lot of respect from the audience. The mere thought of the two colliding again is exciting, and if Fight club: PRO makes like a good postman and delivers as usual, another instant classic was to follow.

Holding the accolade of greatest theme song to grace The Planet, Seven receives a great reception upon his entrance. Richards manages to pull a good reception himself, seemingly having gained the support of the DGUSA fans. As two should when they have already tested each other, the two quickly collided with strikes in the early going. What makes a strong impression is Richard’s presence, an animalistic one to match his American Wolf nickname. The Wolf showed his expertise with his kicks and then his creative submission holds. The most impressive thing about Richards is his mindset when wrestling, and how he transitions from move to move, never letting up on his opponent and never wasting a moment. Seven makes his comeback and the pair trade stiff for stiff much to the crowd’s joy and disbelief as chop and kick sounds echo around the venue. It took a superplex being reversed into a dead lift suplex by Seven to ignite the crowd’s second ‘this is awesome’ chant of the night. Seven started to show his strength, and the two can reeled off great efforts to hit nearfalls. The intensity increased as Seven took a lead, demonstrating his signature piledriver and frogsplash before he locked in a cloverleaf of his own. Amidst another ‘this is awesome’ chant, the crowd erupted with shock and cheers as the former Ring of Honour champion was made to tap out.

Richards is a topflight superstar and Seven showed he can still hand with those on the topflight. Davey Richards has a case for being Fight Club: PRO’s greatest import, and impresses more with the fact that he brings his A-game to a little night club in Wolverhampton. Seven has shown that is one of top home talents and is still a don in FCP, the Super Don as some like to say. The two presented the expected classic and after drawing it one a piece they now ignite excitement that they may clash again, and everyone and their dog should come down to see Richards/Seven III.

MK McKinnan vs. Prince Devitt – Fight Club Pro Championship Match

Accolades speak volumes and Devitt’s list of accolades is very impressive. He holds title after title in country after country and is highly regarded in professional wrestling. McKinnan on the other hand is the newly crowned Fight Club: PRO champion, fresh off a victory against Eddie Edwards, and holding this promotion squarely on his shoulders, leaving him with much to prove in his first title defence. Knocking off the likes of Devitt does wonders for a title reign, but the Prince surely isn’t one to take it lying down. This is your main event.

The crowd is tired from an astounding show but are able to pick up their noise for the entrance of the FCP champion. Devitt, with respect from the DGUSA fans and even some of the FCP alumni, managed to edge the cheers, and what began was a duelling of chants in support of those gathered. The crowd has managed to get amped for their last match. The two felt each other out with technicality, slowly building to what would surely be a raging climax. The two bounced of each other very well, each showing themselves as slick technicians and giving fairly impressive display in the early going. Devitt took the early shine, flipping to the outside and then getting all of McKinnan’s face with a dropkick. A chopping session quickly brought red to Mckinnan’s chest but that was enough to ignite a flurry from McKinnan which did him well until Devitt was able to knock him from the top turnbuckle and into a trainwreck. Devitt manages to exude the fact that he is something special in all that he brings to the ring and he looked stronger than The Future, MK McKinnan. Then, a dominating ‘let’s go Future’ chant wakes him, and ignites another flurry of signature kicks, before Devitt once again gets the last word. Fans were kicking the fence into extinction with excitement as the pair turned out the many weapons in their arsenal. A diving footstomp for Devitt, a cannonball to the outside for McKinnan, a lift into inverted DDT for Devitt, a shining wizard for McKinnan. Nearfalls all round. With minutes left on the time limit, Devitt hit a match finishing move which saw McKinnan knocked out the ring, saving him from what would have surely been a three count. Then McKinnan made his last comeback before the two exchanged pins and strikes as the seconds ticked out to a time limit draw.

