Friday 31 July 2015

Another One Gone Too Soon - R.I.P. 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper

So sad to discover 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper has passed away aged 61. Roddy it seems, died from a heart attack at his home on Friday afternoon.

I first saw Piper wrestling in 1990, I'll never forget the feud with Bad News Brown which saw him paint himself half black for their match at Wrestle Mania VI.

Here is Piper At Wrestle Mania VI
As 1990 was the year I got into wrestling I went back to find earlier stuff on video from the world of pro wrestling and I came across a tape released by Pro Wrestling Illustrated I believe covering various matches from the NWA and it featured a brutal match from Starrcade 83 which saw Piper take on Greg Valentine in a dog collar match.

The Infamous Dog Collar Chain Match From Starrcade '83
Piper would go in and out of wrestling over the years but what really put him on the map was main eventing the first ever Wrestle Mania where he teamed with 'Mr Wonderful' Paul Orndorff to take on Hulk Hogan & Mr. T with Muhammed Ali at ringside. The following year saw Piper face Mr. T in a boxing match at Wrestle Mania 2.

Piper's charisma saw him land a role in the John Carpenter movie 'They Live' in 1988.

Piper had a career in wrestling that took him all over but he is more well-known for his time in the WWF where in 1992 he won his one and only title in the promotion, the Intercontinental, when he defeated The Mountie (Jacques Rougeau) this led onto one of Piper's most memorable matches as he took on Bret 'Hitman' Hart at Wrestle Mania VIII (FULL match HERE).

Piper vs Bret Hart At Wrestle Mania VII
At Wrestle Mania XII in 1996 Piper had a match billed as a 'Back Lot Brawl' with Goldust which would see them re-inact the infamous car chase that took place when the police were chasing OJ Simpson down the L.A. freeways.

There is so much I have left out of this article about Piper, he had had such a hugely entertaining career and in 2005 he was inducted into the WWE's Hall Of Fame  and it was a long time friend and former in-ring nemesis Ric Flair who inducted him.

Piper At The Hall Of Fame in 2005
In more recent times Piper had been  hosting his own podcast 'Piper's Pit' which was very good indeed. He had some issues with the podcast which was documented elsewhere but while it was around, it was one of the better ones hosted by current/former pro wrestlers

After surviving cancer it makes it even more sad that Piper has past away, he'll be remebered as one of the greatest villains to ever grace the squared circle and he is a bonified hall of famer and will be missed in the world by his family I am sure of that and by us the fans, we will remember him fondly.

R.I.P. Hot Rod

Thursday 9 July 2015

WWE Payback DVD Review By Dave Adamson

WWE Payback starts with a well produced introduction video, with Seth Rollins, John Cena and Rusev featured heavily.

Sheamus vs Dolph Ziggler

For those unaware, there was a “kiss my arse” match at Extreme Rules and, in this match, payback will be served as Ziggler, the winner of said match, failed to get a smooch on the backside, with Sheamus forcing an unconscious Ziggler’s face into his pale buttocks instead.

This is the world’s biggest and most popular wrestling promotion, everyone!

So, a rematch…

Despite the absolutely preposterous set up for this match, Ziggler and Sheamus demonstrate that they’re two of the best, yet woefully used, wrestlers that WWE has on its roster.

That’s not to say that this is wrestling at its purest - Sheamus is on the receiving end of Ziggler’s buttocks, unleashing the fury of the mighty Irish one and, eventually, securing him the victory.

Kane and Seth Rollins Talk About Seth’s Match

Backstage, Kane, dressed in his best working clothes, speaks to Seth Rollins as they try to come to an understanding and let bygones be bygones.  Kane seems to think that, as the veteran, he’s been the bigger man and hopes that Rollins, whom he’s been trying to protect, loses his match.

Leaving on a threatening note, Rollins walks away whilst Kane laughs mockingly.

Two out of Three Falls Match - New Day vs Tyson Kidd & Cesaro

New Day dance their way to the ring, with Xavier Woods preaching to the crowd.  Apparently, all the crowd have to do is Bo-lieve… sorry, “think positive”. 

Kingston taking a double stomp off Cesaro
Whereas New Day may seem awkward, despite their ability, there’s no issue with the superb performance of Kidd and Cesaro who have gelled as a tag team and shown that personality is just as important as ability. 

With the match entering its third fall, the stakes are high for the future of the WWE Tag Team Titles, but it all gets a bit messy and Xavier Woods, who wasn’t in the match, rolls up Cesaro for the win.

New Day retain the WWE Tag Team Titles!

Byron Saxton Interview With Ryback

Ryback doesn’t know what to expect of Bray Wyatt, especially when Wyatt is trying to convince Ryback that he’s worth nothing.

