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- VHS l l e T & Show 8-11 r i a f f ish A A Brit n s - Jo e i r e S Sintax igma n E l a Origin
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FIGHTING THE CITY BEFORE YOU RE
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F O L L O W
EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY EASY 8
A BRITISH AFFAIR
As British TV broadcaster, ITV, taps into UK wrestling & TV nostalgia, alongside seeing the cash in the MMA juggernaut, theyâ€™ll be expecting a reasonable return on their reinvigorated WOS Wrestling. WOS, comes for the World Of Sport, which was a UK staple of 70s & early 80s childhoods. Saturday afternoons spent in front of a bizarre mix of sports, which also allowed fathers, to keep up with the latest football (soccer) scores, whilst sipping on a can of Kestrel super strength .
This was a staple of living rooms across the UK, but the main draw, uniting entire families was at 4pm when the Wrestling hit!
The kids, the grannies and everyone in-between, including surly teenagers ridden with angst, couldnâ€™t get enough of the distinctly British characters that prowled the ring. It may have been rigged, but no one cared it was good old - fashioned fun, with a nod back to Victorian Music Hall .
The characters that loomed largest were Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks, the pantomime good and evil of the wrestling scene. The grudge match playing out beyond the ring on Saturday morning kids shows, Saturday night family entertainment programmes and mid-week chat shows.
Other notable players were Kendo Nagasaki a masked enigma who channelled an ancient Samurai and used supernatural powers to bamboozle his opponents, Brian Glover, Cat Weazle who, long before the glamour of snakes in WWF, licked a lucky toad between rounds, and Pat Roach.
Due to the changing landscape of UK sports broadcasting, World Of Sport was cancelled in 1985, this allowed wrestling to have itâ€™s own weekly show to entertain the family. However, with the advent of WWF, the programme was axed in December 1988.
peep peep peep peep peep peep peep peep peep January 1989 and The WWF hit UK screens on Sky Sports, closing the chapter on the British wrestling phenomena. There have been a few attempts at reviving British wrestling back on to TV screens, but the charm, idiosyncrasy & wholly Britishness, was of a time, and at that time it was at the top of the pile.
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PePeter William Thornley Peter Peter Peter
One of the most diverse figures in the heyday of British wrestling was Kendo Nagasaki. He almost transcended the goodie and baddie wrestlers of the times, and depending on who he was fighting, audiences allegiances shifted. He was one of the few who had British wrestling stalwarts, Big Daddy (good) and Giant Haystacks (bad) , as arch enemies.
This endeared him to a huge number of fans who were in awe of Nagasaki, due to his brutality in the ring, his strength and enigmatic persona. Pop artist Peter Blake became an instant fan once he saw Nagasaki in the ring, and due to 1992 BBC Documentary, struck up a rapport with Kendo as he painted him for the programme.
Kendo Nagasakiâ€™s wrestling back story was that of a Samurai who had a mysterious past and had powers of healing and hypnosis, both of which he used in the ring to ensure victory over a number of opponents.
The enigmatic Japanese warrior, always fought masked and never spoke, had a missing finger and carried out strange Samurai rituals, which included throwing salt in the ring. All of which heightened the mystery of Nagasaki. The mystique around him, was also exaggerated by his flamboyant manager Gorgeous George Gillette, who was also Nagasakiâ€™s mouth-piece.
Rumours started flying around that Nagasaki was disfigured in a fire and that he never spoke as he had a high-pitched, girl like voice. It was even thought he was a member of the British Royal Family.
Kendo Nagasaki first appeared in the British wrestling scene in November 1964 and one of his most memorable, early highs was defeating fellow masked wrestler, Count Bartelli, which meant Bartelli had to be unmasked. Before this fight Bartelli had been Nagasakiâ€™s mentor and tag team partner, but they fell out, disagreeing on Nagasakiâ€™s rough wrestling tactics.
As The 60s moved to the 70s Nagasakiâ€™s fan base continued
However, in the 70’s he was unmasked a number of times. The first being a bout with Billy Howes in 1971, when Howes became intent on removing the mask, and took to pounding Nagasaki’s head, lifting the mask up, which then covered Nagasaki’s eyes and also tried to loosen the masks laces. As the battle wore on the mask came off and Nagasaki covered this face and quickly left the ring.
He was also unmasked by Big Daddy in December 1975, which started the feud between the two. This unmasking could have been due to a bout three years earlier, when Nagasaki lifted Big Daddy’s previous character the Battling Guardsmen above his head. Shirley Crabtree, the man behind the two pseudonyms, weighed 26 stone 9 pounds (169kg) at the time Nagasaki carried out the lifting move and Nagasaki was the only wrestler to achieve this feat!
In December 1977 there was a televised unmasking ceremony, which Nagasaki agreed to. The man behind Nagasaki was not a Japanese Samurai or even a member of the British aristocracy but a man from Halifax, Peter Thornley.
