The Brand Split – Part Two

So its been a few weeks since I shared my feelings on splitting up the roster so I’m back to finish off the roster by highlighting the talent that should headline SmackDown.  Now ill be honest I don’t watch SmackDown that often, and the reason is because they repeat a lot of the same matches that we already saw on Monday.  It’s stale and with the current crop of talent there is no reason for it to be at all.

If you read my last article (of course you did it was great) then you saw that it was all about the younger crop of talent taking over the flagship show and building up fresh faces.  I make the move that you move more of the veterans to Thursday, if you want people to watch then why not have the most popular faces in the company be involved in there own separate feuds while also bringing up young talent to this show first.  Raw seems to congested with all the recent call ups that come from NXT leaving that show a little flat and not having much to do on Raw so spread them out and have them start with more established talent.

Given the current story line it would make sense to me that this would all lead to the return of Triple H and leading he and his wife to take over a new challenge being on SmackDown.  So if I were doing the booking I would split the rest of the top talent up this way.

  1. John Cena
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Source: healthyceleb.com

Regardless of what you think a feel about John Cena the truth is that he still is the biggest draw in wrestling. Cena did a great job last year with his US title run and helping get the best of the call ups like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.  Cena is getting closer to 40 and this time in his career it would time for him to put over some of the younger guys since he has been doing his best work of his career before the injury.

  1. Randy Orton

The Viper and 14 year veteran is the next man up to get off the injured reserved list.  With all the same reason that just gave for Cena for helping push current talent this would be the best use of Orton’s talents giving that he cane an good match with almost anyone on the card.

  1. Dolph Ziggler

The man that just can’t seem to get over the hump and resident workhorse is my biggest concern considering the congestion on Raw.  Dolph has been booked in some of the worst storylines in the past few years but always seems to make the most of it.  He’s one of the most over talents on the roster and is have never been treated as such.

  1. Chris Jericho

This one doesn’t need much explanation either; Jericho is one of the best technical wrestlers of all time and can be booked with anyone to help establish new talent.  Jericho can lose over one hundred matches in a row and still be the man people come to see.

  1. Ryback

Yeah I know he is probably done with the company at this time.  I would have liked to see more from the “BIG GUY” given his size and what he offers in the ring.  I enjoyed his last heel run with the right people around him he could have pushed him a lot higher than where he was.

  1. Sheamus
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Source: ringsidenews.com

Multi-time world champ, who is often left with nothing to do on the card.  My biggest problem with Sheamus is the 50/50 booking; early in his career he was booked very strong.  Having feuds with John Cena and Triple H defeating both men on multiple occasions to losing most of his matches is something I can’t understand.

  1. Dean Ambrose

Personally I am not a fan of Dean Ambrose, but I do see what he offers to the product.  There is something missing from character that doesn’t seem to always fit with his in ring style.  This would be the reason that he needs to be separated form the crop of talent.

  1. Baron Corbin

The new monster heel that if booked the right way can carry that the same gimmick be a top guy for the next ten years.  Look at Kane and follow the same pattern, he doesn’t have to win every match but if booked strong would be great to see against anyone of this list.

  1. Triple H

Triple H just signed a new three year performance contract that would more than likely see him in some big matches before he hangs the boots up for good.  With some of the talent that is NXT I do believe that there are a few more dream matches that could still happen in the next three years.

  1. The Miz

The last man on this list and the Current Intercontinental is one of the best heels on all of wrestling.  His in-ring work has improved of the years having promos and Miz TV on one program would help make it a more impactful segment.

I guess we have to wait and see how this will all play out, I feel that with Summer Slam around the coroner a match between Shane and Triple H would have more meaning.

Agree or Disagree? Let me know on Twitter at @itsthecurb or at our official Twitter on @wrestlingfansGB. You can also find the link to the latest episode of my podcast ‘The Podcast of 1004 Holds’ on my personal Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Francisco

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WAW TV Taping Weekend 2 – Afternoon Review

 

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As some of you might be aware, WAW are in the process of gaining multiple TV deals to show British Wrestling worldwide. There is apparently some big name channels looking at their product, and with that being the case they returned to their home base of Epic Studios in Norwich on Saturday 14th May for their second batch of episodes to be taped.