Thankfully, this isn’t going to stop Ryback as he promises to eat the Eater of Worlds.

Ryback vs Bray Wyatt

Wyatt has been playing mind games on the seemingly unstoppable Ryback, hoping to shake his confidence and weaken the hungry beast.

Ryback is the powerful assailant in this one, with Wyatt being no cruiserweight himself, despite occasional moments where he moves into high flying territory.  A slow, methodical confrontation ensues, with strength being the deciding factor, until Wyatt hits Sister Abigail and it’s a victory for the Eater of Worlds.

I Quit Match - John Cena vs Rusev

Recapping events since they first clashed at the Royal Rumble, this is a match that focuses on the age old WWF/E story of pride versus arrogance, as seen from both sides of the American/Russian divide.

Cena has, for more than a decade, stood on top of the mountain that is WWE and looks unlikely to step down anytime soon.  He’s a modern day superman, a larger than life warrior who overcomes all the odds and reminds us all why we should be proud of what we are - “Rise Above Hate,” as he’d say.

Many people dislike John Cena, their vitriol is well catalogued online, however Marty Scurrl recently put it best - we don’t like John Cena, we dislike the character he’s portraying.  He’s become the face of WWE, the man who grants wishes to sick children, entertains his fans and confounds his detractors.. detractors who, for reasons that escape me, don’t choose a Cena match as an opportunity to go to the bar/rest room/food stall, but chant “Cena Sucks” at him with such zeal that it’s practically adoration.

Rusev has, ever since teaming with Lana and becoming a ward of Mother Russia, been the antithesis of Cena’s heroism.  He’s just as proud of his homeland, but this sets him at ideological opposites with Cena.  Not that this is really about ideals, it’s about good guy vs bad guy.

Rusev brutalizing Cena
Watching Rusev brutalise John Cena, Rusev doesn’t over exert himself as he rains blow after blow upon a weakening Cena - a man refusing to say “I quit”.  As both men grow increasingly frustrated, they use the ring and arena to try to destroy each other, with the ref randomly asking “do you want to quit?”  Laptops, tables, storage containers, AV equipment, pyrotechnics and a multitude of other articles are turned into a weapon until, finally Rusev locks in The Accolade, rendering Cena unconscious - which isn’t, it seems, a criteria for victory.

So enraged is Rusev that he unfastens the top turnbuckle, goes to attack Cena, who grabs the ring rope and locks in an STF which causes Rusev to say, in Russian (or Bulgarian, it’s difficult to say) lots of words until Lana has no choice but to quit on behalf of Rusev!

Cena retains the title.

Kick Off Panel

Renee Young, once more, presents a roundtable, featuring Booker T and Corey Graves - plenty of room at that large table.

In effect, the panel is nothing more than an extra set of commentators, possibly giving the A-team of Cole, JBL and Lawler a breather and a chance to prepare themselves for what’s to come.

A highlight reel from the MegaPowers (Sandow & Axel) vs The Ascension plays, then New Day drink milk from champagne glasses until Byron Saxton interviews them. 

Divas Match - The Bella Twins vs Tamina & Naomi

How to follow an “I Quit” match?  Let’s have an “I Don’t Care” match as we see The Bella Twins take on Tamina & Naomi.  They’ve got a rivalry that seems to stretch back all of two weeks, so there’s a lot invested in this one.

Tamina seems to be stuck in the shuffle of Divas, with no real purpose but a solid wrestling pedigree.  The Bellas are the focus of this match, with Naomi being the primary antagonist.  The Bellas are a decent tag team, Tamina is the muscle in this match, whilst Naomi has light up boots which probably allowed her to secure the win for her team.

Angry Rusev is Angry

Rusev rants in Russian/Bulgarian, demanding that Lana leaves, before ranting again, and telling Lana to “get out”. She does, this time, allowing Rusev to continue being angry.

Daniel Bryan

Recapping the previous week’s episode Raw, we see Daniel Bryan surrender the Intercontinental Title following a career threatening injury.  On the microphone, Bryan delivers a hugely emotional speech, explaining that he can’t be a fighting champion and that his MRI has led to a diagnosis that could sideline him for an indeterminate period.

Daniel Bryan, throughout his time in WWE, has shown himself to be a step above many of his peers and contemporaries in the WWE.  His talent was undeniable, but on the microphone he’s been the total package, a consummate professional and a template for anyone who wishes to follow in the footsteps of greatness.

King Barrett vs Neville

Hearing Neville introduced as “The Man That Gravity Forgot” sends shivers of anticipation down spines of British wrestling fans and seeing him in the ring against fellow Brit, Wade Barrett is always going to be spectacle.

