Page 1

Fozzy live

//

what next for rusev?

STEELCHAIR

WRESTLING

COLUMNS FROM DONNOVAN DIJAK + KEVIN GILL

AN INTRO TO

NJPW

WRESTLEMANIA

THE RISE OF

GRADO ETHAN CARTER III ROCKSTAR SPUD

// ISSUE 2

£2.99

SteelChairMag.com

APRIL 2015

SETH ROLLINS

// What wwe can learn from nxt //


WELCOME

Download our free app on Google Play - Search for SteelChair (one word) for regular updates

WELCOME FROM THE EDITOR

W

elcome to the latest issue which feels like the start of a new era in wrestling, well for WWE at least as our cover star, Seth Rollins, stole the show and the title at WrestleMania . We look at his meteoric rise from indies to WWE champion.

We also spoke to the latest stars from TNA, Rockstar Spud and EC3 who ended their fued with a brutal hair v hair match at Wembley. Following on from last issues intro to Lucha Underground this month we bring you New Japan Pro Wrestling.

EDITORIAL David Garlick Editor / Design david@steelchairmag.com

SOCIAL twitter.com/SteelchairMag facebook.com/SteelchairMag instagram.com/SteelchairMag

FEEDBACK We want to improve every issue so if you have any feedback please email us at: steelchair@vulturehound.com

ADVERTISING To discuss advertising please contact advertising@vulturehound.com

Some people have called WrestleMania 31 the greatest ever, agree or disagree? We share our thoughts. David Garlick @davidgarlick

@SteelchairMag

search ‘StreelchairMag’

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CONTENTS

28

14

32

18

24

36

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7

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 03


PAST MONTH

Download the mag through the Google Play app or from Sellfy.com to get exclusive VIP content

MOTM WRESTLER MATCHES OF THE MONTH

1

BROCK LESNAR VS ROMAN REIGNS

WRESTLEMANIA

OF THE MONTH

SETH ROLLINS

Main event from our event of the month. Available on the WWE Network

2

MIL MUERTES VS FENIX LUCHA UNDERGROUND

A ‘Grave Consequences’ Match from El

The Future, Mr. Money in the Bank, and now the WWE World Champion. After months of being MVP of RAW, going mainstream with the Daily Show and stealing the show at WrestleMania Rollins is easily our wrestler of the month.

Rey’s Lucha Underground

3

SASHA BANKS VS CHARLOTTE NXT

One reason why the the WWE should #givedivasachance

4

OF THE MONTH

KOTA IBUSHI VS TETSUYA NAITO NJPW

From the New Japan Cup. We give an intro to NJPW this month.

5

EVENT OF

BOBBY LASHLEY VS KURT ANGLE TNA

Last months cover star defending against Kurt Angle at Wembley.

WRESTLEMANIA

31

Lackluster build-up? So what! WrestleMania was a stadium sized extravaganza that delivered big time. Sting’s first WWE match with nWo and DX, super-RKO, Money in the Bank, The Rock, Suplex City (BITCH), Terminator H (What?). A 4 hour show that (ignore The Rock/ Steph) didn’t drag.If you missed it go to the WWE Network and see what we watch wrestling for.

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 05


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FREE MUSIC, FILM AND TV MAGAZINE FROM THE MAKERS OF STEELCHAIR


WORDS: COIRÉ MC CRYSTALL

PHOTOS: TAMAKI

NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

O T N O I T C U D O R T N I N A

N PA

A J G W N I E L N T S RE W O R P

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 07


NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

AN INTRODUCTION

W

ith NXT starting to gain

truth, the option of watching Japanese

major traction with

pro wrestling or ‘puroresu’ has always

a wider spectrum of

been available, somewhere deep in the

wrestling fans and Ring

recesses of Youtube, though gaining

of Honor reportedly

the context behind matches and those

jostling for TNA Impact’s old TV deal,

wrestling in the matches has traditionally

it is clear that we are now seeing

required a bit more commitment.

something of a shift in the landscape of

Trawling through forums, desperately

professional wrestling. WWE no longer

searching for acceptable English dubbed

seems like the untouchable behemoth

commentary (if you simply cannot get

they have been for the past dozen or so

past the language barrier) and waiting

years and whilst the big E don’t look like

for decent quality uploads of hotly

they’re going anywhere soon, many new

anticipated shows. Puroresu is indeed

options are sprouting up for those who

a difficult hobby to follow. However, it is

are frustrated with WWE’s current main

a rich and rewarding side of wrestling

product.

and once you’ve taken the red pill of Japanese pro wrestling it is difficult to

It was only a matter of time, then,

go back to the Matrix of North American

that those sick of WWE’s stubborn

pro wrestling.

booking, or really anyone just looking for something new, would cast their

New Japan Pro Wrestling is the top dog

eyes to distant shores and far off lands.

of Japanese promotions, and by its

Promotions and genres of wrestling

sheer hold over Japan, the #2 promotion

that once seemed confined to the

worldwide. Founded by WWE Hall of

realms of tape trading and mustered

Famer and legitimate hardman Antonio

up US appearances are permeating to

Inoki in 1972 NJPW has been called,

western audiences like never before. In

somewhat erroneously, the ‘WWE of

08 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15

Japan’. To me, this is an insult. NJPW revels in wrestling being a sport - not sports entertainment, nor a ‘adult male oriented action soap opera’ both marketing waffle coined by WWE in attempt to avoid calling their product ‘wrestling’ at all costs. And entry into NJPW has never been easier. On January 4th, in association with Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling promotion, NJPW presented their biggest show of the year


Brock Lesnar wrestled in NJPW 2005/6. He defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Kurt Angle in a title v title match

ONCE YOU’VE TAKEN THE RED PILL OF JAPANESE PRO WRESTLING IT IS DIFFICULT TO GO BACK

‘Wrestle Kingdom 9’ online with excellent

before. NJPW on AXS generally follows

in the world today second to none.

English language commentary from Matt

a set formula - an interview about the

The two manage to call matches much

Striker and Jim Ross. This served as a

match you’re about to see, the match

more subtly; laying out years worth of

perfect introduction to NJPW to Western

itself and then post-match interviews.

backstory and context, characters and

audiences and the perfect time for NJPW

Generally, within the hour, you’ll only see

storylines almost subliminally, really

to make inroads into the American

one match, but it is guaranteed to be an

holding the viewer’s hand through the

television market.

amazing contest. Featuring commentary

culturally foreign world of New Japan

by boxing announcer Mauro Ranallo and

Pro Wrestling.

Which leads us to NJPW on AXS, an

MMA/former NJPW star Josh Barnett.

hour long pro wrestling programme

Their announcing skills are honestly

It really is a foreign world too - so many

match unlike any you’ve ever seen

the best English language announcing

of the tropes that American style pro >

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 09


NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

NAKAMURA WILL MAKE YOUR HEAD CONCAVE WITH HIS KNEE. AND FANS LOVE HIM FOR IT wrestling have trained us to believe in are

having such a set way of doing things is

in his moral goodness - he literally

nowhere to be seen. In Japan, wrestling

that you then have a roster full of guys

proclaims that he loves the audience and

is treated a lot more seriously, like an

that wrestle the exact same way, and

air guitars his way to the ring. And yet,

actual sport, with Japanese wrestlers

when that’s the case, what separates

as hokey as the character would be in

regularly and somewhat successfully

one star from another? In NJPW, stars

North America, his exceptional skill at

making the transition from wrestling to

wear their unique fighting styles on their

telling stories in the ring and dedication

shootfighting. Therefore, the matches are

sleeves.

to the job have made him beloved in the

generally more competitive affairs, drawn

hearts of Japanese fans. On the other

out over 20-30 minutes instead of the

Hiroshi Tanahashi, who has been the

hand, Shinsuke Nakamura, a charismatic

10-15 minute matches which American

central star of NJPW for about as long

rebel that has captured the hearts of

wrestling is more focused on. Similarly,

as John Cena has for the WWE is a

many with his ‘strong style’ of wrestling.

the styles of fighting are more varied

‘pro wrestler’. He relies on typical ‘pro

‘Strong style’ is basically shorthand for

and more realistic. In WWE, it’s seen as

wrestling’ moves - cross body blocks,

‘realistic looking blows to the head’.

a criticism that a star ‘can’t wrestler a

frogsplashes, dragonscrews and the like.

Nakamura does not care who you are or

WWE style match’. The problem with

He’s a archetypical good guy; inviolable

what your intentions are; if you’re in his

10 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15


NJPW is the largest wrestling promotion in Japan and the 2nd largest in the world in terms of attendance and revenue

NJWP ON AXS IS A PRO WRESTLING PROGRAM UNLIKE ANY YOU’VE EVER SEEN BEFORE. much of a ‘thing’ in Japan. That makes

legitimate competition and wins mean

sense though as wrestling is treated like

something. Conversely, losses mean

a real sport - are there ‘heel’ football

something too. There’s no heel authority

teams? Or ‘face’ boxers? No, there are

figure that the babyface is trying to

just teams you might not like because

overthrow - but why would there be?

of their outlook or boxers you hate

Are Arsenal trying to overthrow FIFA?

because of their personality. You made

No, they’re trying to be considered

that choice - it wasn’t handed to you by a

the best football team and that’s what

booker. Whilst there are wrestlers who try

the wrestlers in NJPW are doing. The

to get fans to hate them or like them, its

stories are about avenging losses and

generally via their personalities - they’re

striving to succeed. They aren’t generally

booed by the fans not because they

given soap opera style ridiculousness,

were told to be booed but because the

and treating them like real attainable

other guy is more likeable The Japanese

goals helps the fans empathise with the

wrestlers are often playing characters,

athlete’s struggles. I wanted Kota Ibushi

yes, but most of the time these

(a standout high flyer and one of the

characters have nuanced personalities.

most talented wrestlers in the world)

They’re generally removed from the

to win the New Japan Cup (NJPW’s

black/white dichotomy of heel/face

version of King of the Ring) because

professional wrestling, which allows the

he’d just come off a disappointing loss

fans to make up their minds on who to

to Shinsuke Nakamura and wanted to

cheer, and because of this the wrestlers

see him ascend up the card. It wasn’t

are allowed to display real emotion -

like another wrestler ‘stole his woman’ or

safe from the fear that some former

something like that. When a challenger

Nickelodeon writer is going to make

wants to fight the champion, it’s because

way he’ll make your head conclave with

them sprout childish garbage, or some

the champion has something the

his knee. And the fans love him for it!

out of touch old man will make them act

challenger wants - the title! It honestly

like losing is no big deal because ‘the

isn’t rocket science to book this well;

fans don’t want to see whiners, dammit!’

but what makes it work is the fantastic

Though you may not see the excitement from the crowds at first glance.

stories the wrestlers are able to convey

Japanese fans are typically much more

This leads to an interesting point - all

quiet and reserved than their Western

of the matches seem like they really

counterparts. This gives every match a

mean something. In the post match

This is made feel all the more real

very satisfying gradient - the fans start

interviews the losing wrestler is always

by Ranallo and Barnett, who aren’t

off reserved and quiet, cheering on

nigh inconsolable. They feel ashamed

censored to the level that the WWE

when a big spot happens to signify their

- they promise they will do better. This

commentary teams are. They call the

appreciation. But as the story unfolds,

isn’t an exercise in futility - the wrestlers

names of moves - not just the big

so do the crowd and by the end of a

are ‘having fun out there, Maggle!’ as

spots - they play into the psychology

titanic match up the fans are raucous.

JBL would say on commentary. These

of the wrestlers. If a wrestler leans to

Furthermore heels and faces aren’t

wrestlers are treating their craft as

his side to relieve pressure during a

in the matches.

>

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 11


NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

NEW JAPAN IS THE TOP DOG OF JAPANESE PROMOTIONS AND NO.2 WORLDWIDE. Texas Cloverleaf (a signature move of

IWGP Championship, NJPW’s ‘big belt’

programme, the matches featured

Tanahashi) the Barnett will explain why.

when he was still in TNA! And who did he

are from 2013-2014 and therefore

The attention to detail is great - this

win that title from? A post-WWE pre-UFC

the finishes can be easily seen online.

team don’t treat its audience like idiots,

Brock Lesnar. New Japan Pro Wrestling

Furthermore, because of its ‘best-of’

and yet even a child could understand

aren’t so insecure that they’ll ignore

nature, sometimes story threads will

their commentary - because children

the accomplishments of any talent they

pop up and not be shown later, with

aren’t idiots! Similarly, the team will

have, even when these accomplishments

only expository dialogue provided by

makes relevant references to other

come from other places - they use these

the commentary team to fill in the

promotions, including the UFC, other

things to elevate their stars! It sounds

gaps. An example of this would be after

Japanese groups and yes even American

like such simple logic until you realise

Kazuchika Okada had defended his

wrestling promotions like TNA and WWE;

Western audiences have been trained

title in a hard fought contest, he was

because they don’t feel the need to

for years to accept the opposite - that

challenged by Minoru Suzuki leading to a

pretend these places don’t exist.

nothing you do in wrestling matters until

nail biting confrontation between the two

you step foot in the WWE (unless you

that genuinely would intrigue audiences

were in some movie or something).

to see that contest. Unfortunately, the

This all rolls into the understanding that these matches are taking place in

next episode had skipped that contest

the real world - not just in a solipsistic

The NJPW on AXS show, which is

to feature a different match. That said,

wrestling promotion. In fact, it isn’t

the show that Ranallo and Barnett

because of the compilation nature of

unusual to see wrestlers from other

commentate on and is the most

the show, every match is stellar - episode

promotions compete in New Japan

legitimate way for English speaking

3: Okada vs Tanahashi being described

Rings. NJPW has arrangements with

audiences to catch some NJPW action

by Dave Meltzer as the best hour of

groups such as AAA in Mexico and Ring

has some disappointing traits, however.

wrestling he had ever seen.You get to see

of Honor in the US. Kurt Angle held the

Firstly, as it is a ‘best-of’ compilation

a year or so worth of matches in just a

12 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15


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EXCLUSIVE ADDITIONAL CONTENT FOR THIS ISSUE 12 episodes. This is great, as NJPW has launched their own ‘WWE Network’ service called ‘NJPW World’. New Japan Pro Wrestling World allows audiences across the globe to watch NJPW shows much quicker than they would be uploaded in lower quality onto some dark corner of the web. Though lacking English commentary and proving a challenge for non-Japanese speakers like myself to navigate, NJPW has made statements hinting towards further steps into global markets, and if their NJPW on AXS programme is any indication, they’re dead serious. There have been rumblings that Jeff Jarrett’s GFW promotion will be showing more shows in English in the future based on the success of the Wrestle Kingdom 9 experiment. So with all this positivity, there really hasn’t been a better time to get into New Japan Pro Wrestling. If you’re a wrestling fan and all you have ever experienced is WWE; then you are in for a whole new world that will open your eyes to new and exciting promotions outside of NJPW. As I previously said, NJPW on AXS in the red pill. Its a gateway drug that you’ll never regret becoming addicted to. So what are you waiting for?


