Monday 30 April 2012

Q&A With PROGRESS Wrestling Champion Nathan Cruz

Thanks to Darren Rogers for conducting this Q&A

How long have you been involved in professional wrestling and how did you first get started in the business?

I started training a little over six years ago. This was my first involvement in professional wrestling. I'd never aspired to do anything else but wrestle. I helped out with advertising etc but this was my only involvement. After training at a less than reputable school (unbeknownst to me) for four months, I did my first few matches over that haven summer camps of 2006.

Where and with whom did you train?

Unfortunately I began with one of the worst guys in the country. I was green as they come and had no clue to just how bad this guy was. PWA, lead by the Urban Warrior taught me little to nothing. Very basic technical wrestling, a few incorrect moves but gave me my start and early experience in front of large crowds.

What do you remember about your first day of training – was it what you expected, how did you feel physically, what were the trainers like etc

Well as mentioned he was shit. Friendly enough at the time, but looking back was obviously just after money. It wasn't as exhausting as I thought, bumps hurt more that I had anticipated, but above all it was exciting. I was finally on my way.

When you were starting out, what were your ambitions in wrestling?

My ambitions always alter. My main and ultimate goal has always to one day land a contract with WWE orTNA. But I realise it takes time. Each year I set my self smaller achievable goals that will help me on my way. When I started it was all about getting on the shows and making heads turn.

When did you have your first match, and how did it go?

August 26th 2006. I got battered. Theres a pic somewhere of the state I was in. I had a hand print across my back where I'd been hit so hard to could see the pattern in his fingers... No joke.

What do family and friends think of your career choice?

Supportive. My dad was the only one who ever doubted it. He wanted me to pursue a career in acting (my other passion and what i got my college diploma in) but as my name spread and he came to some of the more high profile shows, he like everyone else just encouraged me. My mum I have to mention has been outstandingly supportive. When I was younger, we never had much money, but she did her best to get me in the right foods for my diet and even paid for my gym membership the first year I started. To this day she will always offer to wash my gear, cook my food to take away with me. A true star who i owe a lot to.

Do you have another job outside of wrestling or is this what you consider your ‘main’ job?

I am a professional wrestler. This is my job. I have had other jobs in the past when I was part time. But now I earn and work enough to have this as my job. It's tough and financially not always good. But how many people get excited to go to work?

What are your feelings on the state of the wrestling business in the United Kingdom?

It needs sorting. We have so many issues I can't think of where to begin.
We've got a situation where anyone can run a show. And book whoever they want. This is the biggest problem. The general public see's posters for a wrestling show as WRESTLING. They do not see the promotions name or understand the different promotions. Therefor we have the issue of them going to a terrible show. With guys who work once a month, for free and are dreadful, the family then thinks 'British wrestling is awful' we all suffer. Less audiences, less wages, less shows, less work, less pro wrestlers and high quality shows. It could kill off the industry in this country.

What we need is for all the top promotions to say 'right, I will only book wrestlers of a certain level. If anyone tries to book a show without our permission or without the appropriate wrestlers, then you face prosecution.' on top of that a union to secure that we have set incomes and sick pay. To many wrestlers work through injuries out of necessity.

When you were first approached about Progress Wrestling, what were your initial thoughts?

New promotion. Might be another piss pot wanting to play promoter.

What did you think about Chapter One?

Outstanding. They proved that they are a professional promotion, everything in the right place and RESPECT there workers. Show from top to bottom was brilliant, I loved every minute.

When you are not training, traveling or wrestling, what do you do to relax?

Spend time with my friends making short movies, go for walks with my girlfriend or talk about budgeting for a future together. To be honest I'm never truly away from wrestling. I'm always thinking about new ideas to improve something.

Finally. Where do you see yourself in 2 years time?

Wrestling is such a funny business. I have no idea where I will be. I know where I'd like to be. And I know where I'd like to see British Wrestling. But the only thing I can do is keep putting in the hard work, get bigger and prey for the best. What happens is all part of the ride.

For more information about Progress Wrestling, check out or follow us on Facebook

Sunday 29 April 2012

Ring of Honor and CHIKARA team up for a super show By Alex Kalil

This past Saturday, my friends Justin, Luke and I traveled to Chicago Ridge for ROH and CHIKARA's "Synergy" and wow, what a night. We arrived at the Frontier Fieldhouse at about noon, an hour and half before the doors opened, so we got to talk to some fans in line and was pretty cool. Just before the doors open, Billy Kumohara, CHIKARA's Quiz Master came out and asked fans trivia questions which would let five fans in early and get a prize pack. I was lucky enough to win one of these myself and got seats in the front row near the walkway. I was able to also talk to several wrestlers, like El Generico, Tim Donst, Greg Irons, The Young Bucks, Cary Silkin, Chuck Taylor, Gavin Loudspeaker and Jakob Hammermeier who is one of the funniest guys to talk to. I also bought a Kevin Steen T-shirt and all three nights of King of Trios 2011.

The CHIKARA show started with Gavin doing his usual sing skit. After wards, The Swarm and The Shard run out leading to them vs. The Colony and Jigsaw. This match was really fun to watch live. Lot of brawl so it was kinda hard to see what was going on if it wasn't right in front of us. Good way to start and really excited where the Geiko storyline goes. Next was Kobolds taking on Mixed Martial Archie, formily Archbald Peck. This match was the funniest thing I've ever seen live. The crowd LOVED Archie and was chanting "Archie" and "Better than Brock" to him. Guy is super over and a really great worker and makes the MMA gimmick work.

Next was the The Throwbacks vs. Kodama & Obaryion. This was a good match and pretty fun. Mr. Touchdown is really good for how new he is and Dasher is great too. Not a huge fan of Kodama and Obaryion but they work a heels. Mr. Touchdown is teasing turning heel so looking forward to where that goes as well. Next was 17 taking on the new CHIKARA student: Tianlong. This was only like a minute long and was made to have 17 take out Tianlong to send a message to Quackenbush, who is currently injured.

Then we had The Young Bucks vs. Arik Cannon and Darin Corbin. I knew everyone but Corbin but he manged to look good. Bucks were great as always and Cannon was surprisingly agile for his size. Solid match.

Next we had intermission where they had Hallowicked take pictures with fans, which I got to do which was cool. During this Donst was in line and jumped him and stole his Young Lions Cup. Nice job by CHIKARA for the surprise reactor. During intermission, I got to meet The Colony, Mike Quackenbush, who was easily the nicest guy in the world, Johnny Gargano, who is nice too and Sara Del Rey.

First match back was 3.0 & Spectral Envoy vs. Bravado Brothers & Tim Donst/Jakob Hammermeie. Hallowicked wasn't out due to being jumped. Bravados looked good here and looks like they might be feuding with 3.0 in the future. Delirious came out and distracted Ultra Mantis Black during the match and Hallowicked came out and chased Tim Donst to the back. Hard to follow all the action but great storyline match.

Surprisingly next we had the Grand Championship match with Eddie Kingston vs. Kevin Steen. Steen came out in a Bumblebee mask, mocking CHIKARA but the crowd loved it. Crowd was split for this match and these two were very brutal to each other. Ending was Steen kicking Eddie in the balls leading to a DQ, so I am betting on a rematch down the road.

Next was Gran Akuma vs. FIST. This match was good but my friends and I had more fun just yelling at Icarus and watching Chuck and Johnny joking around. Funny stuff. Greg Irons came out and helped Akuma roll-up Johnny for the win. Main event time! Sara Del Rey vs. El Generico! and WOW! What a match. Sara and Generico are both underrated for how good they are. Sara was on her "A game" and Generico didn't hold back this includes the hardest chop to the chest I have ever heard and three Yakuza kicks to the face. Sara won with a piledrive that looked like it hit Generico right on his head. OUCH! After wards both shook heads and showed respect. What a match! And that's all for CHIAKRA

Came back for the ROH show and got in a little behind some people. Met a few ROH guys but couldn't get an autograph without paying for it, which sucks. Until Steen came out and shouted out he was doing it for free which resulted in a huge crowd running over to him. Funny stuff. Glad Steen is keeping in character all the time. We were in general admission but I ended up standing by the walkway to get closer to the action.

First match was Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin vs. ANX. Fun tag match. Elgin is so fucking strong it is scary! They are really playing up Elgin and Strong having issues during the match. After the match Strong and Elgin almost got into it which led to a "Fuck him up Elgin" chant. Elgin looks to be leaving The House of Truth soon which might be smart.

Mike Bennett and Maria were out next for a promo where Bennett put himself over nicely and the crowd was really against him. Few "CM Punk" chants and "Shut the Fuck up" chants. Mike Sydal, Evan Bourne's brother came out for a quick match, it was just okay. Lots of "Colt Cabana" chants during this match.

Next was The Young Bucks taking on the Bravados and WOW were the Bravados over here. Crowd loved them! Chants for "Justin Bieber" for Lancelot and "Pedro" for Harlem to poke fun at how they looked but the Bravados used the chants to their advantage. Bravados look so much better in the ring and lot more confidences. Got a big win over the Bucks in a great match.