When interviewed by the TV Times Thornley stated that Kendo Nagasaki was in fact a spirit guide who appeared to Thornley when he was in a trance like state whilst meditating. He explained that Kendo Nagasaki was the spirit of a samurai warrior who, 300 years ago, lived in the place that is now called Nagasaki.
After he was unmasked, Thornley continued to wrestle without a mask until he retired on doctors orders in 1978.
Thornley had various masked returns as Nagasaki. The first being in 1981-82 making a number of appearances in which he fought notorious Nagasaki impersonator King Kendo (Bill Clarke) in a series of loser to lose the mask matches. Clarke was defeated and unmasked night after night.
In late 1986 he made another return, winning a series of ladder matches which saw Nagasaki become the WWA World Heavyweight Champion in September 1987. He continued wrestling in various tag teams as British wrestling began losing its appeal to TV audiences, before being cut from the airwaves at the end of 1989.
Although no longer on TV, there were still a number of live shows across the UK, allowing Nagasaki to continue wrestling. He had a number of management changes after Gorgeous George passed away in 1990. In 1991 he fought Giant Haystacks for the CWA World crown. However, Haystacks was intent on winning and deliberately pulled Nagasakiâ€™s mask off. As the wrestlers aged the fans desire wained, and Thornrley retired, again, to concentrate on commerce. However, wrestlers can never seem to stay away from the ring and Thornley made another comeback with Kendo Nagasaki after being awarded Wrestler Of The Millennium, initially in a tag team before taking part in All Stars shows â€™til December 2001 with a formal retirement match, which was a Four Corners bout. He was tempted out of retirement in 2007 with LDN Wrestling which he worked with until the end of 2008.
Nagasaki will be remembered for being a one-off in an arena where sanity was far from the norm. His silence helped keep him in the public eye throughout his heyday and beyond, with a number of British tabloids, chasing the story and any scandal of Thornley right into the 1990s. Due to the silence there was none. Despite the comebacks Thornley remained silent which allowed him to continue with that special aura he bestowed on all who saw him.
This master wrestler, who struck fear into opponents is the embodiment of an original enigma.
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GA S H
Ultra Gash Inferno is a compendium of nine psycho-nightmares by Japanese graphic artist Suehiro Maruo.
Maruo develops stories and artwork in the “erotic-grotesque” (ero-guro) Magna style, a unique fusion of sex and violence. When this collection was translated into English, it gained immediate cult status and became a must read, as it was unlike anything seen in Western comics. Ultra Gash Inferno was highly shocking as Maruo took the sado-erotic artform to the extreme.
His influences ranged from 19th century atrocity prints to the Sex Pistols, via obsessions with horror, scatology and human freaks, influences that can be seen throughout this work
Ultra Gash Inferno remains a cult classic and is highly sort after with original copies of the book being sold for around 3,000 pounds.
G O T SOMETHING
2 S A Y
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The Gracie hunter The Gracieâ€™s, need no introduction! A family of highly skilled, highly combative fighters, who developed Jiu-Jitsu, creating a family legacy and making them combat world legends. A family of do or die fighters, who would almost always be the doers. A family that worked trained and stuck together, enhancing their iconic image. In complete contrast to the Gracieâ€™s is Kazushi Sakuraba.
Sakuraba started his fighting career as an amateur wrestler, aged 15. He was a natural, finishing second in the Japanese championships before he joined the renowned wrestling team of Shuo University, who had Olympic gold medalists within their alumni. Sakurabaâ€™s talent was immediately recognised, when he won the East Coast Japanese Freshman Champions. After which he captained his University team through the rest of his college years.
After graduating Sakuraba was set to become the universities coach, but at the last minute decided to become a professional wrestler with UWFi. UWFi, which was known for it’s realistic yet scripted fights and in the late ‘80s and early ’90s it was massive in Japan. UWFi’s popularity began to wane as UFC took hold and was exacerbated by Rickson Gracie’s complete domination of UWFi star Yoji Anjo, making UWFi fans wonder how other top wrestlers would fair against UFC fighters.
This allowed the renowned PRIDE championship to take hold, and as UWFi closed it’s doors many of the fighters, including Sakuraba (after briefly fighting for the Kingdom organisation) ended up
fighting with PRIDE.
Sakuraba made his first appearance in PRIDE 2, defeating Vernon ‘Tiger’ White and he became a firm favourite of Japanese fans after he totally outclassed Carlos ‘The Ronin’ Newton. Between PRIDE 2 and PRIDE 7 Sakurba had a total of five wins and one draw. In PRIDE 8 Sakuraba faced his first Gracie. Royler Gracie, multiple-time ADCC Champion and Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, was regarded as one of the best technical ground fighters. This did not phase Sakuraba. As the fight started, Royler was unable to takedown or strike effectively from a standing position, he went to the ground trying to bring the fight to his strength and create a grabbing competition. Sakuraba remained standing and lined a series of punishing kicks to Royler. With two minutes remaining Sakuraba eventually went to the ground and instantly put Royler into a Kimura lock.