Pre Show – Meet and Greet

As they do for all shows, WAW hosted a meet and greet prior to the show. It costs £10 to get in and you can meet WAW home talent for free. Well known Independent stars will charge for signed 8x10s and the big names will charge a higher fee for autographs and take professional pictures in the booth, which cost £10 each. First I met some of the well-known Indy guys at the show. These included Luke Hawx, Nathan Cruz and Jonny Storm. Also in this category was Lisa Marie Varon, better known as Victoria and Tara. She is making her comeback to the ring at the Bellatrix Female Warriors show as part of the weekend on the Sunday. By the time you are reading this, this has probably already taken place. It was great to meet her! Then came the big one though. I’ll let the photo do the talking.

So that was sweet (or too sweet if I may). Then came the tapings. Three episodes were to be taped in the afternoon and three more in the evening. I was only to make the afternoon tapings unfortunately. Here are the rest of my photos taken with talent. Below these will be the rundown of the show.

Episode 1

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The show opened with a dark comedy segment featuring the owners of WAW, Ricky and Saraya Knight. They joked about Saraya rarely wearing a dress, which she indeed was at the show. Saraya wanted to throw some t-shirts but Ricky said it loses him money. They come to an agreement but the segment features some dissention between the two, which was a very nice piece of foreshadowing. All in all, a very funny, improvised comedy segment to kick off the show for the live crowd.

The taping started with the intro video on the titantron, before some dancers came out. It’s 2016, we don’t need dancers at a wrestling show. This segment went on for what seemed like ages, and ages, and ages, and ages. In reality, it was actually about a minute and half, but it was unnecessary.

A 6-man cruiserweight match kicked off the show since Bubblegum was moved to a different match in the days leading to the show. Decent match, not the typical cruiserweight spotfest but there were some moves that looked cool. A lot of brawling between all six men. Kip Sabian picked up the win with the Coup de Grâce move made famous in recent times by Finn Balor. Solid opener, but, like all other matches on the show, it was very short and could have done with a few more minutes. I give it 2*.

 

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This match was very good, as you would expect from Nathan Cruz, but it was much too short. It went maybe four minutes maximum, and I get that they’re taping for TV, but they really should have given the matches more time than they did. Aron Frost is very impressive for a big man. He’s 6’4 from Oslo, Norway. At just 26 I imagine he will make his way further afield around the UK and Europe. He went over in a very good match that should have been longer. Purely for the length I give it just 2*.

 

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Now I don’t like to start a review with a burial, but Brad Slayer is no good as the finish showed. Don’t get me wrong he has potential as he is young, but at this stage he is very green. He’s very over with the fans. Ruffneck on the other hand is a genius of heel. He is the closest thing the UK has to Kevin Owens. I believe he is moving to the US soon, so that will be our loss and America’s gain. Prior to the match though was the first introduction of the night of the WAW Commissioner, Scott Hall. He came out to shake hands with both competitors and to observe the national anthem. Brad shakes his hand no problem, but Ruffneck, the dastardly heel that he is, refuses. Razor responds with a toothpick to the face. It was a decent match but as I said earlier Slayer isn’t the best.

The finish came when Brad Slayer rebounded off of the ropes into a back body drop from Ruffneck.  Slayer didn’t flip anywhere near as far as he needed to, and, in an awful looking bump, he landed on his head. I think the entire building reacted to the landing. Ruffneck demanded that Steve Lynskey count to ten. He did, and Ruffneck won the title by knockout, whilst Brad was lying in the ring unmoving. It seemed that he was ok, and that this was the planned finish. It’s just that it was a stupid bump to be taking. I can confirm that after the show I saw Brad Slayer on the streets of Norwich with Kip Sabian as I was leaving so it appears he was fine. It was very scary at the time though. He was even able to wrestle on the show in the evening. This concluded Episode 1 of the tapings. I give this match 1.5*.

