ROYAL RUMBLE 2020: Part 3

Well, that’s the Women’s Rumble.  Although I’m typing this up as it starts so I don’t forget.

Later tonight, some title matches and a Men’s Rumble.  O/U on how many people Brock throws out is 12.5.

Let’s bring it home!

ROYAL RUMBLE 2020: Part 2

It’s time to RUMBLE!

The first half of the most fun PPV of the year is underway, and we open with… Baron Corbin.

Really, Vince?

Well, maybe it’ll get better from here.

Let’s chat.

ROYAL RUMBLE 2020: Part 1

It’s time to Pre-Show!

…nah, doesn’t sound the same.

Anyway, here’s where we try to hype ourselves up for the Royal Rumble, even though that’s gonna be hard to do.  Most of us are sports fans, and we’re understandably pre-occupied right now.

RIP Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the other passengers.

But let’s get prepped anyway!

WWE Friday Night Party Thread, Episode 17 — A THIN (DOTTED) LINE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE

We made it!

Tonight, SmackDown comes to you from Dallas as all signs are pointing to the Royal Rumble, starring Brock Lesnar and some other people.  Fortunately, it will also feature Daniel Bryan doing what he best: be a foil for Bray Wyatt.  Say what you will about how WWE botched the rollout, but Bryan has been able not just to *get* what Funhouse Bray/The Fiend is about, but help explore it.  Plus, it helps that he’s trusted AND he listens to Bray, who’s clearly put a lot of thought into this duality.

I bring this up because it’s time to sign a contract!  Tonight, Funhouse Bray and Daniel Bryan come face to face and do some paperwork for Sunday.  Obviously, with something like this, the question isn’t whether a fight will break out, but who will go through the table they use to sign the deal.  I’m betting on Ramblin’ Rabbit.

Meanwhile, ever since King Corbin interrupted a title shot that Roman Reigns had on Nakamura, Reigns has been saddled with getting past him.  Humiliation after degradation seemed to lead to a payoff in December, but alas, the torture continued.  When all seemed to be a broken record, the Usos rode to the rescue and evened the odds!  Now, finally, it’s all in as we get a huge six-man tag featuring Corbin, Roode, and Ziggler against Roman and the Usos!

The Australian Open is in full swing tonight.  There’s college and pro hoops around the dial.  Or, hop on over to my review of the latest BLP show and see if it’s worth a watch.  Or, heck, watch SmackDown, but it seems we all hate the wrestling we love.

All right, guys… you’ve had your instructions.  I answered all questions in the locker room.  Let’s have a good, clean thread, show respect, and come out posting.  Touch gloves and enjoy the weekend!

Friday Indie Spotlight Thing: Nobody Puts BLP In a Corner!

More wrestling, yay!

Today’s show is from Crown Point, Indiana, the home of Black Label Pro. Crown Point is in Northwest Indiana near Chicago, on the shores of Lake Michigan. So, to honor their home, they decided to call this show Crown Point Jewel. Unfortunately, the artwork on the posters was a little too obviously ripped off from WWE’s Saudi Arabia shows and a cease-and-desist followed. Fortunately, the company had a good rename: Nobody Puts BLP In A Corner! And with that, we were underway.

The PG Era Rant for Nobody Puts BLP In A Corner! (Tape runtime: 212 minutes)

From Crown Point, IN, January 18.

Your hosts are Dave Prazak and Sarah Shockey on commentary, with J.Rose as ring announcer.

Read moreFriday Indie Spotlight Thing: Nobody Puts BLP In a Corner!

Indies and Insanity: January 23, 2020

Tomorrow, our Friday Indie Spotlight Thing will focus on Black Label Pro from one week ago.  WARHORSE defends the IWTV title against Kylie Rae, Erick Stevens puts the BLP title on the line against Tom Lawlor, plus AJ Gray, Alex Shelley, Jason Cade, Violence Is Forever, and a Rumble!

