Blood, blading, the juice, call it what you will, but it has been a staple of wrestling for a very long time. Just take a look at Dusty Rhodes forehead. The PG era has seen the end of it in the biggest promotion, but smaller companies still use it. Is there a place for blood in wrestling, our wrestling expert Dmitriy Polovinkin believes so in this weeks opinion.
Let’s set the scene. Two wrestlers are engaged in a bitter rivalry, a lengthy feud. A real ‘barn burner’ with plenty of traded victories, sneak attacks and hatred. Imagine that we’ve already seen the standard match. It has been and gone. Now, we are at the stage of the feud where the participants detest each other. They want to hurt one another. It’s the culmination of an emotional war. I suppose one could say that they are ‘out for blood’.
Slight problem: the company that is promoting their ‘blood feud’ has a strict no-blood policy…. well that sucks.
Since 2009 the WWE has banned their superstars from indulging in intentional bloodletting. What are the effects of this? What impact does it have on the overall product?
There are tales of Vince McMahon taking the matter so seriously that he is prepared to fine people over $100,000 for violating the policy. Feel free to read about Chris Jericho’s experience of this in his third book, ‘The Best In The World – At What I Have No Idea’.
Of course there are arguments for and against the no blood policy.
WWE themselves would argue that crimson masks have no place in the current PG orientated direction of the company. They openly admit to promoting to a younger audience than in previous years. Their target demographic has changed and program content must change accordingly.
However, it is important to remember that the Hulkamania Era was also classed as PG. I distinctly remember Hulk Hogan getting colour in the main event of Wrestlemania V. I remember Ric Flair bleeding like a fountain during the WWF title match of Wrestlemania VIII. Why was it allowed then, but not now?
Here’s a typical WWE approved claim: Due to the age of the current audience, it is important to show appropriate content. Content that doesn’t carry the risk of negatively influencing young viewers via the glorification of violence.
Slight problem here – WWE, and everything they do, is centred around the glorification of violence. It’s people FIGHTING for crying out loud. Fake or otherwise.
It is very egotistical of Vince McMahon to think that WWE is such an influential force when it comes to the morality of youth. It’s almost as if things like Grand Theft Auto, free internet pornography and gangster rap music doesn’t exist, and it is WWE’s sole burden to protect young minds.
Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. What does the no blood policy take away from the product?
It is my belief that a crimson mask is the ultimate method of creating suspension of disbelief. We are watching a fake sport and we all know this, but when someone gets colour there is a subconscious block of this fact in the mind of the viewer. The fight seems very real. Juice is the best way for a babyface to get sympathy.
Recently there have been two matches in other promotions where blood was used effectively.
The first was EC3 v Rockstar Spud on Impact. The second was Fenix v Mil Muertes on Lucha Underground. As a viewer, I haven’t been so emotionally invested in a wrestling match as I was for these matches in a very long time. Without argument, the stories that were portrayed in these matches would not have been as emotional if the blood angles were not included. The matches were emotional because of the visual imprint left in the fans’ minds by the use of blood.
As a result, TNA and Lucha Underground made people remember. My friends and I are still talking about these matches a couple of weeks later. Compare that to a main event on Raw or Smackdown, which I would probably forget five minutes after it happened.
Before I say my farewells I would like to talk about a personal annoyance when it comes to WWE’s no blood policy… the Cage Match.
A cage match without blood is illogical. Combatants are surrounded by metal, and their faces get rammed into the metal. If I ram someone’s face into some metal, there will be blood. I promise.
Lack of blood in a cage match is an insult to the fans’ intelligence. It almost makes the purpose of a cage match completely redundant. I’ll be honest; I can’t even remember a Hell in a Cell match that happened after 2009, apart from maybe Rollins v Ambrose because it was the most recent. However, I do remember HBK v Undertaker. I do remember Brock Lesnar v Undertaker. I will probably remember them for the rest of my life because they weren’t just matches, they were WARS.
And in wars…. men spill blood.
To us here at the Guild it is obvious that wrestling is on the precipice of another big boost. Especially with the rise of companies like Lucha Underground and Global Force Wrestling, as well as New Japan gaining ground in the US. We would therefore like to introduce our newest Guild member who will be adding his wrestling opinion on a regular basis.
C. Marry Hultman has given me the honour of writing a column about a subject that I love – pro wrestling.
First, allow me to elaborate on my lengthy relationship with pro wrestling.
