Sunday, May 12, 2013

Retro Reviews: WWE No Way Out 2004 (Bob Holly, Blindfold Matches & Some Guy Won A Title)

So, I am back after a long absence from typing ramblings onto this webpage for all of you to see. I can't really give any excuse other than I just haven't made time for it. But, I just got done with my school semester, so here's hoping some free time allows me to post more stuff on here. And I decided, what better way to come back then to start some "Retro Reviews", where I look back at wrestling events of yesteryear. To start it off, I watched WWE's No Way Out 2004, hailing from the famous Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. So, let's get into it, why don't we!

We start off this show with, of all things, recent Playboy cover girls Torrie Wilson and Sable entering the ring to do an introduction for the PPV. We will obviously get into it a bit later in this show, but WWE really must have had a problem with figuring out how to buy time for their Raw and Smackdown exclusive PPV’s. Not to mention, Sable, while pretty and all, has an ungodly shrill voice. It’s a wonder anyone found it a good idea to actually give her a microphone. This was ungodly bad, but it moved into a very awesome video package that recapped the feud going into the main event between Eddie Guerrero and Brock Lesnar. One of my favorite things about looking back at old shows is seeing these retro hype videos that they would do for PPV’s. They were always my favorite part about the lead-up to a show and WWE really hasn’t matched the ones from this era, in my personal opinion. But besides that, explosions happen, it’s Hugo Savinovich’s birthday, Michael Cole’s tan is weird and we are on with the show.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wrestlefan Reviews: AIW's Girls Night Out 8

I had the pleasure of obtaining a couple of DVD's to add to my massive collection, and one that I picked up was AIW's most recent "Girls Night Out" event. This was a monumental night for AIW as it was their first live iPPV, being done through the great folks at Smart Mark Video. This event was highlighted by "AK-47" Allysin Kay defending her AIW Women's Championship against a mystery opponent, and a 4-Way Climb The Ranks Ladder Match for the #1 contendership for said championship. So, let's get into it.

First, I want to discuss the production value for this event and how spectacular it truly was. Smart Mark Video proved once again with this event that they truly know what they are doing when it comes to production. I wondered how things would transfer from the iPPV to the physical DVD and it was completely flawless. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine had showed me a AIW DVD, and the this company has advanced by leaps and bounds. There is HD video, no shaky camerawork, flawless transitions and more important, multiple cameras. It makes it really hard to watch a companies show when they only have one roaming camera at ringside and no hard camera, and in my opinion, more companies should look to AIW and Smart Mark Video as an example as to why production means so much. If you don't know how to produce DVD's and content like this, find and hire someone who does because it means so much when it comes to hooking people into your product.

Now, on to the actual show.

Monday, March 25, 2013

What Wrestlefan Watched Vol. 2: AIW's Hard Hits And Big Flips

The Aftermath Of A War
Photo by Paul Stratoti

Hello blog readers. Long time no see. Yes, it has definitely been a while since I took the time to type some of my heads inner workings onto here. I wont come up with some elaborate excuse as to why I haven’t posted. My schedule has been ridiculously crazy and I have been doing a lot of cool things, so much so that I haven’t shown this blog any love in a while. First of all, I got to write for an awesome website called “The Mandible Claw”, curated by the great Danielle Matheson. I also wrote an excerpt for Danielle’s acclaimed “Best & Worst Of TNA Impact” column for With Leather. So go check out both of those through the links below, especially “The Mandible Claw”, which features tons of amazing pieces from awesome people. I am still in shock that a couple paragraph piece I wrote about the douchebag “Say Something” guy is on the same website where Chikara’s Ophidian listed his Top 5 bad horror movies. It’s a weird dream of mine that I never thought existed until now. But, the point is, I am here now and I cannot wait to keep writing. So let’s jump right into it.

I have mentioned before on this blog about Absolute Intense Wrestling out of the Cleveland area, and how great they have become at releasing a steady stream of content to their audience through Youtube and other forms of social media. Too many companies fail to embrace their internet community by dolling out content, whether it is in-ring action, promos, teasers etc. But AIW has made sure to not shy away from releasing tons of great videos for their fans, and as of late they have released a couple of full matches from their past events. I gave them a watch and I thought they would be perfect discussion topics for another edition of “What Wrestlefan Watched”.