There was disappointment in the lack of finality to the main event, and some dismay over the lack of a convincing title defence. McKinnan had put in a showing of good ability but his lack of offence in the bout made him seem almost lucky to hold onto the title. Devitt had shown his strong talent, and was appreciated despite coming up short. As he took to the mic to give props to his opponent, many gave respect to McKinnan for outlasting an opponent of such calibre for thirty minutes. Applause was given as the two departed, wrapping up the event.

This is the part where I say FCP put on a great show for great value and that you’re an idiot if you don’t go. What I’ve done is skipped that while subtly still saying it, but this time I have something else to say. It’s going to be in debate, but Fight Club: PRO’s International Tekkers may have been the best event they have delivered, thanks to the roster and their performance. And that was without the great trials and tribulation of Chris Brookes. That was without a fun and fiery performance from the Hunter Brothers. That was even without the impressive monster that is Dave Mastiff. Fight Club: PRO has so much to offer, and they cram everything they can into four matches with the simple intention of bringing the best show they can. Their cup runneth over and next month on the 29th of September, they offer up their third anniversary which is sure to be a spectacle. Their motto is ‘Train. Fight. Win.’ but the true motto is ‘Buy Tickets. Watch FCP. Win.’ Don’t miss it.

You can find Fight Club: PRO on both Facebook and Twitter for updates regarding their next show.

For a great podcast that covers indy news both from the UK & US check out http://theindycorner.podbean.com Recently the show has featured interviews with Johnny Gargano, Davey Richards & Prince Devitt. The show is also on Itunes - just search for The Indy Corner, there you can leave the show a review and a rating.

Jon Jones & the Death of UFC 151 By Shaun Nichols

On September 1st Jon Jones was scheduled to defend his Light Heavyweight title against Dan Henderson, however Henderson was forced to pull out of the fight due to injury. Determined to keep the PPV alive, Dana White called Chael Sonnen to see if he would be willing to take the fight with basically no notice.

Chael Sonnen had moved up weight classes after losing twice to Anderson Silva, and already started a twitter war with Jones which basically involved him mocking him over his DUI conviction. Jones had responded that he would not fight Sonnen, though that wasn't the only thing he had said in the last few days. Jones had recently remarked that he had no interest in defending his title for a second time against Lyoto Machida saying that Machida was a difficult fighter but it would not be a very marketable fight and he would rather fight against fighters that would be bigger PPV draws. In essence fighting Machida was a big risk for a small reward.

Sonnen who is arguably the best fighter in UFC in actually hyping up a fight agreed to take the fight against Jones without actually having a training camp. Jones who of course had basically been through a full training camp so was at his peak from a training point declined the fight and basically forced the cancellation of UFC 151.
His trainer Greg Jackson argued that it would be unfair for Jones to defend his title against an opponent that he had not trained for with hardly any notice. Dana White had a slightly different view labelling Jackson a 'fucking sport killer', Sonnen also stated that this was the first time he was aware that an healthy main event champion had refused a fight. He then suggested Jones was a bully who wanted to pick his opponents while he was a stand up guy who would fight anyone who he was asked to.

It's pretty curious to try and work out why Jon Jones's camp would actually refuse the Sonnen fight if you actually try and take in the bigger picture. Jones's argument as to why he didn't want to fight Machida was that it was not a fight that the fans would want to see, Sonnen just through his ability to promote a fight would have given what Jones seems adamant he needs which is a big pay day.

Not only that if you were to look at a Jon Jones vs Chael Sonnen then even if both fighters had the same preparation time then most MMA fans would expect to see Jon Jones be victorious. Yet if he would have taken the fight he would have the advantage of having the training camp so you would think that he would be more likely to win the fight now then if they both had the 90 days preparation.

Leaving Chael Sonnen to one side, by taking the fight Jones would have been able to strengthen his hand when negotiating in the future with UFC. Now he finds himself in a position where he has not only annoyed Dana White but has opened himself to all kinds of accusations, he's going to have an hell of a time calling himself a fighting champion now.