LINUS REPORT

WORDS: ALAN BOON

LINUS REPORT: WRESTLEMANIA 31 Alan Boon shares his indepth thoughts on WrestleMania 31

ey, it’s WrestleMania ! It’s the WrestleMania of wrestling! Hey, it’s a bunch of ladders! But first, Aloe Blacc sang the national anthem of ‘Murica. He did a fair job. Lilian Garcia wept, silently. So, yeah, ladders! It’s the WWE Intercontinental Title Match - and the title belt was hung high above the ring, ready for a bunch of men to forget how to climb a ladder in trying to grab it! I hate ladder matches. I spend half the time eye-rolling at the contrived spots they’ve engineered themselves (slowly) into and the rest of the time wincing at the damage their causing to each other’s frail flesh sacks. But you know what? This was great. It ran at a fast pace without seeming too rushed, and allowed you to absorb what was going on. What’s more, Dolph Ziggler was the first man EVER in a ladder match to remember how to climb a ladder at anything other than glacial pace. Yeah, there were some horrible bumps - particularly Ambrose powerbombed through two ladders at ringside - but it was (mostly) safelyworked. And Barrett got in some great Bullhammers. Daniel Bryan got the win by headbutting Dolph Ziggler off the top of the ladder and grabbing the belt, and his reward will be to lose every

H

14 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15

match from now on until he loses the belt. Hey, it’s Seth Rollins! He came down to the ring, and was soon joined by Randy Orton, who - in his trademark bare chest and tiny pants - looked to be wearing far too little for the blazing sunshine pouring down on the stadium. They had a match, and it was a really good match. And it had a fucking great ending when Orton played possum for a Curb Stomp attempt and rose up, flipping Rollins into the air and hitting the RKO when he came down. It looked AMAZING. So, yeah, Orton won, and that’s him and Rollins done now, right? They showed Ronda Rousey and the rest of the Four Horsewomen at ringside, enjoying the show. My pal Jake, who’s a MASSIVE Rousey fan, stepped out to use the facilities and missed her. Sucks to be him. Some Japanese fellas came out and played some drums. They were all in Sting facepaint, except for one old fella who clearly wasn’t having any of it. One of the drums was HUGE. Biggest drum I’ve ever seen. That’s something I wasn’t expecting WrestleMania to provide. Sting came out and walked to the ring. Quite a thing, really - Sting in a WWE match. Wow. Then HHH came out. For some people it was amazing and brilliant and those people are clearly quite demented

because it was hilarious and awful. Watch it if you haven’t. They had a stare down and then got it on. Oh, it was announced before the match that it could only be won by pinfall or submission - a clever way of telling us that shenanigans were afoot. They had a slow-paced but decent match until Sting had HHH set up for the Scorpion Death Drop and DX’s music played! X-Pac, Road Dogg & Billy Gunn ran down and Sting fought them off. Having thrown them all out of the ring, Sting went up top and splash onto them. Sting rolled HHH back into the ring but Billy Gunn interfered, which gave HHH time to recover and set Sting up for the Pedigree. Guess whose music played before he could hit it? If you guessed Goldberg, or DDP, or even fucking Glacier - because they were solid WCW guys, right? - then you’re as big an idiot as I am because out came the nWo. Yes, the nWo: three men who’ve worked on-and-off for WWE over the last fourteen years, and who hated Sting and WCW when they were there, anyway. Pft, forget all that - this is mark-out time! The nWo and DX had a brawl, and as they were brawling, Sting put HHH in the Scorpion Death Lock and almost looked to have the match won by submission when Shawn Michaels appeared out of nowhere and


WrestleMania 31 grossed $12.6 million, as 76,976 fans converged at Levi Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers.

superkicked Sting. HHH got a nearfall and Michaels looked shocked! Both men grabbed their weapons and went at it, with Sting breaking HHH’s sledgehammer in two with his baseball bat. HHH, though, managed to club Sting with the head of the sledgehammer and cover him for the win. After the match, both groups helped up their respective representatives and HHH extended his hand. Sting, despite being CLUBBED IN THE HEAD BY A SLEDGEHAMMER, shook it and they were best pals. This was tons of fun. There was no logical reason for HHH to win, so of course he did. Why make the fans happy, eh? Broken record. But, that aside, it was a great nostalgia-fest. They announced some new shows coming to the WWE Network: WWE versions of Muppet Babies, Punked, and Tarrant on TV. Oh, and - in a move which will surely please fans of legitimate women wrestlers and #GiveDivasAChance - a new Divas Search. Here’s hoping someone gets called a “cum-guzzling slut” again! Backstage, Maria Menounos interviewed Daniel Bryan. Bryan was STOKED to have won the Intercontinental Championship, and looked like he could just retire right there and then when he was joined by Pat Patterson, Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat, Ric Flair, and Bret Hart to celebrate his win. Ron Simmons turned up, and Maria pointed out he’d never won the Intercontinental title and he replied with the loudest “DAMN!” you ever heard. Poor Maria jumped out of her skin. Back at the show, and it was time to go and get some drinks and snacks. Yes, it was the musical interlude. Skylar Grey (no, me either) was out there with Kid Ink (*shrug*) and Travis Barker, who is a drum guy for Blink 182. They did that song and some

white people danced. People were still getting concessions when the next match started and most of them didn’t bother rushing back. Because it was the Divas – Paige & AJ Lee versus the Bella Twins. They’ve improved of late, these Divas matches. But they’re still nowhere near what would be an acceptable level if they were men. Which is sad. So they had a match and it was okay, if you don’t mind long periods where

QUITE A THING, STING IN A WWE MATCH. WOW!

one of the babyfaces plays dead while the other begs for a tag. Remember when Robert Gibson lay unconscious and Ricky Morton couldn’t tag him in? Anyway, AJ won the match for her team (and for the hebephile crowd) by submitting Brie Bella with the Black Widow and Paige mouthed a “thank you” to AJ after the match for some odd reason. The announcers told us that they’d fed all the details of the maineventers into a super-computer to come up with a tale of the tape that a child could have scrawled with a crayon on a slice of bread. I ask you. They introduced all the people who’d gone into the Hall of Fame the night before. Everyone looked really happy to be there - even Lanny “Pofo”. Kevin Nash was introduced last and came out and looked genuinely humbled. Things took a dark, militaristic - and awesome - turn next, when some sinister Russian soldiers marched beautiful Lana down to the ring, carrying Russian flags, and guns, and

all that shit. It was terribly impressive. Then Rusev appeared. On a fucking TANK. Oh my days. Before John Cena came out, they played a montage of ‘Murican things. Cena’s comedy patriotic turn on Jimmy Kimmel was AWESOME, and much better than this hokey shit. Cena, representing the whole nation of ‘Murica against this evil Russian shitbastard, got nothing but boos. Lana, on the other hand, was hella over. WELCOME TO WrestleMania ! Cena was always going to win this one. Because it’s WrestleMania and it’s ‘Murica and SPOILER: CENA WINS. But I hoped that it wouldn’t be so conclusive and that they’d keep the feud alive. As it was, Cena won with the Attitude Adjustment after Rusev had knocked Lana off the apron and, after the match, Rusev ranted at an upset Lana and stomped off without her. The queue to help her get over this broken heart starts here and ends on Mars. Hey, it’s HHH & Stephanie! Did Raw start early? They heeled on the crowd and said they owned everything and everyone in the WWE and in that stadium. Out came The Rock, because why not. The Rock took an age to say anything, soaking in the adoration of the crowd to annoying levels. I love The Rock. He’s a once-in-a-generation MEGASTAR, and possibly the greatest of all time. But that doesn’t mean he can’t get tiring. Anyway, The Rock told them they DID NOT own the people and they sure as hell didn’t own The Rock. He said HHH had two choices - either he goes back and dresses like The Terminator again, or they create a WrestleMania moment right here. HHH got in The Rock’s face and told him he had nothing to prove. The Rock insulted him and HHH removed his jacket, ready to fight, but Stephanie stepped in. >

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 15


She did her usual schtick, trying to cut The Rock’s balls off, and talked about the McMahons and the Johnsons, and The Rock made a rude joke. She slapped him and ordered him out of the ring. The Rock complied, and walked around ringside to where Ronda Rousey was sat. Rousey hopped the guard rail and got into the ring with The Rock. The crowd chanted, “Ronda’s gonna kill you!”, and The Rock told her that he would never hit a woman, but he had a very good friend who would be happy to. Stephanie insisted she & Rousey were friends, becoming more panicked with every lack of confirmation from Rousey. Then, because she’s a McMahon, she got all bullish, and ordered Rousey out of her ring. Rousey may rule the octagon, but this was the squared circle. Rousey told Stephanie that any ring she steps into is hers, and The Rock warned Stephanie that if she didn’t step back Rousey would reach down her throat and play jump rope with her fallopian tubes. HHH got mad and brawled with The Rock. Rousey then dumped HHH out of the ring before gently barring Stephanie’s arm and dragging her around the ring. Stephanie escaped and she & HHH looked hurt and embarrassed on the ramp as The Rock & Rousey celebrated in the ring. This was long but good. I want a tag

match now. Interestingly, after this, Rousey was not in her ringside seat for the rest of the show. Well, she had just attacked one of the principle owners of the company... The Rock Show had eaten enough time for it to be kind of dark(ish) for the next match, and Bray Wyatt came out to his relaxing music. That’s just

SUPLEX CITY, BITCH!” THAT’S A T-SHIRT, RIGHT THERE. what I want from my wrestling heroes - ambience. I kid, I love that song. Wyatt was surrounded by scarecrows, and as he walked to the ring he woke them with his healing touch, like a fat Michael Jackson in that “Earth Song” video where he was Jesus. Wyatt waited in the ring and called out The Undertaker, who was preceded - like John Holmes - by his dong. When The Undertaker appeared two things were apparent: first, he didn’t look as bad as people expected, and not even as bad as last year. And second, he still looks so very, very human. And that was how the story of the match was told. The wasn’t the Phenom’ any longer - he was a

human man, whose standard moves and finishers no longer gained the instant results they would have in years before. Smarter people than me argued that losing to The Undertaker wouldn’t hurt Bray Wyatt. I couldn’t see an ounce of good it would do him, either. And that was before we got to see this very mortal Undertaker. Yes, we thought, this is how it will happen - Bray Wyatt beats The Undertaker. Not The Undertaker of old, but The Undertaker still, and the New Face Of Fear rises. One. Two. Three. Pinned, by a shadow of the Dead Man, what’s left for Bray Wyatt? It wasn’t a bad match. It was slow, and that fitted the mood. But it was entirely the wrong result for anything other than an on-the-night feel-good moment. A pattern emerges. Hey, it’s our main event! It’s WWE Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar versus Roman Reigns! Reigns made his way down to the ring first, from his usual place opposite the hard-cam. He had to shove a fat guy out of his way and others were pushing him. He did not look like he was enjoying himself. Lesnar came out bouncing. Heyman looked like the cat who got the cream, ate the cream, burped the cream, and had a lovely after-cream nap. The crowd cheered Lesnar loudly and booed Reigns, although not as enthusiastically as they might have done. Apathy. From the off Reigns went after Lesnar, and bloodied his eye, but Lesnar hit a massive German suplex on the blue(brown)-eyed boy. He then ragdoll’d him for an F5 but opted not to cover him for the pin. Instead, he stood, looking cruel and cool. Reigns attempted a comeback, but Lesnar hit him with suplexes, declaring, “Suplex city, bitch!” That’s a t-shirt, right there. Boos rang out as Reigns tried another comeback, but

PHOTO: MEGAN ELICE MEADOWS

LINUS REPORT


Lesnar suplexed him again. Reigns smiled and got another suplex. Reigns got up again so Lesnar kneed him in the tummy and suplexed him on the top rope, and to the floor. Reigns made a small comeback but Lesnar clotheslined him down again, his eye swelling. Lesnar dragged Reigns back into the ring and then suplexed him out of it again. He suplexed him back in, and Reigns looked out cold. Never one to err on the side of caution, Lesnar F5’d Reigns again and covered him, but Reigns kicked out, leading to a smirk from Lesnar, who took off his gloves. Lesnar stood over Reigns, slapping him across the face. Reigns got up and started smiling through bloodied teeth. Lesnar picked him up and suplexed him twice, and then hit another F5. He covered Reigns, who kicked out, and the crowd booed because three F5’s was enough to beat The Undertaker’s streak last year. Lesnar dumped Reigns on the outside and went after him but Reigns ran him into the ringpost and Lesnar was busted wide open. Blood poured down his head as Reigns rolled into the ring. Lesnar followed on a count of nine. Lesnar stood up, legs wobbling, and Reigns hit a Superman punch. He hit another and Lesnar stumbled. Another would have taken Lesnar down but he ducked. Reigns headbutted him and hit that third punch. Lesnar wobbled some more and Reigns finally took him down with a spear. Lesnar recovered and Reigns hit a second spear and made the cover. Lesnar kicked out just before the three count, and got up to hit another F5. Suddenly, Seth Rollins’s music hit... Rollins ran down to the ring, carrying his Money In The Bank

briefcase, and told the referee he was cashing in. Lilian Garcia made the announcement that the match was now a Triple Threat - first man to pin someone was your winner! Rollins dumped Reigns out of the ring and hit a Curb Stomp on Lesnar. Lesnar came back to life and picked Rollins up for an F5 but Reigns appeared out of nowhere and hit him with a spear. Rollins rolled Lesnar aside, hit a Curb Stomp on Reigns, and made the pin to become the NEW WWE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION! After the match, Rollins escaped up the ramp with his belt and celebrated. Fireworks exploded, and that’s your show. The main event was a curious match. It wasn’t an orthodox title match, but we’re learning that latter day Brock Lesnar matches seldom are. It achieved the result of keeping things fresh and unpredictable, without the feared backlash of putting the belt on Reigns. This was a Great Show. Despite the booking issues - which are major and puzzling - it delivered on a very basic level of providing four hours of entertainment with very little drag. It’s clear that, whatever WWE’s shortcomings in other areas, they can still produce that special moment, that memorable night, even if just once a year. Now to work on the rest!