After this we had someone from Sinclair Broadcast Group came out and said "Death Before Dishonor" will be here in September. Huge "YES!" chant for that. Might have to go to that show. Steen and Jacobs came out to a huge pop and said how he will be Champion by then. This lead into them vs. El Generico and BJ Whitmer. Huge brawl to start with refs breaking it up and said this was a regular tag team but Steen wants a NO DQ Match. A phone call to Jim Cornette and he gets his wish. This match was a lot of fun to watch live. Nice chair shots and violent stuff. Crowd wanted Tables and they did at the end with BJ hitting Jacobs with a huge exploder suplex off the top for the win. Great match! Steen was getting "Next World Champ" chants.

After intermission we had the Team ROH of Jay Lethal, Adam Cole and TJ Perkins vs. The Colony. Another great match. Everyone worked great with each other. Few nice high spots and tag spots. Ending was kinda weird but it worked. Hoping we see a rematch someday.

Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin was next. WGTT got booed a TON! Charlie actually got in my face before the match and almost hit me. Awesome moment for me. Crowd was very anti-Charlie Haas though out the whole match but got into it when Davey was working at high speed and hitting some nice spots. Kyle did a sick dropkick to Charlie when he was outside sitting on a chair in the corner. WGTT won in the end and Davey and Kyle had words. Davey said how he loves Kyle but would put him down if he had to. Davey then put over the main event and wished good luck to the Briscoes.

Main event time! Jigsaw and Hallowicked got a lot of heat from the ROH crowd which was kinda weird but had some cheers. Briscoes were BIG time over. Crowd was excited for this match. Lot of good stuff and brawling to the outside and throwing each other into the guardrails for a few minutes. Both team had a good showing. Lot better than their "Homecoming" match. Saw two refs bumps with nice false finishes for both teams. The Colony came out which lead to Lethal, Cole and TJ Perkins coming out to root for their company. Briscoes with the win and a big celebration from the crowd and wrestlers at ringside. Everyone shook hands after wards and the Briscoes put over CHIKARA. Hoping we see these two companies work together again soon. WHAT A NIGHT! Highly recommenced that you check out these shows when they come out. Thank you ROH and CHIKARA!

For more wrestling opinions from me follow me on Twitter @AlexKalil

Change By Chris Cugini

Change is only six letters long, but those six letters could mean a lot more if it really does what the word says..Around September of 1994 a new and great change came to my door with a knock. It was a Direct TV installer where just days earlier I heard of this great service and after I channel surfed the 500 new channels I came across 3 letters at the top of the screen, Those letters were ECW! Although I had no idea how this one channel change would not only change my life but the industry that I loved so dearly. At that time they were really pushing the NWA tournament final when Shane Douglas did the infamous angle of the belt toss to set up the change of eastern championship wrestling into the extreme era, I am like going nuts at this point thinking are you kidding me this is where I turn this great show on? Where in the hell has this show been my whole life,I have not been this hype for wrestling since I started watching the old UWF shows by promoter Bill Watts pushing the Freebirds to the moon. So it is safe to say I am hooked right now. This is also around the same time where a top 10 angle in the history started...The Sandman with Woman - Tommy Dreamer 'blind' angle I can still till this day hear Woman saying "Dreamer,Dreamer" during the 10 cane shot match, again like I have said before if you have not seen this stuff go get them now!

After that Feud concluded I started getting enough nerve to think of making a trip to the mecca-THE ECW ARENA! I was 21 years old in a perfect time in the world right before the internet blew the doors off. For weeks my two goals were simple turn as many people as I can to this Great promotion as I can and the other was find somebody that would make the trip across the state to Philly {at that time I lived near Pittsburgh} I did find someone it was my cousin a die hard wrestling fanatic as well we made the trip to Philly and what a night to pick....Hostile City Showdown 1995 (4-14-95).

The road trip takes about 6 hrs but it flew by cause we are just laughing our butts off cause first the fact that we have the balls to do what we are doing and 2nd we just can wait to get there. We got there alright drove on to Swanson & Ritner and it was one of those crazy moments where all of your expectations about a place that you have no clue what it looks like turns out to be what you thought it looked liked and more...A line had already began to form next to a huge steel door and the hard part we had no idea where to park cause we were afraid the car would get stolen witch we found out later was a real possibility over hearing conversations in line. We finally get it after a long wait and run to a open area to get a seat and that was not a easy to do either the place PACKED! What a great feeling of achievement. This was the peak of the Raven Dreamer feud without a doubt and there match was insane all over the mecca putting holes in walls with chairs flying and blood coming out of Dreamer's skull. The night already was enough for to go home happy but guess what not even close to being over cause what gets lost in the insane so called world of ECW is that is blood and guts well that is not true what so ever cause the GREAT Classic 5 star Match between Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko that ended in a draw got the biggest pop of the night (that is why I love ECW) A fitting match was Sandman vs Shane Douglas with woman was great too,when I mentioned that this was fitting is that the first show I ever saw was when Douglas changed everything to the extreme by dropping the title he actually dropped the title to Sandman via Woman's face turn...Crazy. Then the crazy event Cactus Jack vs the god Terry Funk just turned the show upside down it had it all and ended up terry chasing all over the place with a burning branding iron! The crazy nut was putting the flame on his body legit! Awesome I bought this tape as fast as I could after that night because I never want to forget those nights but even though I can still watch them it does not show the ride home that night where earlier we did not stop talking, we did not say a word till half way home. I made 19 more trips to the Arena up until the year 2000 and other house shows all over the state of Pennsylvania.

Still very sad it ended I have not gotten over that fact cause it is not just the wrestling it was the memories I will always have the wrestlers and fans I met during those days,I even got invited to the back parking lot with all the boys by Balls Mahoney That was a trip standing with almost the whole roster walking past me..I
did'nt say a word, But like I said at the beginning the word is change and change it did or copied or robbed whatever you want to say by other promotions but NEVER equaled. I want to say Thank you to all those people, wrestlers/fans I met. Also while writing this on the day of Extreme Reunion, I just learned that one of my all time idols is in bad shape right now SABU....I hope everything is ok with him, he never gets the credit for what he has done in this business...

Thanks again @ROHcode on twitter

Stu's note: There is a DVD set available on the market called The Best of The ECW Arena, a 6 disc set of greatness, try and check it out.

Saturday 28 April 2012

Wrestlemania and The Aftermath By Duckman

WLH gladly welcomes back Duckman to the site, it's been a long time brother but we're glad you're back

Holy fuck balls it’s been a long time since I wrote one of these! Just give me a second to get my reference points sorted out. Bill Hicks jokes? Check. Lines from The Simpsons? Check. Jim Cornette’s opinions on wrestling? Check. Right then, where the fuck was I? Oh yeah, WRESTLING!!

Excuse my horrendous language that will no doubt permeate through this article like a fart in an elevator. I’ve been watching back to back episodes of the wonderfully fucked up show Dexter for the last few days and I’ve picked up some bad habits from the heroically foul mouthed character Debra Morgan. So if you’re one of those people that is easily offended by bad language or rude metaphors then this really isn’t the place for you. For the rest of you still here, let’s fucking do this shit!

That’s right Duckman is back on Wrestling’s Last Hope after far too long away due to personal reasons (I was negotiating Brock Lesnar’s return to WWE. You’ve got no idea how many brown M&Ms I had to find to keep that big dope happy) but just like Eric Cuntoff’s amazing music used to remind us every week on Raw, “I’m back and better than ever.” And just like Eric Cuntoff used to do on Raw every week it’s time for some HLA!!! That’s right HOT LESNAR ACTION!!

Actually I’m just cock teasing you. We’ll get to Brock shortly. First, I’m going to wrap up all my opinions on Wrestlemania and the aftermath (hence the title of the article) in a few short paragraphs. Although anyone who has read my work before will know that I never do anything in a few short paragraphs. I’m like a Gabe Sapolsky ROH show – there is just no fucking way I’m going to hit my time cues. No. Fucking. Way.

Anyone else feel like Wrestlemania 28 was about a year ago? Yeah, me too. Seems like a lot has happened in a short space of time. It’s actually only been 26 days. Or as I like to call it, “half a Bourne.” That’s right, wellness policy violation joke right off the bat! BOOM mother fuckers! Ah it’s good to be back. I’m sure you’ve all had more than enough Wrestlemania opinion and reviews over the last 26 days. So I’ll try to keep this as snappy as possible while still getting my Mania experience for this year out of my system. I need to share.

I was able to continue the tradition of going to my younger brother’s house to watch Mania this year. He lives on the other side of the country from me and I don’t get to see him nearly enough these days. So Mania has become a great event for us to watch together and catch up on all the usually brotherly bullshit we need to catch up on. It’s awesome and a tradition we’ll probably continue for as long as we’re both still watching wrestling.

To say we were excited at the prospects of the show would be like saying Lindsay Lohan occasionally enjoys a tipple or two. We were fucking hyped and ready for the biggest wrestling show of the year. I should point out I’m 31 and my brother is 28 (with a son – more on him later) and yet I’m sure our excited squeaks every time we spoke about the show before it kicked off would be more akin to the noises you’d hear from the front row of a Justin Bieber gig. As opposed to the noise you hear from the back row of a Justin Bieber gig – namely me loading my sniper rifle.

By the way, I’m so out of touch I don’t even know if it’s still cool to make fun of Bieber anymore. If there is a new target for sarcastic and jaded Generation Xers like me to make fun of, please let me know.