SPORTS: your NBA on TNT doubleheader is Lakers/Nets, then Mavericks/Blazers.  ESPN has the women’s marquee matchup of Connecticut/Tennessee, then the Pro Bowl Skills Show, then some X Games from Aspen.  ESPN2 has Belmont/Murray State from the OVC, followed by some Australian Open through the night.  FS1 has a Big Ten doubleheader, with Minnesota/Ohio State and Michigan State/Indiana, ending with a Pac-12 game of UCLA/Oregon State.  ESPNU goes to Conference USA with Florida International/Old Dominion, then AAC time with Connecticut/Houston, ending USC/Oregon from the Pac-12.  CBS Sports has Delaware/Hofstra from the CAA, Valpo/Missouri State of the MVC, and ending on San Francisco/Saint Mary’s from the WCC.  NBC Sports Network is showing… figure skating.

Some good shows going on this weekend, and your update is after the jump!

Read moreIndies and Insanity: January 23, 2020

Sunday Night Reset, January 19, 2020

Kansas City is in the Superb Owl.  Either Green Bay or San Francisco will join them.

I was at Prime Time Pro yesterday.  O’Shay Edwards successfully defended the big gold against Breaux Keller in a steel cage; EFFY won a 10-person tournament to be crowned the first ever “51st State” (think: secondary) champion; and Jordan Blade and Eel O’Neal won a four-way “Capitol Heights” (think: Ultimate X) match to become the first ever Tag Team champions.  As always, everybody on this show is awesome and I want to thank the promoter “Coach Gator” for letting me be a part of the crew.

Enjoy the night.

WWE Friday Night Party Thread, Episode 16 — GRAND RETURNS AT THE PALACE OF WISDOM

We made it!

Tonight, Friday Night SmackDown comes to you LIVE from Greensboro, North Carolina!  In the heart of Flair country, everyone has the same question: they’re not really gonna put Bobby Roode over Roman Reigns, are they?

That’s right, tonight’s main event sees the returning Roode taking on the “Big Dog” in a tables match!  On paper, this contest heavily favors Roman as he looks to (sigh) build momentum for the Royal Rumble, but a tables match is infamously no-DQ.  Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, and the Usos could all be factors in the outcome.  On top of that, this match has Rumble implications!  The winning side can name the stipulation for Reigns vs Corbin at the Rumble undercard!  (If dog food’s involved, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

The next big story tonight comes from the return, after an 8-year absence, of John Morrison to in-ring action!  While Morrison looks like he’s still capable of going, given that he’s remained in game shape and didn’t appear to lose a step in either Lucha Underground or Impact, the WWE is another level up.  This is especially true when his first match back puts him against a 300-pound powerhouse in Big E!  While everyone knows that The Miz isn’t above sticking himself in this match to run interference, will it be enough to give the Shaman of Sexy a big W over Big E in his big comeback?

One of the more intriguing developments is Lacey Evans going after Bayley.  Most people were skeptical that the inexperienced Evans could hold her own as a character facing Bayley, especially since their alignments seemed to be flipped from the two wrestlers’ more comfortable situations.  But Bayley has been very much a hateable champion, and with Sasha Banks by her side stirring the pot, the people seem to be behind the US Marine!  Evans has made it her mission to take Bayley’s gold away from her, but tonight it’s the Boss standing in her way.  Evans is probably the underdog here, but will she have enough to prove she’s worthy of a championship match?

…okay, enough WWE shilling.  I’m getting way too comfortable imitating their website.

I want to thank the people who read my Friday Indie Spotlight (both of you).  It’s a nice thing to put up on a Friday afternoon that you can knock off during lunchtime, and really, my Thursday nights are open now that Beyond’s Uncharted Territory is on hiatus.  I imagine when it starts up again I’ll be reviewing that, but int he meantime, I’ll do some IWTV watching and post a show I’m interested in.  It’ll be a first-time watch usually, although indulge me if I want to recap CRAB or Prime Time Pro, two promotions I work with in the DC area.

Hey, along those lines, I’ll be at a PTPW show tomorrow in Northeast.  Tickets are sold out, but the show is available on IWTV, so check your listings.

Bulls/Sixers and Blazers/Mavericks are the NBA on ESPN doubleheader.  ESPN2 is showing Dayton/Saint Louis out of the A-10, while at 10:30 ET they’re doing a look at McGregor/Diaz 2 to warm you up for UFC 246.  FS1 has a Big Ten doubleheader — Wisconsin/Michigan State and Michigan/Iowa.  CBSSN has college hockey (!!) on with North Dakota/Miami Ohio.  ESPNU has Furman/Wofford out of the SoCon, followed by more college hockey with Michigan State/Wisconsin.  For you NHL fans, the NHL Network is showing Penguins/Red Wings.