DONOVAN DIJAK COLUMN

The previous attendance record for Levi’s Stadium was 70,799

hat is Dalton Castle? A peacock? A wrestler? A charismatic milkshake? I’m not convinced that anybody is 100% sure, but the one thing we can all be sure of is that he is interesting. Dalton Castle recently made his debut in ROH’s Top Prospect Tournament, and his early exit to Ashley Sixx in the first round had ROH fans clamoring for more. For those unfamiliar, Dalton Castle has been entertaining the > likes of Chikara, 2CW, and IWC fans up and down the east coast for years now with his unique combination of humor and in-ring ability. With his recent return to ROH TV, the outcry of support from fans has been immediate following one of the most flamboyant entrances and promos in the history of the company. The only downside to the grand return of the Party Peacock was his timing, as he interrupted the celebration of Donovan Dijak joining the House of Truth. All was soon forgiven, however, as I kneed his everloving face off. What does the future hold for Dalton Castle? Well aside from an ice pack, this writer believes that the future is bright for our fine feathered friend. Ring of Honor is full of many of the top professional wrestlers in the world, many of whom cop a very serious attitude (myself included). Castle’s brand of entertainment is sure to change the pace of any segment, and he will definitely stand out because of it.

W


LIVE PHOTOS: TONY KNOX

ROCKSTAR SPUD

WORDS: LEE HAZELL


We spoke with X DIVISION Champion

ROCKSTAR

SPUD R

tourists. I like being the only Brit. Nashville’s known for its music. Do you get into the music scene a lot? I go, but it’s one of those things where if you go out in Nashville for a quiet drink with your friends it’s only a matter of time before a band starts playing Don’t Stop Believing again. And it’s in every other bar so it makes it really difficult to differentiate from places. But it’s the non touristy places that are really cool to hang out in, those are the places I’m happier than anywhere else.

Firstly, how are you? I’m great mate, just chilling in Nashville. Nashville is such a great city. Honestly, it’s my favourite place in the whole US. Nowhere else where I’ve been living that I’ve enjoyed more than here. Maybe Florida, but Orlando puts me off. Too many

EC3 and Tyrus have been plaguing you for a good few months now, are you looking forward to fans seeing you exact some revenge on Carter? Yeah I am, because I think that everyone’s perception of Rockstar Spud before this situation started

EVERY TIME I WRESTLE IT RELEASES THIS PENT UP AGGRESSION I’VE GOT.

ockstar Spud is one of TNA’s most entertaining performers. After more than a decade in the indie scene, Rockstar Spud was initiated into TNA through the first season of British Boot Camp, a reality show for British stars to test their metal in TNA. As of writing he is the reigning and defending X Division Champion after cashing in his Feast or Fired contract at Wembley arena.

kicking off and EC3 was berating him was that “aw this guy sucks, he’s not a wrestler, he’s just an idiot that wears stupid bow ties and really ridiculous suits.” But that’s the bueaty of pro wrestling. A lot of people have no idea that I was a wrestler for over ten years on the independent scene. This was before >

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 19


ROCKSTAR SPUD

THE BIG SUPERMAN CULTURE HAS BEEN PLAGUING MY LIFE SINCE I WALKED INTO THE BUSINESS.

British Boot Camp and before I was Dixie Carter’s Chief of Staff. All these people in the audience wouldn’t have believed I could do anything before. So that means it’ll be very rewarding when people do get to see the match in Wembley, they’re going to be more than surprised. Especially considering the story going into it, and the investment the fans have in

20 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15

the characters and the relationship between them; from the time they were first together, to the hunt for Willow, Dixie going through a table, the recent bullying and this is the finale. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride for eighteen months and it culminates at Wembley Arena. And as an Englishman there’s no bigger arena to perform in than Wembley Arena. It’s a Mecca for our country. I was completely psyched, a dream come true for me, just like it would be for every wrestler. Do you find American promoters don’t pay much attention to the International scene? Well a lot of British companies have now branched out with video on demand and have obviously had success with YouTube, Twitter and all other forms of social media. So if you’re a wrestler in the UK

it’s a lot easier to get you product, which is yourself, noticed. You can send a YouTube link to a promoter, or put in social media and get it shared everywhere. So you’re seeing a lot more UK guys being paid to go over to the U.S., as opposed to U.S. guys being paid to go over to the UK. There’s a lot of value in the UK guys but I think a lot of British promoters really disrespect the UK guys in regards to not seeing them as the stars that they are compared to their American counterparts. They’ll pay hundreds of pounds for a U.S. guy, but it doesn’t happen with the UK guys anywhere near as much. I honestly think they should make more stars of their own guys, raising their international profiles, meaning they can make more money out of them. And at the end of the day, that’s what its all about. Selling tickets.


Spud wrestled for the UK’s Frontier Wrestling Alliance between 2004 - 2011

Do you also feel, that as a wrestler of a smaller stature, you’re talents aren’t as valued as they should be? The big superman culture has been plaguing my life since I walked into the business. When you first look at me, you see a short guy. But here’s the thing. I’m 5’4, I’m one-hundred and fifty pounds wringing wet, and I just main evented for TNA at Wembley Arena in front of eightthousand people. People back in the day didn’t believe someone like me could do that and more fool them. As much as everybody kept telling me no, saying “You’re not big enough,” it didn’t matter. I love this and nothing was ever going to stop me. Yes, along the way I got the right time, the right place, the right opportunity and the right people seeing me in British Boot Camp, but you have to take these opportunities when they come. I can’t thank Matt Conway, Dave Lagana, John Gaburic enough for the amount of faith they put in me to have me in a position where I can main event a television show. People forget that I came from the independents, I went through British Boot Camp, I started out in TNA as a lackey, and went all the way up to a Main Event storyline. It can be done. One of the things I pride myself on is that when you see me perform

you forget that I’m the small guy, because this is Rockstar Spud and you completely forget all the limitations that he has because of how he performs and what he makes you feel. And that’s all I try to do. I try to make the audience feel something. I don’t go out there to perform a certain move set, I want the audience to feel something, I want them to react and I want them to believe in me. If they can believe in me in a main event scenario, then I’ve done my job. There’s nothing stopping you in this business but yourself. You have to really knuckle down and focus on what this business is really about. It’s what I’ve done for my whole career. If people are going to put you down, just say “Yes sir, thank you sir,” use it and channel it. Every time I talk, Every time I cut a promo, every time I wrestle, it unleashes this pent up aggression I’ve got for all the times I was told “No, you’re not big enough to play football,” told “No, you’re not big enough to play cricket,” told “No, you’re not big enough to play rugby,” told “No, you’re not big enough to wrestle.” And I’m like, “I love wrestling. You are not going to stop me.” I’ve been told no too many times. I’m not just proving something to >

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ROCKSTAR SPUD

I’VE JUST MAIN EVENTED FOR TNA IN WEMBLEY ARENA IN FRONT OF 8,000 PEOPLE

somebody every day, I’m proving something to myself. As much as people value me and I feel valued, I don’t value myself enough. I think that will always be my downfall. It will be the reason I’ll have a good career, but I’ll probably never be a millionaire. Maybe that’s my own personal insecurity, but I love doing this and it won’t stop me from doing my absolute best at it. When I see a glass ceiling, I look right through it. There’s always a way. If I can do it you can do it and all that Rocky

22 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15

Spud won the OVW Television title on his debut OVW match

Balboa bullshit. Whenever I’m in the bathroom, or looking in the mirror, I’m doing a facial expression. Or if I’m driving long distance, I’m cutting a promo to myself. If Ive nothing to do, I’me going to the gym, or I’m watching wrestling. I’m an absoloute historian on wrestling. I watch, not because I’m a fan, but because I’m researching why certain things happen in a match. Everyone can call me a mark. I don’t care. The biggest mark’s are the wrestlers because we’re the ones who put the lycra on. I study it religiously because I want to be the best. TNA often film matches weeks in advance. Do you find it odd talking to fans about matches that have already taken place? No, not really because I’m not going to tell you a lie about what’s going to happen. I would tell you that when this match airs, you do not want to miss it. This match is the culmination of a year and a half of story. People forget that and say it’s all about the Hair vs. Hair. It’s nothing to do with

Hair vs’ Hair. It’s about a situation that everyone can relate to. It’s about being bullied, or being taken advantage of by a friend, or being told that they aren’t good enough for somebody, and fighting back. It captures that emotion where they’ve finally stood up for themselves. Believing in themselves, and they are happy being themselves. I represent the 99% of people in the world who were told they can’t do something, going up against someone like EC3 who represents the 1%, who has all the money in the world, who runs the industry because his aunts in charge, who can’t take responsibility for what happened to his aunt so he’s taking it out on me. Its about entitlement and embarrassment. He want’s to embarrass me and I want to put him in his place. That’s why I really want people to see this match; it’s a coming of age story for Rockstar Spud and its drama. It’s pure drama. I can’t wait to watch it either. It doesn’t matter who has their head shaved at the end of the day. The winners are the fans.


WORDS: LIAM O’ROURKE

PHOTO: ANTON JACKSON

RUSEV CRUSHED?

en route to the big match with the top babyface, where he finally falls to the forces of good. No problem there, the loss is part of the design of the character. In addition, had Rusev gotten his second win over Cena last Sunday, there’s really nowhere else to go with the US Title run, because if you wish to continue his rise, he has to lose the belt somewhere along the way anyway, and it’s probably more damaging for him to

RUSEV CRUSHED?

lose closer to a World Title challenge than it is now in terms of momentum. So again, I feel it was the right move. The problem lies in the fact that like almost every past example of the heel megapush, once that first major job has taken place, the preferential booking that brought the character to this point is typically out the window too. Not to say he’ll be losing to Zack Ryder on Main Event any time soon, he’ll be kept credible enough, but the sense of treating him like a top priority vanishes once he loses his first program, because the rise is over. Not that I agree with this

ne of the more interesting

strong secondary titles are crucial to a

mentality, but again, we’re going on WWE

outcomes at this years

company, especially one like WWE that

precedent here.

WrestleMania was the

has exhausted many of their star-making

decision, while largely

devices over the years. But WWE is doing

Just look at Bray Wyatt, whose path

expected, for Rusev to

an appreciably better job in the last two

as an unbeatable heel last year prior

take his first pinfall loss at the hands of

months focusing on the championships,

to his match with Cena at Mania 30 is

John Cena, turning over the United States

which is so important, not just for the

similar to Rusev’s, albeit shorter. They

Title in the process.

structure it creates or the sense of

protected him until he ultimately lost,

prestige it brings in the long run, but in

at which point he floundered, he wasn’t

There are two ways to look at it this. On

the ability to actually use that prestige to

prioritised, his direction has never been

one hand, John Cena as US Champion

elevate somebody within that framework

as focused, and he’s not close to as over

does the world of good for the belt. He

when the time is right. So in the big

now as he once was. Sure, they put him

will never be overlooked, he’s above the

picture, I agree with the decision for Cena

in a key match at Mania, but people see

50-50 booking pattern that typically

to win.

a ceiling on him now that he’ll never

O

surpass. And it’s hard to expect anything

hurts midcard champions, and he will always be the second most important

The flip side is that Rusev was sacrificed

different for Vladamir Putin’s favourite

match on the show, no matter what. It’s

as a result.

wrestler.

come to fruition for over a year in light

Don’t get me wrong – the Rusev

In addition, without being that key

of the awesome job Shinsuke Nakamura

character resembles many from the past

priority, the company won’t evolve this

has done with the IWGP Intercontinental

(with Umaga being a striking recent

character at all. Bray Wyatt is the same

Title, which reaffirmed the point that it’s

comparison), where a guy is brought

as ever, and now people see through it.

the person makes the belt important, not

in with a simplistic, somewhat dated

Alberto Del Rio was the same boring

vice versa. I’ve long since believed that

gimmick, and is smashed over everybody

second tier guy forever. It’s the nature of

a booking decision I was hoping would

24 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15


Rusev trained under Rikishi and Gangrel at the Knox pro wrestling academy

how they book, and he won’t feel this

a high profile singles match with

fresh in two years.