Worse still his advisors will have to accept, that cancelling the fight and as a result forcing the cancellation of the actual show as done considerable damage to his image and brand. After agreeing a deal with Nike to launch a new range of merchandise this seems a particularly bizarre time to then something that will affect his popularity with fans especially when he wasn't particularly connecting with the UFC fanbase as well as many people expected. The Nike deal may still be successful, but if the aim was to turn him into something akin to MMA version of Tiger Woods were everyone wants to be associated with you then this is not the way to act.

UFC and the PPV cable companies have to be greatly frustrated by Jones's refusal to take the fight, the UFC 151 was expected to be one of the bigger shows of the summer. As well as losing the PPV income which effects both UFC and the cable companies, but UFC will also have to take the hit by refunding ticket sales which including casino buys was likely over $2 million. Fans who were going to attend the show would have paid for flights, hotels etc and of course may not get their money back and not only will they not see the show they thought they were going to get but they are not going to see a show at all.

There is of course another group of people that are affected and that is the other fighters who were due to fight at the Las Vegas show. A lot of the fighters who fight on UFC shows especially on the prelims may be fighting for a few thousand dollars and to miss a payday is going to be something that will hit some fighters particularly hard. The fights are all likely to be arranged but in some cases it will take months for some fights to find a new card to appear on. As an example of that the Dennis Hallman vs Thiago Tavares fight is now scheduled to take place on the January 5th 2013, now if the fight had taken place as planned it's likely that both men would have had another fight by January or close to fighting again. That does not take into account the cost of having to arrange an additional training camps which some fighters certainly could do without having to try and cover that cost. Such things do not have to concern Jon Jones but a case could be made that he should remember those who are not in his position.

Jon Jones will defend his Light Heavyweight title on September 22nd, though it will not be against either Chael Sonnen or Lyoto Machida. Machida was offered the fight but declined stating that it was too soon after his fight with Ryan Bader on August 4th which all things taken into account is probably fair enough. Instead Jon Jones will defend against Vitor Belfort which doesn't seem to be the most appealing of title defences, Belfort has spent most of his time recently fighting at Middleweight and was last seen defeating Anthony Johnson in a catchweight fight back in January. That fight is likely going to do considerably worse at the box office than a title defence against either Machida or especially Sonnen. Which makes you wonder why for someone who is so concerned about his pay has decided on this action.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

SouthSide Wrestling Entertainment Presents Retribution (18/8/12) By Adam Joyce

Last weekend Southside Wrestling did their first weekender. This may be lost on some people the enormity behind this but it is a sign that the company is really trying to push itself as the amount of money and effort that goes into promoting one show is a massive task. To do that for two shows so close together takes a lot of commitment to be successful. With some rather disparaging comments being passed between the Southside management and certain House of Pain roster members via social media Retribution and Supremacy were certainly looking like they had a lot on the line at them going in with House of Pain representatives in positions to claim all the gold over the course of the weekend. I made it down to Retribution 3, the first of the two shows, to see how it would work out for them.

Unfortunately I got stuck in traffic and missed the first match that featured Gresham getting the win over Robbie X. From what I’ve seen of these guys in the past this was probably a solid match and would like to track down a copy at some point to see how well it went. This marks another loss for Robbie X and you have got to wonder where Southside are going with this. Robbie is a great talent but is still quite young so regardless of the payoff to this streak there is still time for him to get past it. Hopefully though there will be some sort of rub in it for him at the end of the angle.

The second match featured LJ Heron taking on Ego Dragon. While the result was mildly obvious due to the big grudge match coming up at the next Huntingdon show LJ put up a great fight. With a few near falls really sucking in the crowd to believe that he might just pull the match off. The result however was academic as Ego Dragon claimed the win after a series of stiff kicks. It doesn’t help that LJ is not that established but that’s something that takes time to change so we’ll have to wait and see if that changes any time soon.