A brawler with technical skills against one of the world’s best high flyers, it’s a testament to the talent that Britain has to offer and what it looks like when it’s moulded in the crucible of the WWE.

The fans may fall quiet at points, but that’s because they’re not watching the theatrics that they’re used to, this isn’t “sports entertainment” it’s entertaining wrestling.

As the two men exchange blows, Neville glides around the ring whilst Barrett shows just how powerful he is, until he walks away, giving Neville a countout victory, much to the annoyance of Neville… and the fans.

Fatal Fourway: Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose vs Randy Orton

Kane and Rollins have issues that The Authority can’t effectively resolve, so the plan is that if Rollins doesn’t walk out as Champion, Triple H will fire Kane.  Reigns, Ambrose and Orton also have issues with each other, so it’s pretty much every man for himself with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line.

Of the four men, Reigns is the one that divides fans the most - he looks the part, but a few stumbles have seen his stock fall in the WWE Universe and it’s a slow journey to regain their respect.  Dean Ambrose, however, is on fire as the “lunatic fringe” and, in this match, he’s “just along for the ride”, fulfilling the dreams of anyone who lives by the mantra “fortune favours the foolish”.  Randy Orton has, very much like Cena, become something of a cornerstone of WWE - a consistent performer who has standout moments that everyone talks about.  Rollins, by contrast, has been thrust into the limelight by his association with The Authority and their intent on keeping the title on him - it’d be interesting to see how he’d perform without the friends in high places angle.

Rollins with a superkick on Ambrose
They may despise Reigns, but when you see the 6ft 3in 265lb deliver an elbow drop by leaping over the top rope, they go wild.  Despite moments like this, it’s Ambrose that the fans are truly behind, with their support of Orton coming a close second.

The fans are at their most raucous when Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins tease the reformation of The Shield, only to get louder when they turn on Rollins, and level everyone else.  The match boils down to absolute chaos, as all the men take each other out in various ways, until Rollins is able to hit a Pedigree on Orton to retain.

Is it possible that Payback was an ironic name?  “Payback” was aimed at we annoying wrestling fans who dislike the direction of WWE, but insist on watching, analysing and criticising their every move, match and star.  It was a way for them to say “well, here’s what we do - we put on good matches, we put on bad matches and we can do it all whenever we want… and you’ll watch it.

The “I Quit” match was overly long (even within the context of an “I Quit” match), some of the backstage segments work wore thin, The Divas match was underwhelming and the whole Kane angle now feels overplayed.  On the other side of things, premise aside Ziggler vs Sheamus was strong, as was Cesaro & Kidd, Barrett vs Neville is bound to engross British wrestling enthusiasts as it brings together British and American styles flawlessly.  Ambrose continues to be in-ring gold (complete with the Kellett ring rebound clothesline) and seeing Rollins attempt to reunite The Shield was comedy gold with a fantastic payoff.

It’s this confounding mix of good and bad - with little in between - that has perplexed many wrestling fans, but kept us all watching.  We want to see what happens next because we’re afraid that, if we don’t, we won’t be there for the big moments - the pipebombs, the shock returns, the shock defeats and whatever else the WWE throw in our path.


The DVD features the entertaining Payback Kickoff Match which sees Mega Powers (Damien Sandow as Macho Mandow and Curtis Axel as AxelMania) taking on The Ascension.  Comedy versus intensity, with plenty of ability mixed in makes this worth watching in place of some of the main PPV matches!

Two featurettes sees interviews with Neville and Kane.

Neville talks about the impact his made in the WWE and how he’s lived with other people’s doubts for years.  He describes himself as “a small lad from a small town in England”, but he really does have the makings of a big star in the WWE.

Kane talks about the aftermath of the Fatal Fourway, explaining that he always does what’s best for business.

Though Neville is interesting to listen to, these are two throwaway interviews.

The DVD suffers from occasionally low bit rate that causes images to be grainy and, occasionally, blurry.  It’s not a problem when the focus is on the matches, but wide shots, long shots and, occasionally, the commentator table look a bit grainy and subpar.  On-screen graphics are occasionally affected, too.

Audio is well presented throughout, in surround sound, and with the volume turned up it’s an immersive experience.  The sound of in ring action, crowd response and commentary is well balanced.

Wednesday 8 July 2015

The Old Boys DVD Review By Richard Edmund

'The Old Boys', a new documentary from director Vikram Rekhi, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of some of the legends of the wrestling business in their own words. Filmed over a number of years, the documentary boasts an impressive array of interview subjects, from the likes of Ted DiBiase, Jake Roberts, Honky Tonk Man, Demolition, Terry Funk & The New Age Outlaws to Diana Hart-Smith, Dynamite Kid, Paul Roma, Roddy Piper & The Iron Sheik. In a mixture of sit-down interviews and footage from convention panels and autograph signings, the film covers a number of topics and has a reflective tone as the wrestlers look back on their careers and the business as a whole, as well as their lives now their time in the ring has come to a close. 

