Saturday 31 December 2011

2011 End Of Year Awards By Alex Kirkham

Above: Alex's wrestler of 2011 - Eddie Edwards

OK so here are my choices for the 2011 end of year awards in wrestling. As always these are my views and are simply here to give my opinion on the year in wrestling.

So we kick off with Wrestler of the year, which is as always a hotly debatable topic with many men and women throwing their hat into the ring. As regards an overall choice, taking into account the entire year, I will give this accolade to Eddie Edwards. I would say Eddie deserves this, because over the 12 months, he has consistently put on mind blowing, jaw dropping matches, where by he has improved his skills and helped ROH rise as a company. His matches against Davey Richards have become that of legend and because of that I award this prestigious honour to him.

Tag Team of the year is another hotly debatable topic. Around the world, there have been many teams vying for the spotlight, and putting on high octane jaw dropping matches. While many could win this category, I will award it to the team who for me, have done the most inside and outside the ring this year. And that is Jay & Mark, The Briscoe Brothers. Whether its in the ROH ring, or on Youtube, running their mouths about topics, they have had one hell of a year. Showing the grit and determination they have used throughout their careers, the Briscoes have made 2011 their own with 5 star matches and stand out displays. For me, they are untouchable in this category.

Now onto Match Of The Year. As far as match quality goes, this match wasn’t an absolute classic, but at Money In The Bank 2011, John Cena & CM Punk had a match which was built on weeks of solid work by the WWE team, making it into one of the most talked about matches of 2011, and therefore it is more than deserving of this award.

Commentator of the year, is a category which is populated by some of the most entertaining personalities within professional wrestling, and well sadly Michael cole too. But as commentators go, I would love to say that Nigel McGuiness within ROH has been my favourite of this year. Although he may not have made hundreds of appearances, he has made a solid and entertaining start to his commentary career, and made the new style of ROH into his own. I cant wait for more Nigel in 2012.

Mark Out Moment, lets be honest, there can only really be 2 moments in the running here. 1 was the return of the legend that is Super Dragon, coming home to PWG to help Kevin Steen fight The Young Bucks, in what was a simply phenomenal return. The other, was a jaw dropper. The Rock returned to the WWE to what for me was the single greatest crowd reaction for one superstar, possibly of all time. He returned to feud with John Cena, the alpha male of the WWE, which will culminate as the main event of Wrestlemania 28 in Miami come 2012. For me, The Rock returning made me once again discover the true wrestling fan within me, and that’s why its my mark out moment of 2011.

Show Of The Year for me is really a 2 horse race, between the PWG show DDT4 2011, and TNA Wrestling’s Destination X. For TNA, 2011 wasn’t the best year, but in a forgettable year, Destination X made us all realise why we first fell in love with the brand of wrestling TNA was putting out. The showcase of the X division, with stars like Low Ki, Jack Evans, Zema Ion & Austin Aries helping the PPV go off with a bang. With stellar matches, it was without doubt one of my most enjoyable PPV's of the year. PWG DDT4 was without doubt the clear winner for 2011 though. It was easily the best card of the year, with some of the highest class matches you will ever see. For a wrestling show, not backed by a major financial backer, it was simply stunning entertainment, with a plethora of Independent stars putting on the best show they could. Names like the Kings Of Wrestling, American Wolves, Nightmare Violence Connection & and my tag team of the year Mark & Jay Briscoe meant it was without doubt the best show of the year. Watch it, Love It, and Live It. Experience PWG with all its glory as soon as possible.

2011 - Final Review - Was 2011 a year for wrestling, you're damn right it was. Maybe the larger promotions, your WWE’s and TNA’s didn’t make the most of the year, but by god, the Independent and upcoming companies like PWG & ROH, put on some of the best matches you will possibly witness in your lifetime. I gladly welcome 2012, as a year which will see more high quality matches, the WM28 match of Cena & The Rock, TNA might actually make an “IMPACT!” and ROH might finally gain the acclaim it so richly deserves.

But its been a good year people, good luck to you all in 2012

Any comments, hit me up on twitter @WholeKirknShow

Friday 30 December 2011

2012 - Year of the Metro By Oliver Newman

After tweeting back and forth via my @brummieol Twitter with Stu Rodgers of Wrestling's Last Hope @WLHSTU I am thrilled to say I’m back writing about one of my biggest passions, Pro Wrestling! So here I am for my third of hopefully many articles on the superb website.

I have decided to write an article about one of the most sincere, kind and caring guys I know, I am talking about Dan Barnes, better know to fans of Pro Wrestling as ‘The Metro-Sexual’ Danny Devine, a man I‘m truly honoured to say is a friend of mine.

In September 2007 at an @AWW wrestling show, Danny and I met for the 1st time as I congratulated him on a superb match that he contested with @MartinHaffner better known to fans of Pro Wrestling as British Born Steele, which you can watch online:

Match 1 vs. BBS :

I admired his modesty and shyness, we had a nice, long conversation, exchange contact details and went on with our lives, we would be constantly intertwined though as this was the day I decided to devote my time and effort to promoting, writing and publicizing the British Wrestling scene.

In an interview I conducted a few years ago, I was able to converse with Danny via the medium of social media and ask him questions about his Wrestling career thus far, it was within this that I found out where his love for Pro Wrestling began:

“The first time I saw Bret Hart, I thought he was so cool and I wanted to be like him, but the match that did it for me was The Intercontinental Championship match at Summerslam '91 Bret Hart vs. Mr Perfect. It blew my mind and that was when I thought that's what I want to do”

The path to becoming and maintaining his status as a Professional Wrestler has not come easy for ‘The Metro-Sexual’ as injuries have curtailed a budding career on a number of occasions most notably causing Devine to quit in 2001 and 2005 (just after he was trained by Pro Wrestling superstar Lance Storm), on the 2nd occasion it looked like for good but thankfully Devine returned to the squared circle for a 3rd time in 2007.

The feud with British Born Steele was superb and really showed that Devine had a lot of the qualities needed to be a Wrestler, the two had a superb catch-as-can Wrestling match (shown in the video at the top of the article) and in the 2nd video:

Match 2 vs. BBS:

The two produced a great fight, which was far different from the 1st match but just as good. As you can see from the excerpt from my interview BBS and Devine had a great deal of mutual respect for each other:

“Me and BBS go way back, it was a pleasure to have had the series of matches that we had together. I think if we were given another chance down the line to be involved in a program we would not disappoint“

That helped the matches a great deal because Pro Wrestling has a lot to do with respect and trust, if either or both are missing this can cause calamities in the ring. From this match Devine would get lost in shuffle until he climbed in the ring with Marcus Kool and if the chemistry with BBS was good then the chemistry between Kool and Devine was off the charts!

A series of top-notch matches transpired between Devine and Kool culminating in AWW’s show of the Year at Aston University where the two battled it out in a well received 2 out 3 falls match, which Devine says is the best match of his career thus far, he also had kind words for Kool:

“Marcus and I go way back as trainees together at KSW we became really good friends and had some great matches together in 2005. With our feud in AWW we took it to the next level and had some classic matches (the finest being the 2 out of 3 falls match at Aston University) that ended the feud. I put it as the best match I have ever had and a lot of is due to the great chemistry we have together, Marcus is one of the best talents in the UK and always a pleasure to work with”

With his career dwindling a little, Devine decided to team up with the popular Dan Ryder and Miss Ryder duo to form the obnoxious and egotistical 3-Some, but in hindsight it was a masterstroke that UK Promoters never capitalised on, as the Ryder’s and Devine made a superb trio that caused a reaction wherever they went and that would have been money. Devine shared his thoughts on the trio:

“What started off as me and Dan just joking around throwing ideas back and forth, has become a monster! It worked and it became popular everywhere we did it. It was basically me, Dan and Miss Ryder just having a laugh being ourselves and enjoying what we were doing. But mark my words 3-SOME have not gone away for good they will return”

3-Some to return in 2012!? I hope so!

Ryder and Devine have had quite the storied past both as opponents and partners, one of the most impressive matches (as opponents) happen on a cold, Halloween night in Wolverhampton for the (now defunct) LWL Promotion, where the two men were apart of a tag team match that would have gone down in British Wrestling history, had someone filmed it, doh!

“Now that was a night when everything clicked into place. Tracey Smothers pulled in the punters that night but we stole the show. Unfortunately no one recorded it so that one is lost forever”

Devine much like myself decided in 2009 that he was taking a step back and possibly walking away from the Wrestling business, in one of his last matches he faced sometimes partner, mostly opponent Dan Ryder, (the match is linked below), Devine had very kind words for Ryder:

“Dan Ryder is awesome. We have become real good friends and he is one of the best I have been in the ring with, a lot of people only see one side to him though which is a shame. They see the no fear death defying high-flyer but there is so much more to his game, his technical wrestling has improved 100% but he rarely shows this side of his skills due to Dan always giving the fans what they paid to see. Whether he is in my corner and has my back or we are in there face to face we always have fun and can put on a show”

Match vs. Dan Ryder:

When I asked him what would you like to achieve in his career he stated:

“I think like everyone who starts out in this business they want to be at the top in the US making the big dollar with the WWE or TNA. That's where every wrestler dreams of being but you have to look at it realistically I'm not as big as the guys they have on there roster and probably will never be, also the fact that its thousands of miles away in another country also makes it harder to get to the top. My goal is basically to go as far as I can go but enjoy all the moments, I really am enjoying it and I feel more confident so only time will tell where I end up I would like to get some kind of work in the US and maybe Japan before I finally hang up the boots, then I would be satisfied”

10 Years after he started out and despite the low points (Injuries et al) I’m happy to say one of the best Wrestlers in the UK ‘The Metro-Sexual’ Danny Devine is once again back in the squared circle and with his skills and experience, I truly think the sky is the limit for him and that’s why I’m stating that 2012 is the Year of The Metro!
Credit for the above picture: Benjamin Fones

Thanks for reading, if you would like to contact me, I’m available on the links below:

Twitter: @brummieol
Facebook Fan Page:

Duckman Gives Us His Year End Awards

Above: One Half of Duckman's Feud of The Year - The Briscoe Brothers

Happy Nearly New Year everyone! The end of 2011 is in sight and that means only one thing – lists. Who doesn’t love a good list? Either reading or writing one. Lists are awesome. You can’t go through the day without making some kind of list, from the humble shopping list all the way to the complex and well planned assassination hit list. It’s lists, lists and more damn lists!!