I was six years old when I first discovered it. I had rented a VHS tape of WWF Wrestlemania V and was hooked forever from that point. My list of childhood wrestling memories is a heartwarming, nostalgic walk down memory lane;
Pretending to be the Ultimate Warrior in the playground by tying multicoloured shoelaces to my arms,
collecting WWF Hasbro and WCW Galoob action figures.
Getting suspended from school because I saw someone do a ‘piledriver’ on television and decided to try the move on my friend, cracking his head open in the process, a happy childhood.
Since those early days my interest in the sport has never diminished, 25 years as a wrestling fan – The Hulkamania Era, The Monday Night Wars, The Attitude Era, The original ECW, the attempted hostile takeover by XPW, the advent of ‘Ultraviolence’ and CZW, the rise ofthe next generation of independent promotions such as ROH, Dragon Gate USA and PWG. I’ve watched it all and I’ve loved it all. I’ve even worked in the industry in two different countries.
Therefore, it is with certainty and educated deduction that I confidently say these next words … WWE, in 2015, is BAD! It’s very bad. It is insulting to long time viewers. It is out of touch with the modern world. It is xenophobic and offensive to millions of fans outside of America. And on a less serious note, it’s boring. It’s VERY boring.
Do you remember a time when wrestling promos were between 30 and 90 seconds long? Somehow, the microphone masters of yesteryear managed to tell a story, explain a feud and show enough emotion to draw a crowd to subsequent shows…. in a 90 second promo! Why can’t modern WWE Superstars do the same, considering the average promo takes 20 minutes these days?
So what am I doing here? Is this the turning point of my lifelong fandom? Is this the part where I tell you that wrestling isn’t for me anymore? Absolutely NOT!
You see, there’s a little company called Lucha Underground, I suggest you watch it.
The number one wrestling company in the world must be doing something very very wrong if a life long fan like myself is looking forward to next week’s hour-long Lucha Underground taping with more anticipation and interest than Wrestlemania.
It is a virtual jungle out there when it comes to podcasts and it seems like everyone, from celebrities to regular Joes are trying to get in on the deal. It can be difficult to distinguish the good from the “not-so-good” as a listener and probably even more difficult to become successful at it. Someone who has managed to create a following by combining a love of podcasts and an interest in wrestling is David Gilbert a family man with two sons living in Essex just outside of London. Gilbert and his wife host the TNA TALK PODCAST, which airs live on Mondays 9 p.m. UK time. On the podcast they review the latest TNA Impact show and discuss rumors and the world surrounding TNA. C. Marry Hultman caught up with him to talk TNA and the life of a podcaster.
CMH: How long have you hosted the Talk TNA Podcast
DG: We have been doing the TALK TNA PODCAST for 84 straight weeks!
CMH: How did it all get started?
DG: I have been watching TNA since about 2007, and I have always watched wrestling. I also enjoy lots of different podcasts, and I started the TALK TNA PODCAST with my wife as something for us to enjoy together. And here we are, 84 weeks later!
CMH: Are you surprised that it has gone almost 100 episodes?
DG: Not really, because once I commit to something, I tend to stick with it. Especially if I am on a schedule with it like I am with the podcast.
CMH: Had you had any experience working in any form of broadcasting before?
DG: Not in broadcasting, but I used to be in a band and I have recorded music at home in the past, so I am familiar with microphones and the audio editing side of things
CMH: Was it easier to get started than you expected?
DG: I researched starting a podcast, so I knew what to expect. I had to teach myself a few things, but I didn’t really struggle at all.
CMH: You have a dedicated following now, how did you get the word out? Did you have zero listeners for the premier episode?
DG: I cant remember how many we got for the first show. It takes more time promoting the show and getting the word out there than it does producing the show. It’s a lot to do with social media and building relationships with people. That takes a lot of time and dedication
CMH: Were you particularly fond of TNA and that is why you chose it as your subject matter?
DG: Yep, like I said, I have been watching TNA since 2007 and for the past few years, my wife Claudia was watching the show with me, so it was something we both watched together and could talk about together, so we started the show. The podcast was my idea, but I convinced Claudia that it would be a good idea to do it with me! She constantly regrets agreeing to do it!!
CMH: How much work goes into the podcast and the website? Social Media, promotion, articles, interviews etc?