I mentioned my brother has a son, he’s called Owen but they spell it Eoin. Why? Because it’s important to ensure you confuse as many people as possible with the spelling of your kid’s name these days. One of my Mum’s friend’s basically spelt his name ‘Onion’ on his first birthday card. A great effort but waaay off the mark. In all seriousness the spelling of his name is Gaelic or some other mystical long forgotten language like fucking Elvish or something. Anyway, he’s my nephew, he’s 15 months old and he’s the coolest fucking kid in the world. FACT.

The only problem we had was looking after the wee man and being able to watch Mania in one sitting. As those of you who have kids will know, this proved impossible and so for the first time ever I watched Wrestlemania in instalments. This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it meant we had time to discuss the show in stages, enjoy the copious amount of munchies we’d bought for the show and have a regular smoke break.

Let me set the scene: It’s Monday afternoon. All computers and phones have been switched off to avoid spoilers from the show when it aired live the night before. Duckman, his brother and nephew were primed for 4 hours (which turned into 6 due to instalments) of ‘the very best of Americana’ (Michael Cole actually called Mania that last year and I was hoping for some kind of repeat but unfortunately he chickened out). Snacks consisted of bad ass hot dogs, southern fried chicken pieces, chips, dips and other assorted junk food wonderfulness. We were happy as three little pigs in shit. And then it happened…you all know what I’m talking about. It took 18 seconds and pissed off the entire world in the process.

I won’t dwell on our reactions to all the matches in too much detail but I will never - and the Duck means NEVER - forget the look of absolute soul crushing disappointment on my brother’s face after the Daniel Bryan/Sheamus ‘match’ – one of the matches he and I were most looking forward too. We literally did that ‘huh, what the fuck?’ double take look at each other that you normally only see in Laurel and Hardy movies. All we could think was, “they’ve ruined Wrestlemania with the opening match.” Then I cried, then my brother cried, then Eoin laughed, he’s such a little trooper…

In all honesty we were fucking PISSED. I’m sure you were too. The dudes in the front row with the ‘YES’ signs looked like they were going to tear one of those giant palm trees down, charge backstage and ram it straight up Vince’s ass. 26 days have now passed and you know something? All that ‘match’ seems to have done is make Daniel Bryan THE MOST OVER GUY IN WWE! And I’m perfectly fucking happy with that. YES, YES, YES!

The crowd’s reaction to him on the post Mania episode of Raw was one of the greatest vocal middle fingers to Vince McMahon I’ve ever seen. Second only to the ‘DIE BATISTA DIE’ chants the original ECW fans unleashed when they ran a re-booted ECW house show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York that Big Dave main evented. Vince didn’t understand that crowd and from the way Bryan was booked on Mania, he didn’t understand that one either.

Let’s just hope they continue to allow Bryan to grow into the main event star anyone with half a fucking brain knew he could become in WWE if given a chance. Extreme Rules should make up for the 18 second bullshit. His 2/3 falls match with Sheamus will be something special I’m sure. On a side note it’s amazing how less over Sheamus is now. Winning the Rumble and winning the World Title in 18 seconds has done less than nothing for his heat. Then again when you’re as poorly booked as he’s been it’s no wonder. Remember when Sheamus used to seem like a special personality? Yeah…the fuck happened there?

Ok, let’s rattle through the rest of Wrestlemania with some highs and lows, otherwise we’ll be here all day:

HIGH – CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho. A wrestling match. A fucking good wrestling match. At Wrestlemania. With a fucking cool wrestling match finish. LOVED IT.

LOW – Kane and Randy Orton. If these two fucks were in any lower of a gear they’d have gone in reverse. Plus it felt like it went on for an hour and we were still fuming after Bryan/Sheamus. Live crowd loved it for some reason. I’m assuming drugs and alcohol must have been involved.

LOW – Any backstage segment. They all fucking sucked. Especially the one with that ginger skinny guy getting fucking OWNED by that rapper on roids. I had no idea who any of those people were and thus it annoyed the fuck out of me.

HIGH – My nephew with a Dorito in each hand, discovering the wonder of nacho cheese dip, while simultaneously dancing to HBK’s theme music. I love that kid.

LOW – Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy. The perfect example of WWE’s complete and utter failure to create new stars in recent years. There was no more evidence needed of why they had to rely on bringing in Rock, Taker, HHH and HBK to save this show than this match. No one is over in WWE bar about 4 guys these days. What a parade of useless fucking jobbers. The battle of the stop/start pushes. I also marked this fucking mess down because they promised Teddy Long would be gone and the little Mole Man looking mother fucker is still on my TV EVERY WEEK.

LOW – Diva’s tag match. Some celebrity chick who had more injuries than Mick Foley after Hell in the Cell ’98 pins the WWE Woman’s Champion? On the biggest show of the year? Ah WWE logic how I love thee. Plus the match seemed to be worked in slow motion. Bonus point for Beth Phoenix’s ri-cock-ulous pre match head gear.

HIGH – The crowd. These guys made the show for me. They reacted big to the big matches and brought everything up a level. Plus they were just having SO much fun. I have never been more insanely jealous of a wrestling crowd in my entire life.

HIGH – Cena vs. Rock. I liked it. I liked how into things people were. I liked seeing the Rock back. I liked watching Cena nearly fucking decapitate Rock with that leg drop off the top. I liked the finish that sent everyone home happy. Despite the match going 30 plus minutes it still felt a week shorter than Orton and Kane.

HIGH – Zak Ryder being kicked in the balls by Eve for no apparent reason. I can hear Vince backstage at that exact moment, “Well if those fucking pencil necked geeks on the internet were upset with Bryan getting butt fucked in the opener, wait till they see what my bottom bitch does to their You Tube hero. FUCK YOU!” This actually made me enjoy the spot even more. There has never been a bigger loser in WWE than Zak Ryder. Booked into fucking geek oblivion. That’ll teach you to get over without the WWE system.

HIGH – Hell in the Cell with Jim Ross back on commentary. WWE main event drama of the highest order. While I’m a huge fan of work rate and ROH style wrestling I am a sucker for a fucking great storyline, veteran workers and the kind of match that just sends fucking shivers down your spine. Sure they spent a lot of time selling and probably hit about 5 moves each in the whole match, but come the fuck on – that was a fucking awesome match. They worked that crowd expertly and had so much history to fall back on. They even almost made me a believer with the perfect superkick/pedigree near fall spot. The finish was perfect. The image of the three of them helping each other up the ramp and to the back was perfect. Also, keep in mind that this angle has actually been going for the last 4 Wrestlemania’s and we’ve had 4 killer matches from them. The perfect end to an era we are all going to sorely miss.

When the show ended we were covered in Dorito crumbs, hotdog relish and a sense that we had seen a really fucking good show. Sure the first hour sucked a cock. But the top three matches more than made up for the clunky opening. Plus the real good time was had watching my nephew stuff his face just like his Dad and Uncle while watching Wrestlemania. He was dancing to all the rappers during that never ending concert they did for Rock/Cena’s entrances. The kid doesn’t stand a chance!

So that was my Wrestlemania 28 experience and I stayed at my brother’s until the next day so we could watch the follow up Raw together. We were still dark in terms of the internet so had no idea about the rumours that Brock Lesnar might be coming back. When the crowd were chanting during Cena’s promo we thought they were chanting, ‘we want wrestling.’ How wrong we were.

You know when you have one of those mark out moments in wrestling that just utterly confirms your heart felt love and passion for this weird ass quasi sport? We had a collective moment when Brock’s music hit that was one of those golden moments. The polar opposite of our reaction to Bryan/Sheamus the night before. I actually stood up out of my seat. My brother just did a brilliant impression of a fish with his mouth hanging open before hitting a Deb Morgan from Dexter special, ‘oh my holy fucking God fuck’ or something to that effect.

We were almost, but not quite, marking as hard as the dudes in the arena. We didn’t hug like some people were doing. I was thinking about doing that weird muscle pose roar that the skinny kid in the grey t-shirt was shown on camera doing but I pussied out. We then watched it again seven times in a row. I have never been so entertained by a large man furiously kicking a green baseball cap in my entire life.

Many will have written and will write about Brock Lesnar’s return to WWE. I’ll be one of them. As someone who massively lost interest in WWE and became a huge UFC fan over the last 6-7 years it’s just crazy to see Brock back in a WWE ring. It’s even crazier to hear them reference his UFC career and Heavyweight Title win. To me, it was the ONLY way they could have built on Wrestlemania and The Rock coming back and then leaving again. They needed something huge and Brock’s return and the way he returned was perfect. The whole situation throws up so many questions and possibilities and that’s what great wrestling angles or storylines should do.

It is weird though. It’s weird because bringing Brock back and constantly referring to his ‘legitimacy’ (which according to my thesaurus means real) sort of brands everything else about WWE as fake. Which it is, obviously. It just feels weird to hear them talk about it on TV so openly. Even going so far as to repeatedly show Brock’s total potato punch to Cena during their ridiculously awesome pull apart brawl a few weeks back on Raw. The visual of Cena with a busted mouth was complete money. They’re almost trying to get us to believe that Brock is this real, out of control ass kicker who hits guys for real. Unlike the rest of the bitches on the roster who only pretend.

I guess the worry some people may have is they’re exposing the business too much. Or sacrificing the rest of the roster for the sake of Brock. It’s a valid point until you think about all the countless other times WWE have exposed the business in recent years. Plus everyone is on the joke now so it’s not such a big deal. I would have personally played that side of things up even more. Maybe even use the old ‘will Brock do business the right way’ angle to get across the idea that he might not co-operate with Cena and might actually just beat the ever loving fuck out of him. Which is EXACTLY what should happen at Extreme Rules.