Episode 2

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A great technical match would be expected from these two and that’s what we, albeit a short one. It started off when Dynamite’s music played for Isaksen’s entrance, and then Isaksen fell off of the top rope whilst posing. Then, hit Dynamite’s music for his entrance, and laughter from the crowd. This match was short, but a very good British technical style match. Robbie Dynamite hit a diving headbutt and transitioned into an armbar for the win. 3*.

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Wow. This was BAD. We all know the reputation Mr. Anderson has, so they put him with a dude in his forties who weighs 350lbs. Good one! Anderson did his usual schtick with the dropdown mic. Kendo cut him off after the first Anderson. Anderson immediately gained control and finished the intro. Thankfully this was quick. Kendo began to go for what appeared to be a Vader bomb but his foot fell in between the bottom and the middle rope about five times. At this point, Kendo thought “F*** It” and did a splash…FOR THE WIN!!! This match was horrible, luckily it was about 3 minutes. Why they would book Anderson like this is beyond me. I was in attendance for the infamous Sharmell vs Jenna match at TNA Victory Road 2009. This match was nowhere near that bad, but it was bad. 0.5*

Roy Knight of the UK Hooligans vs Bubblegum

There is no graphic for this match as it was a late replacement made on Thursday. Roy Knight, also known as The Zebra Kid, has been one of the UK’s finest and most controversial performers over the last 15 years, to the point where I once witnessed him being arrested at Norwich Airport many years ago, but I digress. This match was great. Just great. This was my first time seeing Bubblegum live. The man is a wonderful professional wrestler to watch. At one point, his Manchester City roots came out as he began to sing “Blue Moon” whilst on the top rope. The finish though, SUCKED!!! Bubblegum covers Roy but only manages a 2 count. The referee then proceeds to distract himself with an uncovered turnbuckle (which he openly let Roy use on Bubblegum, by the way). Bubblegum is pissed that it was only a two, and proceeds to push the referee whilst he is sorting out the turnbuckle. You see where this is going, right? Roy Knight hits Bubblegum with a clothesline. At this time, the referee turns round to see, not Bubblegum, but Roy looking at him and he thinks “HE’S the only man standing, HE must have pushed me”. I knew what was coming, the whole crowd knew what was coming. There wasn’t a damn thing we could do. The referee raised his hand to call for the bell, and to the dismay of everyone in the crowd, he called a disqualification. At this point I was thinking it was maybe a 4* match. I cannot possibly give it 4* with that finish. 3.5*.

Episode 3

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The Midas Stable came out accompanied by their manager, “The Norfolk Paul Heyman”, Tommy Lee. I just gave him that nickname by the way. Imagine a short bald bloke, with a miniscule of Heyman’s promo ability and the thickest Norfolk accent you’ve ever heard. I just realised I could have skipped the description of his look. Here you are.

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Anyway, the match. The legends team came out individually to pops increasing after each entrance. Just Joe came out first, followed by Williams and then lastly by X-Pac who had Sean Waltman on his titantron despite being promoted as X-Pac and announced by the MC as 6-Pac. This match got a bit of time compared to some, but it was still short. X-Pac wasn’t in long. He did a minute in the middle before coming in for the finish. He hit the wheel kick, he hit the bronco buster before winning with the X-Factor. It was decent. X-Pac was blown up at the end of the match without doing much. 2.5*

 

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This match was just two green guys in the death spot. Nothing more, nothing less. Nobody cared about this match at all. I will point out that Nemesis had a completely different gimmick to the graphic shows. He was an army guy, coming out in camo clothes and a British flag. The fans call Keegan “Sharon Osbourne” for some reason, apparently he looks like her which I’m sure is a massive complement to a 245lb man in his mid-twenties. He also had a badass theme song and won with a sharpshooter. 1.25*

 

After a long show filled with angles, next came perhaps the biggest angle in British Wrestling today, if this makes TV that is. The former WSX star and current RQW champion Luke Hawx was out first to “Hit a Mutha*****” by Three 6 Mafia followed by the Knight Family’s Zak Knight. Zak is known to the casual fan as Paige’s brother who didn’t make the WWE from the “Fighting with My Family” documentary shown on Channel 4 a few years back. Scott Hall came out before the match as the Commissioner to observe the national anthems of both Great Britain and the USA. This was a very good match.