Roman Reigns would deliver big as well. Matches with Daniel Bryan are

What makes it sad is watching his

a natural. The options are all there,

entrance at WrestleMania . Between

but it relies on him not being a flat

Lana, the soldiers, the title, the

character, and maintaining the same

cannons, the tank, as hokey and retro

level of heat he’s had for the last little

as this one trick pony nationalistic

while. As we’ve seen, that’s tough to

deal has been, it’s been played to

do if you’re not careful.

perfection almost the whole way through. But now the USA has proven

WWE has always had problems with

worldwide dominance once again

cultivating heels with heat over the

via catch-as-catch-can, the natural

long-term. They are fundamentally

evolution is for that element of the

a babyface driven company, and see

Rusev character to take a bit of a

heels as characters to feed them.

backseat. But once you strip away the

Exceptions to that mantra are rare,

elements that have brought Rusev to

and who knows if Rusev has what

this point, you better have something

it takes to stay over at a top level

good for him, or else he’ll sink.

once the Pavlovian-response of “this is ‘Murica” is old news, he’s losing

Which brings us to Lana. Between her

to Randy Orton and doing his own

being the reason for Rusev’s defeat,

promos. But he’s very good in his

the pre-Mania dissention angle and

current role, and there is potential

apparent direction moving forward,

for even more if they play their cards

it appears the vision in mind here is

right. Will he be a higher priority than

for an eventual Lana babyface turn,

Brock Lesnar, John Cena or Roman

which most would be right to have

Reigns? No, and he shouldn’t be. But

mixed feelings on. This is a drastic

there is no need to castrate him of

change to the Rusev presentation, as

everything that that works just yet.

I’d argue that while I like his work in the ring, if this gimmick didn’t have

Keep him with Lana. Make them

Lana it would have died on his ass by

more dangerous than ever. Have it so

now. The range she brings as a heel

the loss has only inspired the truly

character adds longevity, opening

sadistic and vile side to their anti-

up any number of possible angles.

American venom. Brock Lesnar is no

Without her, while I don’t think he’ll

longer a heel, so the market is open

be sunk, it’s a valuable dynamic

for acts of violence against beloved

removed from his act, and one less

personalities. Because at a time

reason to truly hate him to the same

when there are very few guys over in

degree after his heat is fractured by

a big way, a heel like Rusev is at a

finally taking a loss or ten.

premium.

The issue with stripping away all these elements is looking at the potential upside in keeping Rusev strong, or continuing his rise to prominence. A strong and fearsome Rusev facing babyface Brock Lesnar, promoted correctly, could be tremendous. If they can get

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momentum with both simultaneously,

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 25


LOOK BACK

WORDS: LEE HAZELL

A LOOK BACK AT THE 1ST WCW MONDAY NITRO Lee Hazell looks back at the first episode of WCW Monday Nitro

h, Nitro. The first shot

bother trying to whip them in a ratings

and his appearance with Nitro was

fired in the Monday Night

war?

almost like the first point scored.

the brain child of Eric

The opening graphic reel is a dramatic

Nitro’s first match was certainly more

Bischoff, who was tasked

affair. Streets lighting on fire, traffic

intriguing than Raw’s first bout. Although

with producing a product that would

lights exploding, larger than life effigies

both of them featured a wrestler nabbed

make the popularity of the WCW brand

of wrestlers are plastered on five storey

from the Far East, the legendary Jushin

more comparable to WWE. Eric told WCW

buildings, letting you know that all the

Thunder Liger is a far cry from the barely

owner and billionaire media mogul Ted

biggest names are in the WCW stable.

mobile Yokozuna (not to mention the

Turner the only way for the company to

Wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan, Hulk

compete with Vince McMahon’s operation

Hogan, and Hulk Hogan are featured in

was to match them for Prime Time

the opening video (and a quick one of

coverage, possibly even go head to head

Sting).

A

Wars. WCW’s Nitro was

with them against Monday Night Raw. Thing is, Eric never expected Turner to

The stage is The Mall of America in

give him that slot. He did. The result is

Minnesota. While the state may not have

WCW Monday Nitro.

the glamour of New York, it must have

HULK HOGAN TELLS US THE DELIGHTS OF PASTAMANIA

taken some pull for them to get such an Nitro had inarguably grander beginnings

iconic monument to close its business for

than their WWE counterpart. Then again,

the evening. It’s a unique, if odd, choice

fact that Liger was actually Japanese,

it was two years later and with a lot more

to host the inaugural episode of your

not Samoan like Yokozuna). A New Japan

sacks of cash behind it, so perhaps this

new flagship program, but it has some

Pro Wrestler in an American promotion

is no surprise. After all, if you can’t at

interesting utility.

is certainly an exciting prospect, one that

least match WWE for grandiose then why

JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER IS A FAR

WWE has notoriously been allergic to all Eric Bishoff is your host and he is joined

its life. It also showed the faith WCW had

by Steve McMichael and Bobby Heenan

in the abilities of smaller, more acrobatic

(looks like that’s one mistake WCW

wrestlers to draw a crowd, another thing

aren’t likely to repeat). McMichael, like

WWE has always remained sceptical of.

Rob Bartlett, is another announcer from outside the wrestling business. But,

His opponent is also a legendary

CRY FROM THE

even though he doesn’t add much to the

Cruiserweight, the unpredictable Brian

broadcast, unlike Bartlett, he doesn’t

Pillman. Such a pairing would rile up

BARELY MOBILE

have an overwhelmingly negative impact

hopeful expectations, especially with their

on the product either. But the appearance

already heated history. The match is far

YOKOZUNA

of McMichael’s is a statement of intent

more exciting than anything Raw had to

from the get go. McMichael’s was being

offer in its debut. Easily outshining its

courted by Vince McMahon at the time,

rival’s best match (Shawn Michaels vs.

26 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15


The first Match on the very first Nitro was Pillman V Liger

Max Moon) Liger vs. Pillman is a more

world. Both of them have such a grasp

technical bout than most cruiserweight

of their character’s in ring behaviour it

fights would be today, but just as

makes the story told here, while fairly

thrilling and athletic. A great show of

inconsequential, riveting.

sportsmanship at the end too, cementing the identity of the Cruiserweight division

This is also the match in which WCW

being about workmanship and respect

scores its second, and perhaps biggest,

rather than drama and characters.

point over their bitter rivals. Lex Luger,

AFTER A BRIEF SABU PROMO IT’S TIME FOR MEAN GENE OKERLUND

last seen on WWE programming the A Sting bumper and some odd sponsor

previous night, made his WCW TV debut

choices, that really bring home that

during this match. He skulks towards

this is a product of the 90’s, lead

the ring, but disappointingly he skulks

and Hulk is telling him to take his best

into a segment where our WCW World

back again. His appearance isn’t the one

one on next week’s Nitro.

Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan

that has any effect on the match, but Arn

tells us the delights of PastaMania. You

Anderson’s does. He steps back into the

It’s all a thinly veiled ruse to delegitimise

know, because Michael Jordan has his

ring to restart his feud with long-time

Raw. Luger talks about how he’s through

own restaurant so why not? He thanks

friend Flair.

playing around with boys and says that as the WCW World Champion Hogan is

the franchise for making him as lean and trim whilst also having a dig at Big Bubba

But wait, there’s more. Scott Norton

the only World Champion in wrestling.

Rogers’ weight, who he will be facing later

turns up to threaten Eric Bischoff.

For all their posturing, the fact that they

that night.

McMichael’s stands in his way but

keep referring back to WWE is a sign they

Norton’s attention is taken up by

know they are playing catch up. All this

The next bout is for the U.S. Title and it’s

Randy Savage. Having this altercation

grandstanding does is reinforce that fact,

being fought for by Sting and Ric Flair.

so close to the last match might add

not dismiss it.

They’re really pulling out all the stops

to the chaotic nature of the program

tonight. It’s also an incredible showing for

and prove that “anything really can

Overall though, the first show of Nitro

the Unites States Title with two legendary

happen.” but it leaves Anderson and

felt like a much bigger event show than

world champions fighting for it.

Sting left undercooked without a proper

the first Raw, not to mention produced

conclusion, and both segments probably

so much more professionally with barely

needed more space to breathe.

a technical hitch in sight. The world

With all the NWO feuding he did while

heavyweight title bout, two legit legends

looking like Brandon Lee, as well as his recent run in TNA, it’s sometimes easy to

After a brief Sabu promo it’s time for

fighting over the United States Title,

forget Sting’s original phase as a bleach

Mean Gene Okerlund to introduce the

and an international bout between two

blonde surfer and his feud with Flair

main event. Hulk Hogan vs. Big Bubba

of the best cruiserweights in the world,

that made his name. In fact, you can see

Rogers for the WCW Worlds Heavyweight

most certainly made for a better card

so much of what Sting borrowed from

Title. As far as judging the match goes,

than three squash matches, and an

Flair as they go toe to toe. He has Flair’s

it’s a Hulk Hogan match. A competent

Intercontinental title fight between Shawn

hair colour, his trademark “Woo!,” his

bigman contest but nothing we’ve never

Michaels and the guy Shawn Michaels is

spangley robe; it all gives their matches a

seen the Hulkster do before. This one is

obviously going to beat.

kind of student/mentor subtext to them,

strictly for the boondocks. But keep in mind that this show went

enriching the experience. It’s also been a long time since I’ve seen Sting be this

The real drama happens afterwards when

live two and a half years after the first

athletic.

the Dungeon of Doom comes down to

Monday Night Raw and that Raw had

the ring and are beaten off by Hogan…

steadily been redefining what prime time

That’s another thing I’d almost forgotten.

and Lex Luger. The help is none too

wrestling meant in the mid 90’s. And

Sting was a hell of an athlete and his

appreciated though. When Hulk turns

even though it was an admirable job, Eric

quickness in the ring almost rivalled that

around and sees his uninvited partner

Bischoff isn’t really doing anything other

of Pillman in the previous match. Other

they almost knock each other’s blocks off.

than following the blueprint that Vince

than that it’s a contest that reminds you

The following is a heated promo where

and Co. had been perfecting since ‘93.

why these two were among the best the

Lex says he wants a shot at Hogan’s title

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 29


PHOTO: ANTON JACKSON

SETH ROLLINS

28 STEELCHAIR MARCH 2O15

WORDS: DOMINIC GRIFFIN


Rollins won the ROH Championship under the name Under the name Tyer Black

THE RISE OF

SETH ROLLINS Dominic Griffin looks at the rise of the new WWE World champion ive years ago, a man

Championship Wrestling (and later the

Rollins has a natural charisma as a

named Tyler Black had

current iteration of NXT), he was doing

babyface, largely because he does really

finally won the Ring of

much of what brought him to the dance.

cool moves and flips and top rope shit.

Honor World Heavyweight

He continued working as a fiery babyface

It’s hard to boo someone who is so

Championship. He had

with an absurd, indie-based moveset, and

blatantly good at what they do. That’s

been a fan favourite to take that top

managed to infuse more of his scene kid

how he had been pushed in ROH, as the

spot for over a year, and while that bout

metalcore obsessions into his character

dark horse of the heel stable Age of The

against Austin Aries was an incredible

(at one point unsuccessfully petitioning

Fall (alongside recent WWE creative hire

match, to say the triumph felt middling

A Day To Remember to lease their song

Jimmy Jacobs, Luke Harper and J&J

would be an understatement. ROH

“2nd Sucks” as his new theme.) He had

Security member Joey Mercury) Black/

F

officials had waited entirely too long to

Rollins was bad guy the fans could slowly

put the strap on Black, so by the time

embrace as a hero. Gabe Sapolsky

he’d finally become The Guy, no one was

would book him in ways that allowed

excited anymore. He ended up having to round out his run with the promotion as a heel, something he, at the time at least, was not particularly well suited for. Five days ago, that same man, who we now know as Seth Rollins, won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, in the main event of WrestleMania , in one of the most chickenshit heel ways ever, and it was absolutely fucking perfect. They bit the bullet and gave him the title in the

FIVE YEARS AGO BEING A HEEL WAS NOT SOMETHING SETH ROLLINS WAS BEST SUITED FOR.

his inner babyface to shine so that when he eventually turned to the side of the angels, the audience of smarks would believe they were the ones who made it happen with their counterprogramming support. In the WWE, his latent careerism and boundless drive, coupled with an irascibly prickish nature, were packaged together to present him as the first truly detestable heel of the modern era. He’s now the prodigal scion of twin

weasel-est way possible at the absolute

lineages in pro graps villainy, the

apex of his powers as a heel, and that

descendant of his Two Rassle Dads,

decision is going to reap serious benefits.

a series of great matches with future

Triple H and Edge. Triple H’s influence

teammate turned archenemy Dean

on and off screen should be obvious

What happened in that ensuing five

Ambrose and was steadily improving his

to anyone with eyes, but it’s Edge, who

years? A lot, obviously.

game, but it wasn’t until becoming the

famously passed Ultimate Opportunist

first ever NXT Champion and making his

torch to Rollins some months back on

When Tyler Black became Seth

big roster debut that he found his true

Raw, who is the clearer precedent. Edge

Rollins, down in WWE’s now defunct

calling.

was another guy who was a damn good

developmental promotion Florida

babyface, but had to tap into his inner >


SETH ROLLINS

Seth Rollins real name is Colby Lopez

IN WWE SETH ROLLINS HAS BEEN PACKAGED AS THE FIRST TRULY DETESTABLE HEEL OF THE MODERN ERA

asshole to REALLY get over and punch

long time to be booked as a cowardly

through the glass ceiling. In an era of

heel effectively. When he grabbed his

heels who try so hard to be cool and

title and ran into the crowd on RAW, you

still be liked, Edge and Trips are two of

fucking bought it. Other heel champions

the last guys brave enough to elicit real

were booked similarly, but they’re

fucking hatred from fans, and Rollins

presented as callow in a way that makes

learned all his best moves from them.

them also seem uninteresting. Having watched Seth Rollins blossom in The

Rollins is the first guy in the WWE in a

Shield as an insanely talented tactician who helped fell every major superstar on the roster, we KNOW he can go the distance when the time comes. He’s been booked smartly enough to seem like a legitimate threat, which is what makes his heel act so infuriating. You know that he has the goods, so his insecurity and paranoia that requires his every match be flanked by Kane or The Big Show or his stooges makes you want to see him get

way he was on Monday, tapping into the relative smashability of his face and his preternatural ability to engender genuine malice in viewers, The Rollins Era can be a special one indeed. Somewhere down the line, Rollins will go back to being the babyface of The Tyler Black Years, and we will get to see him rile up crowds and do Phoenix Splashes (as they are called) and it will be great. Edge and Triple H got to have big babyface runs (the former more successfully than the latter) but those were victory laps. They each had natural gifts at portraying bad guys, and that’s what’s gotten Seth Rollins this far. If you want to build up the next big hero for the future of the WWE, you’re going to need a bad guy. Mick Foley had Triple

his face kicked in all the more.