All right, we went over the rules in the locker room.  Pay attention and obey my commands at all times.  I want a good, clean comment thread.  Touch gloves, and let’s enjoy the weekend!  LET’S GET IT ON!

Friday Indie Spotlight Time: ACTION Wrestling Streets of Rage

Independent Wrestling is where the fun is. And so, I propose a new thing for this blog: each Friday, I’ll post a review of a show from IWTV. It may be a very recent show, or it may be one from the archives. I might choose it because of the big names, or because there’s lots of people I’ve met on it, or maybe because I’m on it. But hey, it’s wrestling. And this is a wrestling blog.

My goal is to get people noticed who I feel you should want to see. Maybe you’re just a WWE fan; that’s fine! These are people who would fit in very well in NXT or the main roster. Maybe you’re interested in checking out a local show; great! These are some names that should draw you to spend money on a ticket. Maybe you’re wondering if you should get an IWTV subscription; yes! Especially since they’ve merged with Smart Mark Video and the archives are LOADED. However you see it, consider me your gateway to great wrestlers you’ve never heard of.

With that out of the way, let’s get to today’s choice.

Read moreFriday Indie Spotlight Time: ACTION Wrestling Streets of Rage

Indies and Insanity: January 16, 2020

For those watching sports tonight, we got Celtics/Bucks followed by Nuggets/Warriors on TNT.  ESPN gives us Cincinnati/Memphis of the AAC, then Stanford/Oregon for Pac-12 women.  ESPN2 has a gymnastics meet on, followed by Colorado/Arizona State from the Pac-12 and Santa Clara/Gonzaga of the WCC.  ESPNU gives us the deep cuts: Charleston Southern/Campbell of the Big South, then Eastern Kentucky/Belmont of the OVC.  CBSSN is showing Old Dominion against Western Kentucky from Conference USA.  If hockey’s your thing, the NHL Game of the Week on NBCSN is Lightning/Wild.

After the jump, wrestling!  Independent style!

Read moreIndies and Insanity: January 16, 2020

OBITUARY: Rocky Johnson (1944-2020)

It has been confirmed that “Soulman” Rocky Johnson, WWE Hall of Famer and member of the Anoa’i/Maivia wrestling dynasty, has died today.  He was 75.

Johnson was born Wayde Bowles in Amherst, NS.  As a teenager, he moved to Toronto, ON, and trained as both a boxer and wrestler.  In fact, his gym was used by heavyweight champions Muhammad Ali and George Foreman when they came to town; Bowles claimed to have been their sparring partners on occasion.  However, it was wrestling that was his first love, and at age 19 he made his debut in the southern Ontario territory, having been trained by the Polynesian legend High Chief Peter Maivia.

He was an instant star, considered a tag team master but also receiving NWA Championship opportunities.  Early in his career, he was known as Drew Glasteau; when fighting in the Memphis territory, Jerry Lawler put him under a mask and called him Sweet Ebony Diamond.  However, it was the Rocky Johnson moniker that stuck, and early in his career he legally changed his name so that he could be called Rocky Johnson everywhere.

During his early years, Johnson teamed with the High Chief in some of the territories, and while doing so, began a relationship with Ata Maivia, Peter’s daughter.  Although Peter was reluctant to give his blessing (Johnson said it was nothing personal, but that Maivia knew how tough wrestling wives had it), he relented and the two married in 1970.  Due to Maivia’s “blood brotherhood” with Amituanai Anoa’i (Afa and Sika’s father), Johnson officially married into the Anoa’i wrestling family.

Rocky Johnson’s signature move came about as a way to combat racist opponents.  As Johnson himself explained, during some “bump and feed” sequences, opponents who wanted to make him look bad would get up extremely slowly, hoping the inexperienced Johnson would be at a loss for ideas and the match would grind to a halt.  Johnson quickly adapted, using his boxing past to adjust his stance back and forth while waiting.  Eventually, this would morph into full-on dancing to fire up the crowd, called the Johnson Shuffle.  Wrestlers such as Virgil, Orlando Jordan, and most famously Shane McMahon would copy it during their own comebacks.