DG: A lot of work. I would do more work if I had the time. Most days, I am doing something to do with the podcast and website and covering TNA in general
CMH: Is your goal or wish to make a living off of the podcast or in some way work within wrestling?
DG: Not at all. I enjoy covering TNA and bringing my audience accurate information as well as producing a very entertaining and informative weekly podcast.
CMH: You have done a few interview with TNA wrestlers like Shark Boy, Manik and Davey Richards, is it a struggle to get in touch with the TNA roster?
DG: It can be hard work trying to confirm things with them, but they are busy people. But it’s not especially hard to get in touch with most of them
CMH: Who have you not managed to nail down that you would like to interview?
DG: One of the TNA Knockouts, but hopefully I will be able to speak to some of them in the future
CMH: You often talk about people within TNA that you have contact with. How have those contacts come about?
DG: Just persistence and working on building relationships.
CMH: Do you have a team of go to guys that keep you in the loop?
DG: Not really. There is so much rumor that flies around the internet and all I do is try and get things clarified by people closer to the information, but that’s not always easy.
CMH: I know TNA just premiered on Destination America, but lets talk about the past year ;what do you think of the current product?
DG: The past year was just run of the mill TNA – nothing really groundbreaking, just pretty safe. At times, the product was pretty boring, to be honest. And that’s just being truthful.
CMH: I just watched TNA’s greatest matches (Sting/Kurt Angle) and best matches on Impact and both crowd wise and wrestling wise it was quite different a few years ago. When do you feel TNA was at its best?
DG: I think a lot of people feel it was really good around the 2004, 2005 times, but I am not sure. I don’t really remember things from year to year and I find it hard to recall what years things have happened. They have good storylines from time to time and periods of being good, but that’s never been that consistent, but that’s the nature of doing a weekly TV show without taking a break. Sometimes it will be bad
CMH: Any particular storyline that comes to mind? or stable/faction?
DG: I enjoyed most of Aces and 8’s stuff because it seemed to have a good storyline arc. I liked Eric Young’s work when he was heading up World Elite, and some of the Fourtune stuff with Flair
CMH: Who has been you favorite TNA wrestler of all time, so far?
DG: Oh man – I think I would say someone like Bully Ray – purely because I appreciate his work rate and his ability and he carried the company for a long time in the last couple of years. A consistently strong performer
CMH: If you were able to bring in any current wrestler that could really invigorate TNA who would that be?
DG: Tough one – in a fantasy world, I would say either someone like Paul Heyman or Stephanie Mcmahon, and neither of those are wrestlers.
CMH: What would you like to see from TNA in the coming year?
DG: Creativity, imagination, commitment & better writing. More compelling TV. A reason to tune in each and every week. Something fresh and exciting, not too much to ask for
CMH: If a TNA fan would tune in to TALK TNA PODCAST what could they expect to hear?
DG: Lots of laughter, and also all the latest TNA news and the most in depth review of Impact wrestling that you will find – and lots of laughing! We aim to entertain and inform
CMH: What are your hope and wishes for the Podcast in the coming year and for the future?
DG: Just to carry on doing what we are doing and grow our audience. Once people discover our show, they generally enjoy it and keep on listening. Just want to have fun and do the best job we can do
CMH: Where can listeners find you?
DG: You can find us on iTunes, Stitcher and Tunein radio and also listen to and download every episode on www.talktnapodcast.com
If people like what we do and want to show us some love, they can do that at www.patreon.com/talktna
So if you want interesting news, opinions and facts, look for TALK TNA PODCAST at your local podcast outlet.
As mentioned earlier this week we are heading into a very exciting time in wrestling and among the things to look forward to is the possible development and production of L.A. Fights, a bold new project that is the brain child of Nigel McGuinness. McGuinness is of course familiar to most wrestling fans from his time in Ring of Honor as well as in TNA, as Desmond Wolf, but maybe to some from his earlier Kickstarter project The Last of the McGuinness, a deeply personal movie documenting his retirement tour.
He has now returned to Kickstarter with a new project and since we at the Guild love both crowdfunding and wrestling we wanted to pick his brain about L.A. Fights. With a substantial amount of money needing to be raised to get this exciting project off the ground and 21 days to go he has been doing a lot of promotional interviews and we wanted our readers to hear about it also. According to the Kickstarter page the story is as follows:
“A diverse group of amateur fighters and their morally ambivalent promoter struggle to coexist in their upstart fight league.”