H. John Cena had Edge. Maybe Roman

Where his title reign goes is up in the

Rollins, the villain the WWE Universe

air, but if they keep booking him the

Reigns will benefit from having Seth needs.


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PHOTOS: OLLY HANKS

FOZZY LIVE

32 STEELCHAIR MARCH 2O15

WORDS: OLLY HANKS


Fozzy started out as a heavy metal covers band called Fozzy Osbourne

LIVE REVIEW: FOZZY, THE DIRTY YOUTH, MALRUN & DENDERA T

his was my first visit to

in the squared circle in front of tens of

Southampton’s newest

thousands of people, it was quite nerve

venue, The 1865.

racking and exciting all at the same

Secluded on a back street

time being able to photograph them.

and on the fringes of

Sometimes with bands you fear that they

Southampton’s dock area I was really

may not be into it for whatever reason

looking forward to this one!

that night (crowds, get out of bed the wrong side etc) but from the moment

First on were local metal boys Dendera

Fozzy took the stage, you could tell how

bringing their traditional British metal

much fun they have doing this.

sound. Their set was filled with machine gun drumming, Maiden esq harmonies

Fozzy feature members of Stuck Mojo as

and solos aplenty. Always good to have a

well as Y2J know how to party with their

local band warm up the crowd in a venue

American hard rock / heavy metal. The

was at this point was freezing!

band take the stage minus Jericho then from the side he walks out into a dark

Next on tonight was Malrun, a Danish

room, stands in the middle of the stage

metal band fronted by the spikey haired

pulling a classic pose from one of many

Nicklas Sun. Malrun’s style is very

Wreslemania’s through the years with

European in the same style as Volbeat

a jacket that lights up in red, white and

and In Flames with clean to growl vocals

blue sparkles.

with big choruses. Jericho knows how to work the crowd, of Main support, The Dirty Youth from

course he does, its been his job for years

South Wales really caught me off guard.

and at the end of each song the Fozzy

I wasn’t expecting the performance and

chants come back and the band stand

catchy pop metal songs that we got.

there and suck them in with ear to ear

Lead singer Danni Monroe was lively with

grins. This was a classic American metal

her stage presence and in the first song

party, Jericho’s voice is on point with the

flashing green glasses. Her voice was

grooved rifferage and heavy big choruses,

very easy on the ear, pitched perfectly

they even made ABBA go metal with their

with each song played with precision with

rendition of ‘SOS’, it wasn’t bad, I’ve

super melodic parts and equally really

heard a lot worse covers over the years!

heavy guitar riffs. Couldn’t help but enjoy them and the ever filling room certainly

Whether its in front of 400 people of

shared that thought.

80,000 it doesn’t matter to Chris Jericho, he puts everything into it every night.

FOZZY! FOZZY! FOZZY! Chants rang out pretty much as soon and Danni and

Photographed a future WWE Hall of

The Dirty Youth boys left the stage. For

Famer… check! And I loved it!

years I grew up watching Chris Jericho

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 33


NXT/WWE

WORDS: ALAN BOON

WHAT WWE CAN LEARN FROM NXT T

hat NXT is produced by

principle is the same. Expand the team,

wrestler B said something bad about

the same company as

if you must, from one to half a dozen but

wrestler A. Or maybe wrestler X is in

Raw and Smackdown is

four times that is overkill.

the way of wrestler Y getting to wrestler

sometimes bewildering.

Z. There’s no over-involved reasoning

One is critically-acclaimed

behind the matchings, and feuds are built

must-watch TV, and the others are often

LISTEN TO THE FANS

some of the worst wrestling TV produced

steadily and increase in intensity towards their zenith.

by a company without the initials T, N,

The regulars at Full Sail University, where

and A.

NXT is taped, are part of the show. They

On Raw and Smackdown there’s often

number around a hundred and fifty of the

no reason for the wrestlers to fight.

But, say the loyalists, NXT is a one-

four-hundred crowd, and ensure that the

That’s because, with those five hours a

hour show taped in front of a friendly

good guys are cheered and the bad guys

week of first-run TV, they have to throw

audience who pop for everything they do!

are booed, although they sometimes – if

things out there, literally filling time with

Which, even if it were true (and it half

they think it’s warranted – do a little of

matches that often do nothing for any of

is), doesn’t mean that lessons cannot be

the reverse. They understand that NXT is

the combatants because wins and losses

learned by the big shows (and The Big

a development territory and are patient

do not really mean anything. Wrestler

Show) from their little brother…

with the trainees, although they can turn

A beats wrestler B? Oh, he’ll move onto

and punish mistakes by those who should

wrestler C now, yes? No, because wrestler

know better. And, if storylines are just not

B needs his win back. Zzzzzzzzzz.

LESS IS MORE

working, they’re quietly written out rather than persevered with against all common

Raw and Smackdown are put together by

sense.

a writing team that is reported to number over two-DOZEN television writers, and

With a touring schedule, the TV on the

still micro-managed by Vince McMahon

main shows can’t ship in a loyal crowd to

to such an extent that the whole show is

help get its booking across to the rest of

often re-written hours before broadcast.

the audience, both live and watching at

NXT, on the other hand, has just one

home. But TV crowds are smarter than

writer – Ryan Ward – who is assisted

the house show crowd, and to ignore

with booking by veteran Dusty Rhodes.

their input and participation is folly in

They answer to Paul Levesque (HHH),

the extreme. No-one is saying that fans

who spends half his week on the road

should be given exactly what they want

with the main show and away from NXT.

every time they demand it – history has

This simple approach keeps everything

proven that to be a terrible idea – but to

consistent and ensures a coherent story

constantly deny them what they want is

can be told from start to finish with the

just stupid.

same voice. Critics point out that one hour a week is a different prospect to the five – seven, if you count Main Event & Superstars – that the main shows have to fill, but the

34 STEELCHAIR MARCH 2O15

TELL SIMPLE STORIES There’s no complicated booking on NXT. Wrestler A fights wrestler B because

WOMEN ARE PEOPLE TOO There are no Divas on NXT. The distaff title is the NXT Women’s Championship. The women are treated no differently to the men – other than there are less of them – and they have main-evented TV shows and semi-“mained” the NXT equivalent of a pay-per-view, the quarterly (soon to be monthly) Takeover live special. They are given time to tell their stories in the ring, and never treated as tits and ass for the male audience. That’s not to say they are – as Tyler Breeze would say – “uggo” but it’s not an (onscreen, at least) consideration. The motley collection of former models, failed actresses, and the occasional wrestlers on the main shows are, first and


KEVIN GILL COLUMN foremost, there for titilation. That’s why you’ll rarely see a one-on-one match-up, at least not without besties at ringside to double the XX chromosones on view. They have matches that, if they were put

THE RENAISSANCE OF

CHRIS HERO

together by male wrestlers, would soon result in all concerned being “future endeavoured”, and are rarely given more than a couple of minutes at a time to show their wares. The #GiveDivasAChance campaign has made some in-roads but the damage may have already been done for too long. NXT does so many things right that it’s never a difficult watch. Whether, stretched to the length of an average Raw or Smackdown, that would remain the

restling is art, and Chris Hero just entered his renaissance period. Effortlessly and credibly, he draws equal inspiration from the essences of independent hip hop and independent wrestling and uses both to raise the bar for his inring performance.

W

case is unknowable. But it is providing an example to its bigger brothers that should not be dismissed as irrelevant. The surprising thing is that NXT is not reinventing the wheel – much of what it does so well is time-honoured and still used internationally with some success in Japan and Mexico. NXT is being used so well as a testing ground for new wrestlers and announcers – it’s just a shame that what they learn

Always loved and respected behind the scenes, Chris Hero has had his share of ups and downs in his career, but with his positive attitude and passion for wrestling undeterred, he is proving that a WWE contract is not a requirement to live your dreams or to be in the upper most echelon of wrestlers in the world today.

down there in Orlando doesn’t seem to have reached the eyes and ears of the powers-that-be in Stamford.

Agree or disagree? message us at @SteelchairMag

“Elbow…And Elbow…And Elbow…And KNOCKOUT” is the raucous chant that’s not just ringing through the air, but it’s also charging the molecules of

oxygen with static electricity, creating an atmosphere unlike anything I’ve ever seen in independent wrestling. The location is San Jose, California on WrestleMania weekend for the Mercury Rising Supershow. Chris Hero is wrestling his 5th > match in 3 days, in addition to 2 autograph signings and Walemania. The standingroom-only crowd still cannot get enough of this innovative performer. Tonight he’ll face the outstanding Timothy Thatcher in a match so anticipated, that the crowd stands cheering, chanting and applauding for over six minutes before the match even starts. The positive energy seems to supercharge both competitors as they deliver a true Match of the Year candidate. As the exhausted and jubilant fans head home, their night has ended…But the Renaissance of Chris Hero has just begun.

Check out kevin’s podcast at KevinGillShow.Com


LIVE PHOTOS: TONY KNOX

ETHAN CARTER III

WORDS: LEE HAZELL


We spoke with tna’s unbeaten ethan carter III

UNBEATABLE?

EC3 E

C3 is the shining jewel

responsible, I have to turn my attention

in the Carter family

to the main culprit, which was Rockstar

crown. He has been

Spud. This all comes to ahead this Friday

groomed from birth for

night on Impact on destination America

greatness, for distinction,

in a Hair vs. Hair match.

and to carry the future of TNA upon his chiselled shoulders. EC3 talks to Steel

What is your strategy going into the

Chair to discuss his destiny as one of

match?

the most dominant forces in TNA history

Well my strategy is pretty simple, seeing

MY STRATEGY IS SIMPLY TO DOMINATE

as how I’m bigger, stronger, faster For those who are new to TNA, can you

and far more attractive, it is simply to

give us some insight into how Rockstar

dominate. To use Rockstar Spud as an

Spud got himself caught in your sights?

example, as a catalyst, as a platform, to show this entire industry to let them

To those who are new to TNA, Rockstar

know, take notice of EC3.

Spud started out as an employee of mine and the Carters. He was charged

It would be far more of a tragedy if it

with one mission. That mission was to

were you to be shaved bald. I imagine

protect my dear, sweet aunt Dixie Carter.

you’d think?

Now, seeing that she was viciously driven through a table over the summer,

Off the record? I’d be ugly as hell bald.

it would seem that Rockstar Spud has failed. Since I can no longer punish those

Who outside of TNA would you like to

relieve of their precious locks? There is so many talents within TNA, I wouldn’t even want to overlook any of them as potential shavees. So much of the roster hasn’t tested their metal with me. Drew Galloway coming back presents a very intriguing matchup between him and I. Kurt Angle’s still >

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 37


ETHAN CARTER III

it. It’s a really good product now. But

great guys going under the radar in our

being coupled with Daniel Bryan was

company. Samuel Shaw or Gunner, for

awesome because, a. he’s one of the

example need the right opponent or

best wrestlers in the world, and b. the

opportunity to bring them out to the

stuff we did on NXT really allowed him

forefront.

to show his personality more to the higher ups; who up until then would look

As far as other promotions go, Ring Of

at him and think he was a dork, as they

Honour has some great talent like ACH.

called him, which he wasn’t. The guy in

He does some amazing things for the

addition to being an in ring presence,

fans so I’d like to take that away from

has a great personality.

HOW LONG DO I THINK MY UNDEFEATED STREAK WILL LAST? FOREVER.

here and I still can’t stand him. We have

them. There’s a guy over their called Raymond Rowe who I’ve known for a very

TNA gets a lot of business in Britain.

long time and I think he’s a star waiting

What are your feelings on British

to be born. But mostly I wanna shave

wrestling? Do you have any British

John Cena’s head too.

influences?

You had a brief stint in NXT. You’re pro

I’ve watched some stuff, it’s definitely

was Daniel Bryan. Was it odd having

very well could end up In TNA or

different. I would look at Norman Smiley

a “mentor” who is a contemporary of

anywhere else because there’s a lot of

be like “That’s awesome and I could

yours?

talent.

never do any of it.” I think the scene

job of getting into some of the untapped potential out there. A lot of those guys, even if they didn’t win the completion,

over there is awesome and I’d like to get

One of you’re nicknames is The

Yeah. Well, it wasn’t so brief, it was

over their more. I mean, TNA goes out

Hardcore American Icon. In your

four and a half years. And NXT was a

once a year, we get some great talent

opinion, who the greatest American

far different show than when I was on

their – British Boot Camp does a great

wrestler? Apart from EC3 of course.

38 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15


EC3 made his WWE debut in 2006 on Sunday Night Heat match

WHO WILL BEAT Obviously, post Spud, you’ll have Well obviously it has to be apart

your eyes set on the TNA World

from EC3 because EC3’s never

Heavyweight Championship. There’s

lost. But the greatest American

some very strong competition

wrestler of all time? That’s a very

for that title now. I think it’s the

speculative question to answer. But

strongest it’s been in TNA for years.

we can look at it a few ways. The

What do you think of your rivals?

greatest representation of American wrestling on a worldwide stage is

Well a great general will never reveal

Hulk Hogan. Through the 80’s Hulk

his strategy, but I would say your

Hogan practically won the cold war

inklings about my desire to be World

for us. In ring, I think you could go

Heavyweight Champion are accurate.

along down to Texas and take a look

Looking at the competitive landscape

at Shawn Michaels and what he did

I think TNA’s done a great job with

for revolutionising storytelling in ring.

its Top Five. It makes the title mean

From there we could hop in a pickup

something, as it should. On top of

truck and swing down to the Broken

that you have Bobby Lashley, who is a

Skull Ranch and meet up with Steve

dominant physical presence, and Kurt

Austin, who brought wrestling to the

Angle, who is number one contender

mainstream and just set it on fire. As

and, as I said, one of the greatest

an anti-hero he really capitalised on

American wrestlers of all time. It is

the environment and the time. And

very competitive, but I’ve beaten both

as much as it pains me to say this,

of those men *cough* via countout

we can go back to 1996 and we can

*cough*. But whatever happens with

see the only Olympic Gold medallist

Rockstar Supd I’ll have to be more

in pro wrestling, Kurt Angle. One of

battle tested in the future.

the greatest American wrestlers of all time.