In 1982, Johnson signed on with the WWF and had singles matches against stars such as Don Muraco, Greg Valentine, and Iron Mike Sharpe.  He was later teamed with Tony Atlas as the Soul Patrol and, on November 15, 1983, they defeated Johnson’s brothers-in-law the Wild Samoans to become WWF Tag Team Champions.  Notably, Johnson and Atlas were the first all-black tag team champions at the world level.

Johnson retired in 1991 and became a trainer, including a stint in Ohio Valley Wrestling.  But it was the training of his son Dwayne that became his greatest legacy.  Dwayne debuted in November 1996 as Rocky Maivia, a tribute to both Johnson and the High Chief.  The young Maivia’s first WrestleMania match was at WrestleMania 13 against the Sultan (family member Rikishi Fatu in a mask), and after the match, a bitter Sultan and his manager Iron Sheik attacked.  Rocky Johnson made the save and, in one last moment of glory, gave the Iron Sheik a body slam.

Soon after, though, it became clear there wasn’t much demand for a “father’s son” wrestler in Maivia, and Rocky Johnson left active TV to see if Dwayne could sink or swim on his own.  Given that Dwayne became The Rock, this was a smart move.

Johnson’s list of belts include: 3-time NWA Florida champion; NWA Georgia champion; NWA Television Champion (lineally the WCW title); 2-time NWA Texas champion; NWA Americas (Hollywood) champion; NWA Southern (Memphis) champion; NWA Pacific Northwest champion; and no less than 18 tag team championships, including the aforementioned WWF Tag Team title reign.

In 2008, Johnson’s success was recognized by the wrestling world.  The Saint Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame inducted him, as did the WWE Hall of Fame, where he was presented by The Rock.  In joining the WWE Hall of Fame, he stood alongside his tag partner Atlas (2006), his brothers-in-law the Wild Samoans (2007) and his father-in-law Peter Maivia (also 2008).  Family members Yokozuna (2012) and Rikishi (2015) have since been added.

Biographical information obtained from Wikipedia.

Sunday Night Reset: January 12, 2020

TONIGHT!  Hard to Kill from Impact Wrestling, being sent out to a worldwide audience of Tommy Hall.  Which problematic main eventer will win the big gold belt?

Seattle/Green Bay is in progress, but it’s gonna have to go a LONG way to top what Kansas City did earlier today.  Yikes.

Marty Scurll ousts Delirious as Ring of Honor booker; this could be the start of an interesting time for the company.

Enjoy the night.

RIP Pampero Firpo

It has been confirmed on Twitter that Juan Kachamanian, better known to wrestling fans of the past as “The Wild Bull of the Pampas” Pampero Firpo, has passed away today in San Jose, California.  He was 89.

Kachamanian was born in Argentina to immigrants from Turkey who were able to escape the genocide.  His father, in fact, was raised in a Greek orphanage by the British Red Cross.  His family eventually became involved in the boxing business, but Kachamanian chose wrestling, getting trained by Rudy Dusek and debuting in 1953.

He had several identities, such as Ivan the Terrible, The Missing Link (long before Dewey Robertson took that moniker), and Ervan the Armenian.  He received the Pampero Firpo moniker after a suggestion from none other than heavyweight boxing all-timer Jack Dempsey, who said he should consider himself the legacy of Argentine boxing superstar Luis Angel Firpo.

He was one of the first wrestlers to use the style commonly called “Hardcore Wrestling” in the modern era, known for his brawls with men such as Bobo Brazil, Johnny Valentine, The Crusher, and The Sheik.  Long before the Von Erich legacy made it famous, Firpo used the Claw (or as he called it, El Garfio) to render his opponents unconscious.  Although not an imposing figure, standing a mere 5’8 and a stocky 230, his wild hair and mannerisms made him a feared opponent for many.

In 1972, he received a gift from an Ecuadorian tribesman that would add to his mystique.  The tribesman was so impressed with Firpo’s ferocity and spirit that he gave him a shrunken head, purportedly belonging to a defeated tribal leader.  Nicknamed “Chimu”, the head would make Firpo seem even more uncivilized as the Wildman would talk to the head (long before Al Snow did the same) during interviews where he promised destruction of his opponents.  Later that same year, he’d make appearances for the WWWF, challenging Pedro Morales for the title unsuccessfully.