Up next Harvey Dale from House of Pain came out to announce that he would be introducing all House of Pain competitors on the show. The first of those competitors came out for this match in the guise of Max Angelus as he prepared to face Mark Haskins. I’ve missed te last couple of Southside shows but gathered pretty quick that Max is associated with HOP against his will, although on the entrance Max seemed unsure about how exactly to portray this. The match itself was solid and they seemed to get the face/face scenario across well with the crowd cheering both of them on. After a number of near falls the finish came when Dale tried to get Max to use his Money in the Bank briefcase but Max threw it back to him causing a distraction that Haskins took advantage of to pick up the win.

The last match before the interval saw Davey Richards taking on Stixx. The two have completely different styles but still managed to pull off a great match, a sign of the talent of both men. It started off quite heated going round the ring but started to cool off after a while with Stixx using his size to his advantage while Davey kept going for the ankle lock as well as throwing some stiff looking kicks, one catching Dale as he tried to pull Davey off the apron. Stixx’s chain came into play near the end as he placed it on the middle buckle but ended up going face first into it for a near fall. After fighting off a couple of anklelock attempts Stixx managed to get a win using a backslide with his feet on the ropes. He then went on to claim how the Predators would win tonight and tomorrow he would capture the SWE title bring the two top titles to the HOP boys.

The post interval match featured Marty Scurll defending the Speed King title against Noam Dar. The match featured a number of sequences of moves and counter moves that slowly descended into Dar working over Marty’s leg to set up for his leg lock. Interestingly this featured a lot of heel work from Dar seeing as the last two times they met up it was face/face. Eventually Scurll fought off Dar picking up the win with a tombstone piledriver. Immediately following the match Max Angelus came out and threatened to cash in his briefcase. However as Stixx and Dae Harvey were egging him on from the stage Max promised Scurll that it would happen, but not on the HOP’s time scale.

Lionheart took on MK McKinnan next in a solid bout. The match between the two was a great but I feel it was over shadowed by an incident with a person in the front row which Lionheart used the cheap heat method of spitting water in the kids face which, understandably, got the kids dad very upset. MK got the win and looked good, he even injured his ankle and you couldn’t tell.

The main event of the show saw Project Ego face the Predators to crown the first Southside tag champs. Travis reportedly suffered a shoulder injury the night before at PCW. During the first few minutes it looked like he had recovered from the previous nights injury but that seemed to subside quickly. After a heated start to the match it slowed down quite quickly as order was restored and an obviously injured Travis got back on the apron. This led to an extended heat segment with the Predators working over Kirby for the majority of the match. Even after the hot tag Travis didn’t stay in for long. Eventually the cheating ways of the Predators were too much for the Ego boys and they became the first Southside Tag Champs. Project Ego got a small measure of revenge as Kirby hit a step up ensiguri on Dale Harvey, much to the appreciation of the crowd, as the Predators watched on from the stage.

Overall there wasn’t a bad match on the card and it all came together well. The one biggest problem that comes to mind was the venue was unbearably hot. The heat seemed to help build the emotions in the crowd making them very heated. As I said with the Lionheart match I think the cheap heat with the guy in the front row drew the attention away from what was going on in the ring. I couldn’t make the show the following day but it certainly had a good set up with this one here.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Perfect Storm...By Helen Robinson

So another Summer Slam has been and gone. Disappointing in some ways and great in others, like all WWE PPV’s. It all started off so well, Jericho and Ziggler had a great match, my favourite of the night. Jericho always delivers. Fact. He has been a massive part of WWE for so many years and has always done it in style. Not a champion this time around, however, stole the show at Summer Slam, Wrestlemania and many shows in-between. Jericho can still win the big one, and beat Ziggler in style with an entertaining match. After being such a great heel, it was still nice to hear the fans chanting Y2J, a great way to end his current run (before touring with Fozzy).

Daniel Bryan and Kane followed with what was a boring match up for me. Is this the end of Bryan’s push? I was hopeful earlier in the year that we would see Bryan as WWE Champion. After his 18 second defeat at Wrestlemania he needed a new angle, the Punk storyline was genius and they shared some of the best matches I’ve seen for a long while. As good as Kane is, for a technical wrestler like Bryan, he is not his dream opponent. The match was dull. Kane went for the tombstone; Bryan countered and rolled Kane up for the pinfall victory. Bryan legged it and Kane went on his usual rampage back stage breaking stuff... Great...