Your undefeated streak is one of the talking points of TNA. How long do you think it will last? Forever. How much input did you have into the character of EC3? It was something presented to me. If it were anybody else I think it could have become a completely different character, but the great thing about TNA is that they let me feel it out. They gave me guidelines, not necessarily rules, to follow. Through those guidelines I think we developed something unique, original and organic and I can’t thank them enough for that.

EC3? Already defeating names such as Bully Ray, Rockstar Spud and Kurt Angle. Jack Richardson looks at who may be the one to conquer EC3’s streak. JEFF HARDY Hardy has spent his career overcoming the odds, winning it all. EC3 has beaten Hardy when in his Willow persona, however in the future with his army of fans behind him, look to Hardy to be the one to defeat EC3 with his high flying style contrasting EC3’s hardy hitting approach. TYRUS Despite at this time being allies with EC3, Tyrus is a dominant force and not only due to his size but also his power is one of the toughest guys on Impact. With EC3 on a undefeated streak and Tyrus being the dominant heel he is, in the future look to Tyrus challenging him and being a huge threat to his undefeated streak. DREW GALLOWAY If there is one man on the Impact roster with a point to prove it is Drew Galloway. One of the most talented wrestlers to come out of the UK in the last 15 years, his talent hasn’t ever been properly utilized, until now. Galloway could make his mark is by taking down EC3’s streak. Both men have a hard hitting and physical style which would make for a great feud, both men are great microphone technicians too. This would make for a great watch as well as something that would have the Impact fans and professional wrestling world talking.

APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 39


LIVE PHOTOS: KIMBERLEY BAYLISS

GRADO WORDS: SHANE BAYLISS


We spoke with grado before he took on galloway

GRADO s the ICW Insane

do you want to drink?” and I’ve never

Evening News Arena, or that’s what it

Entertainment System

ever done that and I had a great day with

was called back then I don’t know what

tour rolled into

my Mum, ended up getting smashed

it’s called now something bullshit, it was

Nottingham, Steelchair

with my Mum until 10.00. Woke up this

fucking amazing man. Then the next

was granted the chance

morning with the shits, because I think

night I was dancing in the ring with Matt

to sit down with the man, the myth,

I’ve got irritable bowl syndrome, took

Hardy, you don’t dream about shit like

the legend that is Grado. Hot off TNA’s

some stuff to stop me from shitting

that. Especially me I’m a fucking cowboy,

British Boot Camp 2 and a couple of

because the worse thing that could

I wing this whole thing, so I’m so lucky.

crowd pleasing appearances on the

happen tonight would be to shit in the

I’m like the biggest fan ever, which is

TNA, Grado was back in the familiar

ring with Drew.

great because I get away with cuming in

A

surroundings of ICW to take on Drew

my pants for seeing a graphic for Grado

Galloway for the ICW World Heavyweight

Although I have been injecting

vs Drew Galloway or a graphic for Grado

Championship.

Melanotan, that’s Melanotan no Steroids,

vs Sabu, that’s the fucking best thing

it’s legal apparently. I probably shouldn’t

ever. Most people are keeping their crap

You are up against Drew Galloway

be taking it because I’ve got a history of

calm, and I’m like “I want Sabu to hit me

tonight, and then Sabu tomorrow night

skin cancer in my family. So it’s not the

with a chair” not exactly that, but you

so you’ve got a challenging 48hrs ahead

best!

know what I’m saying?

On the TNA you came out to a pretty

I mean look at me now man, putting

Nope! I’m never prepared to wrestle,

electric crowd at Phones 4 You Arena in

on these boots which my girlfriend got

never ever ever. I’m one of the worst

Manchester to take on Bram, how was

me for my fucking Christmas, which is

prepared! I don’t go to the gym, I don’t

that?

won of the best Christmas presents I’ve

of you. Are you prepared?

work out. I sit all week in my bed and eat

had in a long time. Because you know

crisps, eat chocolate. I’ve eaten out out

That was amazing, because I knew I’d

your sel, Christmas isn’t as special

this week, how many times? I’m trying

get a good reception in Scotland because

when you get older, but I had a really

to think, I had that new fucking thing,

obviously that’s where I’m from and

good Christmas and got these boots.

what do you call it? Five Guys! I had two

that’s where a lot of the fanbase came

AND I noticed Cesaro has exactly the

Five Guys in a week, so that’s like £50 an

from so I wasn’t expecting the pop that

same pattern of boots last week at

all. The amount of money I’m wasting

I got but when I did it was like the best

Wrestlemania, so obviously he’s been

on food is annoying. I was drinking

feeling in the world. That’s because in

watching a lot of my matches. I can see

yesterday, I took my Mum for some

that arena I saw The Rock vs Stone Cold,

it not just in his boots, his style he’s

Macaroni about 3.00 and I had one pint

November 3rd 2001 so for it to come

been working the Grado style recently,

of larger because I was driving and I

full circle like that is fucking brilliant

taking some of my moves things like

says “Mum I feel like drinking tonight,

man. So to come out to the Manchester

that. Same with Rusev, I seen him do >


GRADO

the rolling slice the other week as well.

I was watching Insane Fight Club again

aware of this, but sitting talking to you

I think everybody has been watching my

last night.

right now I don’t think I’m going to get

matches. How much did you pay Madonna’s

Sky, because you don’t fucking need Sky The Netflix version or the normal

these days everybody is watching stuff

version?

on the internet, and that’s what wrestling

dancer to take her out?

fans are doing as well. That’s what I watched it on YouTube!

I paid her nine crème eggs!

wrestling fans care doing as well, so thet can get our stuff off the internet. The

Better because that has all the music on

fans keep up with it man, so it’s good to

You recently challenged Bram to a

it, US Netflicks fucking cut all the music

hear English chants “it’s your self, it’s

match at Shug’s Hoose Paty II, now

out of it, they don’t have “Like A Prayer”

your self” you know what I mean?

you’ve said you don’t prepare. But he’s

or nothing on it. It’s fucking shit!

a big motherfucker!

Thanks to the “Chubby Wee Chancer Fae Insane Fight Club, showed that ICW has

the Tap End of Stevenston” for taking

That’s what I’m saying, right now I’ll tell

specific storylines compared to stuff

time out of his pre-match preparation to

you that I’m going to change, and I’m

compared to the other Independents.

talk to us.

going to prepare. Fast forward to July

How does that effect things when you

I’ll probably be ten pounds heavier, I’ll

come to England?

And you’ll be able to see the results of both the matches from The Princess

probably have acne, I’ll probably have a shit hair, worse that it looks now. But

Well a lot of people are actually keeping

is in Another Castle in Nottingham

in my mind I’m saying to myself “I’m

up with the stories because of our

and Boom Shakalaka (He’s on Fire)

going to get leaner, start going to the

on demand service. It’d surprise you

in Liverpool on the ICW On Demand

gym, get some cardio on the go, gonna

how many people are clued up, and

service, which is only £9.99... oh fuck!

cut out all the bad things in my life” but

follow it online and watch it. Apparently

Sorry know it’s $5.99 which is about

I’ll probably just end up worse man. I’m

I’ve brought a house today right, my

£4.00.

getting fucking tired lacing up my boots.

girlfriend phoned me and said we’ve brought a house, now I’m not fucking

42 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15

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INSANE CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

WORDS: SHANE BAYLISS

ICW THE PRINCESS IS IN ANOTHER CASTLE REVIEW he 11th April the annual

crowd we’re certainly in from the get

‘Party’ Marty Scrull followed, it would

WWE Live Tour has rolled

go, shouting an array of expletive based

seem that many of the Nottingham crowd

into Nottingham’s Capital

chants at Wolfgang and Renfrew, most

didn’t appreciate his top-knot haircut and

FM arena, except we

based about Wolfgang’s larger frame,

they weren’t timid in letting him know

aren’t at the Capital FM

not that this stopped the big man from

this. He was facing Noam Dar, who was

arena. Steelchair are at the legendary

hitting a Senton Bomb from the top rope

immediately over with the fans and got

Rock-City, to enjoy Insane Championship

for the win.

into bit of Hogan-esc crowd participation.

T

After five minutes of dicking about the Up next the ‘Prodigy’ of Scottish

match got under way. Both competitors

Wrestling Lewis Girvan (essentially a

seemed technically very impressive, and

poor man’s Drew Galloway) was in action

it was a good match which ended with

against Zero-G Champion Kenny Williams.

Scrull tapping out to Dar’s variant figure-

The two men went back and forth in this

four leg lock.

one, with action spilling out of the ring at one point and the match finally being won

The final match before the half time

due to the use of Williams’s hover board

interval featured BT Gunn, another

(sorry, forgot to mention Kenny Williams

member of NAK (and possibly a member

has a Back to the Future gimmick going

of Slipknot) vs a man who really needs

on, it’s actually pretty good). Anyway

no introduction other than this - “the

Wrestling’s brand of adult only hardcore

Williams retained the title, with Girvan

homicidal, suicidal, genocidal, death-

wrestling. The Glasgow based promotion

complaining that he managed to get a leg

defying SABU” It’s hard to believe that

has been gaining much momentum in the

onto the rope to break the pin, however I

Sabu is the same age as a certain WWE

last couple of years, and with the return

didn’t see it.

superstar who appears once a year on

of former WWE man Drew Galloway last

the biggest stage of all, only to disappear

year ICW’s star is bigger than it has ever Tour is the companies 2nd tour of England, with venues such as Liverpool’s O2 Academy and London’s KOKO to follow on from a night in the worlds most famous toilet circuit venue. The show titled, The Princess is in Another Castled opened with a billed singles match (after a promo by James R. Kennedy, who the crowd didn’t like) between Mikey Whiplash and Chris Renfrew, however due to a sneaky attack by Renfrew’s NAK brother Wolfgang and then save by former NAK man Dickie Divers the match became a tag team match. It was a pretty decent opening match, and the non-family friendly

43 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15

LIVE PHOTOS: KIMBERLEY BAYLISS

been. The Insane Entertainment System


only had one thing on his mind revenge, attacking Grado with a steelchair before brutally attacking Galloway with a steel chain before hitting a Tombstone onto a steelchair leaving Galloway crumpled and broken in the ring, starting the road to what will undoubtedly be the showdown of blood filled revenge fuelled showdowns in the future. If you get the chance, I highly recommend you get yourself to an ICW show. ICW is the future of professional wrestling in the UK, and arguably Europe as well, it captures a sense of nostalgia that to someone of my era is just what is missing from the current content of the major US promotions. again but it is true. The Hardcore Legend

of the border loving him. When “Like a

might not be as quick and agile as he

Prayer” hits, you know the room is about

once was, but fuck does he put on a

to go wild, and it did. After the ICW

performance, still hitting the “Air Sabu”

Champ, and former WWE “chosen-one”

like it’s 1999. After some interference

Galloway had entered the ring there was

You can catch ICW on the following date

from Mikey Whiplash on Gunn, Sabu hit a

a bit more dancing and a crowd rendition

in the following locations:

chair assisted leg drop from the top rope

of “Like a Prayer” before the match got

for the win and the crowd was happy, with

under-way. Surprisingly Grado but up a

IES Tour: Paperboy - 18th April –

Sabu leaving to chants of “you’ve still got

hell of a fight and certainly gave Galloway

Birmingham O2 Academy

it” and “thank you Sabu.” If this was to

a run for his money getting a couple of

IES Tour: Alex Kid in London – 19th April

be Sabu’s fair well tour of the UK, then

near falls and at one point going high

– London Koko

he’s certainly going out still pushing the

risk from the top of the guard rail. This

IES Tour: Up Down Left Right A C Start –

boundaries and living up to his innovative

match was what ICW is all about, with

26th April – Sheffield O2 Academy

legacy, however I get the feeling that he’s

Drew Galloway finally putting Grado away

IES Tour: Flawless Victory – 3rd May –

not planning on throwing the towel just

with a Piledriver onto a steelchair, and

Glasgow Garage

yet (unless Bill Alfonso gets his way).

then a Futureshock to retain the ICW

Waynestock: Long Before Wesley Snipes –

title. However unfortunately for Galloway

25th July – Glasgow Maryhill Community

After the 20 minute interval there

and Grado, celebrations were cut short

Central Hall

were two more matches, one for the

by the return of Jack Jester, the man

Waynestock: Shug’s Hoose Party II – 26th

Tag Team Titles during which rumour

Galloway beat at Fear and Loathing VII

July – Glasgow O2 ABC

has it somebody broke a jaw. However

to win the title, and who hasn’t been

Fear and Loathing VIII – 15th November –

Steelchair was backstage talking to

seen in ICW for months. Jester seemingly

Glasgow SECC

CATCH ICW LIVE

Grado and Galloway (which you can read soon) ahead of their title match.

Tickets available from: www.ticketmaster. co.uk/ICW-Wrestling-tickets/

The stage was set for the Main Event

artist/825377

of the evening, a match to decide the ICW World Heavyweight Championship

Or you can subscribe to ICW’s On

between Drew Galloway and the man

Demand service, which is only £9.99....

from the top-end of Stevenston Grado.

no wait sorry! It’s only $5.99 which works

Grado is an icon of the UK independent

out at about £4.00.

scene, with crowds North and South

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APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 44


SPEED ROUND TNA’S ROBBIE ROBBIE EE WITH What hair product do you use?

TNA? TNA Tag-Team Championship.

It’s got to be glued. When did you realise you What is your fake tan budget?

BROCK LESNAR DREAM MATCHES ROBBIE E INTERVIEW

wanted to become a wrestler? Four.

Fake tan budget is free because I’m a star, so my

What was the first thing you

tanning salon sprays me for

did when you got our first TNA

free but if I had to pay for it

pay-check?

probably about $500 a month.