As a species we aren’t able to end a year without organising and highlighting the best and worst of the previous year. We then must present said best and worst in list format for other humans to consider. Don’t believe me? Look around you. The TV is full of the best of the year ‘talking heads’ shows, radio is just the same and of course every website you frequent is bursting at the seams with hot list action.

I know in the past I’ve claimed to be the wrestling writer who will buck the trend and not follow the crowd but cut me some slack guys, I love making lists of stuff just as much as the rest of you! It’s an inbuilt human character trait that you just can’t reverse, no matter how much you protest. I can’t fight human nature guys. So we go with Duckman’s best and worst of pro wrestling in 2011!

Wrestler of the Year:

This was actually a much tougher decision than I originally thought. When you talk about a ‘wrestler of the year,’ I automatically think of the guy who has had the best in-ring performances this year. But there’s also the question of their promo skills, money drawing ability and other indefinable factors to consider (star power, importance to the promotion etc). So after a lot of thought I’ve decided that the best overall wrestler this year has been Randy Orton – controversial I know, let me explain.

I only decided on Orton after realising just how much he’s done in WWE this year and how important he’s been from an in-ring point of view. His series of matches with Christian were awesome. He worked hard to put over younger talent like Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler and he also got some great matches out of Mark Henry while putting him over at the same time. Look at how much Orton has done to help up and coming talent compared to Cena. Add in his intense promo style and the superstar reaction he gets for everything he does and I think, as a complete wrestler, Randy Orton has been the best in the world this year.

Honourable mentions: CM Punk, Davey Richards, Akira Tozawa, Prince Devitt, Eddie Edwards, El Generico, Kevin Steen, Hiroshi Tanahashi

Tag Team of the Year:

This is one of the awards where you can simply ignore WWE and TNA. You need to have a ‘division’ of tag teams, not just a few guys thrown together because you’ve got nothing for them to do. So stick your Air Boom and Mexican America (or whatever that horrendous gimmick is called) up your arse. This is the award for real tag teams and folks, they do exist. You just need to know where to look and I’ve been looking at PWG and there I found the Tag Team of the year. The team known in TNA as Generation Me but more well known on the indy scene as The Young Bucks.

The Bucks get my vote for simply being the best heel tag team in wrestling this year. Honestly, I’ve never truly wanted to punch a heel in the face as much as I want to hit Matt Jackson while he’s cutting one of his smirking, gum chewing, we’re better than you because we’re TV stars promos. That’s without factoring their incredible matches in PWG while defending the ‘ugliest championship belts in the world’ against an array of different teams. Plus they won the DDT4 tag tournament and also were involved in one of the best moments of the year – the return of Super Dragon to PWG.

EVERY Young Bucks match I’ve seen this year in PWG has had me jumping out my seat, marking out like an idiot and just shaking my head in disbelief that a team that talented and that entertaining were let go by TNA. Perfect timing, innovative double team moves, play the heels to perfection and always leave the crowd wanting more. Tag Team of the Year without a shadow of a doubt.

Honourable mentions:
The Kings of Wrestling, The Briscoes, Steen/Tozawa, Bad Intentions, RockNess Monsters.

Match of the Year:

This was a straight shootout between two matches. Both had incredible crowd reactions, brilliant spots, convincing near falls, drama, intensity, passion and made the guys involved look the best damn wrestlers in the world. It was either a WWE Title match that had more people talking than any WWE Title match in a decade. Or a ROH World Title match that really put the two combatants on the map and showcased a style of wrestling that gave us all a glimpse into the future of professional wrestling.

In the end I’ve gone with the match that came together in a perfect storm of build up, crowd reaction and execution of the match itself – CM Punk vs. John Cena, WWE Title Match, Money in the Bank PPV.

Honourable mention: Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards (ROH Best in the World 2011), El Generico vs. Kevin Steen (Ladder Match – PWG Steen Wolf), The Young Bucks vs. Steen/Tozawa (PWG DDT4 Final), Kings of Wrestling vs. Steen/Tozawa (PWG DDT4)

PPV of the Year:

2011 has seen WWE PPV buy rates plummet to earth quicker than a sky diver using an anvil for a parachute and it’s no wonder. Just think about how few good PPVs they have actually put on. Wrestlemania had the spectacle but was really fucked in terms of booking and match placement. Summerslam was ok but the start of fucking up the CM Punk angle. Survivor Series was a one man show and even then The Rock could only increase PPV buys by 10,000 from last year!

They did a lot of the B Shows I can’t even remember the names of, let alone who had a match with who. MITB was probably the best PPV show WWE put on this year, but it wasn’t my favourite.

TNA…well…yeah TNA PPV is used as a vehicle to hype the follow week’s TV. Don’t ask me how that business model even makes any sense. People are going to pay $50 for what is essential a commercial for a free TV show? Yeah, ok.

In the US I think it’s been a great year for ROH on IPPV with one show in particular standing out above all others. So my PPV of the Year was ROH Best in the World 2011.

Honourable mentions: WWE Money in the Bank, WWE TLC, ROH Final Battle 2011, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 5.

Non- PPV Show of the Year:

Or as I should call it – the best PWG show of the year award! In fairness ROH, Chikara, NJPW and Dragon Gate have all produced great non PPV shows this year. But for me it’s PWG who have stood head and shoulders above all other promotions with their non PPV releases. The names of the shows alone should be enough to win the award. “The Perils of Rock and Roll Decadence,” is possibly the greatest name for a show EVER in the history of pro wrestling! It wasn’t that show that took the prize this year though. My vote for best non-PPV show of the year goes to PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles 2011 tournament.

The best one night tournament show I’ve seen for years. Incredible matches all over the card and one of the best main event matches this year with Kevin Steen and El Generico clashing in the final. Plus in my ultimate ‘feel good wrestling moment of the year,’ a young kid at ringside wearing an El Generico mask became the star of the whole show during the main event. It’s must see viewing guys, trust me on that!

Honourable mentions: ROH Supercard of Honor 5, ROH Death before Dishonor 9, ROH Manhattan Mayhem 5, PWG DDT4, PWG Eight, PWG Steen Wolf, Chikara King of the Trios Tournament.

Promotion of the Year:

I thought this would be a really easy choice but PWG have entertained me so much in the last 6 months that they nearly got the vote. If I didn’t vote for ROH I couldn’t look myself in the mirror. Plus they’ve got on TV, put on some great feuds and matches and brought back Kevin Steen. My promotion of the year – ROH.

Honourable mentions: PWG, NJPW.

Feud of the Year:

It’s tough to consider any WWE feuds for this award. Simply because they burn through months worth of angles in weeks and the storylines they do try to tell tend to meander all over the place with little to no consistency or continuity. TNA have actually done a better job this year with their feuds. Sting vs. Hogan was what it was but at least they told a story that made a bit of sense and had a pay off. Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle would have got the nod if they didn’t do the angle involving the kids. So once again I’m looking to the independent scene, in particular ROH and a tag team feud that really caught my eye this year. My feud of the year for 2011 is The Briscoes vs. The All Night Express.

I’ve always believed that a good feud should end with both participants being more over than they were before they started. In this case the feud made the ANX into legitimate Tag Title contenders and further cemented the legacy of The Briscoes as the baddest tag team on the planet. This feud had a great double switch with The Briscoes going heel and ANX turning babyface. The matches were always great, the early matches being straight up tag matches about athletic competition which eventually evolved into more and more violent fights until the feud ended after six months with a crazily violent Ladder War 3 match. All four guys worked incredibly hard to make this feud memorable and the booking was pitch perfect. Plus I’ve never seen more convincing blade jobs than the ones Rhett Titus and Jay Briscoe did during the more violent matches at the end of the series. Awesome stuff.

Honourable mentions: Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi, Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards, Steve Corino vs. Kevin Steen, CM Punk vs. John Cena, Kevin Steen vs. The Young Bucks.

Biggest Shock of the Year:

It’s been a year of shocks in professional wrestling – the death of Randy Savage, CM Punk’s pipe bomb promo, Kevin Nash having a half decent ladder match and NOT rupturing most of the major muscles and ligaments in his body. It does always seem that any big shock of the year in wrestling has a tragic element to it and this year was no exception. The biggest shock of the year for me in 2011 was the retirement of Edge.

I’ve never been a fully fledged Edge-head but the man was a damn talented wrestler who had forged a hall of fame career over the past 10 plus years. It would be ridiculous in the extreme to ignore the huge hole that was left in the WWE’s main event scene when Edge retired. I think it was the suddenness of the announcement and the promos by Edge that really drove home how shocking this was. One of the top guys in WWE was done, like that, no big send off, no ‘one more match.’

It was proof once again of how fragile life and the human body is and how much I take for granted the risks all wrestlers take when they step into the ring. It reminded me that while all those crazy ladder matches and TLC battles entertain the hell out of me, they shorten the careers of the guys involved. More than that it was just a damn shame to see a talented and entertaining guy forced to leave the profession he’d given his whole life too and risked his health for.

Biggest Let Down of the Year:

Unfortunately, just like tragedy, disappointment does tend to follow wrestling around on an all too regular basis. I’m not talking people dying or having to retire – I’d be a real dick if I complained I’d been let down by Randy Savage dying! The biggest let down for me this year was something that started with so much promise, made me care about WWE again and looked like it might create a new money drawing established main event star. My biggest let down this year was the booking of CM Punk post MITB.

It started so promisingly but in the end, thanks to over booking on a scale that would make Vince Russo blush, all we got was a mess of Vince McMahon being fired, Kevin Nash, text messages, HHH, more texts, John Laryngitis, more texts, a new WWE Title being created, more texts, numerous Title switches, more texts, the Miz, R-Truth, more texts, walk out, texts, stipulation matches that no one believed or care about, more texts and at the end of it all SOMEHOW CM Punk remained over! How the hell he did that is beyond me. Also, WHO THE FUCK WAS EVERYONE TEXTING? No one has explained that to me yet. Maybe next year.