He wants it to be a reinvention of the wrestling genre, so we asked him about it:
W: How long has this project been in the works? From first idea to where you are at now.
NM: Five years in my head, eighteen months extensively working in the script, in ring style and development.
W: Are there any wrestling companies that you have found that put out a different product, in part or completely, other than Lucha Underground?
NM: Of course. But LA Fights and Lucha Underground are not wrestling companies. They are TV shows. ROH, PWG, EVOLVE, Chikara all present different takes on the pro wrestling people see on Monday nights.
W: You have cited shows like Breaking Bad as successful shows that you enjoy. What element from shows like it will you add to your product?
Even though wrestling doesn’t have any seasons, something that has been discussed extensively lately in different places around the internet, this week somehow feels like the beginning of a new season. It might be because TNA has been on hiatus since leaving Spike or that Lucha Underground has had a holiday break, but there is something in the air.
To me it has all been about anticipation, 2014 was about anticipation and expectation. Ever since Global Force Wrestling announced that they were making New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom 9 available to the world a new sense of excitement for wrestling was lit in my heart. Placing logs on that heap was the emergence of Lucha Underground. To many the show has been a welcome change to the tired and true format of main stream wrestling programs, even though of us see similarities with the long defunct Wrestling Society X.
The return of Chikara and the creative work that was behind probably one of the most advanced story lines in wrestling has also moved that product closer to a wider audience attention. After a stellar season 14 with King of Trios and an influx of returning rudos Chikara is even more interesting than before. Add to it that most of their roster has elevated their game and developed into great performers. They take their show to the UK in march and kicking the season itself off on 25th och January.
EVOLVE has also had an amazing year and has managed to show that they are one of the most interesting independent promotions around. They took their show to China for a tour and now bringing their number of event into the thirties. They have such a strong roster and product that few other companies can measure up to.
When it comes to WWE I have a hard time becoming excited about anything they are producing save for WWE NXT and that is mainly because of good booking and great former indie stars. The rest of it is of no interest to me with uninteresting and predictable booking, pushing dull performers and the bringing in of questionable wrestlers (The Ascension and Bo Dallas). The only way I would tune in for any Raw or Smackdown is if they brought up Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Hideo Itami and Finn Balor.
Even if there is a lot to be excited about in the coming year I personally am excited about the premier of Impact on its new home Destination America. As I’m writing this the first episode of Impact has yet to air. I’m not going into a whole spiel about how TNA might change their product or what needs to happen, enough people have done that. What is important to me is that the TNA roster is far too good to be left off TV. While I haven’t watched Impact from the beginning, I have watched every episode for the past five years and love it. With a new home and new opportunities TNA is more exciting than ever and I can’t wait to see what they will treat us to.
With all this in mind, and the fact that ROH always brings a solid product, it is difficult to not become excited about what 2015 has to offer when it comes to wrestling. I feel that my hours in front of the TV/Internet will most likely double in the coming months.
If you are interested in what is in store in wrestling follow these links:
Lucha Underground airs every Wednesday on El Rey
Chikara kicks off its new season the 25th of January
EVOLVE opens up 2015 with shows on the 9th and 10th of January
Find where you can watch both Impact wrestling and Ring of Honor at the following places
This Sunday the wrestling year starts off with a bang. The highly anticipated Wrestle Kingdom 9 will for the first time be broadcast all over the world with English commentating by Jim Ross and Matt Striker. This very much due to Global Force Wrestling, who we followed early on in the start up of the company. We have since stopped covering their comings and goings, but will most likely to it again after the event. Wrestlers taking part in this momentous event are AJ Styles, Doc Gallows, Machine Gun Carl Anderson, Okada, Tanahashi, Young Bucks and several others so it promises to be great.
For full lineup go to Globalforcewrestling.com and also watch the Matt Striker previews on GFW’s youtube channel.
If you don’t live in the U.S or Japan and can’t watch it on TV you may still get Wrestle Kingdom 9 by downloading the Flipps app for your tablet or phone and casting it to your TV, alternatively just watching it on your phone or tablet.
Hopefully this will be the start of something big…
X-Division ladder match ****
Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards vs. Tigre Uno vs. Crazzy Steve vs. Manik vs. Sanada
Not only was this a great opener with many high spots and physical moves, but it also showed how important the X-division is to TNA. Once again there is a call for there to be at least one X-division match per impact show. Richards and Edwards are a great injection to the division and the return of Manik was a genius move. The fans in the arena were into it and hopefully the higher ups can see this. Crazzy Steve was really the only low point, mostly because he didn’t actually wrestle, extra kudos to Richards and Manik for the sunset powerbomb from the ladder, onto the other ladder.