EXTREME RULES

Deposited it! The first thing If you could only wrestle one

I did when I signed my TNA

venue for the rest of your

contract was probably run

career, where would it be?

around the streets naked, doing cartwheels with no pants

Wembley.

on.

If you could have been the one

Which wrestling match have

to originate another wrestling

you watched more than any

move, which would it have

other match?

been? Robbie E vs Jay Lethal for The Angle-Lock.

the X-Division title, because the only wrestling I watch is

Which title are you most proud of? Either within or outside of

Full interview with Robbie E for steelchair vips 45 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15

myself.

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Writer Adam Kinghorn enjoying issue #1

// Welcome to steelchair vip //

22


PHOTO: MEGAN ELICE MEADOWS

BROCK LESNAR

WORDS: DOMINIC GRIFFIN


VIP

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DREAM MATCHES

BROCK LESNAR Dominic Griffin looks at the dream Lesnar matches available to WWE

t’s official. The Beast

I

Incarnate, Brock Lesnar,

matches becoming reality. Let’s begin!

come Sunday, this one could come sooner rather than later. Orton’s shown

has retired from MMA

The Sure Things

and has re-signed with

The one match we can pretty much bet

is in the ring when properly motivated,

the WWE, as announced

on is Brock vs The Rock at WrestleMania

and he’s going to need a good foil once

in this surprisingly endearing ESPN

32. Whether or not it’ll be for the title is

this Authority feud wraps up. Why not his

interview.

kind of besides the point, as this match

former OVW colleague Brock Lesnar?

in the last year and a half how great he

would be a license to print money. Would There’s generally a stigma among current

it necessarily be any good? I doubt it. The

Also, if you think we’re not somehow

wrestling fans with regards to part time

Rock is a lot better at being a movie star

going to get Brock vs Rusev, you’re

performers being in the main event,

than a wrestler these days, but I’d pay to

severely wrong. The “1 in 21-1” up

“stealing” spots from guys who bust

see him get german suplex’d an obscene

against the best monster heel WWE has

their butts on Vince’s grueling regular

number of times.

built up in ages? That’s the type of shit

schedule, but Lesnar has sidestepped

that writes itself.

a lot of that criticism. It’s frustrating to

Another no brainer is the Daniel Bryan

not have your top title on every Raw, but

“David & Goliath” bout everyone but the

letting Lesnar remain a special attraction

higher ups seems to want. It’s not quite

has made his appearances feel really

as set in stone as The Rock’s eventual

special, and despite his excellent heel

comeback, but I refuse to believe we

work, getting to see the man slowly fall

live in a world where Brock is under

back in love with the art of pro wrestling

contract for the near future and doesn’t

has made him something of a fan

cross paths with the leader of the Yes!

favorite.

Movement.

We took to Twitter to ask fans what

This one might be a bit of a dark

matches we want to see Brock wrestle.

horse, but I’m DYING to see Brock

We compiled the list and have divided

mix it up with Randy Orton (aka

the prospective proponents into groups

#DAGAWDRANDYORTON) and depending

based on the likelihood of these dream

on what happens with Roman Reigns

The Wishful Thinkings In a perfect world, the opponents lined up for Brock won’t just be based on marquee booking possibilities, but on pure in-ring entertainment as well. With Brock’s special standing, used primarily on big PPVs, he’ll most likely only be engaging in Big Fish feuds, but imagine a world where he occasionally gets to mix it up on Raw. You wouldn’t want to do it more than a few times, otherwise you’d waste the prestige of him being

>


BROCK LESNAR a unique attraction. Let’s say we could

Anyone who saw Zayn lose the NXT

occasionally throw him at the end of a

Title at Takeover can imagine how much

special Raw or two.

sympathy he could elicit from the crowd taking all of those german suplexes.

Can you imagine Lesnar going ten minutes of TV time with Luke Harper,

The Long Shots

one of the best big men workers in the world right now? Or having a Hoss

This is strictly Hail Mary territory, but

Apocalypse with Sheamus? Hell, I’d even

what if Stone Cold Steve Austin came

like to see him get in there with The

back for One More Match at WrestleMania

Big Guy Ryback, assuming Mr. Reeves

and had it against the kid he refused to

doesn’t accidentally injure Vince’s meal

put over in a King of The Ring qualifying

ticket or anything. Don’t even get me

match back in 2002? Austin didn’t want

started on Cesaro. In a better timeline,

to burn what could be a serious money

he’d be in the upper tier of guys who

match off on Monday Night Raw back

could potentially headline ‘Mania with

then, but in the ensuing 13 years, I can’t

Brock, but, with his current place in the

think of a headlining bout that would get

company, it doesn’t seem in the cards.

more asses in seats.

Still, Brock in the Giant Swing? Priceless. Hell, while we’re throwing pennies into

The Pipe Dreams

wishing wells, Kurt Angle still wants to end his career back home with the WWE.

Now, each contender on this quadrant

Who better to have a retirement match

of the list has a major contingency that

than the man he’s shared legitimate

would have to occur for their respective

classics with?

dream matches to come to fruition. And if he ever gets tired of living it up For Kevin Owens, all he’ll really have

in Hollywood, maybe Batista would like

to do is keep going full steam ahead at

a go at another wrestler turned MMA

the rate he’s been going since debuting

enthusiast.

in NXT, and maybe, just maybe, he’ll become a legitimate enough presence on

The sky is the limit and in the crazy

the main roster to warrant sharing a ring

world of professional wrestling, anything

with Brock before his new contract is up.

is possible. Hell, maybe we’ll finally get Punk/Lesnar II...

For Samoa Joe, he has to officially sign with the WWE as an active wrestler and not a Performance Center trainer, and then maybe make it to the main roster with a ferocious quickness. (This might also require Vince McMahon’s untimely demise) For Sami Zayn, much the same situation as his frienemy Owens, only Hell might also have to freeze over. If it did, though, expect the kind of underdog battle you’d get from Lesnar/Bryan but with an even steeper hill for the babyface to climb.


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ROBBIE E

WORDS: SHANE BAYLISS

I LIVE IN ROBBIE E WORLD AND I JUST AM...

ROBBIE E A

fer a couple of weeks of

How have you been? What you been up

feuding and ultimately

to today? Last few weeks we’ve been seeing you

being beaten by exgirlfriend and Amazing

about two hours usually.

Well I just got back from the gym.

clash with Brooke, what is the whole deal with that? Where is it coming from?

Race partner Brooke, Steelchair caught up with Robbie E, one

How many hours a day does a

half of the perma-tanned tag-team The

professional wrestler need to spend

BroMans, TNA’s selfie-stick wielding

down the gym?

Jersey Shore rip-offs.

And can we expect anymore from it? It’s coming from the fact that we were on the Amazing Race together, I think she’s

Depends on the week, but when I go

the reason we lost and she thinks I’m the


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reason we lost. The Amazing Race is a huge reality show seen all over the world, where the winners get a million dollars, and so it caused some tension between us that spilled over into the wrestling ring. I made a challenge which she excepted. But I’m pretty sure the feud is done because she beat me, and I’m not going to risk losing to her again. It was an embarrassment, it was a mistake by my partner Jesse drop-kicking me, but somehow she got the win and I am forever the dude that lost to a girl. That’s the end of that then? I’m not risking losing to a girl twice, once is enough. The last time we saw you on Impact was before the Ultimate X match that you decided to sit out and allow DJ Z to take your place. Was that a case of wanting to sit back and compose yourself, and reassess after losing to Brooke? The week after you lose to a girl, you kind of don’t want to show your face. There is also a bit of tension, because I feel like I lost because Jesse hit me with a drop-kick, that I didn’t ask him to try and do. So I’m a little ticked at him! I don’t know where my head was at, I just wasn’t in the mood that day, Z knows

he’s kind of in the same boat. I think

world title, and go back to singles. If

what he’s doing so I just thought “let’s

we need to have a BroMan meeting and

Kurt Angle is still champion, I’d certainly

take a break today.” So right now who

figure it all out.

like to give him a run for his money.

You have previously held both the TNA

Do you really think could beat Kurt

That’s interesting, because up until now

X-Division and TV titles in the past, in

Angle? Are you confident in your

you and Jesse have always seemed to

singles competition. Is that something

abilities to go up against the former

have a fairly good relationship. So with

you would explore again in the future,

Olympic Gold Medallist?

that tension there, what does the future

and hold another singles title alone? As

look like?

opposed to with Jesse.

really knows where the BroMans stand.

I am, we’ve been in the ring before and he got the best of me, but it’s a different

Yeah, I don’t know. I think we’re kind of

Being a former X Division, TV and two-

time now. I think Robbie E is ready to

at a stand-still right now, we don’t really

time Tag Team Champ, all I really need

break out and show that he’s more than

know what’s going to happen. I’m mad at

is the World Heavyweight Championship

just a BroMan and a guy with a selfie-

him! We don’t really know what the right

to complete the grand-slam and be

stick, because the fact is just because I

decision is for us, keep moving on as a

added to a short list of people that can

don’t show my wrestling skills doesn’t

team or go our separate ways and I think

say they’ve held every title in TNA. So

mean I don’t have them. Kurt Angles,

at some point, I do want to go after the

Bobby Roode, Austin Aries I could >


LIVE PHOTOS: TONY KNOX

ROBBIE E

certainly give them a run for their money.

independents for quite a while. Did you ever hold talks with other promotions? I know you did some advertising for the

Just to go back to the BroMans and the tag-team

WWE, but did you always have TNA in mind?

championships, if you and Jesse do make up, looking at the teams that you would be competing against. Do you really

Years ago when TNA was a national, I did some Xplosion

stand a chance against the likes of the Hardys, the Revolution

matches for them. TNA was always my favourite wrestling to

and the Wolves?

watch, and it is definitely where I wanted to be. So when I had my try out things went well, and the rest is history. I’m happy

We’ve beaten the Wolves before, the Revolution and Storm, we

where I’m at, I couldn’t be happier and I hope that I have a long

won our titles against Storm and Gunner at the biggest PPV of

healthy career with Impact.

the year in TNA Bound for Glory. As for the Hardys I’ve beaten Jeff by count-out and I’ve been in the ring numerous times with

We spoke to Lashley in the last issue, and he said that TNA

Matt. We’re two time tag champs, we won them at the biggest

has quite an open environment for creativity and input. Have

PPV for TNA and we won them a second time in Japan. People

you had much of that lately? You’ve had the feud with Brooke,

forget that me and Jesse can go in the ring, and I think we can

which I assume has come from the Amazing Race and your

hang in there with anyone.

personal relationship. Was that your idea, was it Brookes? How was that feud pitched to you?

Now onto your life and career outside of TNA. I’ve read the Rob Eckos character which was your name on the independent

I think me and Brooke being an item and then breaking up,

scene, you’ve said that that character and Robbie E are kind

I think it is a natural thing for us to bring it onto television.

of extensions of yourself, How extreme are those extensions?

I think it was entertaining when it happened, the match was

What are you like in reality?

entertaining, the feud was entertaining, and me and Brooke really dislike one-another so it worked perfect.

Everyone knows me for being funny and a jokester, and being in my own Robbie E world and a bit wacky. What you see is what

Is it weird wrestling a girl? TNA compared to WWE seems

you get! Obviously it’s tuned up a little bit but that’s just who I

very liberal, in that there isn’t such a distinct and clear line

am. I’d say 70-75% of what you see on television is the real me.

between the male and female superstars. Is it strange taking on a girl?

When you came to TNA, you’d been competing in the


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V

In normal circumstance it would be, it’s

the guys in the locker room were nice

Winning a title anywhere, shows that

not like a regular thing I do. But granted

and respectful, put together by top

you are the best where you are at. So

there was such a bitter war between us

not promoters, so my experience was

it’s always great to win a title! Nothing

I just wanted to embarrass her. I wasn’t

wonderful. As for how big the fan base is

is equivalent to winning the titles I have

going to punch her or hit or anything, I

there, I don’t know. But this show had a

in TNA, nothing beats winning a title on

just wanted to pin her one, two, three.

nice crowd, and a good following.

a major platform like Impact wrestling,

But it didn’t go my way, and I ended up looking like the idiot.

that’s where it really matters. What was the in-ring talent like? I can’t think of many wrestlers that have come

Do you literally get given the title? And

out of Australia.

take it home with you?

allows you, having the regular Impact

They were all good guys, they were in

When I was the tag champion, I had to

shows and then a couple of weeks on

shape and stuff. Young and up and

travel with that title everywhere.

the road doing the independent scene?

coming with a lot to learn, but there were

You were over in the UK this weekend. Do you enjoy the mix that the TNA

some guys and gals with potential. I’ve

With regard to your wrestling style, are

Yeah, it’s fun! You get a chance to get

been to some place where people had no

there any wrestlers that you would say

close to the fans, and have conversations

business being in professional wrestling,

influenced the way you do things?

with them. This last weekend in the UK

but these guys weren’t like that.

was no different, I don’t get to get over

I don’t really follow anyone, as far as an

there much so the fans were happy I

Looking at your early career, I came

influence for my style. I just kind of am

think to see me. Of course I put on a

across something about you winning the

my own person, I live in Robbie E world

hell of a show, as I always do. But it was

SSCW World Heavyweight Title against

and I just am Robbie E!

cool to interact on that level, where you

The Sandman, who is a wrestler that

have the time to meet with fans. I got to

I always admired. What was that like?

do a training seminar with fans before

And what was it like winning a World

the show to help inspire some of the

Heavyweight Title?

younger wrestlers. You’re going way, way, way back. SSCW You were over in the UK on the Impact

was a short lived New Jersey based

tour back at the end of January, how

promotions, but young as I was being

were the British TNA fans?

able to get in the ring with some with a following like the Sandman was super

I think it’s great, I think it’s one of the

cool for me. I remember taking his cane

most exciting times of the year for the

from him, and making him bleed caning

TNA roster. We all wear our best gear

the crap out of him. It’s a memory I’ll

and hit the gym hard to prepare, the

have with me forever! Good times, that

shows we produce for television in the

was when I was a young Robbie E and I

UK, the crowds and the energy are great.

still had a lot to learn.