WWE had the hottest angle in YEARS on their hands and in the course of three months fucked it in the ass to such a scale that even Chyna would complain about it being uncomfortable! Seriously, I truly believe if HHH and the rest had stayed the fuck out of the whole angle and they just let the thing run for 3 months with Punk as the renegade WWE Champion they could have seen a big turn around in their business. Instead the cut the legs out from under it and then when a low TV rating is returned involving Punk they can say he can’t draw. Yeah, no fucking shit guys, cause you BOOK HIM NOT TO! Such a missed opportunity to do something fresh, new, groundbreaking and possibly bring back a lost generation of wrestling fans…still, at least HHH and Nash got to have a PPV match…

Most Improved Wrestler of the Year:

Let’s brighten the mood here. Enough talk of disappointment. There’s been a lot of wrestlers who have improved this year. Be it Davey Richards on promos or Cody Rhodes finally buying some fucking knee pads! Mark Henry was a revelation in his 5 yearly push and I almost gave him the nod but for me the most improved wrestler in 2011 is Akira Tozawa. I watched Tozawa grow from a nervous looking, non-descript lower card dude on DGUSA to become one of the most fun, entertaining, exciting and down right awesome wrestlers in the world. His matches in PWG were a revelation and his team with Kevin Steen never failed to entertain me. Tozawa is a guy I’ll be following closely from now on to see if he can go from indy darling in the States to a legit top draw in Dragon Gate now he’s back in his home promotion.

Least Improved Wrestler of the Year:

Sorry TNA fans but I’m going with Mr Anderson as the least improved wrestler of 2011. Granted, the blame for most of that can be laid at the feet of TNA who turned Anderson so many times and over such a short period of time it felt like he started a show as a heel, turned face halfway through and then went heel again to end the show…every week…for three months. With each turn people cared less and it appeared Anderson did too.

In the ring he’s still just the right mix of boring and sloppy to render most of his matches pointless. When he’s in there with a Kurt Angle or another top worker he doesn’t look too bad. Left to his own devises on Impact and it’s a different story. The guy just doesn’t seem to have the co-ordination required to be a wrestler. Anderson was a hot prospect for TNA but now he’s just another ex-WWE guy treading water and going nowhere.

Future Star Award:

This is the easiest call of the year. Future star in 2012? Dolph Ziggler. The man has everything needed to be a main event star, great look, excellent mic skills and one of the best workers of his generation. He survived The Spirit Squad, he can survive anything WWE’s creative team throw at him in 2012. I see money in Ziggler and I hope WWE does too. If Ziggler isn’t either WWE or World Heavyweight Champion in WWE by this time next year I will eat my own head.

So there you have it guys. The list to end all end of year lists I’m sure you’ll agree! You should try making your own end of year list, it’s a lot of fun!

If you’re interested in some more of my wrestling opinion and comment (let’s be honest, who the fuck isn’t) then be sure to check out our Marks for Xcellence podcast over at – it’s one of these articles only I’m reading it out loud and there’s another dude there to make it less boring! We’ve also got a new Facebook page you can ‘like’ and of course you can follow me and the MFX show through Twitter @WLHDuckman

Anyway, enough blatant self promotion from me! I hope you guys have a fantastic New Year’s Eve and get heroically drunk. Me? I’m off the booze and will instead be seeing the New Year like a normal person – going to be at 11pm and ignoring the whole thing!

Thanks for reading, keep supporting Wrestling’s Last Hope (twitter, here, like the Facebook page) and I’ll see you all in 2012 for more of the same wrestling opinion, discussion and general bullshit you’ve come to know and tolerate from me this year!

Until next time...



Thursday 29 December 2011

Wrestling Awards 2011: Shaun Nichols gives us his choices

Above: Shaun's Tag Team of The Year - The Young Bucks

These choices are those solely of myself and are not necessarily the same as those of anyone else who contributes to this site. Now we have that cleared up let's got on with awards themselves.
Wrestler of the Year: Maasaki Mochizuki (Dragon Gate), putting it simply Mochizuki has had a hell of year. At the start of the year he was one half of the tag champions with Don Fujii but lost the titles in an absolute classic to Ryo Saito & Genki Horiguchi. This only led to a tremendous run as the top singles performer. He won the Dream Gate title in April against Masato Yoshino and then enjoyed highly entertaining title defences against YAMATO, BxB Hulk, Yasushi Kanda, Akira Tozawa & Ryo Saito all of which are worth tracking down. He finally lost the title to CIMA on Christmas Day but by then he proved beyond all doubt that he was of the finest wrestlers in 2011.

Tag Team of the Year: Young Bucks (Various), the main reason why the Bucks get my vote as to be because of their great performances in PWG. I know people go crazy for the Nightmare Violence Connection (Steen & Tozawa) but watching the Bucks operate is truly a joy to behold. Although they were greatly limited in their TNA opportunities they seem to deliver the goods whenever they have been given the chance and they seem a long way from being a stale act which I sometimes get the feeling with the Briscoe Brothers.

Match of the Year: CM Punk vs John Cena (WWE Money in The Bank), was it the best in-ring match of 2011? Probably not. What it did have was a strong story going into it, a very partisan crowd that made the match even better and two wrestlers who had a very good night. Simply put a classic.

Card of the Year: DDT 4 (PWG), if you are a fan of tag team wrestling than this is a dream card for you. Featuring the Young Bucks, Kings of Wrestling, American Wolves, Nightmare Violence Connection and the Briscoe Brothers among the competing teams this is as good as tag team tournament can get. Not only that you can also enjoy Joey Ryan beating up Candice LaRae.

Wrestling PPV of the Year: Money in the Bank (WWE) , give credit where credit is due this show was very entertaining. On top of the Punk vs Cena, we had Christian winning the World title against Randy Orton plus two very good MITB matches with a surprise winner in the Smackdown match in Daniel Bryan.

Pleasant Surprise of the Year: Mark Henry (WWE), most fans have complained that the WWE have been in desperate need to freshen up their main event scene which is fair. What the WWE finally realised is that if you push someone in a way that only emphasises their strength that it can work. Henry portrayed as a mean, strong ass kicker works because people can believe it. His interviews have also been very good and most importantly of all when it mattered most he got the big clean victories.

Why Bother Award: Kevin Nash (WWE), I'm not quite sure why the WWE decided that they needed to make Kevin Nash an imporatnt figure on WWE television. He was made to look distinctly average in his promos by CM Punk, was met by apathy by live crowds and signed off with a tedious 18 minute affair against his mate Triple H.

WTF Award: Booking of CM Punk (WWE), you would think after the positive response to Punk coming after the Money in The Bank PPV that the WWE would try and build on that success. Instead they did everything possible to take away from Punk what had worked, they booked him to lose on 5 straight PPV events and at one stage he started acting like he was Triple H's geeky friend. A disaster.

Wrestling TV Show of the Year: Infinity (Dragon Gate), imagine a wrestling television show which spends the majority of its time actually showing wrestling in front of appreciative fans. Infinity is that show, the promotion is very well booked which is just as well as I can't understand Japanese but can follow their PPV build and storylines. Same WWE and TNA haven't worked out this strategy yet.

Commentator of the Year: Excalibur (PWG), if you've never seen PWG your missing but if you have then you'll be fully aware of just how great Excalibur is. Generally very funny but never forgets that it's his job to put over the wrestlers and the matches. A simple technique that's very effective.

Worst Commentator of the Year: Michael Cole (WWE), surely this doesn't need further comment.

Gimmick of the Year: Doi Darts (Dragon Gate), this is the greatest thing. Basically Naruki Doi creates a dart board which is then used to determine the next challengers to the Triangle Gate champions or if a match will be for the belts. We've seen 3 different boards this year and it's made even better when they bring children to the ring to throw the darts. Highlights include Gamma smashing the board, and poor Doi cradling the broken pieces while crying and vowing revenge. Fantastic stuff.

Best Backstage Angle of the Year: Sting fires the Jarretts (TNA), this was fantastic television and ran for four segments. The first saw the Jarretts trying to re-assure one another that they would ask Sting to fire them and save the other. We next saw Karen telling Sting he should fire Jeff, Jeff then told Sting that Karen wanted to stay at home with the kids and therefore she wanted to be let go. We finally had Sting reveal to the Jarretts what they each said about each over and decided that TNA should not have just one of the Jarretts they shouldn't have any Jarretts. It was clear what was going to happen but Jeff and Karen were especially awesome all the way through. And just think it was Vince Russo who was mainly responsible.

Wednesday 28 December 2011

iNeed a ROH Show - December 27, 2011

Kyle Patin and Zach Grigg review the Ring of Honor Final Battle 2011 iPPV, and much more.

Saturday 24 December 2011

ROH Final Battle 2011: Duckman Provides An Extensive Review

*cue best Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Commando impression*

“Hey fans of Wrestling’s Last Hope, remember when I said I wouldn’t write another article here until 2012? I lied.”

That’s right folks, it’s Christmas Eve and I’m still slightly drunk from last night. I know I should be wrapping presents or stuffing something into the cavity of something else. But I just couldn’t leave you guys for the year without a look at the wrestling show I’ve been eagerly anticipating for the last six months – Ring of Honor’s Final Battle 2011 IPPV.

The show took place last night, 23rd December, from the Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Centre in New York. The first ROH IPPV under the ownership of the Sinclair Broadcast Group and the first ROH IPPV show to benefit from 3 months of really good weekly TV build. The final show of what has been the biggest year in ROH history.

If you’re reading this then you already know the two main selling points of the show, namely the main event ROH World Title match between Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards and the match between Steve Corino and Kevin Steen where a victory for the insane Steen would see him return to ROH after a year in exile.

To say I was hyped for this show would be an understatement. It’d be like saying ROH wrestlers only occasionally slam each other off the ring apron. I was ready and hyped plus I was amped and while most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps - I had a couple of packs of Peroni lager to keep me company and no work the next day! So I, along with thousands of other ROH fans, sat down in front of my computer and knew that the next four hours of wrestling action was going to be the perfect sign off for the year in ROH.

But if life has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is perfect. You guys should know - I’m a self confessed ROH addict but I’m also not just here to write fluff pieces about them. Despite my hilarious demeanour and fun loving attitude to all things pro wrestling, I know what I like and there were some aspects of the show last night that, in the cold light of day, I just didn’t like.