Firpo’s home territory was Detroit’s Big Time Wrestling, where on three occasions he would hold their variation of the NWA United States Title.  The first two were in 1972 as he scored upset wins over Bobo Brazil.  Each time, Brazil would regain the title in the mandatory rematch.  In 1976, he beat The Sheik to win the title and held it for three months.  This time, Don Kent was the one to end his reign.

Perhaps the most famous thing Firpo did was a product of seemingly too wild to speak full English.  In every interview, he would be at a loss for words and simply intimidate the interviewer with a drawn out “Ohhhh yeah.”  Randy Savage stole this mannerism and made it his own.

Firpo went into semi-retirement in 1981 and full retirement in 1986, having fought by his own estimation close to 9,000 times.  He went on to work for the US Postal Service in California.  He was honored by the Cauliflower Alley Club in 2001 and entered the Professional Wrestling Hall Of Fame in 2018.  His heavyweight championships included the All-California Championship Wrestling title, the NWA Hawaii Heavyweight Title, the NWA Americans Heavyweight Title on three occasions, the WWC Heavyweight Title, the NWA Texas Heavyweight title, and the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight title.

Indies and Insanity: January 9, 2020

What’s up, y’all.

Sports report: NBA on TNT doubleheader is Celtics/Sixers, then Rockets/Thunder.  ESPN has Baylor/UConn women, followed by Arizona/Oregon.  ESPN2 is showing Memphis/Wichita, then Minnesota/Michigan State, then BYU/St. Mary’s.  ESPNU has LaTech/UTSA, then Murray State/Jacksonville State, topping it with Arizona State/Oregon State.  FS1 gives up Purdue/Michigan, then Washington/Stanford.  CBSSN is showing Drexel/Towson, then Hofstra/Northeastern.  Meanwhile, your NHL game of the week on NBCSN is Predators/Hawks.

Up ahead, your dose of indie wrestling.

Read moreIndies and Insanity: January 9, 2020

WWE Friday Night Party Thread, Episode 14 — TAGGING IN MEMPHIS

We made it!

Yes, you read this right: tonight’s show is in Memphis, TN.  This is good news, I hope!  Memphis wrestling, when done right, is an experience unlike any other and a blast to watch.  It mixes the NWA storytelling style with the best of the WWF Golden Era of characters.  And it WORKS!  That’s the best part!  There are ideas that work because of the way Memphis crowds will enjoy them (I’m reminded of a 2014 Raw where Sheamus and Christian had a Beale Street Fight — meaning they beat each other up with musical instruments).

Along those lines, SmackDown has a hint of Memphis flavor to it right now!  It’s not just Baron Corbin being an overbearing royal, though at least that will get good heat.  There’s also the Fiend: a movie monster heel that needs to be set up to be conquered by the big hero.  While Daniel Bryan probably isn’t that hero, it’s possible it’ll be Roman Reigns (although I worry WrestleMania crowds will refuse to like it on principle, even though Roman has more than acquitted himself).

Oh, hey, that reminds me — our main event tonight is Reigns and Bryan against Corbin and Dolph Ziggler!  One guess who’s getting pinned in this one.

Recently, Lacey Evans and Dana Brooke have been dealing with the manipulative Sasha Banks and the bitter champ Bayley.  But things came to a head when Alexa Bliss inserted herself in the debate via her Moment of Bliss talk segment.  Now, the follow-up: Banks/Bayley will face Evans/Brooke, as well as Bliss/Nikki Cross, in a triple threat tag match!  This will go a long way to showing whether the WWE is ready to pull the trigger on Lacey.

If you’d rather watch sports, Wisconsin/Ohio State and Georgetown/Seton Hall is on FS1 tonight.  ESPN2 has UCF/Houston, then a high school game featuring LeBron Jr. and D-Wade Jr.  ESPN proper has an NBA doubleheader, Sixers/Rockets and Pelicans/Lakers.  ESPNU has Wright State/Oakland out of the Horizon League, then Temple/Tulsa.  CBSSN is running a MAC double-header, Toledo/Ball State and Kent/Bowling Green.  NBCSN has Notre Dame hockey as they face Western Michigan, then… curling?  Really?