Miz and Rey Mysterio also did not disappoint. Two good wrestlers, both deserving of a push on their return. I passed comment on how one of them must have been slightly off or injured as there did not seem to be the usual amount of high flying action I expected to see. A good match all the same! Glad to see Miz prevailed, it’s about time he got a decent run. He has returned somewhat more mature, and seems to be moaning a hell of a lot less than previous months. It’s good to see him keeping his cool and getting the upper hand this time round. Mysterio will always be super popular; he didn’t NEED to win that match anywhere near as much as Miz did.
I am so tired of the Sheamus / ADR feud. Another unfair match where someone cheats. Predictable, even for WWE. Sheamus is a great HW Champion; he works his arse off, is always bruised up to hell and takes a massive beating every time he fights. He has got better and better since his win at Wrestlemania and I look forward to seeing his matches. Alberto is also a great wrestler, I have always liked him, but, this desperate neediness of current times has got me pissed. He doesn’t need Ricardo to help him cheat, nor does he need all the underhand tactis we have been seeing on Smackdown. Just when I thought they might just have a fair fight; it all took a turn south. The introduction of a shoe (yawn) and a leg on the ropes left Sheamus victorious, but also left a massive opening for yet more feuds and wars between the two. Sheamus and ADR need some new direction, I’m hoping now that Orton is back that might just happen.

And so, it all goes downhill...

The Tag Team Championship match. I have little interest in the tag team division of late. The Prime Time Players make me cringe and this Little Jimmy gimmick has me vomiting in my mouth. If you look back to some of the awesome tag teams of the past, and some that would be great if given the chance, this match doesn’t even deserve to have been on a PPV!

Punk, Cena and Show was what I expected it to be. Show throwing the others around, some controversy in the middle and a dirty win at the end. I do however think WWE did the right thing in this instance. It was a stupid match from the off set, but I would have been super disappointed if the title would have changed hands in a ridiculously made triple threat match. As per triple threat rules, the Champion does not even have to be involved in the match up to lose the title. Which for the opponent would be a shitty way to win, and a shitty way for the Champion to lose. I expect lots more from Cena and Punk, especially with the Rock angle added for the Royal Rumble. As a Cena fan I hope to see him win the title back, I’d like to see him take it off an ever arrogant Punk, however, to see him take it back from our Part Time Player (Rock) would be equally as satisfying!
The Perfect Storm...

The one I was waiting for... Triple H is one of my all time favourite wrestlers, I love him! I still get goose bumps when his music hits even after all these years. Brock Lesnar is one of the guys I can’t stand. I struggle to respect all his 3 moves, his brute force and blatant idiocy. Going into Summer Slam I can honestly say, I had no idea what the outcome of this match could possibly be. I think we all knew that Lesnar would ‘injure’ Trips and it would be more about the violence than the actual winning of the match. Having included Trips family in arguments on previous occasions, it was little surprise when we saw The King of Kings telling referee Scott Armstrong to ‘bend’ the rules. No count outs, no disqualifications, a fight to the end. And that it was. A brutal ‘fight’ would follow. Again, Lesnar fought more in the MMA style he has been used to in recent years than that of a wrestler. Big stiff blows from both men all the way though. After suffering another ‘broken’ arm Trips lost the match up and some self respect. He apologised to the WWE Universe and refused medical treatment before staggering from the ring. Is this the end of The Game? Hell no! I’m certain a rematch will follow. There was talk of it being his last match, that Lesnar had ended the Cerebral Assassin. But isn’t that what the Cerebral Assassin is all about? Lesnar might have won the battle, but one thing is for sure... The most certainly will not win the war!