After maybe 12 minutes, Tony Valentine ran in with a chair through the crowd but the instant attack was thwarted by Zak. Out came Zak’s father, and the owner of the WAW, Ricky Knight. Ricky hit Luke with the chair while the ref was down, handing the title to his son, before taking it from him as he hit Zak with the chair and placed Luke’s hand over Zak’s lifeless body to win his the match and confirm him as the unified champion. Saraya and Roy came out to confront Ricky as he got on the mic. Ricky proclaimed “I’m done with WAW, I’m done being Paige’s dad. Zak, I can make you champion and I can make you un-champion”. Un-Champion. UN-CHAMPION!  That’s my new favourite word. During the evening show, they teased a battle for power between the owner, Ricky Knight and the commissioner, Scott Hall. Zak Knight in storyline owns 48% of the company, so expect him to become involved in this storyline since he isn’t getting a rematch.

 

I would definitely recommend the WAW TV tapings if anyone is in the Norwich area. They are always good shows and bring a host of stars over every time. WAW will be back at Epic Studios for TV Tapings on the 2nd and 3rd of July. The only matches confirmed so far are Luke Hawx vs Mr. Anderson and Victoria vs Saraya Knight. WAW tour the Norfolk and Suffolk area as well. This Sunday (22nd) Scott Hall will be at their show in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Tickets are still available. Just go to wawuk.co.uk and click the ticket tailor links. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter @SCFack and let me know what’s up! Also remember to follow the blog’s account @wrestlingfansGB. After over 2450 words. That’s all from me, I’ll catch you down the road.

My arms are killing me now by the way.

 

 

WWE’s Global Cruiserweight Classic: What we know, and what we want to know…

What we know about the Global Cruiserweight Classic so far… 

What is the Global Cruiserweight Classic?

Per the WWE in their initial announcement:

  “WWE Network continues to add to its already robust slate of original programming in 2016, with the newly green-lit show, Global Cruiserweight Classic, a tournament which brings together more than 30 of the greatest in-ring competitors at Full Sail University in Orlando, to vie for the right to call themselves the best cruiserweight in the world. Global Cruiserweight Classic is set to premiere Wednesday, July 13 at 9pm ET on WWE Network.

  For the first time ever, WWE invites cruiserweights from all over the world to compete in the inaugural Global Cruiserweight Classic. Thirty-two of the greatest in-ring competitors under 205 lbs. will descend upon Full Sail University in Orlando and collide over 10 weeks to earn the right to call themselves the best cruiserweight in the world.”

Whilst normally a cruiserweight would be defined as slightly heavier then 205lbs, between 220 and 230lbs, this might be down to some of WWE’s main stars falling close to that weight, and this limit allows them to better set their cruiserweights in the tournament apart.

The Series, which is now being referred to in some cases by the WWE as the Global Cruiserweight Classic, has been something brewing in the WWE for some time. The rumour mill has had talk of the Cruiserweight Division being resurrected in some form or another by the WWE for over a decade, with many names linked to a potential revival such as Frankie Kazarian and Alex Shelley.

In recent years though the growth in NXT has likely proved the WWE’s ability to produce another product separate from the main series, and also the audience interest in smaller wrestlers. Certainly with the hype WWE has tried to create around the tournament with qualifying matches occurring across the world, various big independent wrestling names being linked to the event and HHH’s enthusiasm for the venture in interviews, this is WWE looking to create something big in the Global Cruiserweight Classic.