Brock Lesnar is a money drawing machine. He proved that in the UFC. He took a ton of WWE fans with him and given the ratings since he’s come back, they haven’t returned with him. Everyone in wrestling always talks about the money being in the build, not the actual match. The theory being the match is already set so it alone won’t draw but if the build to the match is right then the match will draw money. I’m not sure if Brock having his first match back inside 3 weeks of his return and against Cena no less is a money making build. Which is why I’ve got the feeling we’re going to see something different at Extreme Rules.

WWE have been playing up the idea that Cena is a bit fucked up after losing to Rock at Mania. He’s not as confident as he was. Granted this isn’t supported by Mr Happy-Go-Lucky-And-Fucking-Smirk-All-The-Time who hasn’t actually acted all that different since Mania. But that’s just a gaping plot hole and if you can’t deal with them in WWE you need to watch a different show.

Let’s say Cena is all unconfident and unsure and now he’s faced with Brock – the real killing machine, the man with fists the size of a Christmas ham and he’s not here to play nice or entertain, he’s here to fuck you up and hilariously kick your baseball cap away in disgust. Logic (and yes I know it’s dangerous to use that word when talking about WWE) dictates that Brock should come into Extreme Rules and absolutely fucking destroy Cena. In less than five minutes. He should beat his ass all over the ring. Smash him with some MMA styles moves. Then F-5 him into the mat and take the win. Shock, horror, something completely different. The monster kills the hero...or so we think.

Cena then needs to vanish off TV for at least a month, two would be good, three would be best to recover from his injuries and get his mo-jo back. In that time you run Brock through everyone. I’m talking Kane, Show, Orton, Punk, Jericho, RYDER (especially Ryder), the chicks who dance with Brodus Clay. Everyone. He needs to kill them all between now and Summerslam. He needs to be portrayed as someone different. Short matches. Violent, intense, unpredictable. No stupid segments with Santino. Basically the complete opposite of what they did when they had Goldberg.

Of course this leads to Cena coming back a month or two before Summerslam and challenging him to the return match and THEN the build can begin. Hell they could even do some stuff with Cena doing MMA training to counter Brock. That would be almost too funny. Then WWE can push Cena as the guy who has gone to the depths of hell and lost the biggest match of his career. Then been eaten alive by Brock. Before finally making his return and challenging the monster again at Summerslam and of course, being WWE, Cena gets his win back.

I don’t normally fantasy book but I can’t help it with this situation. Brock Lesnar can be a difference maker for WWE in terms of PPV buys. But they MUST give people a reason to watch him. If he just becomes another WWE ‘superstar’ cutting lame scripted promos and just being a heel it’s not going to work and he’s not going to make that difference. People pay to see Brock kick ass or to see him get his ass kicked (in the case of a lot of hardcore UFC fans) and if WWE don’t recognise this and strike while the iron is hot, then that $5 million he’s getting for the next year will be a waste of cash, time and effort.

Personally I’m highly intrigued to see how this all goes down. Despite promising I wouldn’t only pay for Mania, Summerslam and Royal Rumble from now on, I am going to pay for Extreme Rules. I’ll pay to see Brock Lesnar back in WWE. Once. The big test is going to be the follow up and whether or not WWE can build something of a new PPV audience on the back of Brock. He’s got to bring some old fans back to make a difference on the flat WWE PPV buy rates. They can only do that if the build surrounding him to the match is right.

I just hope they get it right because they’re sitting on a gold mine that could really bring more interest and publicity to their product. Plus if the feud is done correctly it could help John Cena rebuild from losing to Rock and help the fans see him in a different light. Shit, they might even stop booing him...yeah, ok, even Jesus couldn’t pull that one off!

So there we go, that’s my look at Wrestlemania and the aftermath with Brock’s big return. It’s nice to be back and hopefully normal regular articles from me will be resumed from now on. Keep supporting Wrestling’s Last Hope and be sure to keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for some news about the return of a certain podcast...

Thanks for reading. Until next time...



Can The Youth Today Take The Ball & Not Only Run But Sprint? By Chris Gugini

Left: Austin Idol vs. Jerry Lawler...Memphis style

I am so proud to continue where my previous article that I wrote just days earlier left off, the debut and soon to debuts are just breathing life into a sport that is just begging for youth to take the ball a not only run but sprint! Antonio Cesario match on smackdown that I was looking forward to, although the match was not that great had NOTHING to do with him but it did allow people to know right out of the gate that this guy is going to take control of future matches in WWE. He has a great past with the likes of Daniel Bryan and other ROH standouts that seem to be be coming to the main stream fast and furious... And I could not be more happier.

Days of big monsters who stomp around from one end of the ring to the other are close to being over?....I hope, also maybe feuds that make sense and last longer then one PPV match. I truly believe these young wrestlers have the ability to have storylines with substance cause they can perform in the ring as well in promos, and that is what is all about-Make those fans want to park there butts in that arena or there sofa at home cause they have emotional attachment to either the babyface or the heel. Which brings me to a point that I also can wait to tackle for a bi

25 years ago almost to the date of a great feud that had a great slow build and then the ultimate climax. Memphis wrestling had one of best angles in the history of the business Austin Idol with Tommy Rich with manager Paul E. Dangerously vs. Jerry Lawler. It was perfect from start to finish and if you have not seen this footage go find these gems cause not many angles have topped it since. They were just flat out studs getting it done week after week on the stick and then the riot filled Hair vs Hair blow off in the Memphis coliseum leaving Lawler getting shaved in front of his loyal fans. This is also something that is missing today that I hope these young guys can get done and I think a few of them can but only time will tell. Well that is my late night rant of past and present state of the biz and bare with me folks I am new at this,I will get better Next time I will share my road trips and memories while I was making it to the greatest wrestling arena of all time the ECW Arena on regular basis from 1995-2000 I feel blessed to be in that building once let alone over 20 times. Can not wait to share it with all of you. Bye for now!

Hit me up on twitter @ROHcode

Indy Wrestling vs. Mainstream Wrestling By Ashley Hendricks

We all love wrestling here. We all appreciate what the wrestlers do to give us some sort of entertainment, but the best point of all is that we all love different types of wrestling, whether it be Japanese, Mexican, independent or mainstream. I tend to watch the American independent scene and the mainstream wrestling more than most. But I like them for different reasons and I dislike them for different reasons also. And with that being said I lead you to this article. I am going to list the many reasons to why I love and hate these two distinct styles of wrestling and I encourage to read and to contact me on Twitter @AH_Walker to tell me what you think.

Now let’s get into this party.

Independent Wrestling

Heavy focus on Wrestling

Obviously if you watch independent wrestling then you will know that there is more of a focus on the wrestling rather than the talking. The average smark would much rather want to sit down and watch two guys wrestle for 20 minutes rather than having 10 minutes of having the reason for them fighting being explained to us and then 7 minutes of wrestling. I for one can appreciate both but there are some times when I don’t want to listen to why these guys have got some sort of beef and I just want to see them scrap and get on with it, so I can appreciate promotions like PWG, where there are no real storylines and just wrestling.

No Censoring

Another great thing about independent wrestling is that you can say whatever the hell you want. You don’t have to fit a certain mold and have to hold in what you truly feel about a certain wrestler or certain event. The only exception is CHIKARA Pro but I love that anyway. In some wrestling shows swearing and being a general cunt is encouraged whereas in the WWE you are frowned upon by saying what you like, usually if saying what you like includes a curse word or something derogatory or saying that you don’t like the guy everyone else does.

There is always a local independent

Need I say much more? Local wrestling is usually not far away so there is somewhere for the independent wrestling fan to check out some local talent. This may not apply to every city of every country but I would hazard a guess and figure that most people that I reading this have a local independent scene up to 90 minutes away. OK not so local I guess but you guys should understand what I am saying.

Mainstream Wrestling

The feeling of proper animosity

Usually when there is a wrestler (that is more than decent on the microphone) gets on the microphone and speaks to the crowd, interviewer or to another wrestler, chances are you get a sense that of believability in what is being said, which is the reason why there is a lot of talking, so you want to purchase the Pay-Per-View. And for the most of the time (to a lot of people) they don’t do enough to make them purchase the PPV but they stick around anyway.

Easy to watch

Mainstream wrestling is easy to watch as it is on TV. Granted in the UK you need to buy the Sky Sports package prior to being able to watching the product but then you can simply turn on your TV at the right time and you can watch it. And I imagine the same thing occurs for the guys in the United States. Indy wrestling on the other hand you need to pay around £10-15 for every DVD, which can be a ball ache, especially when you have no job.

Being able to talk about it to everyone

Thanks to a high focus on social media, it becomes easier for people to converse about wrestling across the internet. You can talk about independent wrestling to some people and I have done it plenty of times but the fact of the matter is, not many people that I follow on twitter watch indy wrestling and every wrestling fan I know watches WWE. In addition to this whenever WWE informs us what is trending that can make for some interesting conversation.

And that puts an end to this article, I hope you enjoyed

Thanks a bunch

Friday 27 April 2012

Injuries in The Industry By Lynsay Mackay

Here we have the late Eddie Guerrero who is one of MANY pro-wrestlers that suffered with terrible injuries during his career.