Monday, 20 August 2012

WrestleTalk TV Comes To Challenge

British Wrestling's biggest step to a revival in decades? Wrestle Talk TV debuts on Challenge!

On Sunday the 26th of August at 11pm the internet wrestling phenomenon Wrestle Talk TV, debuts on Challenge directly after America's Impact Wrestling. From humble beginnings in September 2011, the YouTube sensation has grown to having over 350,000 views and has gained mainstream attention by getting no holds barred interviews with some of the biggest names in pro wrestling such as Hulk Hogan and Mick Foley. Now the wrestling chat show has been signed to a national TV deal that will put it, and the British wrestling scene which it was created to support, in a prime position to to show the millions of wrestling fans what the Brits have got to offer in 2012. Many in the mainstream believe that the timing of this deal could not be better, with a British wrestling resurrection seemingly around the corner.

Wrestle Talk TV will be the first show to have regular features on British wrestling appear on national TV in over 25 years. Industry insiders are now predicting a return to glory for an industry that was once a national treasure. British wrestling was a national institution during the 1960's and 70's, viewed by millions every saturday afternoon. It even had celebrity fans in the Royal Family, who attended live events at the Royal Albert Hall in London. After it’s cancellation from ITV in 1988 after 33 years of programming, British wrestling disappeared from the mainstream media until 2001, when former heavyweight wrestling champion Alex Shane hosted a radio show on talkSPORT called ‘Talk Wrestling’. The show helped to bring British wrestling to an audience of over 400,000 listeners at its peak and also lead to the ‘Revival’ event in 2002, which was broadcast on national TV as a 2 hour special. Those behind Wrestle Talk TV believe that the new deal with Challenge will be the final step on the road for British wrestling's return, which some of them have been working on for over two decades.

Executive Producer and the show's creator Alex Shane said ‘The goal of Wrestle Talk TV is to give British wrestling a platform in the mainstream media which portrays us in the same light as our American counterparts. Having a show directly after the UK's most watched American wrestling show and on a TV channel that is in every home in the UK, we feel that there has never been a better chance for British wrestling to experience a proper revival’. In the last 18 months alone the British wrestling scene has had more mainstream attention than at any other point in almost three decades, with related content appearing on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and countless newspaper and magazine articles. There is now also more British wrestling talent in the big US companies like WWE and TNA than at any other time in history.

Wrestle Talk TV is hosted by DJ and TV Presenter Joel Ross of JK and Joel fame, featuring The Daily Star’s Patrick Lennon and Wrestle Central’s Francesca Wood as co-hosts. Showcasing both American and British wrestling, Wrestle Talk TV will bring fans the latest news, interviews and discussions in the wrestling world. The first episode features an in depth interview with WWE superstar and front man of the rock band Fozzy, Chris Jericho. It will also showcase British wrestling with a documentary feature of BritWres-Fest 2012, the event run in aid of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital which took place in April this year, plus much more.

You can catch Wrestle Talk TV on Challenge Sky Channel 125, Virgin Media Channel 139 and Freeview channel 46.

Also you can get interactive with us at our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.




Saturday, 18 August 2012

The House Of Pain Hype Machine By Pinki Blush

Here we have the main man from HOP STIXX (Photo credit: James Abbott)

It's been all over Facebook and Twitter in the last few weeks that the Nottingham-based House of Pain are 'taking over' Southside on Sunday 19th. A ballsy move from a relatively small East Midlands promotion, who in comparison to Southside, with their history of big name imports, and regular roster peppered with some of UK wrestling's finest talent, have seemingly little to bring to the table. But could they possibly be on the verge of pulling off the coup of the century?

On paper, it doesn't look too promising. Lacking in numbers, the HOP contingent on the current Southside roster seems to be at an instant disadvantage, however with an opponent for Stixx yet to be announced, and noone yet to come forward for the challenge, it would seem that HOP have Southside more than a little nervous.