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Damien Sandow’s Release: Another bad decision by WWE

Yesterday, the WWE did their annual spring cleaning by releasing eight of their talent – Damien Sandow, Wade Barrett, Alex Riley, Zeb Colter, Santino Marella, Cameron, and El Torito. Some of this news came as a shock to some fans, and also sadness too. One release affected the fans a lot – Damien Sandow being let go generated a lot of backlash towards WWE yesterday and also disappointment. In this article I will detail why the fans are sad about this release in particular, as this is possibly one of the most disappointing departures of recent memory for WWE.

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Source: wwe.com

Damien Sandow was one of them wrestlers who really knew how to grab their opportunity and make the most of it – which gave him the respect of the fans. After a short career on SmackDown and OVW in the early 2000s, he re-debuted on WWE TV in 2012, portraying an arrogant intellectual. In 2013, he won the Money in the Bank briefcase and had a feud with his then tag team partner Cody Rhodes over the briefcase. When he cashed in, he lost, against John Cena of all people (joking) to much dismay from the fans.

After adopting a gimmick where he became a comedic impersonator, he formed a tag team with The Miz and played his ‘stunt double’ and was renamed Damien Mizdow. Sandow’s antics while playing the character made him one of WWE’s most popular wrestlers, with the tag team winning the tag team championship. He was taken off television after the breakup of the team and had a short tag team run with Curtis Axel, making very sporadic appearances after that breakup. Although he was still gaining major pops from the fans, Sandow had his contract terminated.

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Source: wwe.com

Sandow was possibly released due to issues with the creative team, especially with the fact that they can’t find anything for him to do, which normally results in them being released. Another option could be that he asked for his release, which is believable as many wrestlers can feel ‘trapped’ while on the fringes of the WWE roster, which prompted talented wrestlers like Brian Kendrick to leave the company. It could be said that some people in creative held him in high regard, as he looked like he could be having a push in 2014-15 with his Mizdow gimmick and feud with The Miz, but nothing came to light – maybe something could have happened backstage or maybe one of WWE’s higher ups disagreeing that Sandow doesn’t have any potential.

Damien Sandow’s future is certain –he will be remaining in the wrestling industry as he has said many times that he has passion for wrestling, with a 15 year career to his name. Fuelling the rumours he’ll be wrestling on the independent circuit, he tweeted this on his Twitter account, following his release:

This is implying that he will be taking indie bookings, and it will be interesting to see if he will be able to keep his WWE name, ‘Damien Sandow’ on the indie circuit, as many people will now know him by this name. It’s possible that he could once again be called Idol or Aaron Stevens from his OVW and brief indie days, or even a new name. One thing is for sure though – Sandow’s popularity in wrestling isn’t done yet and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in Japan or Ring of Honor if he impresses on the indie circuit enough to get an exclusive signing. WWE have almost certainly made a big mistake here, and this will hopefully prove to be true if he makes a big name for himself on the independent wrestling scene.

That’s all from me today folks, but thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed the article and don’t forget to come back every day to see our new articles! You can also keep up to date with us on our official Twitter account, @wrestlingfansGB.

Phil (@badblue13)

Meanwhile, in London… a Review of Progress Chapter 29: Practically Progress in Every Way…

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Progress Chapter 29: Practically Progress in Every Way is in some ways the biggest show they’ve ever put on. With two matches being shown on WWE.com as part of their Global Cruiserweight Tournament this show in part will be their most watched, bringing in a host of new fans to potentially go on and watch the entire show, some of whom may never have watched Independent Wrestling before. So in many ways I was like a nervous parent with this show, hoping it did everything in its power to appear good, and defy any stereotype a new fan might have in their mind about indie wrestling, that the production values are bad, the crowds are non-existent and the venues shitty. Tonight had to be the night.