I was watching Raw on Tuesday afternoon, following my self-imposed media blackout, and couldn’t help let out a groan when I saw Beth Phoenix do herself what appeared to be an ankle injury going after Bella, 1 of 2, on the outside of the ring. I have no intention of discussing the legitimacy of this injury here. Whether this is a worked angle or not makes no difference to this piece and if you are looking for such conjecture I suggest you look elsewhere.

The involuntary groan was one of the many indications of how far I have come as a wrestling fan from the angry teenager who took up the obsession some years ago. Unlike most fans, who will tell you they watched it as a child with friends, or that Granny took them to the local promotion to prod the bad guys with her umbrella, I came to it later in life. When my little brother turned the channel that fateful morning he had no idea what he was about to unleash. It began with a torrent of abuse from yours truly, “what are you watching that garbage for, you know it’s all fake?” though possibly those were not my precise words given my age and attitude. He was a sweet little thing though and after some grovelling I allowed him thirty minutes; max.

I still remember it vividly, a mullet flying through the air on the head of one of the most talented wrestlers the world has ever seen, followed, in quick succession, by a dislocated elbow and one of the stupidest sentences I’ve ever uttered. “How do they fake that?” The Radicalz had just entered WWF from WCW and I had just witnessed one of Eddie Guerrero’s first matches with his new brand. He wore that cast for a long time and I watched every week of it. I had watched his elbow pop out of joint and yet down he came to that ring every week and while not wrestling full matches he was still physically involved. Why, I kept asking, why would a man in so much pain not just go home and rest up? Why did he keep coming back?

The more I watched the more characters I fell in and out of love with and subsequently the more uncomfortable certain matches made me. You see the passion and obsession of these men and women had become my passion, my obsession. I was, and still am, emotionally invested in the individuals as well as the product as a whole. Seeing HHH blow his quad and continue the match made me scream, watching Joey Mercury have his jaw nearly ripped off by a ladder almost lost me my lunch and witnessing Beth Phoenix climb out of the ring in a normal fashion and hurt her ankle made me groan.

I used to relish the TLC matches that the Hardy’s, the Dudley’s and Edge and Christian performed, now I watch them through my fingers, if at all, and think of them with sadness knowing the issues both Hardy’s and Edge have suffered, in some part, due to the nature of these matches. But the matches can’t be held as the only blame. It is the passion and the obsession that holds the most blame. To work through pain to maintain your spot, to continue a match after injury to give the fans what they want, to be in the limelight, to entertain, to amaze while being virtually unable to sleep through the agony at night.

The wrestling industry is hard on its performers. Last year I had the privilege and honour to meet one of the world’s hardest working Luchadores and a genuinely wonderful human being, Cassandro El Exotico. He trained with us and taught us some incredible new techniques but I think, as with most wrestlers you meet, we learned the most simply by listening to his stories. They were funny and moving, worrying and unbelievable but above all else they were passionate. Everything about him was passionate and I will never forget him telling us about once having a shoulder injury so bad he couldn’t lift his arm above his head, but when he went through those curtains he used his good arm to throw the bad arm up in the air so that he could achieve his trademark extravagant entrance .

Passion and obsession are linked and sometimes we let them blind us to what is more important, our wellbeing. If the injury is legitimate Beth should rest up and not rush to return. It can be a devastating blow to momentum of a character, such as with Wade Barrett and it can also lead to a loss of confidence and self esteem not to be competing in the industry you love, often with those you love. But to push too hard for a premature comeback can be dangerous and set you back further; one only has to go back two months and look to Christian to know that not every early return, can be a Royal Rumble moment.


Cassandro is an American born independent wrestler who was in a lot of pain even when I met him. He has recently gone through reconstructive surgery on his knee to repair a lifetime of injuries and will thus be unable to work for some time. To donate to his recuperation fund please follow the link below.

Yo, do you remember the Apter mags? By Darren Rogers

Younger fans might not know what I mean when I use the term ‘Apter mags’, so I’ll explain. Before the internet, and yes there was life before it, information was harder to come by. Especially information about pro wrestling. Especially if you were a fan in England!

For me, a wrestling fan, all my pro wrestling information came from the magazines published by Bill Apter. Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Inside Wrestling, The Wrestler – these were just a few of the many titles that they published monthly. It was all storyline based, no inside scoops or kayfabe, and as WWF or WCW was not yet on terrestrial TV (I think Screensport – which would later become Eurosport – showed some NWA/WCW and Sky may have shown some WWF, but ITV in the London region didn’t show WWF until 1989 I believe) I had no way of seeing wrestling, of following storylines or knowing who was even the champion!

And it’s not as if these magazines were readily available in WH Smiths. There was one vendor that sold them, and he was outside the train station 3 miles from my house. I was still in high school at this time, so every Sunday I would cycle up to the station to see what he had. Disappointingly, I would often arrive to see the same magazines as the previous week. But there were other occasions when I would see several new issues – I remember finding out that Hogan had beaten Andre 2 months after Wrestlemania III – and I would buy everything that he had (still got them, in my loft).

It wasn’t just the big two federations that were covered though – these magazines gave me glimpses of wrestlers and federations that I had never heard of. Jerry Lawler’s Memphis territory was covered like it was a big deal, as was the AWA and World Class but as the WWF didn’t allow anyone to talk to Bill Apter, his bread and butter was the NWA\WCW promotion and as such they were more regularly featured. This might explain why I have a fondness for the NWA in the late 80’s as the Apter mags covered them so well.

One thing that I didn’t know at the time, but I found out recently, was that a lot of the columns in the Apter mags weren’t written by the people themselves. Apart from Bill, there was Eddie Ellner (a heel writer), Craig Peters (face) and Jill Hunter (token woman) and several others. But Bill only had a small staff, so they would write as different people apparently. This made me laugh as I used to skip reading certain people if I didn’t like what they said (always preferred the heel writers) but they were all coming from the same pen, Bill Apter's I reckon. Who knows, maybe he was writing them all by himself!

Is there a market for print media nowadays? I used to buy Powerslam regularly, and I’ve bought a few issues of FSM, but not in the past few years. Storylines move so fast, that by the time the issue gets to you the wrestlers involved have moved onto something else. Print media is dead, thanks to the internet, but Bill Apter and his range of magazines will always have a place in my heart – thanks Bill!

Hit me up on twitter @DarrenRogers71

Thursday 26 April 2012

The State of The Wrestling Biz By Chris Cugini

Here we have Sting & Eddie Gilbert from the UWF/Mid-South days

The one question that gets asked more than any other about pro wrestling is simple...Is the state of the business better today or was it better in the past? Well if you base it on production, money, how great the wrestlers look as they come down the ramp, which takes longer to get to the ring then the time of the actual match that is seems like a afterthought in the past 8 years. Me on the other hand the answer is simple, I miss laying down on the floor with a stack of wrestling mags like "The Wrestler" "PWI" "Inside Wrestling" I still have the first issue of PWI kept in a safe place. As I was saying before I veered off, the Days of laying those publications down on the floor reading the columns or the rating of a promotion that you heard that was great but you have no other means to see it but in these average sized black & white photos for example a man that comes to mind is the big Texan Bruiser Brody! My god he leaped of those grainy pictures. A larger than life figure he was, back then it was not just looking great or buff it was the facial expressions these guys made that brought you in, Brody did that and then some, You look at his photos it says a million words, it was like a promo without hearing a single sound.

That is just a very small thing that has changed in our favorite sport, cable, internet is another topic all to its own and some other day can get into that with the greatest of ease. The State of Wrestling is not all lost fans although it is not the old territory days where wrestlers could test their craft on both sides of the country make a little money and keep on going to the next region. But the main reason that format worked so well besides having (What the Biz needs Today) OPTIONS! there where all sorts of options at that time but also the number one factor that made that Era the greatest of all time...The Hall of Fame talent that kicked ass and got there ass kicked all over the globe. Today’s manufactured talent was rampant for a long while, same build, same hair even the same tattoos on their backs. Even how they took bumps was taught the same; maybe it was just easier that way. But before I end I have to say I have been involved with pro wrestling since 1979 in some way or another, I used to buy, trade or tape shows myself wrestling territories since 1980 for God sake I still to this day study those tapes and was lucky to have had friends on both coast to trade with so I was blessed in the 80's to get on a weekly basis Florida, Georgia, NWA, Mid Atlantic, Mid South/UWF, World Class, Portland, WWWF/WWF, Stampede, AWA, ECW, Memphis and what a time to have those coming in the mail it was the best and I still have them over 1,500. My point being that sometimes when you think the business is crap along comes a promotion ROH with VERY talented wrestlers and they are great people too, ROH Roster from 2002-2007 might be one of the best in the history some will make it some will not but all have left a mark again my point being it seems like a page is turning because of this group CM Punk/Brian Danielson/Samoa Joe/AJ Styles/Austin Aries/Antonio Cesaro/Davey Richards/Kevin Steen/El Generico/Eddie Edwards and the highly anticipated debut of Jon Moxley or his WWE name Dean Ambrose he is a can't miss heel...The State of Professional Wrestling will be just fine with guys being the future stars. Thank God...

Thank you very much.