What the Team HOP lack in number in the ring, they make up for in their loyal supporters in the area. The cogs of the social networking hype machine have been turning, with HOP fans openly calling out Southside fans, and the HOP team seems to be gaining some hefty support.

The fan interaction possible from shows such as this is, in this writer's opinion, the thing that can make or break a promotion. Giving the fans an opportunity to really pin their colours to their chests and pledge their loyalty to a particular promotion is what will keep people coming back for more. As seen recently at XWA vs. GPW in Morecambe, where the fans spent just as much time shouting at each other as they did cheering/jeering the action, it enables people to really interact with the thing they love, and can build a really great atmosphere.

Whether HOP can build on that support and use it to gain the advantage over Southside, and put an up and coming promotion firmly on the map, remains to be seen.

This writer believes that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and suspects that there will be a large serving of humble pie on the menu for someone on Sunday at the Rushcliffe Arena. Either way, fans of British wrestling, and supporters of indy wrestling should be encouraged by the support that relative newcomers House of Pain have gained in the last few weeks.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Kevin Nash – Worlds Worst Attention Seeker...By Helen Robinson

What can I say about Kevin Nash and his barrage of ridicule this week? What a tool! First of all I would like to point out that one of my favourite moments of wrestling history was Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit at Wrestlemania 20. An epic moment for me as a big fan of both men, how very dare Kevin Nash belittle that moment! What he says has very rarely been relevant, now even more so. I fear what fan base he has remaining after this will dwindle lower. Small men are not appealing wrestlers? Now, not massive in height, personally I would not call Eddie or Benoit small in build or more importantly charisma. Both were loved throughout the industry for many years, which is indeed more than I can say for Nash. It is a well known fact that in his reign as champion both viewing and merchandise sales were significantly lower than past and future times. He has been angling for attention over the past weeks with talks on a nWo reformation and his absurd comments about wrestlers past and present, seriously does he not realise no one cares? No one would recognise Punk or Sheamus without their belts and ‘gimmick’ shirts? I probably wouldn’t recognise Nash anymore if he slapped me in the face with a wet fish! As one of my favourite wrestlers so aptly put it – He probably tore a quad just tweeting about it!

Later in the week he tried to defend his comments in yet another image damaging interview. He again, did himself no favours. Comparing wrestlers to Stan Lee’s superheroes and commenting that they would never have taken off it they were small in stature. I could go into the dimensions of said superheroes, many of which were not said to be anything other than average size, but I won’t. I could also go into the fact that actual superheroes such as the men and women of the armed forces, are indeed of average size, again, I won’t.

As much as I love WWE and the pro wrestling, I am under no illusion that its main aim is to make money and nothing more. The size and build of the wrestler is irrelevant. What he can do is the key to success.

Santino Morella is not a great wrestler, nor a big chap, however, his charm has carried him and the US championship for quite some time. The Great Khali is massive, should he be the next Heavy Weight Champion? Chris Benoit is notably one of the greatest technical wrestlers we as fans will ever see, he was also (until one of the darkest days pro wrestling will see) likeable, hardworking and humble. Three traits that will never be used in the same sentence as Kevin Nash. Eddie had the same mindset, work ethic and likeability, no amount of muscle or extra height would have changed the fans opinion on these men. We simply liked them for who they were and the way they played out their characters. Our current champions are excellent wrestlers, I can honestly say, Punk’s matches with Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho have been some of the best we have seen for a long time. Chris Jericho has had an amazing career with WWE and continues to be a big draw for the company (unlike Nash) despite being of average size. Nash must be desperate to get back into the spotlight, it’s just a shame that once gain he has gone about it the wrong way. All that has been achieved is people are now less interested in him than before. There’s no such thing as bad publicity? I disagree; Kevin Nash has proven this over the last few days. Over the past 5 years I have never heard so many people talking about Benoit and defending his achievements, nor has Eddie been in the spotlight this much for some time. Well done Kevin Nash for getting the attention back on people that were and still are notably better than you!

Follow me on Twitter @helenrobison82

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

WWE The Best Value In Sports Entertainment? By Helen Robinson

Hell NO!