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The Electric Ballroom wouldn’t disappoint though, well lit and packed with a sold out very vocal audience when owner Jim Smallman came out to greet them, with mic very clear and crisp in contrast to the last show. Everything looked good and respectable, comparable with the intimacy of the NXT set up.

Jim hyped the crowd up with the promise of a good show and a request that everyone not be dicks. British crowds are regularly nominated for best wrestling crowds, along with the NXT audiences and PWG crowds, but this show highlighted something special. Jim was very nervous about having to ask the crowds not to swear during the Cruiserweight Qualifying matches and another audience might have sworn out of spite. The crowd however were more then happy to play along, continuing to be loud, creative and involved throughout the two WWE matches, but prepared to also show this consideration to help the product. It was a mark of the London wrestling communities superiority in my mind.

Mark Haskins would also come out during the opening speech, not booked but eager to remind people his desire to become Progress Wrestling Champion. He requested to be entered into Progress’ big tournament, the String Style 16 next month and Jim obliged without hesitation. Haskins has been a Progress stand out for nearly 2 years, coming back from injury with a new MMA influenced style mixed with standard Cruiserweight athleticism. However having lost three title shots it’s starting to kill his momentum and give him a bad reputation as the Arsenal of Progress, always a high ranking wrestler, but never an actual champion. If they are planning on giving him the title it needs to be soon.

Michael Dante vs. Damo O’Connor (Atlas Championship Tournament)

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I still have misgivings about this Atlas championship, mostly cause that to qualify you have to be over 205lbs, which feels like too light, and can see a wrestler be a Heavyweight in Progress and a Cruiserweight in another company like TNA. But with the name Atlas, Progress is doing similar with what TNA did with the X-Division, making it more about wrestling styles then wrestling weight limits, and Dante and Damo are certainly heavyweights, weighing in at 231lbs and 295lbs respectively.

The match starts with a stiff exchange of forearms and shoulder tackles which can’t get each other down. Damo finally breaks the stalemate with a good dropkick for a big man, because an unwritten rule of the tournament is the big guys also have to be deceptively athletic, as such, Dante kips up to continue the fight. They brawl to the outside where they toss each other into the always cooperative crowd and eventually Dante gets tossed into the ring post. Back in the ring Damo is in control and looks like a monster with some big power moves on Dante, nearly ending the match with a big power-bomb and elbow drop combo. Damo has potential to be the next top giant of wrestling. Damo tries twice for an electric chair drop to finish, the second time Dante struggling free and hitting a sloppy looking full nelson suplex, to be expected with a man as big as Damo. Dante is able to finish the match by spearing Damo in the corner and then once again in the centre of the ring and get 2 points, putting him the lead of his table for the Atlas qualifying stages, and making it very difficult now for Damo to advance.

This was Dante’s first singles match since the Sumerian Death Squad broke up in Progress and I think most thought of him as the lesser member compared to Tommy End, certainly lacking Tommy’s kickboxing background and greater athleticism. At one point I even though Dante looked nervous at the prospect of a singles match without the Tommy End connection, though as the match progressed it became clear his default expression seems to be one of moderate concern. He didn’t exactly look like a truly great single star in this short match, but big men often don’t work their best matches against each other and Dante still looked credible, though I’d say Damo looked better. 6/10, average match but damn I was impressed by that kip up from Dante.

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Wrestling War 3: WWE versus everyone else

Note: In the article I use the word to describe companies that aren’t in the business sense independent, many owned or part owned by companies. The word among fans has evolved to mean a wrestling company that isn’t the WWE or TNA, lacking mainstream attention. Alternative is another word I use and it’s probably better suited.

The first wrestling war was between the WWF, the NWA, Mid-South Wrestling and the AWA during the territory era of the 60s, 70s and 80s, ending with the WWF becoming the dominant force in North American wrestling. The second wrestling war was between WWF and WCW in the 90s, ending in WWF purchasing WCW and roundly defeating them in the ensuing Invasion Feud. Whilst for a while TNA tried to start a war with the WWE, WWE chose to ignore them and never truly started anything significant. But right now I’m beginning to believe we are on the verge of a third Wrestling War, or as close as we’re ever going to come to one in this day and age, where the rest of the wrestling world finds themselves fending off the WWE’s encroaches.