Hit me up on twitter @ROHCode

Tuesday 24 April 2012

SouthSide Wrestling Presents Speed King (22/4/12) Review By Adam Joyce

Here we have The Rockstar Spud - Picture credit to Brett Hadley

This past Sunday I decided to spend my afternoon at a little show up in Nottingham that was being run by Southside Wrestling by the name of Speed King. I feel that opening sentence may have sold the promotion short so I'll try and expand. Being Essex based Nottingham is a bit further than just round the corner but SWE put on a consistently good enough product I was happy to make the long trek to catch the show. The show itself was certainly designed to have mass appeal. While Southside usually manage to bridge the gap between the family and internet market, delivering a product which appeals to both without either really being left behind, one look at the concept behind this card screams a show aimed squarely at the smart crowd.

The concept was a simple one; a cruiserweight title tournament, with the final being a six man elimination, featuring some of the top cruiserweights in the country. On Previous shows there had been various teaser matches featuring a number of the talent involved which went down well. Now was to see how it would fill out an entire show.

The show started out with a lot of promise as TNA’s Mark Haskins took on the mysterious Ego Dragon. For those who are unaware of SWE the Dragon is a masked man that seems to be a true Southside home grown product. Haskins really shone here looking flawless, proving as to why he’s consistently doing so many international tours while at the same time exposing the rest of the world to how much talent we have here on our little island. Ego Dragon played the heel perfectly with subtle cheating and constant stalling. In the end it would be those cheating ways that led the Dragon to victory following a low blow and a roll up.

Next up was a triple threat featuring Bubblegum, Max Angelus and Danny Chase. This was an interesting one for me personally as I’ve not come across Chase before, but I am familiar with the other two. I know Bubblegum best for his FWA run a couple of years back but the character being shown this evening was far removed going the direction of a mouthy chav who’s mic work and constant stalling got under the skin of the crowd more than any amount of cheating ever could. Max is also a stand out for me as he really seems to have something intangible about him; I’ve even seen a few non wrestling fans be converted by some of his ring work, which is no small feat.

As for the match itself I will say this up front that the more three ways I see the more I dislike them because so many fall into the same formula of two in, one out, and switch. To the credit of the guys involved they tried to avoid this but past a point it did start to slip in there. One thing that really stood out for me was a tower of doom attempt that Bubblegum managed to prevent with a hurricanrana on Angelus fresheding up what has become a tired spot over the last decade or so. Angelus was eliminated shortly after following a DQ when Stixx ran in with a chair that Angelus grabbed only for Bubblegum to claim that he caused the cut that had become prominent on his eye. Shortly after Bubblegum got the win with a double foot stomp much to the disappointment of the crowd.

The next match was Marty Scurll taking on Robbie X. I think both of these guys are really talented. My only flaw with either is Robbie’s look. I’ve always felt he looks like a kid playing wrestler, which is a shame as he is such an amazing talent. Both competitors tried to make it stand out by making it more kick centric then the previous matches on the show, as you would expect from one half of the LDRs. After some great back and forth action Marty picked it the win with his backbreaker finish.

Next up was Noam Dar, or Doam Nar if you follow Spud on Youtube, taking on the Rockstar himself. This one actually stood out from the other first round matches as it had a sense of heat attached to it following Spud’s attempts at baiting Dar through Youtube and Twitter, and judging by the crowd’s reaction at least a vocal percentage of them had seen at least some of those comments. This was my first time seeing Dar live and I can see why people think so highly of him. The match differed from the rest of the matches in that it was a lot more ground based with Dar showing his more technical prowess and Spud just being Spud. Eventually Dar got the win following a heel hook getting the loudest reaction of the night. It was classic putting over of a young guy that a lot of bigger promotions seem to have lost the art of.

I’m going to input a big criticism here. With a reaction like that this defiantly should have been a pre-interval match, both because a big reaction like that helps sell merch (it’s all to do with higher blood pressure making people prepared to buy more) and because anything that follows is instantly overshadowed a little. I understand not wanting to have first round matches in the same half as the final but there’s a simple answer to that, just have a second interval. People’s attention spans will start to wane after a while, especially with all the matches being fast paced affairs. It’s surely more beneficial to have them catch their breath so it doesn’t make other matches suffer due to lack of crowd interest.

El Ligero came out next against Martin Kirby. While I remember this being a solid match between the two, as you’d expect from one between two who know each other so well, a lot of the details escape me due to my mind still being on the previous match. They did manage to bring the crowd back into it towards the end with some solid ring work. The finish of the match came after the two did a solid display of counter wrestling with various holds and pin falls before Ligero pinned Kirby with a backslide.

The last match of the first half was Pac against Travis. The arrival of Pac seemed to bring a bit more life into the crowd but there was still a feeling of needing a break. Travis played the heel for this match which is interesting as at the last show, down in Huntingdon, he was playing a Face. I understand most people from Nottingham aren’t going to have been at Huntingdon but I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s a good idea to keep character consistency within a promotion. The match itself was a great encounter and the crowd were into it the whole time with Travis playing the egocentric heel perfectly offsetting Pac’s hero face. I thought I saw Pac miss his big floor dive but from what I’ve been told that’s just cause of where I was sitting. The match finished when Pac missed a Shooting star and Travis hit his underhook piledriver in a win that seemed to take quite a few by surprise.

While the match was good there was one thing that really grated with me and that was the f-bombs dropped by Travis at points during the match. Spud had pushed the envelope a bit with his choice of language while facing Dar but still kept it to an acceptable level. When your poster says family friendly on flat out swearing from one of the guys is unacceptable. My language is not the best at times but when I’m commentating on shows I’m always careful on what I say as I’m never seated too far from families and I know it’s their choice to buy the tickets that revenue pay my wages. There was no need for this language here, the match wasn’t especially heated and there was no feud between the two to warrant it. Someone like Travis should know better and I hope there were words between him and the promoter about this. It’s a shame really because it distracted from an otherwise good match but unless SWE start doing shows that come with an age limit then this thing shouldn’t be tolerated because it’s the type of thing that could put parents off bringing their kids back to a return show.

Below is the finish to the PAC/Travis match - video via youtube thanks to Stuart Rodgers

The first match after the interval was a Pro-Wrestling EVE guest match featuring Shanna taking on Holly Rocamora. This match marked Shanna’s return from a major leg injury suffered at XWA back in February. For those who aren’t familiar with EVE this match was a great introduction, the sort of moves these girls threw at each other you most likely won’t be seeing on the likes of Raw or Impact anytime soon. When Shanna missed a top rope cross body only for Holly to follow up with a powerbomb really got a lot of the crowd to sit up and take notice. Shanna followed up by reversing a running powerslam into an impressive looking reverse DDT on Holly for the win. Holly continues to improve and looks like she could be a stand out once she loses her greenness; Shanna has the ability to make everything flow in a match and has the ability to create a strong connection with the crowd given more exposure.

The next match up was a 6-man featuring the winners of the matches from the previous half. Fortunately this was held under elimination rules otherwise it had massive clusterfuck potential. The first elimination happened straight off the bat as Bubblegum grabbed the mic and cut a rap on El Ligero, only for Ligs to schoolboy him before Bubblegum revealed where his REAL hometown was. From there Ego Dragon started working over El Ligero with help from Travis. Dragon eventually cost himself by getting DQ’ed for grabbing a chair and attempting to follow up on the attack he perpetrated on Ligs before their Huntingdon meeting 3 weeks prior. Travis immediately capitalised on this with a roll up. Dar managed to tap Travis out, shortly after, with his heel hook leaving him and Marty 1 on 1. Marty and Dar went almost 10 minutes of solid back and fourth action, at one point it looked like Dar had Marty trapped in the heel hook but Marty eventually got to the ropes. Marty shortly after hit the over the knees backbreaker (while still selling the heel hook) for the win much to the appreciation of the crowd making him the new Speed King Champion.

Immediately following this Scurll cut a promo saying how great it was to be champion and how he’d be more than happy to give Dar a rematch. Whether or not this was planned is uncertain but it has been announced that the rematch will be at St Neots on May 27th. Speaking of Scurll and confrontations Spud had a confrontation with him resulting in Spud overturning the merch table after accusing Marty of being too afraid to face him.

The show itself was a great show and is defiantly worth a look when it comes out on DVD. All the matches are consistently good to great and all the workers busted their asses trying to make each match different. The Eve match was a great choice as the style and look of both girls fit the way the show was put together. The only real flaw that I’ve not put in so far is doing an all cruiserweight card is not matter how much the workers try the matches run the risk of always starting to blend by being constantly at that one pace. An advantage of watching the show on DVD is that you don’t have to do it in one sitting and so you can appreciate each match individually. Another flaw was the layout of the venue, because it was quite open the crowd did seem a bit lost in the middle of it. Bearing in mind this was a pretty packed crowd but they seemed a little unsure about being in such a vast space. As a result the only matches that seemed to get a reaction were the ones featuring Pac, Haskins and Spud as well as picking up as the main event went on.

For straight up match quality this show is top notch. I would be more than happy to watch any of these matches if they came up on a compilation DVD I was watching. For such a new company it was a brave concept to go with and overall they did really well with it. This is a great show so I would recommend tracking down when the DVD gets released; it just might be advisable to watch it in a couple of stages so you don’t miss any of the highlights.

For information on the release and all their upcoming shows check

Hope you enjoyed the review, I can be found on twitter @EI_J and please LIKE

Thursday 19 April 2012

ROH: Seeking the Spirit of 1997 By Shaun Nichols

On May 12th, Davey Richards will defend the ROH World Title against Kevin Steen in Toronto on a show named 'Border Wars' on iPPV, this as led to some speculation that ROH are aiming to try and copy the WWF's USA vs Canada feud from 1997.