That’s not to say I hated anything or didn’t enjoy the show – far from it. It was still an awesome wrestling show with some incredible moments and the kind of state of the art in-ring action we’ve come to know and love from ROH. I just felt that they missed some steps with the booking of a few matches and the crowd seemed to burn out early. Plus, and this is the major down side for me, there was FAR TOO MANY unprotected chair shots to the head throughout the show.

Then again, how can you complain about a show with KEVIN STEEN on it? He grabbed ROH by the throat last night and confirmed he is THE man to watch in the promotion in 2012. If ever a show served as an absolute star making vehicle for one wrestler, then it was Final Battle 2011 and Kevin Steen. But more on that later.

So after less than 5 hours sleep (the show didn’t finish for us hardcore UK ROH fans until 5am) and with the smell of Christmas dinner being prepared floating through the house, it’s time for Duckman to take a look at ROH’s Final Battle 2011 IPPV!

First things first, I’m not going to use this review to bitch about audio glitches or other technical issues, although the early abortive attempts to get replays of the action to work were painful to watch and pretty bush league from a production point of view. That aside the picture and audio quality were perfectly fine for watching the show on a laptop. Although I don’t think it would have transferred as well to a bigger screen – at least not with my prehistoric Scottish broadband connection. There’s no way the haggis that runs around in the big wheel to power the connection would have gone fast enough for HD! As is the case with IPPV the stream did need restarted a couple of times but nothing that would force me to give up watching the show and go cry in the corner.

The Hammerstein always looks great. It’s such an interesting venue to hold wrestling in and you always get a big event feel when ROH runs that part of the Manhattan Centre. They could have done a better job miking the crowd but then again so could UFC – it’s not an easy thing to capture that amazing live atmosphere you get at events like this. Then again the NYC crowd don’t usually need amplification to get their point across and they proved that again at during the show!

The show opening with Kevin Kelly, Nigel McGuiness, Cary Silkin, Jim Cornette and Joe Koff in the ring was well done. The announcement of the record breaking gate and possible biggest IPPV audience in ROH history was the perfect way to kick off the show. The benefit of having TV to promote this show should pay off when the official numbers are released. I don’t expect triple of double the buys of previous IPPVs but a definite bump in the buy rate would be the best Christmas gift for ROH and Sinclair.

Speaking of Sinclair, holy crap can Joe Koff cut a promo or what!? That was the perfect way for the new boss of ROH to connect with the fans. You could tell he was hyped to be there and he cut a babyface promo that was better than 99% of what you see in WWE these days! Well done Joe, I’m officially welcoming you into the ROH fan association. Here’s your pack of streamers, your phrase book of comedy chants and your signed certification that you knew CM Punk was the best in the world before everyone else. Welcome to the club.

One of the highlights of the show from the off was the excellent commentary team of Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness. Some people weren’t sold on Nigel as a commentator on the early TV shows but last night the former ROH World Champion knocked it out the park. Kelly was great on play by play, putting over the angles and getting you drawn into the story of the match. But it was Nigel’s insight, his quick wit, funny as hell one liners and use of cockney rhyming slang throughout that made the show even more entertaining. You see that WWE? That’s what a fucking COLOUR commentator does. He adds COLOUR to the broadcast and doesn’t just talk shit (Booker T) or put himself over (Michael Cole) or crack jokes older than his latest girlfriend (Jerry Lawler). Sure you’ll agree that’s a discussion best left for another day...back to the show!

Unbreakable’ Michael Elgin w/ Truth Martini def. T.J Perkins.

A great opening match that was paced perfectly and did the job of getting the crowd up for the rest of the show without over shadowing anything else to come. Elgin is the monster heel that ROH are building really effectively and his impressive power display in this match only reinforced the good work that he’s done throughout the year. Perkins was one of the best guys on the roster to work this match with Elgin. He worked hard, bumping big and also using his size to allow Elgin to show off his power. Plus he had a great near fall towards the end of a reverse hurricanrana that popped the crowd and had me fooled that it was the finish. In the end Elgin took the win with a powerbomb into the turnbuckles and then a spinning powerbomb for the three count. Expect to see a lot more of Michael Elgin in prominent matches and angles in 2012. Perkins is a real talent too and should be pushed by ROH in 2012. Great start to the show.

Tommaso Ciampa w/The Embassy def. Jimmy Rave

Snore fest for me here I’m afraid. I’ve never liked Jimmy Rave apart from his hot run as a heel five years ago. He’s just not that interesting in the ring or on the mic anymore. Plus I couldn’t give two craps about the Embassy. Prince Nana is boring but at least RD Evans cut an entertaining promo before the match. There’s much more potential in that guy leading the Embassy than the tired Nana character. Ciampa is green and he’s got a lot of potential but there’s no connection yet with the ROH fan base. The crowd were pretty dead for this although they did react for Rave going for his old heel hook submission finisher – so people do remember him. The outcome of this match was never in doubt and Ciampa finished Rave off with the Project Ciampa (powerbomb/lung blower combo) which I still think is one of the sickest looking finishers in ROH today. ROH needs to get Ciampa into a real feud and quick because right now people just don’t have enough of a reason to care about the guy and boo him. I hope Rave is one and done but I could see them bringing him back to put younger talent over as he did here.

ROH World TV Championship – elimination match
Jay Lethal def. El Generico and “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett w/ Brutal Bob & Maria Kanellis

Ok, now this was more like it. A great match with some excellent moments and the crowd were brought back to life by their undying hatred of all things Mike Bennett. Adding such a hot piece of ass like Maria (Bennett’s real life girlfriend) to the act is a brilliant move by ROH. They need a few more females in the company and Maria is one of the hottest and highest profile female performers in wrestling over the last 5 years. She adds SO much to Bennett’s act. All they need to do now is get rid of that pointless Brutal Bob character – talk about a weight pulling a good heel act down! Dude is such a cartoon and doesn’t fit AT ALL with Bennett the Sports Entertainer and his hot Playboy cover girl arm candy.

I did cringe a lot as the classy NYC fans let Bennett and Maria have it with chants of ‘CM Punk’ (Maria’s famous ex) and ‘sloppy seconds’ after Bennett kissed her to try and shut the crowd up. To his credit Bennett owned his promo and the fans were ready to see him get his ass kicked. They hate Bennett and they’re proud of it. Just imagine if Bennett had Vickie Guerrero as his manager! They’d generate enough heat to power NYC for a year.

El Generico was on top form here tonight, hitting all his big signature offense including that crazy dive through the turnbuckles on the outside into a tornado DDT! Lethal still seems to be regaining his confidence in ROH after serving his sentence in wrestling purgatory...or Impact Wrestling as the kids call it. He’s good, but he’s not as over as you’d expect for the TV Champion. Bennett played the heel role really well here and his elimination of El Generico with the roll up and handful of tights was great. The crowd were furious! Then Lethal hit a sweet looking hand spring ace cutter (RKO) for the win right after Generico was eliminated. A really fun match with Nigel McGuiness bringing some proper laughs with his comments about Maria. I expect Bennett to take the TV title in 2012 and really establish himself as a top line heel that people will boo (as opposed to some of the other ‘heels’ in ROH that get major cheers – Steen, Briscoes etc).

Kevin Steen def Steve Corino – Steen reinstated to ROH

This match was THE major selling point of this show for me. A story that began at Final Battle 2009 (when Steen and Generico split) ran through to Final Battle 2010 (where Steen lost to Generico and was exiled from ROH) and now came to a brutal conclusion at Final Battle 2011. The art of the long term story in professional wrestling is alive and well in ROH and we should all be thankful for that!

Nigel McGuiness said it best, as soon as Jimmy Jacobs (special ref) and Cornette came out the crowd all stood and the buzz in the arena was overwhelming. The people were fired up to see this and to see Kevin Steen back in ROH. Surprisingly Corino got a really positive reaction. I did fear the NYC fans would turn on him completely. That’s just evidence of how good Corino is, even up against the guy who is basically ROH’s version of Stone Cold Steve Austin, he remained a babyface. When Steen came out through the crowd the roof came off the place and for good reason. Steen has been the most interesting story in all of pro wrestling this year and this match was make or break for him.

As for the match? Sick. Just utterly sick. Both guys took insane risks with big bumps onto chairs, guard rails and through tables. I just couldn’t stand seeing so many unprotected chair shots to the head. I know ROH will use the ‘both men have been fined’ line to cover this but in 2011 there’s no place for unprotected chair shots to the head. No matter how big the feud or heated the match.

Those unnecessary risks aside, one of the true highlights was the interaction between Steen and Cornette throughout the match. Those two guys are fantastic in their roles and they play them to perfection. Steen is just the kind of guy you know Cornette can’t stand and visa versa. Cornette is awesome when it comes to full on freak outs and he was in hyper freak out mode the second Steen flipped him off in the early going.

This match was intense, violent, well paced and the crowd were with it. The finish with Steen hitting his package piledriver through four chairs for the win was just nasty but a fitting way to end the fight given how much punishment each guy had done to the other in the match.

Steen’s post match promo and then attack on Jacobs (package piledriver) got the crowd going but when he looked like he would give Cornette the package piledriver, only to be stopped by his ultimate nemesis EL Generico, I thought Samoa Joe, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Low-Ki had all just walked into the arena and resigned for life with ROH! WHAT A POP! Steen got the last laugh though, hitting the package piledriver on Generico from the ring apron through the time keeper’s table. In the words of one of the most important people in ROH history – “DANGEROUS!!!!!”

And that was intermission time as Generico did the full stretcher job and Steen left a trail of chaos in his wake. Thank GOD we got a break! I felt as exhausted as Steen and Corino must have been and I was just watching the damn show! It was time for another beer and some more frantic tweets about Steen before the 2nd half of the show got underway.

The Young Bucks def The All Night Express, Future Shock, The Bravado Brothers & Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander – tag team gauntlet match for future ROH Tag Title shot

It’s weird. I was all fired up for this match but it just didn’t seem to click for me. I thought Coleman and Alexander looked great in the early going. The Bravado Brothers are the perfect team for ROH because they bring some campy comedy and good heel heat that no one else in the division does. Future Shock are the kind of team ROH fans love. They’ve got a great look, excellent double team moves and their offense is hard hitting while still being flashy. Expect a run at the Tag Titles for them in 2012. When they were in there with the Bucks the match really kicked into a higher gear.