After reading the new sale info for the Wrestlemania 29 package I’m totally appalled to realise that 4 days away for the biggest event of the year would set me back almost £10,000. What? Really? Ridiculous! I have been an avid WWE fan for the past 20 years and have always dreamed of going across the pond for a once in a lifetime trip to watch my heroes wrestling on the grandest stage of them all. However, with the prices growing every year this will indeed remain a dream. It’s always hard for UK fans to gain access to such monumental events, with them all being held in the states it’s a costly trip to take. At least £1,000 for air fare, then add on the cost of tickets, accommodation, merchandise, food and drink etc it turns into one hell of a dear do. With WWE not having any fan Axxess in the UK it makes a trip across the pond seem even more appealing. The question is, why are WWE trying to shut out loyal fans?

Events in the UK aren’t cheap, with a floor seat costing between £50 and £60 now it’s becoming even more difficult to get close to the action. A lower tier seat will still set you back around £40. Inside the venue you are drawn instantly to the stalls selling the merch you can’t usually buy over here. A signed promo of your hero will set you back a further £30 as will a t-shirt or sweatband set. Unless you have unlimited funds, you are going to be disappointed a lot of the time.

I recently bought tickets to watch TNA in January and was amazed at the fact that a seat close to the action only set me back £25. TNA also have UK Fan Interaction events where you can go and get up close and personal with your wrestling idols. This meet and greet session will only set you back a further £25 or so and you will walk out with dozens of pictures and autographs to treasure. Far better value. I wouldn’t plan on going to the US to watch TNA, but that’s partially because I don’t feel the need to. I can get the full experience on my doorstep for a reasonable price. I have been swayed a lot towards TNA lately. They are doing great things recently and it hasn’t gone unnoticed in the wrestling community.

With TNA regularly doing shows in the UK and Indy wrestling events really starting to take off here, WWE need to be careful they don’t end up doing the opposite of making more money and losing it to the overseas fans who just aren’t willing to pay through the nose for it anymore. I was planning on making the trip to Mania in 2014, but will be thinking twice if the prices are so ridiculously high!
Sort it out WWE! You have many loyal fans from around the globe. Don’t take advantage of our love for the sport by extorting money out of us so we can watch what we love!

You can as always follow me on Twitter – @helenrobinson82

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Davey Richards To Retire? By Stuart Rodgers

Davey Richards announces that 2013 will be his last year in pro wrestling. Recently I heard a podcast with Richards where he said this so it’s not one of the hundreds of internet rumours that flood the world wide web on a weekly basis but also, it’s not the first time I’ve heard him saying he’ll be retiring.

Yes a couple of years ago, Richards said he was going to retire and it never happened, he was drawn back in probably with the promise of an ROH title win, which we all know he got at Best In The World 2011 when he defeated Eddie Edwards.

Davey Richards claims to be the best in the world and I have many times said just the same thing, he has had so many great matches to list them here would take ages and I can guarantee I’d miss some off but in saying that, Richards has many haters. He has a reputation for not selling in his matches, this was something I always ignored and looked past, well to be honest, just disregarded it but in the last year or so in ROH I did notice this but as an indy fan, I got to see many matches from Davey in not only other indy promotions but other countries, more specifically Japan and I notice Davey does sell so it must be a ROH thing where he doesn’t want to let his guard down or it’s just he thinks as the top dog in ROH he finds it hard to, only he could answer that really.

When all said and done, if Richards does retire in 2013, pro-wrestling will lose for me a top, top wrestler and will be remembered for many great matches by me and these are just what have happened up to now, he has the rest of this year and next before he does call it a day if he actually does. I have met Richards, shook his hand and had a photo taken with him but I have never seen him wrestle live but this August he is due for a tour of the UK with some of the great companies we have here like Fight Club: Pro, SouthSideWE & FutureShock so I hope, I get to see him wrestle live at least once before he hangs them up.

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