Bobby Lashley vs. Samoa Joe ****
One has to be impressed by how TNA can change their format quickly. Instead of MVP vs. Eric Young for the World Heavyweight title we get a triple threat steel cage match. It brings to mind how TNA brought in the winner of the Terrordome to compete against Joe and Rick Steiner at Sacrifice.
It is easy to expect a wooden performance out of Lashley against Joe, but this was a good physical contest with both men taking turns to sit in the driver’s seat. The outcome was as expected, but Joe could just as easily have won this.
Magnus (w/Bram) vs. Willow (w/Abyss) ***
The build up to the match between Willow and Magnus has been a bit strange since it was mostly born out of Bram booking matches for Magnus, this then having developed into a conflict within Magnus with Willow as some form of trial by fire. The match was decent enough with the unexpected win by Magnus, fair and square. This is of course not the end as the brawl between Bram and Abyss leaves the door open for a further program between the four. Again it is odd that Willow basically has got the same move set as Hardy and should really be altered if it indeed is so that Willow is Hardy’s dark alter ego
Austin Aries vs. Kenny King *****
This was truly the match of the night. When King and Aries are in the ring together it is easy to see that they have a history; they were together in ROH where Aries was the mentor to the All Night Express. In the ring they have great chemistry and they really pulled out all the stops. They seem to be comfortable enough with each other that they dare do moves that maybe not everyone wants to be part of. Nice high spots, quick pace and great moves made this an awesome match up with a fair outcome. It is nice to see Aries being used again; he is way too good to be on the shelf.
Bro-Mans vs. The von Erichs ***
This was unfortunately no more than a novelty match. It would have been nice to see the von Erichs really bring it, but it was quite obvious that they are quite green. Bringing them in for this night was a stroke of genius by TNA management and they should really be thinking along these lines more often. The crowd popped for the Texas icons and didn’t seem too bothered when they missed spots or botched moves. The Bro-Mans and especially Jessie has come into his own and the group is as annoying as they need to be. Seeing von Erich senior come in and clean house was also amazing and in the end the match did what it needed to do, which was make a great PPV even better.
TNA Knockouts Championship
Gail Kim vs. Angelina Love (w/Velvet Sky) ****
Time and again one has to be impressed by the matches that the knockouts put out. They give any other female division a run for their money. Much of it has to do with the core roster that can carry anyone and bring the best out of most opponents. Love and Kim are two of those, so it’s not surprising that a matchup between them would be stellar. Good moves and nice spots and an expected outcome.
Texas Death Match
Bully Ray vs. EC3 ****
Although the outcome of the match between Bully and Carter was predictable, there is some point in keeping his record clean for now, this match was surprisingly good. When looking at it on paper this might not be such a big surprise after all. Both Bully and EC3 are good wrestlers, albeit Bully a better worker than wrestler and entertaining. Bully Ray’s speech prior to the match, harking back to the days of great Texas wrestlers, put him over and Carter did the opposite during his promo. If nothing else both of these guys are great at working the fans. The match was very physical and violent with many brutal moments, but the lack of blood was somewhat disappointing since this would have added to the death match stipulation. When comparing it to Samoa Joe and Bobby Lashley they ended up the same in physicality which becomes odd. It seems that TNA is scared of blood some times, while other times they relish it. Not the show stopper it could have been, but a solid good hardcore match.
“Cowboy” James Storm vs. Mr. Anderson ***1/2
Both Anderson and Storm are very good workers and have good fundamentals, the problem with them though is that they are very stiff in the ring. Therefore they both need an opponent who can work well with this and complements those styles, hence why Storm and Roode have had great matches, as well as Anderson and Angle. This causes some concern going into this matchup thinking that it might turn boring and more of an unentertaining brawl. This ended up not being the case; granted the match was short, but there was a lot of interesting spots and they both managed to bring their a game and complemented their stiffness with innovative moves and some new thing we haven’t seen before. Bringing in the Dallas Cowboys as a distraction so that Anderson could win seems like an effort to further the feud, but was entertaining enough.