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Source: wwe.com

The WWE’s direction has begun to change in recent years. For the decade following the end of WCW, it was an undeniable fact that as the only big game in town, they decided what was fashionable in wrestling, they could push who they wanted and known they wouldn’t suffer overly from a mistake in the grand scheme of things. While HHH and John Cena had detractors, the detracting opinions were never worth enough to convince the WWE to change their minds on the direction they wanted their company to grow. In recent years, these contrary voices have started to gain some value.

Companies like Ring of Honor have slowly grown to become capable of producing a television program that airs in many states of the U.S and also other countries, as well as Pay Per View events. New Japan have been able to split their attentions between not just the Japanese fans who are the base of the company, but also to a Western audience prepared to invest time and money into the product. Lucha Undergound has given exposure to AAA and the Mexican scene of wrestling, stars their now being booked in the U.S.A and Canada to continue to spread their influence. When Progress Wrestling began in 2012 they were told that London was not a viable home for wrestling shows, but 4 years later their shows sell out in under an hour, making them another success story in Britain along with Revolution Pro Wrestling, Preston City Wrestling and Scotland’s Insane Championship Wrestling which in 2015 hosted the biggest wrestling show in the country’s history since Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks wrestled in Wembley Stadium in 1981. None of these shows and promotions are big players like the WWE, but they are players of note, the dissenting voices came behind them when the WWE was no longer an option and helped them grow, find more supporters and become of value. That is when WWE finally began to take notice.

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BREAKING NEWS: Samoa Joe crowned as NXT Champion at a live event

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Source: @peterstringer on Twitter

In one of the most shocking moments in NXT history, Samoa Joe beat Finn Balor at a house show in Lowell, Massachusetts to win the NXT title. WWE announced via their website and Twitter, and this was an end to Finn Balor’s record breaking reign, holding it for 292 days.

This is very unnatural for WWE to have a title change at a live event, the last time being in 2012 with the World Tag Team Championship being dropped. This could mean a possible appearance from Finn Balor in the coming weeks, either at Payback or RAW the coming night, potentially being involved with Anderson and Gallows as he’d been teasing the ‘Balor Club’ stable.

SPOILER ALERT: Or how I learned to stop reading dirtsheets and love the surprise…

Warning, the following article spoils: Lucha Underground Episode ‘Aztec Warfare’, the main event of Wrestlemania 30, large portions of PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles 2015, the end of Summer Slam 2013, a Smackdown from several months ago, some TNA stuff from last year, some more Lucha Underground Season 2 stuff that’s aired, the main events of Royal Rumble 2015 and a Newcastle/Stoke fixture from September 2014… because it would just feel hypocritical not putting good spoiler warnings on an article like this…

Recently I made a decision regarding my wrestling habits: No more spoilers. For the shows I watch that are pre-recorded, I would no longer read any results of the tapings, and for the shows I was watching after they’d aired, I’d also do my utmost to avoid spoilers, going internet free if such a thing was possible. In the most recent episodes of Lucha Underground major developments unfolded, and for all my enjoyment there is just something lacking from knowing what the outcome is. When Dario Cueto unveiled his brother to the Temple and the remaining 8 Luchadors all gather together to face him, there’s only so much you can get into the match when you know how it ends. Likewise I looked up the results of Wrestlemania 30 the next morning and watched the PPV after work, I was never really able to freak out at near falls like others did when they had no idea if that was going to be the final fall. Ultimately the surprise of not knowing the actual outcome is the biggest factor in enjoying the big matches.

