This week Nick and Chris discuss the episode of Impact that aired May Fourth. Who were the stand out performers, how did the show rate and which match blew us away.
On this week’s episode we talk about the Grand Championship being on the line, as well as the Tag Titles. The MVP of the week and the match of the week. All Impact Wrestling even though Wrestlemania just happened.
Listen to when C. Marry Hultman and Nick Abtahi discuss the march 16th episode of Impact Wrestling
As a compliment to the podcast we already put out we have decided to give wrestling podcasting a try. This is a bit different in that we have two people discussing that have two different backgrounds. Our founder C. Marry Hultman has watched wrestling since he was young and has been a fan of Impact wrestling since he first saw it. Nick Abtahi’s only experience with wrestling is the odd WWE show on TV and that juxtaposition is what we found intersting, hopefully you do too. It will be out every Monday.
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.
The American band Mountain Goats have just announce the release of their new album Beat the Champ, a collection of songs about wrestling. From their homepage they announced the release on CD, Double Vinyl and Vinyl Deluxe. The dates are April 7th in North America, Europe and the UK on April 13th and Australia and NZ on April 3rd
Surf over to mergerecords.com to pre-order it, meanwhile check out the song Chavo Guerrero
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