The first match I witnessed was released by AIW to hype their most recent “Girls Night Out 8” event, which from what I hear was a giant success with it being AIW’s first iPPV. So as a treat, the company released the match between American turned Joshi stars Hailey Hatred & Jenny Rose from “Girls Night Out 6”. I have seen very little of both Hatred and Rose but they definitely opened my eyes with this encounter. This was the first appearance for Jenny Rose in AIW, which made it very difficult for the crowd to get behind her in the early goings, since she would be facing home grown talent in Hatred. Both ladies are the definition of “hard-hitters”, providing some cringe worthy moments, including one of the hardest short arm clotheslines from Hatred that I have seen in a while. Both competitors switched throughout between striking and technical wrestling, and after a series of near falls, Hatred was able to put away Rose with a nasty tiger suplex.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

My 5 Favorite Things In Pro Wrestling: February 2013

Here's a little something that I plan to do every month on this blog, where I recap some of my favorite wrestlers, moments, companies or pro wrestling related things for the month. As a wrestling fan, there is always something brand new to be found, or a hidden gem that you didn't realize existed until you explored more closely. This is what this post is all about, and I hope this leads you to some cool new things that pro wrestling has to offer you. So, here are my favorite things in wrestling for the month of February, in no particular order.

Photo Courtesy Of Texas Anarchy
Gary Jay:

The St. Louis based, 80's jacket wearing scoundrel by the name of Gary Jay has been a favorite of mine  since I started following his stuff in Anarchy Championship Wrestling. In over a years time, he has grown and developed into a performer that you should definitely be on the look out for. His unique, over-the-top personality has endeared him to the Anarchy crowd for some time now, but it is important to note along with his personality how great of a pro wrestler he is. This last weekend, he showcased this in a phenomenal contest against Texas upstart Barrett Brown, a match that forced the Mohawk crowd, who normally would jeer Gary Jay, to give him a standing ovation for his performance, and rightfully so. The thing I love about all of Gary's matches is the fact that they always seem as if there truly is a fight going on. Gary brings a level of intensity that is very much needed to wrestling matches, and it never looks as if it is two people just stringing together a series of moves. Everything he does is done purposefully, with a great deal of precision and accuracy. Not to mention, he hits harder then just about anyone I have seen on the Anarchy roster, lighting up Barrett's chest with some fiery chops. Also, if you weren't sold on Gary Jay yet, he now comes out to Macklemore's song "Thrift Shop", which is as awesome as it sounds. That man can make anything work.

By the way, the podcast that I am apart of, "The Wrestling Mayhem Show", had the pleasure of interviewing Gary Jay back in June, where we talked his wrestling career, his infamous ring jacket, and the involvement of Mama and Papa Jay in his career. Check it out.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

ACH: An Appreciation

Ring Of Honor Just Got A Dose Of Attitude, Charisma And Heart

So it’s now become public knowledge to all of the internet wrestling world that “Ring Of Honor Wrestling” has picked up one of the hottest prospects right now on the independent circuit, and that is Texas’s own ACH. He has made a couple appearances in the past for the company that many people consider the #3 wrestling promotion in the United States, appearances including being an entrant in their "Top Prospects" tournament on ROH TV as well as semi-main eventing ROH’s most recent event in Cincinnati, Ohio against former ROH World Champion Roderick Strong. Clearly, ACH was able to do enough and open up the right people’s eyes, because the company has granted the flag bearer for “Attitude, Charisma and Heart” with an official contract.

Once the news had broke, ACH addressed the development in a Facebook post stating,

. . .Hi!
So, I just wanna take this time and say THANK YOU!I don't wanna write out this long post thanking everyone that has helped me.If you know the positive reaction you have had on my life no need for me to say anything. And on this day the "H" in A.C.H has a new meaning... HONOR!


This is ONE giant step for Texas wrestling.  And that is #Motivation 
#WatchRingOfHonor #FreeAgentNoMore”

Could we be seeing this on TV or IPPV sometime soon?