World Heavyweight Championship Cage Match
Austin Aries vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Eric Young *****
This main event was most likely so much more than the original main event would have been. It had the perfect mix of wrestlers who all have different strengths and who complement each other. Aries is quick and high flying, Lashley a powerhouse and EY a good blend of the two. It started out as expected with Lashley taking early control, but Aries and Ey fighting back and trying to team up at times. They used the ring well this night and it was a good thing that they didn’t have to escape the cage to win. All three looked strong and there were times when any one of them could have won. Hurricanranas and elbows from the top on Lashley gave an air of him not being all powerful and showed that he can sell other wrestlers moves. To eliminate him towards the end was also a great idea and put Aries and EY in focus. It was interesting to see that the audience were behind Aries more than Young, but they seemed to be pleased in the end.
All in all Slammiversary was one of the best pay per views that TNA has put out in a long time. They let the strength of their roster be showcased and they were allowed to put on some good matches. Now they need to keep it up and continue to build on this momentum and not lose steam and bring in some fresh faces. The decision to add team 3D to the Hall of Fame was unexpected, but one has to wonder why it hasn’t been Jeff Jarrett, Jerry Lynn or even Ken Shamrock…
That NXT is the most interesting product that WWE is currently putting out is probably the worst kept secret in the wrestling world. There are several reasons for this; more matches, less talk and young former independent wrestlers being retooled. Many of these wrestlers have been allowed to keep much of their old move set and taunts. On the other end of the spectrum there are also many wrestlers who are steeped in WWE style of wrestling and the difference between these two types of competitors is very obvious.
This was also very obvious during Takeover where whenever an indie wrestler faced a WWE type wrestler.
Adam Rose vs. Camacho **
The reason for changing Kruger to Rose was in one way understandable. The Kruger figure was intense in many ways, but also very uncharismatic and stiff. Rose is almost the polar opposite to Kruger and is a lot more exciting to the audience, from the character to his music. The issue with Rose is that he is quite a one dimensional character. His charm will wane fairly soon and he does not seem to have the in ring ability to be interesting. In comparison Camacho is also a very pale character. He has the look of a typical Mexican gangster, but WWE seems not to want to go all in with this figure.
The match between Rose and Camcho was slow and derivative, the same as it has been before. Both wrestlers don’t bring anything interesting to the table and the audience felt bored in the end. If either of these guys are going to have a future they need to step it up.
The Ascension vs. Kalisto/El Local *1/2
Like Rose Conor and Viktor are quite flat characters. They are billed as a team that steamrolls the competition, but it is obvious to anyone who watches them that they do not have the skills to back it up. This has been especially clear when they have faced far superior wrestlers, like The American Wolves (billed as the pitbulls). They use the same brutal moves again and again without muck fantasy or variation. This is quite sad to see when one considers that Conor has been at developmental the longest and should be much better than he is. Kalisto (formerly Samurai del Sol) did not get to show all the things he can do in the match and the things he has done have unfortunately been stolen from Davey Richards and Johnny Gargano. The point in adding El Local as Kalisto’s partner is beyond reason. He is past his prime and not very interesting to see, what needs to be done is add another younger luchador and remove the straps from the Ascension. This match could have been much better if Kalisto and El Local had won a non title match.
Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze *****
Absolutely the match of the night. It is quite obvious that Sami Zayne (El Generico) can pull a good match out of anyone. It is in a way sad to see Zayn stuck in NXT when he already is a complete wrestler, much like Adrian Neville, when people like Bo Dallas get more than one shot at Raw and Smackdown. Breeze hasn’t shown much in the way of ability the past year, his character is the best part, but it may be easy to forget that he was FCW champion as Mike Dalton. The best moves were pulled off by Zayn and Breeze sold them well and was also given the chance to show some good moves. One must question the outcome and to what end Breeze won, when a match between Zayn and Neville would have torn down the house.
(Rusev vs. Mojo Rawley)
Pointless altercation between Rusev, now Russian apparently, and Mojo. Both wrestlers are still very green and rely on power and hype instead of ability. Rawly could become an interesting figure, but he needs to have better moves than butt bumps.
Natalya vs. Charlotte ****
The biggest surprise of the night was the Divas match. Usually the Divas are tired and uninteresting, although the ones in NXT are far better than the main roster, most likely thanks to Sara Del Ray. Both girls pulled out all the stops and there were nice near falls and good spots and the decision to put the belt on Charlotte was better than giving it to Natalya who has had her day in the sun.