Still, this match was lacking something. It came down to ANX and The Bucks and the deal was Rhett Titus had a knee injury (legit) thanks to an attack by the Bucks earlier in the month. Titus was really hurt here and could hardly walk, let alone do any of his usual offence. This killed the match because while the story was good, this match should’ve been about crazy tag team action – that’s what people paid to see. Titus hopping around with a bad wheel and then the Bucks winning thanks to that didn’t seem to hit with the crowd which brought the match down a level.

Credit to Titus for going out there but it really dragged the match down and the finish didn’t feel very exciting. Maybe an attack by the Bucks early in the show and then change it to an elimination tag would’ve worked better and given the fans the match and hot finish they expected going in. It was still better than most tag matches you’ll see anywhere else, but it wasn’t as good as everyone expected. The Bucks winning is great because those little heelish bastards with the Tag Titles would make for great TV. Just watch The Bucks in PWG – they’re heel perfection and they need to bring that to ROH at the top of the cards. A slightly disappointing start to the second half of the show.

Roderick Strong w/Truth Martini def Chris Hero

The first major shock of the night saw Chris Hero return to ROH and answer Roderick Strong’s open challenge. The crowd went nuts and rightfully so as the Kings of Wrestling carried ROH a lot during their Tag Title reign. Hero is one of those guys that’s getting to the stage of his career, like The Briscoes, were people refuse to boo him because he’s so respected. Hero returning was a great moment and as I’d avoided any spoilers, I popped big when Hero’s music hit and he came out. I don’t know what’s happening with him and WWE but if he’s back in ROH even in the short term that’s great for him and the company.

The match was solid but not spectacular. The crowd were hyped for Hero and Strong is just tremendous in his role but this was the match where the energy of the crowd started to dip quite a bit. They really came back into it when Hero brought out the crazy spinning elbow strikes and big kicks. Strong got the win with Martini providing distraction and then a brutal ‘sick kick’ to the face of Hero. As a one off moment seeing Hero come back so unexpectedly was great but the match wasn’t the best from either guy. Good but not great.

ROH World Tag Team Title Match
The Briscoes def Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Hass/Shelton Benjamin

I’m just going to come out and say it. This match sucked a cock. It was a complete mess. From the shitty booking of the opening ‘brawl’ before the official start. To the NYC crowd once again doing a complete 180 in their attitude to The Briscoes. To WGTT getting booed out the building and looking really butt hurt about it. To the fucking ridiculous amount of unprotected shots to the head The Briscoes took. It was just not what anyone wanted to see or expected out of the semi main event match.

First off, NYC, make up your fucking minds will you? Jesus, ROH turned The Briscoes cause you booed them, then the first major match back and you’re all jumping around for them like 12 year olds girls who just had their first ‘funny feeling’ at a Bieber concert and booing the hell out of WGTT who you loved last time out! I just don’t get it. I don’t think the fans even get it. ROH certainly don’t as the booking of this match showed.

The chair shots and the wooden board shots to the heads that The Briscoes took were completely fucking ridiculous and Nigel McGuiness shouting, “get your bloody hands up,” sounded more like a concerned colleague who has had a history of concussions, than a colour commentator trying to get something over. Sick, pointless, scary and given all the brutality in the Steen/Corino match earlier in the night it just sucked the life out of the crowd. They just didn’t want to see this kind of match between these two teams. No one wants to stand there watching a dude get smashed in the head for no reason. No sane person anyway.

So the Briscoes won the Tag Titles for the 7th time and the finish was well done (Benjamin with bad ribs taken to the back, Hass left alone, Benjamin came back, they tried to use the Briscoes own finish but it was blocked and Briscoes hit it to win)but to be honest it was such a flat win and the match was so horribly booked up to this point that the crowd seemed more confused about what they’d seen than happy for the Briscoes.

I hope the Briscoes move on to a lengthy feud with the Young Bucks because those four will tear the house down. Where Hass and Benjamin go from here I’m not sure. A heel turn I think is a must because they did not look happy getting booed when they should have been cheered. It was a bad night for WGTT although I thought Charlie Hass was brilliant in giving the crowd back as much abuse as he was getting. Still, for the 3rd biggest match on the card, this was over booked in TNA like fashion and I never expect to see that in ROH. A real pre Christmas let down.

ROH World Title Match
ROH World Champion Davey Richards w/Team Richards defeated Eddie Edwards w/Dan “The Beast” Severn

I think the Tag Title fall out was still being felt because after the introductions the big fight atmosphere for this match died away. The crowd didn’t seem into the match at all for the first twenty minutes. I could sympathise. By this point it was well past 4am, I was wearing sunglasses and chatting to my sleeping dog about the match, just to stay sane and awake. Thankfully though Richards and Edwards were building to something and after the first 20 minutes the match kicked into life.

They couldn’t hit the heights of their first World Title match in June but they really worked hard and tried to get there. The crowd wasn’t as hot as back in June either which probably took away some of the feel for the match. There were some really hard strikes in this one, big suplexes and a lot of forearms, chops and elbows. It reminded me of the big matches from All Japan in the early to mid 90s when guys like Misawa, Kawada and Kobashi were in their primes and blowing people’s minds with their stiff and intense style of wrestling. I’m not sure it worked here as the ‘no sell fighting spirit’ spots after big head drops were greeted with mild indifference, instead of the crazy pop you’d hope for.

The crowd actually came back into it when things got more sports entertainment. The House of Truth and Roderick Strong came out to interfere but Dan Severn (still sporting that wicked Magnum PI ‘tache) ran them off. Edwards showed great heart in continuing to kick out of big moves and also survive an ankle lock submission. In the end Richards got the win thanks to a half nelson suplex off the top, one on the apron and then some hard kicks to the head.

Personally I don’t like the finishes that Richards is working these days. The psychology of the knock out kicks is weird. They don’t get much of a reaction and so his matches do end a bit flat when he does them. People seem much more into his submission stuff and the big suplexes than a KO kick. Probably because they’ve seen so many kick outs of big moves and kicks in the match that the final kick doesn’t really seem that devastating.

It was a great match though and both guys really did leave it all in the ring. Edwards looked strong in defeat and Richards solidified his place at the top of the food chain. I rolled my eyes when Richards got on the mic to do his ‘Edwards is such a tough s.o.b’ promo because we’ve heard it all before. Thankfully Kevin Steen then decided to make his presence known much to the delight of the crowd. He cut a blistering promo on Richards and declared he was coming for the ROH World Title in 2012 and then he’d have the whole of ROH held hostage. He finished off declaring himself the Anti-Christ of professional wrestling and left Richards fuming in the ring being held back by his training partners.

So that set the scene for 2012. It’s got to be all about Kevin Steen’s pursuit of Richards and the World Title. I’d imagine he’ll have to go through Jimmy Jacobs and El Generico before that match and Richards looks like he might be caught up with Roderick Strong for a while. I think every ROH fan will agree that Richards vs. Steen for the ROH World Title, either on the 10th anniversary show or Final Battle 2012 would be huge and the perfect time for Steen to make his final steps to the very top of ROH.

Final Battle 2011. I thought the show overall was great. Not perfect by a long shot but not terrible either. That needs to be the last show with that many unprotected chair shots though, seriously ROH, you’re better than that. I thought apart from the Tag Title match all the matches delivered and were the usually high standard you’d expect from the ROH roster. Steen and Corino was my personal highlight just because of the story building to it and then the sheer scary brutality that both men went through. It’s not something I want to see in ROH every month but as the final match in a heated feud it was pitch perfect. The World Title match would be a close second and I really loved Elgin vs. Perkins in the opener.

The show is certainly value for money and some small production snafus aside it’s a great watch, especially for Kelly and McGuiness on commentary who are so far ahead of all other wrestling commentary teams they’re going to lap them for the 3rd time. This was ROH signing off on the year in style but also showing that they are not the perfect company or finished article. That’s one of the reasons I love ROH so much – they always look to improve and grow and I hope they’ll learn a lesson about unprotected shots and match length. Cut them both down guys.

So that’s my look at ROH’s Final Battle 2011 on IPPV. I hope you guys enjoyed the show and that you will continue to support ROH into 2012. It’s an exciting time and with the TV show now really into full swing and Kevin Steen chasing the World Title, I’m looking forward to the new year in ROH!

Thanks for reading and continuing to support Wrestling’s Last Hope. Remember you can find and like the page on Facebook, it’ll make Stu a happy man and you should all want to make someone happy at Christmas! You can also follow me on Twitter @WLHDuckman and hear all my thoughts on wrestling every week over at the Marks for Xcellence podcast (

I’m now off to get some sleep and then set about watching the two new PWG DVD’s that arrived today from the States. Main event of the first show I’m watching? Steen vs. Richards for the PWG World Title – a sign of great things to come no doubt!

Again, thanks for reading and I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a kick ass New Year!

Until next time...



Friday 23 December 2011

A Fans Perspective: A week in Pro Wrestling, what I watched. Monday-Wednesday

Monday: WWE Raw

The Opening: I loved the opening to Raw, with CM Punk introducing himself, the NEW WWE US Champion Zack Ryder and the NEW World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, this helped legitimize Ryder and Bryan due to Punk’s popularity. I loved the passion shown by Bryan in his promo, the interruption also worked and a 6 Man Tag was a great idea, so I was fully on board with that.

CM Punk, Zack Ryder and Daniel Bryan vs. Alberto Del Rio, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler - I loved the entrances through the crowd, it showed that Bryan, Ryder and Punk are the fan favourites. This was a good back and forth match and I like the way Bryan made Del Rio tap via the Lebell Lock, as that helps those who believe his World Championship win was a fluke, that he is the real deal, due to him making a former WWE Champion tap out to the feared submission move.

With regards to the rest of the show, the more things change, the more they stay the same, is the phrase comes to mind!

ROH World Title
Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards © - I have had the opportunity to watch via but I can't, I guess I've been desensitized to long matches due to my TV Wrestling viewing, although I am looking forward to the rubber match tonight at ROH Final Battle 2011 live available on ( from New York City.