The WWF feud was one of the most critically acclaimed wrestling feuds of the last 20 years even though it wasn't particularly financially rewarding and Steve Austin didn't catch fire as a draw until 1998 and the angle with Mike Tyson. It's easy to see why on the surface why wrestling fans would look to see Davey Richards (representing USA) against Kevin Steen (representing Canada) would be a 21st Century version of this, but look a little deeper and you would be wrong.

In the WWF in 1997, both sides of the border took distinct sides, the American fans were solidly behind Steve Austin and we're sick of Bret Hart, the Canadian fans stayed loyal to Bret and aimed their ire at Austin and other American stars. In ROH we don't have this dynamic, virtually all of the ROH TV is taped in Baltimore but it's clear that at TV, the Mania iPPV shows that the fans want to support Kevin Steen in his efforts to become ROH World Champion it's not a question of national partisanship.

Davey is simply not the fans favourite against Kevin Steen, if ROH were able to do TV tapings in both Canada & USA and show the difference in the fans attitude that would be one thing, but they can't. ROH fans want Kevin Steen to be successful and they feel that way both in the USA and in Canada.

There is also the difference in that back in 1997, Bret Hart although the clear leader of the Hart Foundation wasn't on his own. Owen Hart, Bulldog and Brian Pillman had plenty of fans so the package benefitted from the strength of the collective. Davey, who is basically playing the Bret Hart role in 2012 is supported by Kyle O'Reilly. You can't compare the two.

What we can compare and what ROH will hopefully use as a blueprint to be successful is that the three main protaganists can be traced directly back to 1997. Firstly we have Davey Richards, widely seen as a company man who tries his best for the company (Bret Hart), Kevin Steen who is the anti-hero but is loved by the fans (Steve Austin) and finally Jim Cornette who is the authority figure is who is concerned that a wrestler will ruin his promotion (Vince McMahon).

Now Davey as the company man and standing up for what he thinks is right has demanded to face Kevin Steen for the title, a move banned (the piledriver) by Cornette as been re-instated so Davey in storyline wants to prove he is better than Kevin Steen. This is very similar to how Bret Hart was booked in the run-up to Wrestlemania XIII against Austin. He wanted to show he was a better man.
What ROH as to manage to ensure is that they need Kevin Steen as the top babyface coming out of the Border Wars show, as the WWF managed to do with Steve Austin after WM 13. The fans want to support Steen and keeping him as anything other than the promotion's top babyface is simply a mistake. That's not to say that Steen should become ROH champion next month, in my view he shouldn't. ROH as ofen found itself too slow in putting a wrestler on top, but in this case there is more interest in seeing Steen chase for the title than winning and simply defending it.

Personally I would not want to see Kevin Steen as ROH champion until Final Battle 2012 and that would be a fitting climax to his ROH redemption to finally win the World Title, two years after being forced to leave after losing to El Generico at FB 2010. To get there you after be able to override the stipluation that Steen only gets one title shot at the ROH World title. To me the answer is obvious, Cornette in desperation as to cost Steen the title and by doing so turn full blown heel. This then needs to be supported by Davey Richards falling into line with Jim Cornette so like many ROH champions he makes the move from babyface to heel. Cornette's actions then allow him to move from an authority figure to a manager figure for Davey. Thus making use of one of the best interviews in the industry but also explaining why eventually Steen will get another shot.

Although Davey hasn't faced a backlash from the fans, his main title feuds have been against Roderick Strong and Eddie Edwards and being honest the ROH fans don't particularly want to see either guy as ROH champion more than Davey, Steen though is a completely different animal. The fans want Kevin Steen as champion, eventually they will get it but to ensure that ROH gets the best out of 2012 then Kevin Steen will prevail against a heel champion in Davey Richards supported by Jim Cornette.

ROH in 2012 isn't about USA vs Canada but you can't deny that we what we will see this year is heavily influenced by the 1997 characters of Steve Austin, Bret Hart & Vince McMahon.

The Dance Floor By DiscoStoo

What’s that coming over the hill…?
It’s probably a monster.

The role of the monster in wrestling, whether face or heel has always been a simple one. Strike fear into opponents, dominate with size and brute force.
Currently, the classic role of monster is the new force de rigueur, with the re-introduction of Brock Lesnar and Lord Tensai, the astonishing rise of Brodus Clay as well as the recent re-invention of Kane. Add to this mix Ryback, Mason Ryan, Mark Henry, Kharma, Great Khali, Big Show and sporadically The Undertaker and you have a veritable “mass of humanity” waiting to crush unsuspecting jobbers.

Arguably the most successful monster heel of all time has been The Undertaker, though even his style has evolved over the years from supernatural invincible to wily workhorse, and incorporated a more rounded character, as well as a re-invention into The American Bad-Ass which is closer to Callaway’s real life persona.

Kane and Abyss both evolved into complex creatures, with more scripted lines, and most memorably the removal of Kane’s mask in 2003, which forced the persona of Jacobs into a new personality driven role, arguably his most successful period with numerous WWE Tag Team championships with Big Show and Taker (both previous monster heels), and a lengthy ECW reign. (Well, lengthy compared to the one night reign as WWE Champ.)

Vince is well known for his big man fixation, a trait that stems back to Andre the Giant being such a big pull. However this has made him unpopular with most in the wrestling fraternity, his eagerness to push Snitsky, Test and A-Train over more technical and better liked individuals seems crass and rudimentary compared to his undoubted business acumen.

Recently however, a change in the paradigm of the monster, particularly in WWE extols scenes reminiscent of the early 90’s. Tensai with manager Sakamoto is a transitional replication of Yokozuna and Mr Fuji. The manager generates heat and provides a speaking platform for the seemingly invincible heel. Sakamoto seemed very capable of damage in the recent bout with Cena. This management angle has always worked best to promote a monster heel, think Million Dollar Man with Sycho Sid, Armando Alejandro Estrrrrrrada with Umaga and Harvey Wippleman with Adam Bomb, Giant Gonzalez and Big Bully Busick.

I think that Sakamoto will eventually prove to give Matt Bloom’s recent gimmick some legit heat and with the likes of Cena putting him over on RAW recently he’s getting a push from on top. Time will tell whether creative give him the right feud and direction.

Ultimately, we look at what impact these monsters can have on the WWE title picture. Brock Lesnar will certainly be looking to retain a title he hasn’t held since losing to Eddie Guererro at No Way Out in 2004 and the mouth-watering tie with Cena at Extreme Rules will provide a platform to take a title shot at CM Punk. Lord Tensai is getting a serious push and some air time and will be in the title hunt in future months, and Kane will continue to bob above the mid carders as the roster remains fragile.

Chillout Room

Look at who’s movin on up and who’s getting down in the pro wrestling industry.

1. Brock Lesnar – UFC’s loss is our gain, the attitude slant is creeping back into WWE, but at the expense of future stars?
2. Daniel Bryan – He’s over with the attitude generation, but will WWE utilise this?
3. Brodus Clay – over with the smarks, the kids, now he just needs to get over with the rest of the locker room.
4. Dean Ambrose – his work with Foley will give him massive exposure.
5. Bobby Roode –a solid match with long time Beer Money Inc. partner James Storm at TNA Lockdown impressed many.

1. John Cena – the worst 3 months of Cena’s career? Yes, but he’ll come back.
2. Sheamus – from a huge babyface momentum pre-mania to a shambles of a ‘match’ with Bryan. Almost forced heel by 18 seconds of shame, he needs to work hard to recover.
3. Eric Bischoff – Pushing his son needlessly at a PPV that failed to deliver spectacularly.
4. Alberto del Rio – Recent mentions of leaving the WWE, combined with his fall from main event at ‘Mania 27 to not making the card at 28 due to injury concerns.
5. Lord Tensai – an underwhelming impact on the hottest RAW crowd in years after a decent promotional build up.

Disco Stoo
Kyle Patin and Zach Grigg of review the the last two weeks of Ring of Honor Wrestling on Sinclair, discuss upcoming events, ROH Champ Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen and much more.

Monday 16 April 2012

CZW Best of the Best XI Report by Jason Namako

April 14, 2012, Voorhees, NJ. Report by Jason Namako, pictures supplied by

Pre-Show Dark Match: Adam Cole defeated Tony Nese w/CZW Owner DJ Hyde by pinfall with the Florida Key.

1. Best of the Best 1st Round: "The Callihan Death Machine" Sami Callihan defeated Trent 7 (Fight Club Pro), MK McKinnan (Fight Club Pro) & "The Golden Boy" Drake Younger to advance to the semi-finals.

McKinnan & Younger were eliminated via countout & finally Trent was eliminated after submitting to Callihan's Stretch Muffler. Callihan re-opened his wound from the match the night before with Finlay during this match. Crowd also really got on Trent 7, who had a lot of back and forth exchanges with the crowd.

2. Best of the Best 1st Round: Alex Colon w/Chrissy Rivera defeated Greg Excellent & Willie Mack to advacne to the semi-finals.

Mack eliminated Excellent with a frog splash and then Colon eliminated Mack with a springboard Tombstone. During the match, Excellent danced to Brodus Clay's entrance music as well as the combatants chasing each other with the Benny Hill music playing. Crowd was really into Willie Mack and chanted "Please come back" after the match.