DATELINE: It’s time to vote for the 2019 Gooker Award!  For the record, three of the options are pretty close in voting, unlike last year when Crown Jewel 1 had over 50% of the vote.  Voting ends January 11.

I’ll be back tomorrow with an Analysis of Beyond – Heavy Lies the Crown to make up for just doing a recap.  I’ll see if I can make a weekend indie review a thing.

Enjoy the weekend!

 

Indies and Insanity: January 2, 2020

So, apparently it’s not fun to read a show report if people don’t talk more holistically about how it went.  (I shouldn’t be surprised by this.)  After discussing with some wrestling folk, I think the fairest thing to do will be to talk about what I thought of the match structure and layout, along with the finish, without really criticizing one or the other wrestlers for their work (unless they’re having a REALLY bad day).  Star ratings are still right out, though; that’s the kind of thing you leave in the training facility or locker room.

As a show of good faith, I’ll do such an analysis for Heavy Lies the Crown and I should have it up by Saturday.

No NBA on TNT tonight, which is weird.  ESPN is showing the Gator Bowl between Tennessee and Indiana, and as the latter is my sister’s alma mater I say go Hoosiers!  ESPN2 is showing a High School All American game, then a Pac-12 basketball doubleheader with Oregon/Colorado and Cal/Stanford (Bill Waltoning intensifies).  ESPNU has lots of college basketball, as North Texas meets Western Kentucky in CUSA action, followed by Jacksonville State/Morehead State from the OVC and Saint Mary’s/San Francisco from the WCC.  CBSSN has James Madison against UNC Wilmington from the Colonial, then Dayton against La Salle from the A-10.  FS1 gives us Illinois/Michigan State from the Big Ten, followed by UCLA/Washington from the Pac-12.  If pro sports are more your thing, NBCSN has an NHL doubleheader, with Devils/Islanders, then Blues/Hawks.

Indie wrestling is light on action this weekend as everyone stays home to watch WrestleKingdom.  EVE has a show in London Saturday night with a six-women tag match up top leading into Wrestle Queendom 3.  ICW New York is putting on No Holds Barred Saturday night with an Extreme Rules style card headlined by Nick Gage against Tessa Blanchard.  And on Sunday in Nashville, SUP runs Stay Cold with AC Mack defending the big gold against Cabana Man Dan.

(NOTE: I’m the indie expert among the BOD posters and even I don’t know what the hell Joey Janela and Kip Sabian are doing right now.)

Your indie match of the week is a VERY interesting contrast of styles from Prestige Wrestling in Portland, as Su Yung faces Orange Cassidy!

Bring the insanity!

BEYOND Heavy Lies the Crown 2019-20

Hello, all, it’s your independent wrestling reporter Andy PG checking in. One of my resolutions was to watch more indie wrestling, so let’s kick the year off right by watching the year-end celebration from Beyond. This year’s show is called Heavy Lies the Crown and, as with previous years, is headlined by an IWTV Championship defense. As Thomas Hall would say, let’s get to it.

As always, I shill independentwrestling.tv and tell you to use a code like, say, BEYOND to get 20 free days. Dozens of indie promotions all for the same cost as the WWE Network. Worth the investment.

Side note: you will NOT see any star ratings on this show. As someone whose goal is to wrestle in the near future, I’ve been advised by multiple people that giving critiques and stuff on matches is very much frowned upon in public. It makes perfect sense. Besides, if my play-by-play doesn’t let you know whether you want to watch or not, a few ASCII characters and a one-sentence blurb won’t change your mind.  And here we go!

Read moreBEYOND Heavy Lies the Crown 2019-20

Sunday Night Reset: December 29, 2019

Hey, everyone.  Thanks for putting up with me in this job and as a part of this board.  I’ll do my best to remain not-stupid throughout 2020.

Although that said, I’m hoping to give my guys at CRAB some more love.  Should I post recaps of CRAB shows when they’re available on IWTV?  Would people not care?  Let me know below.

Your NFL Game of the Week For Real This Time is San Francisco against Seattle with a home game in the playoffs on the line.

Enjoy the night.