Tuesday/Wednesday: WWE NXT

The first thought that comes to mind is when will this season of NXT end!? Two choices make it WWECW like show or start a new season of NXT Rookies as soon as possible! I tend to read the results/reports before I watch TV Wrestling nowadays, so I had a read of (411Mania’s Tony Acero’s NXT Report) it looked like a shippable show until Tyson Kidd’s name appeared in a match.

I could watch Tyson Kidd wrestle all day, some will say I'm biased due to Interviewing Kidd before he joined WWE in 2006, but this isn't the case. Kidd is a tremendous all-round wrestler, some will say he's not that good on the microphone, two things come to mind about that, 1. He hasn't been given much of a chance and 2. If he isn't why not give him a manager ala Vickie Guerrero, he would make a superb addition to her stable.

Tyson Kidd vs. ‘Showtime’ Percy Watson - I have a lot of time for Watson, he has a great personality and good athletic ability and he was the perfect foil for Kidd in this match, both brought their ‘A’ game to the table and this was an enjoyable match, with the right result (Kidd winning) to end.

Thanks for reading, as always feedback is appreciated. If you would like to contact me, I'm available on the links below:

Twitter: @brummieol
Facebook: Oliver Newman
Facebook Fan Page:

Thursday 22 December 2011

I Need A ROH Show (December 20th 2011)

Kyle Patin and Zach Grigg review the latest episode of Ring of Honor TV, preview Friday's Final Battle 2011 iPPV, and more.

El Generico - Quite The Year By Ken Drabek

As 2011 comes to a close, the inevitable year-end review and/or “best of” articles begin to flood wrestling blogs and web sites, Wrestling’s Last Hope being one of them.

Instead of taking the standard approach of counting down the best moments, matches or wrestlers of the past year, I am instead going to take this opportunity to look back at what was unquestionably a banner year for one wrestler in particular, “The Generic Luchador” El Generico.

Generico spent much of 2010 in a rather dark place in Ring of Honor, embroiled in a bitter feud with his former tag team partner, Kevin Steen and his mentor, Steve Corino.

This feud brought out a darker side of Generico than we’re used to seeing, but the fun loving, lighthearted luchador would return after vanquishing Steen to end the year at Final Battle.

2011 began with El Generico and Paul London reigning atop the tag team scene in PWG but “The Generic Luchador” also found himself in contention for both the ROH and PWG World Heavyweight titles.

As January came to a close, Generico would challenge ROH Champion Roderick Strong at “SoCal Showdown II” and PWG Champion Claudio Castagnoli at “Kurt Russellreunion II,” both main event matches for the promotions’ respective WrestleReunion weekend shows.

Though Generico would be unsuccessful in his championship attempts, both matches were highly entertaining and went a long way towards paving the road for the success that would come his way as 2011 rolled on.

In April, El Generico's partner Paul London could not make the team's scheduled title defense against the Young Bucks. Generico selected Ricochet to fill-in but the duo lost the belts to the brothers Jackson at what became known as "Card Subject to Change III."

At the end of April, Generico found himself teaming with Scott Parker and Shane Matthews in CHIKARA’s annual King of Trios tournament as Team ¡3.0le!

They were knocked out in the first round by the Osirian Portal, which allowed Generico to enter the 2011 Rey de Voladores tournament the following day.
He went on to defeat Zack Sabre Jr., Marshe Rockett and Pinkie Sanchez in the first round 4-way elimination match and went one-on-one with the 1-2-3 Kid in the finals match.

Yeah, you read that right, El Generico wrestled, and defeated, the 1-2-3 Kid in 2011.

Generico claimed the “Rey de Voladores” prize and had one of the most entertaining and surprisingly emotional matches of the entire year with the often controversial Sean Waltman, in what he claims is the final time he will wrestle under the 1-2-3 Kid persona.

In June, Generico captured championship glory in ROH by defeating “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels for the TV Title in a solid match at the Best in the World iPPV. Generico was heading into the new ROH era on broadcast television as the TV Champion.

He wrapped up a long running rivalry with Roderick Strong and the House of Truth when he faced Strong inside of a steel cage at the “No Escape” show in Charlotte. It’s not one of the most talked about matches of the year, but it quietly became one of my favorites.

Unfortunately, the championship glory would be short lived for “The Generic Luchador”. On August 13, Generico would drop the title at the debut tapings for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, losing to Jay Lethal after reaching the fifteen minute time limit and battling into overtime.

While Generico may officially be the first TV Champion of the Sinclair era of ROH, the title loss was one of his few lowlights of 2011.

He would end August on a much happier note, defeating Claudio Castagnoli, Willie Mack and his arch-rival Kevin Steen on the same night to win PWG’s 2011 Battle of Los Angeles tournament. He earned a shot at Steen’s PWG World Title in the process and also became the first man to ever win every title and tournament in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.

At “Steen Wolf”, Generico cashed his BoLA championship opportunity in and defeated Kevin Steen in a ladder match to regain the PWG World Title.

Though the end of Steen’s reign came mostly at the hands of the Young Bucks interference, Generico and Steen once again had a hell of a war and reminded everyone why they had the most talked about rivalry in 2010.

Generico closed out 2011 in PWG by defeating the legendary Dick Togo at “Fear” in what is very likely Togo’s final match in the States. Not a bad notch for Generico’s belt.

“The Generic Luchador” enters 2012 as the World Champion in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. He still has one opportunity to regain the ROH TV Title at Final Battle 2011 when he faces Mike Bennett and Jay Lethal in a triple threat match.

Whether Generico regains the TV Title at Final Battle or not, he still ends the year as a champion and has had one outstanding 365 days. Congratulations to “The Generic Luchador” El Generico for his numerous accomplishments in 2011.

Wishing all of the best for 2012. Ole!

A Fans Perspective: A week in Pro Wrestling, what I watched

Hi I'm Oliver Newman and for those who know me I have been writing about the Sport that is Pro Wrestling since May 2004, for those who don't know me welcome to my debut piece on Wrestling's Last Hope, I hope you enjoy reading and as always feedback is appreciated.

Day 1: Sunday: WWE TLC

WWE US Title

Zack Ryder vs. Dolph Ziggler © This was a good solid match, fans were thoroughly behind the Woo Woo kid Ryder, as he pulled out all the stops to win the U.S. Title including a He-lo and a hurricanrana. Ryder was finally able to win the Title hes been chasing for so long, thanks to the Rough Ryder and you could see how much it meant him and the fans during his celebration afterwards.

WWE Tag Team Titles

Epico and Primo w/Rosa Mendes vs. Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston) © - I haven't been watching WWE TV lately so this match seemed thrown together to me, but what transpired was another good solid tag team match, nice to see highlighting of a previously dead tag team division, here's hoping this is just the start and more tag teams will be added to make the division better.

Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger
- Enjoyable match with the wrong result for me (Sheamus didn't need the win) but Swagger did as he is getting lost in the shuffle and his tremendous wrestling ability deserves better than that.

Daniel Bryan Cashes in his MITB Contract - This was a shocking but superb moment! Watching Bryan achieve his goal after his long journey from the Indies to WWE was very similar to when the late great Eddie Guerrero won the WWE Title from the UFC’s Brock Lesnar at WWE No Way Out 2004.

WWE Title TLC Match

The Miz vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk © - This was a fitting main event, all 3 wrestlers went all out and produced an entertaining match, some spectacular moments including Rodriguez falling from the ladder through the table on the outside and CM Punk was able to retain and that was the right decision that I fully endorse.

CM Punk and Daniel Bryan on top of the Wrestling world, this moment was very reminiscent of WrestleMania 20 when Chris Benoit won the World Heavyweight Title and Eddie Guerrero retained his WWE Title, a truly great moment, probably my favourite in my 20 years as a fan of Pro Wrestling.

If you would like to contact me, I'm available on the links below:

Twitter: @brummieol
Facebook: Oliver Newman
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Sunday 18 December 2011

OK, so I watched Some of WWE TLC 2011

Above: This is a picture CM Punk tweeted following the PPV - Indy/ROH guys done good.

Yeah, I got up just before the World title match, first thing I heard was Zack Ryder beat Dolph Ziggler for the US title, which I must say I'm not overly happily about. Also, I missed Triple H vs. Nash, not sure what the match was like but I can't imagine it was too amazing.

So, the first match I got to see was World Champion Mark Henry vs. The Big Show for the millionth time. This was billed as a 'chairs' match. No matter what stip they brought in, this match was going to be as boring as ever. And to end, Show won with a 'knock-out' punch. As he was celebrating, Henry attacked him with a chair, then DDT'd him onto a chair and this led to Daniel Bryan coming out with a referee, he cashed in his MITB briefcase and 3 seconds later we had a NEW WORLD champion and that is Daniel Bryan.

I really have no idea where they will go with this, I would like to hope Daniel would be champion going into Wrestle Mania but it's doubtful, the WWE have given the IWC (internet wrestling community) what they want so I'm sure they will just take it away soon enough. I hope we don't get a series of rematches with Daniel Bryan against Big Show or Mark Henry but I suppose we will.

The second match I got to see was Intercontinental champion Cody Rhodes against Booker T. Beforehand they showed Cody attacking Booker backstage earlier and then when onto the ring he attacked him again. So eventually we had the match and once again, Rhodes attacked Booker but this time in the ring, it was a half-decent match, I actually put on twitter at the time the fact Rhodes had attacked him twice we would get a title switch, this didn't happen and Rhodes pinned Booker following a sweet finisher.

Next up was the main event, WWE champion CM Punk vs. The Miz vs. Alberto del Rio in a Tables, Ladder & Chairs match. It's no secret, I'm not a fan of The Miz, I have NEVER thought he should be in the main event picture but always thought del Rio should. Of course, as a long time fan of the independent wrestling scene and fan of ROH since day one, like with Daniel Bryan, I am always happy when Punk does well in the WWE.