This proves to be a big problem. Not wanting to be spoiled is a very difficult problem if you’re a wrestling fan with the Internet, and it feels at times like the Internet sides with the people who want to be spoiled rather than those seeking out surprise. Promotions like PWG or Progress perform their shows to a live audience, then some time later release a DVD or a Stream of the event to everyone else. Last year I wanted to avoid all spoilers on PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles. I went overboard, when any reference to any wrestler in the tournament was mentioned in an Internet forum, I left. As the days rolled along I thought I was safe from random internet users spoiling it for me, and I mostly was, I just never anticipated another source.

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RIP Chyna

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Source: Getty Images

We are sad to report that female wrestler Joan Laurer (Chyna) has passed away at the age of 45. Chyna was a legend for women’s wrestling and she cemented a legacy in her time with the WWE, having accolades such as being the first woman to win the Intercontinental Championship.

For the most part of her career she was largely involved with Triple H, being his enforcer and partner in the company. She then went on to feature in other promotions such as New Japan Pro Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action. She left the company after the Judgment Day PPV in 2001.

Chyna played a significant part in changing how women are viewed in wrestling and she will be remembered for this. We pay all our respects to her, her family and friends.

Thank you Chyna!

Ray’s RAW Review – 18/04/16

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The WWE dusted off the red telephone box and the black cab, unwrapped the Union flags and even found the time to roll out James Corden’s parents for WWE Raw in the O2 in London. Those of you that read my previous blog (thanks Mum) would know that I was lucky enough to be there for the event along with fellow blogger Rachel in a different part of the arena. It was my first experience of a live Raw and was certainly an eye opener. In terms of the crowd, from my vantage point it seemed muted at times but there were certainly huge pops for certain members of the roster and Roman Reigns definitely got both barrels from the British public when he made his appearances. I haven’t had a chance to watch the event back yet but I thought I would use this post to review Raw from where I was sitting.

Things of note before we start… the only downside to the night was being sat in front of a pair of archetypal ‘Balham Bell Ends’ who must have come along with their mate who was into the WWE and spent most of the evening revelling in the fact that they didn’t care about what was going on, betting on the outcomes and occasionally spilling lager down my back (wasteful)

There were however some amazing and diverse fans sat around us, a lady in her 70’s who struggled up to the lofty heights of where we were sat and proudly undid her cardi to reveal a Roman Reigns t-shirt and a few rows back from us a little boy of about 5 who throughout the night started a ‘Lets Go Cena’ chant in such an adorable voice that none of the cynical guys around could bring themselves to respond with a ‘Cena Sucks’.. and a special mention goes to the single (i assume) guy in his mid 50’s in a Sasha Banks t-shirt who lost his fucking marbles when The Boss made her way to the ring.

But on with the show:

We start with Lillian Garcia.. who incidentally has a really raunchy Titantron video. She came out and proceeded to ask the somewhat bemused London audience to be upstanding for the national anthem?! This led to a lot of people looking at each other quizzically whilst Lillian did her best to Mariah Carey the hell out of our humble little ditty. I should also mention the fact the JBL probably got one of the loudest arena wide chants of the whole evening… there must be something in those Five Guys burgers everyone was eating.

The Ambrose Asylum:

Dean Ambrose came out and cracked a few jokes to a great reception, he got some great pops from the audience who started a ‘Deano’ chant before Ambrose introduced his guest Shane McMahon. Shane came out to another monster pop and I was personally off my seat as I love Shane O’Mac and evidentially so did the O2. Shane would not be on the mic long before Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho would all join McMahon in the ring. Shane lined up some matches for Payback between the four superstars and whilst holding a potted plant he’d been given by Ambrose, made a match starting right then and there between Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho and booked Kevin Owens vs Dean Ambrose for the main event.

Thoughts:

  • Anything that isn’t an Authority promo is a good start to a Raw… I’m trying not to look at the Shane McMahon thing as a storyline faux pas by the WWE post Wrestlemania but rather like a new season starting in the television sense… which I think makes it a little bit more palatable.
  • Kevin Owens is one of the best things about WWE in 2016 he has it all and I think he knows it!
  • Chris Jericho is at his best as a heel.. end of

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