The uses of Kimura lock emulated renowned Japanese wrestler and judoka Masahiko Kimura, who the move is named after, after he defeated Gracie Jiu-Jitsu founder Helio Gracie with the now eponymous top wristlock.
Although Royler did not tap out, the referee controversially stopped the fight, due to the unnatural position Sakuraba had maneuvered the arm into. This gave Sakuraba the win by total knockout.
The fight was the fist professional loss for the Gracie’s in decades, which created a huge amount of controversy. Some protested, that it wasn’t actually a win, as Royler did not submit and there was little time remaining to the bell of the final bout, even though he had been placed in a debilitating submission hold. The Gracie’s took this line and openly stated they had been cheated out of a victory.
After the fight Sakuraba challenged Royler’s older brother Rickson, but Royce Gracie (former UFC champion) who had not fought for years came out of retirement to take on Sakuraba and restore honour to the Gracie name. Royce entered Pride 10 and the family requested a special set of rules if Sakuraba and Royce met. They stated that there would be no referee stoppages and no time limits, meaning the fight would only end in a submission or with a knockout.
They met in the quarter finals and their fight lasted an hour and a half, in six, 15 minute rounds.
Royce opened the fight aggressively, throwing a number of punches to Sakuraba’s back as Sakuraba had him in a standing armlock. As the blows reigned down on Sakuraba, he kept calm as he knew Royce did not have the knockout power and was wasting energy. At this point Sakuraba flashed a smile to the cameras.
As the first 15-minute round came to an end Sakuraba came close to winning, with a kneebar. As the second round opened Royce came back with a guillotine choke but Sakuraba continued to joke around, simulating the pulling down to Royce’s GI pants. In the third, Sakuraba switched to attacking, dominating and making Royce move to the ground to avoid him.
As the confrontation continued the no-time rules began to backfire on Royce. Sakuraba used his wrestling skills and balance to out maneuver Royce, as Gracie tried to score a takedown. Sakuraba even used Royce’s GI to control the fight when it went to the ground. In the sixth round Sakuraba landed a series of devastating kicks, hitting Royce’s left instep twice in succession. The pain from those two kicks, meant that Gracie couldn’t move as he wanted and after telling his corner, his brother Rorion threw in the towel.
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This win lead the Japanese media to proclaim Sakuraba ‘The Gracie Hunter’ which was a title he lived up to as he went on to fight two more Gracie’s. Renzo and Ryan. Both trained with Carlson Gracie who’s method of jiu-jitsu, placed a stronger emphasis on combat-ready skills and training without a GI.
Renzo had only lost one battle in his 10 bouts, claiming wins over a number of high profile names, including Maurice Smith (WKC world light heavyweight champion, WKA world heavyweight champion, ISKA world heavyweight championship) & Oleg Taktarov (UFC 6 Champion).
As the bout began Renzo pressed the pace, utilising a variety of kicks and punches. However, most didn’t connect allowing Sakuraba to employ the same tactics, forcing a stalemate. Sakuraba utilised his wrestling skills and attempted a number of leg takedowns, against the flurry of Renzo’s kicks and punches. Sakuraba even attempted to cartwheel through the flurry and even tried a takedown with a baseball slide.
Renzo’s defensive skills were superb, nullifying Sakuraba’s offensive attempts. Renzo then got an entry derived from the De La Riva guard, pressing Sakuraba against a turnbuckle. Sakuraba locked a kimura from the back, spun round which flipped Renzo to the canvas. Renzo refused to submit, but the bout was stopped due to Sakuraba snapping Renzo’s elbow, which meant the fight was Sakuraba’s. Renzo declared after the fight that Sakuraba was “the Japanese version of the Gracie family”. One man becomes as much as a legend as numerous generations of a family! After the fight Ryan Gracie issued a challenge and he fought Sakuraba in Pride 12. However, Ryan had sustained a shoulder injury in training which meant the fight was limited to a single 10 minute round.
Sakuraba controlled the fight even though he avoided making attacks on Ryan’s injured arm. But, he couldn’t resist throwing in some amusing antics, delivering chops to Ryan’s rear, as he easily won the bout. Sakuraba continued to fight in PRIDE matches with mixed results and in 2012 he started competing in the New Japanese Pro Wrestling and retired in 2016. Kazushi Sakuraba’s own legend will always be The Gracie Hunter. A man whose first bout with a Gracie made them feel the need to take him on, to regain family pride and their domination of the sport. Sakuraba played by their rules and still won. An outsider meeting a legacy of fighters on their terms, making him an original rebel and a true legend of MMA.
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Do You Wanna Get Heavy? Consinity are the latest nu-metal band chewing up the U.S scene They play big powered up rock anthems with searing guitars, pounding rhythms and a snarling attitude. Their debut album is chocked with metal tracks that will rock your world. With intense in your face tracks, virtuoso guitar driven epics and of course a heartfelt ballad. This five piece have even metallized Katy Perryâ€™s E.T making it one of the best covers ever and is on heavy rotation in peep HQ.
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