I really liked this match I must say, there was some sick spots using all 3 of the gimmicks. Ricardo Rodriguez took a right nasty bump off a ladder and through a table at ringside. Before this, he had handcuffed Punk to one of the ladders, there and then I thought Punk was losing the strap. However, the Chicago native got the cuffs off the ladder and his quest to retain continued. The match carried on with various ladder spots and at one point, The Miz cuffed Punk to one of the decals and once again, I thought Punk would lose his title. But no, Punk unscrewed the decal and then went over to stop both del Rio & Miz who were battling each other on separate ladders trying to get the title. Punk went on to knock del Rio off, then while Punk & Miz were off the ladders, Punk hit The Miz with the GTS and he went up and grabbed the title so STILL WWE champion CM Punk.

I liked the match, I said on twitter, I don't watch much WWE but was there a better match in the WWE this year, I know people may say Punk vs. Cena at Money in The Bank or Triple H vs. Undertaker at Wrestle Mania but I really liked this one over those two.

Of course I also like the fact Daniel Bryan is the World champion, I just hope they don't f**k it up.

Hit me up on twitter @WLHSTU

WLH PPV Prediction League Phase 2: The FINAL Show

Here we are, the final PPV of the year, WWE TLC 2011 goes down tonight. As explained last week, as I didn't have 20 people playing which I DID state at the start of the prediction league, the prize now would be a choice of DVD from the vast amount over at - Anyway, here are the matches:

Chairs Match for the World Title: Champion Mark Henry vs. The Big Show
Triple Threat Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match For the WWE Title: Champion CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. The Miz
Sledgehammer Ladder Match: Triple H vs. Kevin Nash
Tables Match: Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett
For the United States Title: Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder
For the Intercontinental Title: Champion Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T

2011 Was The Future By Jimi James

Something stood out in 2011. Something grabbed this wrestling fan's attention. That something gives me hope that WWE will have a bright future. I'm not talking about Rock vs. Cena. I'm not talking about the WWE Network. Yes, I'm curious of the spectacle that will be Rock vs. Cena. I, like you, will probably lose my social life to the WWE Network. But, these two things don't really appeal to the wrestling fan in me.

Sure, the WWE Network will have wrestling, but I think it will have just that more "entertainment". Rock vs. Cena, like I said, more "entertainment", less wrestling.

See, what I saw in 2011, gave me hope that in-ring competition will be just fine in the future, not just 2012, in WWE. Florida Championship Wrestling easily had the best year in their history of being the developmental territory for WWE. Since 2007, FCW has been the breeding ground for future WWE talent. Up till now, not many have kept a spot of significance on the WWE roster.

The roster of 2011, will change that. Names like Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Ritchie Steamboat, Percy Watson, Antonio Cesare, Bo Rotundo and brother Husky Harris all have made FCW entertaining for wrestling fans to watch. I missed names of some good talent and some of the names I mentioned you may not recognize, but I guarantee that if you are a fan, you know them all to well.

The talent of FCW are as solid as they come in the ring. Epic matches from all talent occurred every week on their television. At the start of 2011 FCW introduced the FCW 15 championship. The title was decided in the Jack Brisco Classic Tournament. The matches in this tournament were 15 minute ironman matches to name a champion. Fifteen minute ironman matches would be the match that the 15 title would be defended. Guaranteeing good wrestling matches with every defense of the title.

Seth Rollins won the Jack Brisco Classic on January 13, 2011 by defeating Hunico (currently on the WWE roster). By winning the 15 championship Rollins entered into a feud with someone who quickly got noticed, Dean Ambrose. I'm not going to go on again about the magic these two created. You can read my other article about that. I will say that Dean Ambrose got the attention of William Regal and CM Punk, both of who went to FCW to wrestle him. So if that doesn't say something to you about him, then why are you reading this?

As I praise the talent of FCW for their in ring abilities, I will caution that the promos can be a little rough. But, I can see that this roster has talent enough to take what WWE creative gives them and run with it. That is a far cry from the last couple of years when the call ups were the model types that where biding their time for Hollywood or whatever. Bottom line, this roster doesn't need NXT, just plug them in the right scenario and let them go.

I'm not saying that every one of the talent in FCW will be headlining Wrestlemania in their career. I'm not saying that a single member of FCW's 2011 roster will even be on the card at this years Wrestlemania. But, I will say this, there is hope for good wrestling not just "entertainment" at the WWE level for the new year and beyond.

Saturday 17 December 2011

WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs PPV Preview By Azan Saigol

Tables Ladders and … Controversy
Well its time again for another PPV. Time for some speculation, excitement and another potential plead for Mr. Cena to turn HEEL. Yeah, that’s not happening. But what is happening is .. KANE COMING BACK WITH A MASK OMGGGGGGGG.
Yes, that was the twelve year old me shitting my pants when I saw kane on raw with a mask, a glove and his attire that actually covers his man boobs. Anyways so lets start of this preview. First match we have is TLC Match for the WWE Championship: Champion CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. The Miz
The WWE Championship will be hanging from the ceiling. The first man to climb the ladder and gain possession of the title will walk out of this match as the WWE Champion. So really for me this PPV is a test by WWE to see if Punk can actually draw a crowd. To start off were going to see Del Rio and Miz team on Punk until they both realize they want the belt. I’m hoping there’s going to be some crazy high spots. Overall I think the ending will be Miz and Del Rio getting thrown of a ladder and crashing on two tables.
Winner: Cm Punk.
Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Champion Mark Henry vs. Big Show. So this is the second main event, quite frankly I’m getting tired of watching Big show and Mark Henry. All I’m hoping for in this match is for Big Show to take the world championship. OH and KANE!... If Kane is to make an appearance it should be here. Now if Henry retains the title then probably it’s going to end up as a double disqualification with Kane interfering and destroying both Henry and Kane showing how powerful he truly is.
Winner: Big Show/ double DQ.
Sledgehammer Ladder Match: Triple H vs. Kevin Nash.  In the '90s, both men were part of the Cliq, a very powerful backstage faction in the WWE. When Kevin Nash returned earlier this year, Triple H was the COO of the company. Kevin thought that his friend would give him opportunities but was angry when he HHH only signed him to a legends contract, so he took him out. Well honestly I don’t think Nash can keep up with HHH in the ring. Watching Kevin Nash's first official match against Santino was entertaining until Kevin tried his signature move. It was painful to watch because Nash is not the wrestler he once was and his finisher was not as strong as it used to be. I think Triple H will take this one clean. However if they want to prolong this, then there could be a swerve here. I’m wondering what it is though. Nonetheless, I’m happy for Kevin Nash (yes, I’m a big mark).
Winner: Triple H
US Championship: Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder. This match has been talked about for over a month now. Ryder vs Ziggler I cant wait BRO! After reading some dirt sheets it’s reported that Cena will be guest Referee, well if that is the case here’s how I think it’s going to go down. Since Cena really has no match, he's probably going to be the referee. Zack will probably lose to Ziggler due to a roll up pin or argument between Cena and Dolph. Next thing you see Ryder getting all pissed that Cena cost him the match and BAM attitude adjustment on Ryder. Cena gets all the heat. This is the Perfect way to start the “Cena vs The Fans” Feud.
Tables Match: Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett. This feud has been going on for a while on both Raw and Smack down. I think its given enough “Air” time, and I personally feel as if the ending to this fued should take place in a table’s match. You’re going to get your typical finish with Orton ending up with an RKO to Barret on the table. Nothing Special.
Winner: Orton
Intercontinental Championship: Champion Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T. Did you know the last time that the Intercontinental title was defended was on October 2nd? During the Hell in a Cell PPV. Finally SUCKAS we get to see the title being defended. I think this will be a great match seeing that the Book man is in action. Also since Booker wont be on the announcers table.. I’m hoping JR fills in for him. I hope they open the show with this match, as it seems great. If Booker captures the title we can see him regularly performing.

Winner: Booker T.
Conclusion: Well this Sunday in Baltimore! Its going down. I think this is the great “go home” PPV before the Road to WrestleMania begins. Also I would just like to add, PPV buy rates went up thanks to Kane’s return on Raw this past week.  Oh and my good friend Mike Cornblatt (@dirtsheetmafia) will be in attendance! So follow him on Twitter to get all the off air notes!!

Once again, if you have any comments, suggestions, or any wrestling discussions hit me up on Twitter: @azansaigol

Friday 16 December 2011

Duckman Books The WWE Network

If there’s one thing that is guaranteed to leave long time wrestling fans with a sense of impending doom, it’s an announcement by WWE of a new project that doesn’t involve their main business of promoting live wrestling events. You’re a moron of biblical proportions if you ignore the fact that NO ONE has promoted professional wrestling more successfully than Vince McMahon and WWE. However, as the past has shown, whenever they venture outside that core business the proverbial inevitably hits the fan and Vince McMahon is left with a ‘tens of millions of dollars’ sized hole in his wallet.

It seems to me that these days McMahon is fuelled by a need to prove he can successfully promote something other than professional wrestling. Personally I don’t understand the need to prove yourself in a different area of work when you’re already head and shoulders above all your contemporaries in your chosen field. I’d sit back and bask in the glory of what I’d achieved, not chase my tail trying to prove I’m something other than what I’m known for.

I doubt many top brain surgeons decide at the age of 60 to become a lawyer, just to prove to those other lawyers that brain surgeons are just as smart as them. Then again perhaps that lack of ambition to do something exceptional outside of my chosen field of work is why I am where I am in life! Who knows, but it’s fun to speculate.

The history of failure every time WWE tries to branch out beyond the squared circle makes pretty impressive reading. If you’re a fan of lists of failed business ventures it’s even more exciting, check this lot out; WBF, XFL, WWE New York, WWE Music, WWE Films, Linda McMahon’s run for Senate - all launched with huge fanfare and millions of dollars of money WWE earned through promoting professional wrestling and all dead within a couple of years (I doubt WWE Films in its current incarnation will survive much longer given the losses it makes).

Plus it’s time to admit Linda McMahon will never be a politician, or everyone’s worst nightmare - President. I hope. Please, for the love of God America, even you wouldn’t vote her in, right? Can you imagine Vince as the first husband of the USA? Actually that sounds pretty awesome! The press conferences alone would be a million buys!

With the WWE network believed to be going live on 1st April 2012 I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering if this new and exciting project is going to go the way of the XFL. Or perhaps because it’s so closely linked to WWE’s main area of expertise that it could be one of the greatest things to ever happen to a wrestling fan. I don’t know about you but a 24 hour wrestling network sounds like the kind of thing I’d ask for with my 1st wish of 3 when I find that magic lamp and the camp Genie inside voiced by Robin Williams.