3. Best of the Best 1st Round: Samurai Del Sol defeated "The Kentucky Gentleman" Chuck Taylor & "The Whole Shebang" Johnny Gargano to advance to the semi-finals.

Taylor eliminated Gargano with a roll-up and then Del Sol eliminated Taylor right after with a roll-up of his own. One thing of note, Del Sol was really over with the crowd with the "Lu-Cha" chants in conjuction with his entrance music.

4. Best of the Best 1st Round: "The Whole Fox'N Show" AR Fox defeated ACH & Lince Dorado to advance to the semi-finals.

ACH eliminated Dorado with a hanging version of the Cross Rhodes & then Fox eliminated Dorado with the Lo-Mein Pain. Fox was super over with the crowd, but ACH also got over with the crowd with his usage of anime into his character.

5. CZW Wired TV Title: Dave Crist defeated Jake Crist (c) by pinfall to win the title after nailing Jake with 2 low blows while the referee was down.

Not a lot of crowd noise for this match, which is unfortunate.

6. Best of the Best Semi-Finals: "The Callihan Death Machine" Sami Callihan defeated Alex Colon w/Chrissy Rivera by pinfall to advance to the finals with a roll-up after reversing Colon's attempt at Callihan's own Stretch Muffler.

Crowd was really into this match, especially with the brawling around the ring. After the match, Callihan said he would not lose in the finals on his 3rd try while also putting over Colon as a future star.

7. Best of the Best Semi-Finals: "The Whole Fox"N Show" AR Fox defeated Samurai Del Sol by pinfall with the Lo-Mein Pain to advance to the finals.

The crowd was not very into the beginning of the match, but picked up towards the end. Fox had injured his ear in the 1st round and blood was pouring out of his ear. Its uncertain as to what the actual injury was to Fox, but it looked pretty bad.


There was a contract signing between Drew Gulak & Danny Havoc for their match on May 12th in Philadelphia. Gulak spoke for a bit while having toilet paper streamers thrown at him by the crowd. Havoc then attacked him with a barbed wire baseball bat and busted Gulak open for the first time in Gulak's CZW career. Havoc challenged Gulak to a no-rope barbed wire match for May 12th & Gulak accepted.

8. Ultraviolent Encounter: "The Bulldozer" Matt Tremont defeated Clint Margera (subbing for DJ Hyde) by pinfall with a powerbomb onto a barbed wire chair. Hyde originally was to face Tremont, but instead had Tremont face Margera.

After the match, Tremont chalenged Hyde again & Hyde said he would face him as long as Tremont wins Tournament of Death in June. Hyde finally said that Tremont's 1st round opponent would be the returning Abydullah Koybashi from Big Japan.

During the match, chairs, kendo sticks, thumbtack bats & a water jug were used.

Tremont was very over with the crowd while Hyde got a lot of heat.

9. Best of the Best Finals: "The Callihan Death Machine" Sami Callihan defeated "The Whole Fox"N Show" by submission to win the tournament with the Stretch Muffler.

After the match, Hyde presented the trophy to Callihan, but then spit in his face. Callihan talks about his past in the tournament and how he finally captured the Best Of The Best Tournament crown. Callihan then taunts AR Fox and says that he is the best, Drake Younger then hits the ring as DJ Hyde returns to the ring. Younger challenges Callihan to a match at the May 5th Indianapolis event, but then Callihan waits for him to turn around and nails him with a low blow and leaves.

Hyde puts over all of the competitors in this year's tournament and then makes Callihan vs. Younger next month a 2/3 falls match. They go to the People's Choice voting and for the 2nd year in a row, AR Fox wins. Hyde says instead of a plaque for Fox, he will grant him a title shot against any champion at anytime. Hyde finally asks if the fans want to see the non-CZW regulars back in the future, to which the crowd loudly cheers for, especially for Willie Mack.

Crowd was really into the main event and were more behind Fox then for Callihan.

Sunday 15 April 2012

The Return Of The King By Simon Miller

We just want to welcome Simon to Wrestling's Last Hope, Simon used to write for FSM magazine and we are very pleased to have him on board.

The internet is often related to wrestling’s major downfall and sometimes for good reason. After all, there’s little doubt that hearing a sold out arena chanting Brock Lesnar’s name before the man had even returned took something away from the moment. Thankfully, the crowd’s insistence to roar the former UFC champ from entrance to exit turned it into one of those moments fans won’t soon forget. The real question, as ever, is what this actually means for the WWE as a whole. From the moment Lesnar was booed out of Madison Square Garden to try and find his fortune elsewhere his name has been synonymous with a comeback. The hooha that he managed to garner just by having a meeting with World Wrestling Entertainment behind closed doors in 2005 was just the start of what would become a ‘When’ rather than an ‘If.’ Brock had become part of WWE’s chosen crew, making it even more startling how few now remember the speed at which he blazed through the ranks. His ‘next big thing’ tag was genuinely how Vince and co. saw the behemoth; the marketing campaign and push painstakingly crafted to turn a beast who looked like a champion McMahon himself had put together into one that the entire world saw too. The plan went off almost flawlessly as well, apart from one glaring error. A sure case of getting too much too soon, the golden pathway built for Lesnar saw his rise happen at a frightening pace, handed all of wrestling’s plaudits in a flash of glory. Unsurprisingly, the rising star soon ran out of options and momentum, tiring of the rigorous travel any pro-wrestler has to harden to within a matter of years. He then walked out on the people who turned him into a superstar. What happened next, as they say, is history, with the boy from South Dakota becoming exceptionally smart in how to advertise himself meaning his light never actually burnt out. He even left the UFC on somewhat of a high, courageously attempting to battle back after a near-death illness and then, seemingly, being beaten by an opponent who may not have been playing entirely by the rules. His next step? The WWE and right into a programme with everyone’s favourite scapegoat John Cena. The reaction of many is to lambast Lesnar’s homecoming, insulting the man for his now apparent weak ring skills and the audacity he had to give up so much when he was on the precipice of so much more. To try and argue against such facts is no easy task, but to even toy around with the idea of doing so is somewhat missing the point.

Brock Lesnar is, as already mentioned in this article, a superstar. Transformed into one thanks to the WWE machine, he has never been out of the press for any great amount of time because of who he is. It certainly didn’t hurt that he skipped across the pond and schooled a few mixed-martial artists, but even if Brock hadn’t of found success in that arena it would’ve simply taken a slight readjustment until he discovered where his next goal lay. To be blunt, putting Lesnar’s name in lights instantly equates to a marquee match. The wrestling purist may debate otherwise but Lesnar vs Cena is infinitely more interesting and fascinating than, say, Cena vs Ziggler or, dare I say it, Punk. Be it by design or fate, Brock has done an oddly good job in never overstaying his welcome in any territory. His reappearance, then, doesn’t feel tired or obvious – it’s more like the run we’ve wanted to see out the man for some time. When the two clash at Extreme Rules I don’t think there’s a person on the planet who would expect a ‘Match Of The Year’ candidate, but it’s surrounded by intrigue and, much like the WrestleMania card just gone, actually offers up a match that can’t be called with any real assurance. Cena is coming off the biggest loss of his career whereas Lesnar needs the win to continue his momentum all the way through to next year’s ‘Showcase Of The Immortals’. It’s a bout people actually want to see. This curiosity will follow Lesnar around over the next 12 months too. How long he’s going to play around with Cena is anyone’s guess, but there’s no way it can go longer than three PPVs maximum. It seems logical to the majority that ultimately we’re heading to a Lesnar vs Rock/Taker payoff in 2013, and when the build for that starts is anyone’s guess. It should mean at least one more adversary for Brock to face; even now I’m excited to see who gets the rub and how it’s handled. If the master of the F5 is involved, my attention is instantly peaked.

That’s not to say this doesn’t raise a large question mark over how WWE sees the future of its company. There’s a pool of talent who very well could be this decade’s ‘next big thing’ but no one responsible appears sure on who on Earth that is. The break needs to be dangled like the proverbial carrot – there’s no one who could dispute that – but would Jack Swagger, even if booked in exactly the same way as Lesnar was in 2002, actually make the same strides forward? It’s unlikely. Yes, it certainly wasn’t an easy run for the farmer, but once all the pieces started to fall into place his status as a top guy was ensured. That wasn’t by chance. It was by design, and WWE knew he had the talent and look to back it up. With this in mind, no matter how you look at it Brock’s return does directly relate to a smaller amount of opportunities and one less main event spot to be snapped up which isn’t ideal for those perfecting the craft. It’s made slightly more difficult when you consider The Rock has recently come off a near identical run; surely there’s a few raised eyebrows as to the confidence the men in suits have for its collection of upstarts. Business is business, however, and while the locker room supposedly gets a little flustered by this situation, Lesnar’s few dates for a mouth-watering amount of cash will, very likely, wield much better financial results. As horrible as it may sound, money will always be the true bottom line.

In short, for a man who has watched wrestling fanatically for the last 20 odd years, the return of Brock Lesnar is nothing but a good thing. He generates interests, publicity and, let’s not forget, can put on a pretty good show when he wants to. Sure he can’t talk and the less said about his top rope abilities the better, but from the moment he did his patented shuffle, I couldn’t help but smile. Thank you, old friend… you’re back!

Any comments then feel free to hit me up on twitter @SystemLinked_Si