Now, it sounds extremely cliched, but ask someone who's seen a one-off match from ACH or someone who has watched him for years and they will tell you that ACH just radiates star qualities. His over-the-top and contagious personality comes to the forefront in every single one of his matches, and he will undoubtingly show you something that you have never seen before. I remember the first time I witnessed ACH back in December 2011, when I attended my first Anarchy Championship Wrestling show. He had wrestled Pierre Abernathy, someone known much more for his comedic antics then his wrestling ability. However, to my surprise and to the surprise of probably a lot of people in that building, the match was incredibly technical and fast paced. There was absolutely no dull moment, especially when Gary Jay ran in interference, only to get literally snapped in half by ACH's signature "Freebird" crossbody. It was astounding and that match alone made me a fan of his immediately.

But, anyone who watches ACH perform in the ring knows that he is phenomenal. It's all that he does outside the parameters of a wrestling match that makes him one of the best right now. Going with his larger than life personality, ACH is by far one of the most personable people on the independents. I fondly remember him conversing with long lines of people waiting outside of Mohawks before ACW shows, sharing stories and treating each and every one of us like equals, which trust me, we are far from. As much of a confident and brazen character he is in the ring, he is far from cocky and never once has an ego. In fact, one of the many things that the "H" can stand for in his name is "humble". He will never admit how absolutely breath-taking his work is, both because of his humble nature, but also because he does it for no other reason other than he loves pro wrestling.

This past November, he had what only could be described as an epic encounter with one Davey Vega in Live Oak, TX, which goes down in my mind as one of the best matches I have seen this entire year. They hit each other with absolutely everything, performing to such a degree that my heart literally became sore towards the end, and I came close to shedding a tear (Yeah, I said it). Not only that, but this match was held at the "Showtime Scot Summer's Birthday Bash" event, which was a FREE SHOW! These two men gave such a high quality, balls to the wall performance on a show that was entirely free for admission. If that doesn't show both men's love and dedication towards pro wrestling, I don't know what does. And it must be mentioned that ACH gives such a performance, no matter if its in front of a packed Mohawk crowd in downtown Austin, TX, or if its in a building with 50 people in it. He gives 100 percent everywhere he goes, only for the simple fact that he truly loves it.

How long till we see this on a grander stage?

When you see someone that is new, amazing and quite frankly life changing in pro wrestling, you want to share that athlete with the world. And now, instead of doing it for 50 people, or 200 people, he will be doing it on television and IPPV, that way every single person can be as amazed and astonished just like when I saw him wrestle Pierre Abernathy in a bar in downtown Austin. ACH encompasses just about everything a major company would want in a pro wrestler. He works amazingly hard, is always looking to improve, thinks on his feet, connects to everyone from young children to grown adults, and is just a damn good pro wrestler. And because of ROH's smart decision, ACH now has the opportunity to spread his wings, that way a whole lot more than a few hundred will be chanting those three letters and getting their daily allotted dose of #Motivation. So to ACH, congratulations to you on this next big step in your journey and I cannot wait to settle in on a Saturday morning, watch some cartoons, and follow it up by seeing you do what you do best.

Until then,

The Wrestlefan

Monday, February 18, 2013

What Wrestlefan Watched: Super Juniors And Quality Over Quantity

I am for all intents and purposes what you would call a “wrestling nerd”. And being such a nerd and also being super young, I am constantly looking for new, cool stuff that will peak my interests when it comes to that multi-faceted, wonderful thing that is pro wrestling. That’s why I’ve started a hopefully reoccurring post on this blog called “What Wrestlefan Watched”, where I talk about a match, segment or something interrelated with pro wrestling that I found interesting. So, let’s get into it.

Recently, because of the great stuff that I have seen from them recently, I have been diving into tons of New Japan Pro Wrestling, a company rich with lineage and one that I thinks does a perfect job of intertwining aspects of sport into pro wrestling. One of the examples of this, which they do every year, is the Best Of The Super Juniors tournament, which is a round-robin tournament that compiles some of the best junior-heavyweights in the world, competing for a future opportunity at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.

I just got done watching the first night of the 2011 tournament, a show that features great matches like Davey Richards vs. Prince Devitt in the main, TAKA Michinoku vs. The Great Sasuke as well as the legendary Tiger Mask taking on TJ Perkins, all of which we’re entertaining contests. However, the one I want to talk about may be overlooked by some when watching the entire event, but it is the one that stood out to me.