For the most part it remains a light-hearted affair with many funny stories from the road and anecdotes, but it takes a sombre turn when talking about subjects such as the untimely deaths of Owen Hart and others, or the personal toll the wrestling business can have on the lives of the wrestlers and their families. However, it never dwells too long on any one subject, which is probably for the best in certain cases, such as Marty Jannetty retelling the oft told story of how Shawn Michaels screwed him over, or Paul Roma's obvious bitterness about how the wrestling world treated him during his career. 

The film jumps back and forth from one subject to another and, while it was definitely an enjoyable watch, there wasn't much of a sense of structure to the piece. It felt very disjointed at times and the segues were often abrupt, which even one of the interviewees, Roddy Piper, remarks upon at one point. But for what it lacks in order it makes up for in charm. There's a definite candid approach to the interviews and typically outspoken guys like The Iron Sheik or Honky Tonk Man pull no punches, while others are just happy to share their stories and words of wisdom for future generations.

There's some genuinely funny and personal moments as well, with audio of one of Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith's notorious prank phone calls, or The Iron Sheik recalling Vince McMahon's difficulty in conveying to Sheiky-baby that he'd tested positive for cocaine, as well as footage from the British Bulldog's wedding. We get to see the wrestlers at work on the merchandise table and many talk about how much they enjoy the conventions and giving something back to the fans. The film also takes a brief look at one of wrestling's stranger figures, Virgil, who's only too happy to show how he works the crowds and gets a sale from people who often don't know who he is.

Overall 'The Old Boys' is a well produced and entertaining film. There's a few niggling complaints with the audio levels in certain sections, especially with the footage from the busy autograph tables, and while on-screen subtitles appeared for the off-screen interviewer's questions, they perhaps would've been handy for some of the more incoherent cast members as well, such as Iron Sheik or Dynamite Kid. The aforementioned structural choices may make the film seem somewhat disjointed, but as a documentary it's never less than engaging and for fans of old school wrestling it provides a good slice of life look at how the wrestlers view their careers and the wrestling business at large.

'The Old Boys' is available now on DVD or on-demand at

19 Years Ago...."We're Taking Over"

So 19 years ago today at WCW Bash At The Beach, the nWo was formed. Of course, The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) had arrived in WCW in what was made to look like an invasion from the WWF, who could forget Hall's line on the microphone on Nitro "you know who I am but you don't know why I'm here". Not too long after, Nash came in and the would go on to attack Eric Bischoff  at the Great American Bash. 

So the WWF were battling WCW in a ratings war, Hall & Nash came over and all the talk was about who if anyone, would also come in from the WWF. Well, after the GAB attack, it was announced that The Outsiders would be joined by someone else at the BATB to face then WCW's top 3 guys in a tag match, those 3 were of course Lex Luger, Sting & 'Macho Man' Randy Savage. There was plenty of speculation of who it would be but nothing concrete. 

So the match began with the WCW guys against Hall & Nash and all those watching on PPV and in the arena were wondering who the 3rd guy would be. Savage would get injured and was carried out, and some point after, Hulk Hogan came out and of course the majority thought he was coming to save the WCW guys where in fact, he was there to turn on them and allign himself with The Outsiders. The place went crazy with all sorts of stuff being thrown into the ring while Hogan was on the microphone had said they were the "new world order of wrestling" and this was the birth if you like of the nWo.

Like a lot of things in wrestling, the nWo wasn't an original idea it's well-known that Bischoff had seen basically the same angle take place in Japan and brought it to the states. It's ironic really as with their working relationship with NJPW there would go on to be an nWo Japan featuring the likes of Masahiro Chono & Keiji Muto (Great Muta).
For a decent time the nWo was a hot angle, it helped WCW smash the WWF in the ratings war but eventually, it would become watered down with people joining who really had no place, Vincent (Virgil in the WWF) comes to mind.
With Hogan being the third man it was a big deal, he had to be convinced it was the right thing to do even though he was being booed in the arenas he was going to. Kevin Sullivan who was booking for WCW at the time recently revealed that he lived 10 minutes away and kept Hogan in his house until the semi-main event, up until that point, Sting would of been the 3rd man.
In closing, the nWo was an interesting concept at first but soon lost it's way. Hogan, Hall & Nash would later come into the WWE as the nWo but that was short lived.