Tyson Kidd vs. Adrian Neville ***
To follow Breeze vs. Zayn and the Divas match was not going to be an easy feat, but with Adrian Neville (PAC) in control of things it could take the show to the next level. Unfortunately Tyson Kidd got to control most of the match. If one wants the champ to seem strong and credible he can’t be taking a beating for most of the match only to come back with one move and then hit the finisher. It is understandable that the WWE wants to get Kidd back into the game by sending him to the minors, like they did with Cesaro. Difference is that Cesaro has the skill and charisma to pull something like that off; Kidd just doesn’t have what it takes. Hopefully this is the last time we see him in NXT.
In closing one can say that while Takeover wasn’t a bad special, it wasn’t great. It shows that there are several wrestlers who need work and when matching them against better competitors it really shows where their faults are.
Cast: Fire Ant, Green Ant, Icarus, Mike Quackenbush, et al
Season 13 of Chikara was probably the toughest season the roster had ever faced. It all came to a head at Anniversario: Never Compromise when the company was shut down by Condor security and it was left for dead. Many fans were left wondering what was next, was Chikara truly dead or would it rise from the ashes like Phoenix itself. Many questions were left unanswered and if one turns to The Ashes of Chikara for them then there will be disappointment. Not in the movie itself, it is more of the final chapter in what was season 13, but in the fact that it might raise more questions in the end. If one were to analyze Ashes from a broader perspective, it might just be the most indie of all independent cultural phenomena today.
The movie begins after the attack on Chikara by Condor and then centers on Icarus, a heel, looking for answers and help in a world gone crazy. Icarus is driven by the need to bring Chikara back and save the remaining offshoot companies from the threat of destruction. He is the one who seemingly has lost most because of the closing of Chikara; his family.
Parallell to this the tag team of 3.0, Shane Matthews and Scott Parker, are also looking for answers by finding Archibald Peck, who mysteriously vanished a while back. They find out that he is Parts Unknown where he apparently has tried to put the pieces of the puzzle back together.
There are two camps amongst the roster of Chikara, those who have given up or at least made peace with the idea of the demise of the company; Eddie Kingston, Chuck Taylor and Tim Donst, and those who are willing to fight; Icarus, 3.0, Fire Ant and Green Ant. The final showdown is to be National Pro Wrestling Day.
The roster of Chikara are no great actors, there is quite a bit of over acting and the masks make it difficult to emote at times. This is of course not the point of this movie, no one is expecting an Oscar worthy performance from Shane Matthews or AssailANT it is part of the charm.
What is more impressive is the narrative and camera work, one can speculate that this has been the main focus when the movie was produced. What some of the actors might lack in emotional response the camera and score makes up for. For those who have followed the Ashes videos on Youtube most of the story is the same, yet the new footage gives the story an extra dimension and added depth. In addition, one does not have to be a Chikara expert to enjoy the story as is.
As previously mentioned; The Ashes of Chikara might be the epitome of independent culture. It is not only an independent movie about an independent wrestling company. It’s a movie about independent lifestyles, about people making their way in the world against the odds. It’s about David taking on Goliath not only in the corporate world, but on an individual level. Icarus becomes the embodiment of an idea, the idea that is Chikara, the courage to be different in a world of conformity, the bravery to wear jeans in a forest of suits. The Ashes of Chikara has so much more to say than one might initially think.
For the hardcore wrestling fan or the hardcore Chikara fan there is also several hidden gems that makes one smile inside. The movie is also a tribute to the movies of the eighties, from the Stan Bush songs playing in the background to the Rocky-esque montage before the final showdown.
To find out more about Chikara go to chikarapro.com and if you want to see The Ashes of Chikara it is available for download here: http://theashesof.com/
On the 25th of this month Chikara finally returns in full force. It is the beginning of season 14 and one can be certain that it will be something extra. The full card has now been announced and it is as follows:
Grand championship of Chikara
Icarus vs. Eddie Kingston (C)
The Colony vs. The Colony:Extreme Force
4 Corner Elimination Tag Match
3.0 vs. Pieces of Hate vs. 17/DeviANT vs. The winners of Tag World Grand Prix
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Archibald Peck
The Batiri vs. Sinn Bodhi + The Odditorium
The Spectral Envoy vs. Brudershaft des Kreuzes
Jervis Cottonbelly vs. Juan Francisco de Coronado
The event will be sent live through iPPV go to http://www.chikarapro.com/ and order it…