The first question I asked after hearing about his project a few years back was a simple one – what the hell are they going to do to fill all that air time? They can’t just show re-runs of old shows (although that will no doubt make up over 50% of the content) because that’s just WWE Classics on Demand. They already do that.

Of course I want to see classic shows from wrestling’s past that WWE owns. It’d be great to have a regular weekly dose of the best of Crockett or ECW. Getting to relive the shows from the golden ages in St Louis, Memphis or Texas would be fantastic. There’s so much rich history at WWE’s finger tips that they don’t have to worry about the WRESTLING they’ll show on the network. But if the WWE Network is going to compete with already established huge TV networks, there’s one thing WWE need to do and that’s create original programming.

So, Tough Enough 24/7 sound good to everyone? I didn’t think so. They need something much more than that. Plus the network is launching in about 5 months! Do you have any idea how much pressure the WWE staff who are dealing with the launch of the network are under? Their daily life must be more distressing than a visit to an anal trauma ward with a magnifying glass (credit to the excellent writer Charlie Brooker for that horribly hilarious image).

So I’ve decided to do some of the leg work for them. Call it my personal Christmas present to WWE. It’s the season of goodwill and there’s too many stressed out people there these days, we should all try to help out sometimes. So here are my suggestions for new, original and ratings grabbing original programming on the WWE network:

Tuesday 9pm – ‘Good Old JR’ Jim Ross Hosts: Hunt and Kill Michael Cole.

This show is inspired by the late, great, iconic and legendary comedian Bill Hicks and is an update on his original idea from in the early 90s, “Hunt and Kill Billy Ray Cyrus.” In this version JR leads a group of five WWE fans, sick to death of listening to that little shitbag Cole ruin their shows, on a safari where the only prey is the most lame and annoying of all – Michael Cole.

The show format is simple – the first person to shoot and kill Michael Cole wins. Although tracking down Cole won’t be easy as Vince McMahon, in an attempt to protect his favourite pet, will be dropping in fan favourite WWE personalities disguised as Michael Cole throughout the show. Take the wrong shot and you might blow Zak Ryder’s head off and then what would everyone do with YouTube?

There’s huge guns, lots of tension and we can all be safe in the knowledge that Michael Cole won’t be back on WWE TV after the season ends. Expect constant Twitter updates throughout.

Plus, coming soon...Season 2, “Hunt and Kill John Laurinaitis” presented by Stephanie McMahon.

Monday 2am – WWE Legends Drunken Promo Roundtable.

If there’s one thing WWE is sorely lacking these days, it’s great promos. I’m talking the kind of unscripted, intense and believable promos that the past masters used to cut. This show does away with scripted promos and instead is a 30 minute ad-libbed verbal battle between two former WWE stars on a subject chosen at random via Twitter.

The debate is chaired by Roddy Piper who decides which WWE star has cut the most entertaining promo after cutting 12 of his own on various random subjects that landed in his brain during the course of the show. The snorting of cocaine and drinking of alcohol is mandatory. The first two WWE Legends to take part have been confirmed as The Iron Sheik and The Ultimate Warrior. Yes, we have the lawyers on speed dial.

Sunday 8am – WWE’s Educate the Nation with Dusty Rhodes.

Instead of the usual Sunday morning cartoons the WWE network brings to you three hours of Dusty Rhodes teaching children nursery rhythms and other educational songs and stories. It’s a kind of one man Sesame Street only with less focus on education and more on explaining the finer points of Dusty’s amazing vocabulary. The objective of the show is to encourage all children in America to talk like Dusty Rhodes. Why? Cause it’s frigging hilarious that’s why!

Thursday 9am - Aerobics HHH Style.

You’ve all seen Aerobics Oz Style, right? The show where hot Australian women in tiny swim suits do aerobics for an hour on TV. If you haven’t, then you really are missing out on one of the true TV wonders of our time. The WWE network presents it’s own version of this show where HHH shouts at FCW students for an hour about how important going to the gym is. He then leads them in a brutal work out where many students are left broken and injured, lying in pools of their own vomit and shattered dreams while HHH screams in their faces about their lack of commitment to the business.

Each week a student is eliminated by sledgehammer shot to the groin. The last man standing gets the honour of being named HHH’s official bag carrier and work out partner. As an added bonus they will also receive a short run as WWE Champion which no one in WWE really gets behind and in the end sets their career back around 18 months. First season winner Sheamus will provide guest commentary.

Thursday 3pm – Toilets of the World with Vince McMahon.

If there’s one thing Vince McMahon knows and loves it’s toilets. Vince has always been unable to walk past a toilet without laughing uproariously. This show follows Vince as he visits some of the most famous toilets in the world, including; the toilet Elvis died on, Hitler’s official toilet, Glasgow, Scotland and Dixie Carter’s TNA office.

Of course no trip would be complete without Vince dropping a turd and laughing about it, making his assistant on this life changing journey, Kevin Dunn, as uncomfortable as possible. Vince is only satisfied his work is complete when Dunn is sobbing uncontrollably like Jim Cornette just made fun of his buck teeth. If you’re a fan of an old aged pensioner laughing uncontrollable as he craps on Dixie Carter’s desk, then this show is for you. Adult themes throughout.

Sunday 8pm - Who Wants To Marry A Ric Flair?

A question I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves once in our lives, now the WWE network brings you the answer. Turns out it’s just about any woman on the planet, hence the less than stellar line up of “female” contestants including Cher’s daughter/son, Perez Hilton and Lindsay Lohan’s mum.

Each week the contestants try to convince Ric to marry them by performing the famous “woooo” mating call, reciting Flair’s most famous promos and perfecting their Flair flop onto his face. The first contestant that can convince Ric to marry them without signing any kind of prenuptial agreement wins the season. She then joins the ranks of woman across American currently living the high life off the back of poor Ric and his terrible decision making. We promise even Ric Flair can’t find an excuse to blade during this.

Sunday 10:30pm – WWE Writer Roulette.

Just like Russian roulette this is a game not for the feint hearted and one that you probably only want to play once in your life. It’s the night before Raw and six WWE writers nervously wait for Vince McMahon’s opinion on the show they have written. They are then called into Vince’s office where each writer has to explain why he or she is so damn stupid and can’t book the wrestling Vince likes.

The writer who doesn’t immediately blame everything on ‘the marks’ or ‘the internet’ is fired by Vince…literally - from a huge cannon in his office which is aimed out the window, directly onto the giant billboard of ‘Wrestling Matters’ that TNA installed in Stamford when they still cared about that gimmick. Yes, it’s basically The Apprentice starring Vince McMahon and ending with someone being fired from a cannon. You’re welcome America.

Saturday 9pm - Police, Cameras, Hardys!

What better vehicle (get it) for the return of the Hardy Boys to WWE TV than this thrilling new show? Matt, Jeff and their pet monkey Archibald awake after another huge week long bender in Las Vegas. They are miles from home and have to race against time to get back to North Carolina to attend their next Court hearing. A hybrid of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and those never ending Police car chase shows. The entire show is filmed on Matt and Jeff’s phones. Cringe inducing cut scenes available on You Tube. Pills not included.

Saturday 11pm - The Cranky Vince hour.

In acknowledgement of the greatest Twitter account in existence today - @CrankyVince the WWE network brings to you an hour of all the best tweets from one of the most hilarious things linked to WWE since the last time John Cena threw a punch. For those of you not following @CrankyVince you know the drill by now – stop reading, go follow him, thank me later.

Tuesday 8:00pm - John Laurinaitis stars in Future Endeavours.

Everyone’s favourite charisma black hole stars in this thrilling rip off of classic 80s TV show Quantum Leap. John leaps back and forth in time into the bodies of wrestlers previously fired by WWE for reasons no one can understand. Each week The Dynamic Douche must do everything in his power to avoid being fired by WWE to save another’s career and get his next leap..and hope that his next leap…will be his leap home. Co-starring Shane Douglas as Al and the Anonymous Raw General Manager as Ziggy. Scenes of a skateboarding nature from the outset.

So there you have it. Just a few examples of the kind of quality original programming we can expect from the WWE Network next year. If they read this and steal my ideas that is. Remember, you heard it here first people!

In all seriousness I hope the WWE Network is a huge success. I hope they use it as a platform to showcase the rich history of professional wrestling to a whole new generation of fans. There’s a chance for WWE to get on board with different producers, writers, people who know how to produce good television and really revamp their standing as a media force – something Vince is no doubt desperate to achieve.

It could be the dawn of a whole new way wrestling is present on TV. Could they hook up with indy feds to help them to allow the stars of tomorrow to hone their craft before coming to WWE? The power of the WWE Network could have a huge effect on all of wrestling. Plus with the added media spotlight on them maybe now is the time that WWE look at that whole independent contractor bullshit.

Then again, history isn’t kind to WWE and Vince McMahon when it comes to big new projects. This one though, this one feels different because it’s so closely rooted in what WWE does better than anyone else. It’s actually a damn exciting time, a bit like in the summer when Punk dropped that first pipe bomb on Raw. Let’s just hope WWE strike while the iron is hot and really come out with a new network that redefines what they do and sets the foundations for a great future for professional wrestling.

Plus there’s the whole question of what the WWE Network means for the future of wrestling on PPV and indeed if it could have a negative effect on the wrestling industry as a whole. If you want to read more about that subject, check out a much better blog than this by ROH’s lead announcer Kevin Kelly here: So many possibilities and so much to look forward to as the WWE Network takes shape next year.

Well folks this is my final post before Christmas seeing as I’ll be busy as hell all next week enduring the nightmare that is Christmas in the 21st century. I hope you guys have enjoyed my posts here at Wrestling’s Last Hope over the last few months, it’s been a lot of fun. I want to give a huge note of thanks to Stu for giving me the chance to write here and begin what I hope will be a fun journey to one day getting paid for this shit!

I wish you guys a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, keep supporting indy wrestling and search for The Indy Corner on facebook and please LIKE the page and don’t forget you can follow me on twitter @WLHDuckman. Thanks for reading!

Until next time...