XPW Day 1 – Rob Black, Through the Lens of Louis Theroux

I don’t review every episode of Dark Side of the Ring, but the XPW episode was on the radar. It’s got some good things going for it, but one big omission is the absence of Rob Black, the owner and promoter. However, the man himself hasn’t always been shy about appearing on camera, and two places he did appear were in documentaries presented by Louis Theroux. So, today I’m going to look at his appearances there, as well as some brief comments on the other participants in his shows, then tomorrow it’ll be the review of Dark Side.

(Rob Black, back in the day)

Read more

An Englishman in New Japan – BLACK TIGER!

This week I return, in a way, to someone I reviewed a lot of matches of when he died last year, the late, great Rollerball Rocco. I got into wrestling as a fan at the time he was retiring and have very vague memories of seeing him in the later days of wrestling still being on ITV. A holiday in the seaside town saw me going to some matches at a theatre in Rhyl where Rocco’s retirement due to heart issues was covered in an article in the programme. Later looks at his career via the Wrestling Channel and YouTube confirm how great he was. Not a big guy and not physically imposing, but he looked tough and dangerous and was one hell of a wrestler and a great talker and creative mind. Here I’m looking at some of his matches in Japan under the mask of Tiger Mask’s nemesis Black Tiger.

Mark "Rollerball" Rocco, The Original Black Tiger, Dead at 69

Read more

Dark Side of the Ring – Blood & Wire: Onita’s FMW

The latest in a semi-regular series looking at Vice’s awesome show. I’ll be following it up in the next week with a look at this promotion’s biggest star appearing in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Full disclosure, my knowledge of the promotion is severely limited, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of this show.

Atsushi Onita To Appear At CZW Cage Of Death XX Next Month(Above: Not the Japanese Corey Feldman.)

Read more

An Englishman in New Japan – HELLRAISERS!

My look last week at Hulk Hogan teaming up with the Great Muta against the Hellraisers prompted me to look this week at the team of Hawk and Power Warrior, better known as Kensuke Sasaki, who had always impressed me with his look and ferocity when he ventured over to the US to wrestle for WCW in 1992/93 and I wished he’d come across more. Obviously he had a short run in 1995 as the US champion, but that was so low on the scale that it hardly merits mentioning.

The Hellraisers were born of Hawk leaving the WWF after Summerslam 1992 and leaving Animal effectively high and dry, potentially giving us Animal and Crush as the Legion of Doom, before a back injury and insurance policy put him on the disabled list for three years. Hawk worked for ECW, SMW and New Japan in that time, as a singles wrestler but also with his new partner Sasaki donning the spiky shoulder pads and green and black warpaint, leading to hear between the former Road Warriors for a time. The Hellraisers didn’t last long but they stayed around long enough to raise a little hell while they were there.

Drop Toehold — wcwworldwide: The Hell Raisers: Hawk Warrior and...

Read more

In Your House: Revenge of the Taker

I just fancied watching this pay-per-view, which was the first In Your House event to be shown live in the UK, so a review follows. This was from the mature peak of my fandom as a fully-fledged Bret Hart and Hart Foundation fan, although the rising Steve Austin was a big favourite too.

In Your House 14: Revenge of the 'Taker - Wikipedia

Held on April 20th, 1997, at the Rochester Community War Memorial in Rochester, New York, with Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler on commentary.

Read more

An Englishman in New Japan – AXE BOMBER!

Based off a suggestion in a previous column, this week I’ll be looking at some NJPW matches featuring Hulk Hogan in the eighties and next week I’ll look at his return in the nineties. I’ve always liked the Hulkster going back to when I was a kid, but even then I could recognise that he had a formula and was only going to do what he always did except for on big occasions like against the Ultimate Warrior, so it was hard to argue with the point of him being limited. However, there was a legend of “Hulk wrestles a lot more in Japan, he does drop toe holds and everything!”, so those matches always had that mythical aura, even if him doing a lot was still a lot less than his peers did. Let’s have a look and see.

Relive The Electrifying Inoki V Hogan IWGP Championship Match In Full Glory - Hulk Hogan

Read more

An Englishman in New Japan – BUTCHER!

Continuing to look at the history of gaijin in New Japan with a man who based his character off foreign origins and had massive success in Japan for decades, the Madman from the Sudan, Abdullah the Butcher. Abby, or Larry to his friends, even married a Japanese lady, the daughter of a promoter, and brought her back to the States with him, where they opened up Abdullah the Butcher’s House of Ribs and Chinese Food, with head chef Harry Fujiwara… OK, maybe not.

Read more

An Englishman in New Japan – GIANT!

Three of the big things I’ve enjoyed in my life are wrestling, cartoons and toy collecting, and it’s nice when the three interconnect. Recently I received Super7’s new figure of Andre the Giant, representing his tour of Japan in 1971. Japanese wrestling has never been something I paid a lot of attention to, so I decided to sign up for a membership to New Japan World to see some of his big matches over there.

This will be an ongoing column where I predominantly focus on the gaijin like Andre who wrestled in NJPW during the seventies, eighties and nineties, maybe even reaching into the new millennium. My rating system will be ICHIBAN! or BUST!, with the former being a pass and the latter being a fail.

Read more

MORE Wrestling Meets Talk Shows!

Some more cases of wrestlers appearing on different shows. Calling an audible and going to skip doing the World Championship Wrestling episodes in-depth so that I can do an overall review of the Midnight Express/Horsemen feud on Monday seeing as the episodes themselves aren’t actively bad, but are dry as toast.

Read more