*Match Begins At 31:34*

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Importance Of Internet Presence

A Company Now On My Radar Because Of The Internet

What makes a great wrestling promotion? That is an extremely vague and difficult question to answer, because there are so many factors, both inside the physical shows and outside of them, that could help to classify a pro wrestling company as "great". However, I think that for a company to even be considered apart of the contenders for the greatest promotion, the one thing it must have is a strong, well-run presence on the internet. I strongly stand by the statement that without utilizing the internet as a way in which to market your brand, upcoming events and so on, one can not honestly and un-doubtingly call themselves "the best". And, as a consumer of various wrestling products, a company's embracing of what the internet has to offer can take them from a group that I wouldn't give a second look, into one that I will make an effort to follow.

For example, Women Superstars Uncensored, out of the New Jersey area, has made amazing strides and changes since getting bought by the people behind Beyond Wrestling, a group that has been producing consistent internet content for their own company since it's inception. I had seen bits and pieces of WSU's work from around 2-3 years ago, and while the company looked promising, they gave myself, the viewer, no way of keeping up with their ongoings and events from my searches on the internet. Their website was subpar, the little videos they did have available were all over the place and were close to unwatchable, and it made trying to follow this group and become a fan of theirs into a chore. Now, with only about 8 months under Beyond Wrestling's leadership, WSU is releasing a steady stream of interviews, previews, teasers and more in order to get the casual internet viewers interested in keeping up with all of their storylines and shows.

But, WSU isn't the only company that has drawn my interest because of the stuff they are doing on the internet. Absolute Intense Wrestling from Cleveland is a group that I have been following much more closely ever since they regularly began releasing teasers, DVD trailers as well as their special "Behind The Curtain" mini shoot interview series, which is a unique, yet intriguing, form of content for them to produce. In fact, just a simple DVD trailer, like their one for their Hell On Earth 8 event, encouraged me enough to order their DVD for that event.

One of the lesser known groups that have taken a crack at creating internet based content is the Pittsburgh based International Wrestling Cartel. Being good friends with Sorg from the Wrestling Mayhem Show, who does the DVD production for this company, I have watched the growth of IWC through their focus on utilizing Youtube in order to promote upcoming shows. Every month they have been releasing their online show entitled "IWC Aftershock" which recaps the events from the month before and provides hype for the event coming up. It is something super simple, and it doesn't necessarily have a lot of fancy editing or graphics, but it is a vessel in which to sell their product and storylines to a wider audience that wants and desires accessibility. 

Now, a lot of people may read this and say, "Oh, this is obvious stuff. Why would a company not utilize it?". But from the stuff I have observed from frequenting the Texas scene, it is not such an obvious idea as one may think. When you ask people what the top group in Texas currently is, many point in the direction of Anarchy Championship Wrestling. Now, are they the top in Texas simply because they do the best shows? While I definitely think the Anarchy product is top notch, the reason they are so successful is because they have an understanding of how to market themselves on the internet through various social media sites, they sell produced DVD's of their events to numerous amounts of wrestling fans, and they create great content on their Youtube channel, especially the things they do with "Anarchy Televised", and in turn their Anarchy Televised Title. The only other group that I see in Texas that is creating video content would be River City Wrestling out of San Antonio, who keeps their Youtube account properly updated with promos and hype videos. Other than those two, no Texas independent seems to be taking that route, which is a bit of a shame. Many of these groups tend to be marketing to their specific region, whether it be through flyers, radio spots or just straight word of mouth. Quite frankly, that is just not enough. In this age, wrestling companies need to develop their own virtual footprint in order to truly mean anything. I tend to joke a great deal about the WWE's overuse of their social media activities on their programming, but it is something that is necessary. A Facebook page with a flyer is not enough if one truly wants to be successful. You have to be marketable and viewable by wrestling fans that aren't just in your specific niche or area.

So, I seriously hope more people take the time to develop their internet presence, because a company can have the best shows in the world, but it is nothing if a sliver of the massive wrestling community sees them.

But that's just my thoughts. I would like to know what you guy's think. Is producing internet content necessary for a promotion to be successful? Let me know with a comment and I'll be sure to give it a read.

Until then,

The Wrestlefan