We love coming over there! Did you have a couple of beers with him You were over in Australia for an

afterwards?

Outback Championship Wrestling show, what was that like? Australia doesn’t

No, after I caned the crap out of him the

really come across as though it would

last thing I wanted to do was hang out

have much of wrestling scene.

with him.

It was actually my first time going to

What is it like winning a title on the

Australia so I was super pumped, to

independent promotions, because you

go there. Melbourne in general, it’s a

could hold so many different titles how

great city. So much cool fun stuff, I

does that all work? How does it work

had a blast. As for the show, the show

logistically?

was great. It was well organised, all


EXTREME RULES

WORDS: ADAM KINGHORN

SUPER EARLY WWE EXTREME RULES PREDICTIONS

N

ow that an incredible

is guessing who will play cheerleader for

The feud between brothers Goldust

WrestleMania is in the

the match.

and Stardust disappeared before

history books, the WWE

Wrestlemaina, and I’m not actually

gets Extreme. As for the

Match; WWE Tag Team Title Match -

sure why, anyway, it is an easy build for

previous prediction article

Cesaro & Kidd vs New Day - Tables Match

the always dependable WWE creative

Winners; Cesaro & Kidd

team to pick this back up just in time

that was in the First Ever edition of the superb (if I do say so myself) SteelChair

for Extreme Rules. These two would be

magazine, the predictions weren’t a

Next up is a match that needs to happen,

at home in a weird episode of Batman:

million miles away in terms of match-

and with the way Raw and Smackdown

The Animated Series, throwing gold star

ups, results and outcomes from the

panned out for these two, it looks like the

stickers at each other and coughing or

‘Show of Shows’, so, here we go again!

WWE Universe are going to be treated

whatever they do. In all honesty though,

to it. Its the Miz vs Mizdow! Mizdow is

they are fun characters to have in the

The Tag Team title match on the pre-show

arguably the hottest star at the minute,

WWE nowadays as there is a dwindling

of WrestleMania was a bit of a mess,

he took a gimmick that some others

scene of gimmicks. Stardust plays the

but it was fun at least, essentially, it was

wouldn’t have pulled off and just ran with

crowd particularity well, as they enjoy

spot after spot after spot, and no one,

it, made it hilarious and then made it

chanting his real name at him, and I’m

especially JBL as he kept mentioning,

even better. I’m not going to mention that

going to continue with my prediction

knew who was the legal man except for

result of the Battle Royale, but it hasn’t

from WrestleMania (as it obviously

the ref who apparently has the best

seemed to ruin or slow down the Mizdow

didn’t happen) of saying that a gimmick

memory in all of sports entertainment.

character. This could end up being a

vs career match will happen between

Anyway, Extreme Rules + Tag Titles =

vicious street fight as things between

these two - but I don’t think it will be yet,

Table Match. I hope, because who doesn’t

these two are rapidly heating up, Miz

perhaps hold out until Summerslam? The

love someone being smashed through

plays the arrogant angry self obsessed

rumours are that Goldust is wanting to

a table. So, the most over team in the

heel (basically himself) to perfection, and

take a backstage step to the development

WWE at the moment, Cesaro & Kidd will

I wonder how the Mizdow character is

part of WWE, and playing on the ‘Cody’

obviously be in the match, as they hold

going to develop after this feud. I would

chants is an obviously albeit enjoyable

the titles. As for their opponents, it would

love to see him beat The Miz and grab a

step that Creative should take.

be an awesome match between The

mic and say, ‘Your Welcome!’. This is one

Match; Extreme Rules Match - Goldust vs

Lucha Dragos and ‘The Masters of the

of the most exciting feuds in the WWE

Stardust

WWE Universe’ (still a hilarious name).

at the moment, and Mizdow’s victory at

Winner; Goldust

However, with the Uso’s seemingly out of

Extreme Rules is going to catapult him

the picture with an injury to which ever

into stardom.

The Intercontinental Championship

one is injured, The New Day will face

has more or less been given its rightful

up against the champs. The New Day

prestige back as it sits around the waist

haven’t got over with the crowds at all,

Match; Miz vs Mizdow - Extreme Rules

of the most popular superstar in the

and the stable is in danger of damaging

Match

world at this moment, Daniel Bryan. Now

the ‘careers’ of these three Superstars. I

Winner; Mizdow transforming into

the champion needs to have a decent

think that 3MB were more over than these

Sandow

run with the title, as too many previous

three. The most exciting thing about them

Champions were made to look weak


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with multiple non-title losses, usually

can’t see it going back to Rusev straight

WrestleMania was pretty good, but that

at the hands of non-contenders for the

away. Also, I love that it looks like Cena

ending, well that ending was outstanding.

titles - Bad News Barrett vs Sin Cara?! It

will be defending the title a lot. Beating

Rollins sold that RKO incredibly and it

is fantastic to see that Bryan is already

Ambrose is a fantastic match on Raw is a

proved that Orton is one of the best in

defending it, against Ziggler on Monday

great way to make the US title important.

the business. For some reason, Rollins

in a great match. Hopefully this continues

Ambrose’s reaction to losing also added

being thrown in the air like that reminded

as title defences add to its importance.

to the feeling that the US title is again

me of him doing a standing moonsault

The ladder match at WrestleMania was

important. I can see Cena holding onto

off a fat man back around 2005. (if you

one of the highlights, and as Dean

the title in a brutal match, in which Cena

haven’t seen it, YouTube it). Also, Ortons

Ambrose seems to be heading away

will have to do something ridiculously

attire was a huge talking point on the

from the Intercontinental scene and

dangerous in order for Rusev to maintain

Twitters. He had about 47 pads on and

going mental and Stardust should be in

his dominant presence in defeat.

it looked like someone had unlocked his

a programme with his brother, its going

Match; US Title Match - Last Man

alternate attire on the WWE video game.

to be another multiple man match for the

Standing - Cena vs Rusev

Anyway, this is going to be awesome. Two

IC Title. Bryan, Ziggler, BNB all definite,

Winner; Cena by doing something mental.

of the best in the business going at it, I

perhaps the big man Luke Harper with

was going to predict in a cage, but I have

his disgusting vest and also Sheamus

Next up is Ambrose vs Reigns. Yeah you

a feeling that this match is going to end

who looks like a combination of Zoidberg

read that correctly. Technically, they are

a no contest as a result of a destructive

and a fucking Rooster. Hilarious hair.

both faces at the moment. Although

Beast by the name of Brrrroocccckkkkk

R-Truth can just go away. So a 5-man

you wouldn’t guess that from the

Lesssnnaarrr. Lesnar to appear through

field the question now is what match

reception that Reigns is receiving. The

the crowd and destroy these two leaving

style? Hell in a Cell would be epic but I

crowd actually cheered for Kane and Big

them both helpless. That F-5 on Micheal

have an feeling, and a rumour source that

Show instead of Reigns?! Anyway, the

Cole was the best thing I have ever seen

says this is going to be a traditional TLC

reactions from his loses recently, mean

by the way, even funnier than the famous

match, which would still be awesome. As

that Ambrose could to be heading in an

F-5 on the Shark. It turned Brock into

I said earlier the IC Title has its prestige

explosion of rage. What better way to

the biggest face ever, and it look like Cole

back and is being used correctly again.

do this than ‘turning’ on his old shield

ate the canvas hard much to a rapturous

Match; Intercontinental Championship

partner in a tag match. Technically this

ovation from the crowd. If Lesnar doesn’t

- TLC Match - Daniel Bryan vs Ziggler

would make him a Heel, but he’d be the

appear, expect Rollins to go over in a

vs Bad News Barrett vs Luke Harper vs

most popular Heel ever if he beat up

sneaky fashion, (enter J&J Security).

Sheamus

Reigns. The reason why I think Ambrose

Rollins can and will play the role of the

will ‘turn heel’ is that WWE seem

greasy slippery heel champion and in the

adamant at shoving the new Superman

era of crowds cheering heels and booing

Reigns down our throats. A heel Ambrose

babyfaces, the WWE Universe will love it.

There are two matches that are pretty

(who would be as popular as a face)

Match; WWE World Heavyweight

much confirmed for Extreme Rules;

would compliment his character and

Championship Match - Seth Rollins vs

firstly Rusev vs Cena - and I’m predicting

mannerisms so well, and facing off

Randy Orton - Extreme Rules Match

a last man standing match. These two

against Regins would be a great match

Winner; Rollins, if Brock Lesnar doesn’t

had the most contrasting entrances ever

between two of the best young stars

show up.

at WrestleMania . Rusev came out on a

today. Face and Heel don’t really matter

fucking Tank! A Tank! And he had a whole

anymore do they, the WWE Universe

Extreme Rules has the difficult task of

army with him. Meanwhile, John Cena

literally does what it wants.

coming after one of the best recent

had a towel. Anyway, this one is a difficult

Match; Dean Ambrose vs Roman Reigns -

WrestleMania s, however, with some of

one to judge. Much like the IC Title, the

Street Fight

the potential match ups, the positioning

US Title is again now relevant as its in the

Winner; Reigns (boo)

of the titles and of course the Extreme

Winner; Bryan to hold onto the belt.

hands of John Cena. John Cena holding

Rules in the matches, this could be a

a mid-card title. So keeping it on him

The main event looks like its going to

fun, explosive and violent PPV. We love

for a while will make the Championship

be Rollins defending his newly won title

violence don’t we!

seem more important, which is why I

against Randy Orton. Their match at


PHOTO: ANTON JACKSON

GIVE DIVAS A CHANCE

18 STEELCHAIR APRIL 2O15

WORDS: NICHOLAS TASCA


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GIVE DIVAS A CHANCE #GiveDivasAChance is the opportunity so many women wrestlers have been seeking to make an impact. The Twitter movement started on February 23rd quickly caught fire thanks to the avid fanbase of womens wrestling. It’s no secret that the Diva’s have struggled to find screen time recently. In recent years the Divas have been placed on the back burner, with only one or two Divas being relevant during the weekly broadcasts of Raw and Smackdown. This in turn has led to dwindling in-ring time for the majority of the Divas, with most of their exposure stemming from E! Network’s hit show Total Divas. Despite the opinion of some “hardcore” fans, the division is far more than a group of reality tv stars: Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Natalya, Paige and Naomi (to name a few) are all skilled ring-workers. There may be the limited Divas on the main roster that need some fine-tuning, but those women and the women listed above each have something unique to bring to the company. What matters to most of the fans is storytelling, match quality and ring time. Often, these three accompany each other: it’s tough to tell a story without a good match, and it’s tough to deliver a good match without ring time. Therein lies the problem with the Divas. It’s not that they can’t

deliver a good match, or they don’t know how to tell a story - they’re simply not permitted to do so.

on the card is usually cut because of segments that go over their allotted time earlier in the night.

One week after the #GiveDivasAChance movement took fire, The Bella Twins gave a “Mean Girls” speech on Smackdown that fit their image all too well, hyping themselves as the queen bee’s of the Diva’s division, and defining what this movement means with one simple sentence: “It’s not give AJ a chance it’s give DIVA’S a chance.” Though their popularity with hardcore fans is debatable, the Bella Twins spoke the truth, and elicited a passionate response from the crowd. It appeared that Vince McMahon’s tweet telling fans he “heard them” was true, and the Diva’s were on to bigger and better things.

Fortunately for the Divas, they have definitely been getting their chance. They’ve been given more time consistently the past month, and have been putting on better matches as a result. The WrestleMania match between The Bella’s, AJ and Paige may have only been seven minutes long, but it showcased each Diva and their talents. Further interaction between women took place later on in the show, as The Authority faced off with The Rock and Ronda Rousey in a 24 minute promo that entertained the crowd immensely. Rumors are now swirling that Rousey will face Stephanie McMahon next year at WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, surely putting a smile on the faces of fans.

Unfortunately (and as always), not everything is what it seems in the WWE. It was announced recently that The Bellas will face Paige and AJ Lee in a tag team match. Not only will the title not be on the line (even though a Fatal Four Way match between these talented women could deliver in a big way), this tag team match will most likely be thrown on right before the main event in the dreaded “number seven” spot. As Brie Bella mentioned on the “Wedding Mania” episode of Total Divas, the “number seven” spot

Where the Diva’s go from here will be an interesting path to follow these coming weeks. The sudden (and unfortunate) retirement of AJ Lee may seem like a hit to the Diva’s division, but the wound won’t be so bad if it paves way to a fresher face (like Sasha Banks or Charlotte of NXT) stepping into the spotlight. The company has heard our voices and listened: Divas are finally being given a chance.


RING OF HONOR

WORDS: ANTON JACKSON

ROH 13TH ANNIVERSARY REVIEW MATT SYDAL vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER

This is exactly what you have in mind for an opener: fast-paced, highenergy, a bunch of cool moves and a lively crowd. There’s no story or grudge between Sydal and Alexander. Just a showy opener to get the show rolling. Solid stuff. ***1/2 out *****

MOOSE vs. MARK BRISCOE

RoH has booked Moose as its “Next Big Badass.” He’s got the look and he’s got the presence, since his moveset’s limited. How do you try and establish a relative newbie as a legitimate threat? Have him take out an experienced supporting player. Enter Mark Briscoe. Charm, charisma, talent and unique look - all rolled into one. Even a new viewer to RoH would be able to pick up on Briscoe’s traits. Fortunately for Moose, Briscoe makes him look good here. A short, highimpact match the ends with Moose going over with a spear. *** out of ***** 3-WAY TAG: THE KINGDOM (Taven/Bennett) vs. THE ADDICTION (Daniels/Kazarian) vs. BULLET CLUB (Anderson)

A few hours before the show, Luke Gallows posted a video saying that he was stuck at the airport due to a canceled flight. “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson took the mic before the match, proclaiming he didn’t need a partner before getting jumped by

everyone. Pretty fast-paced, crowd-pleasing fare in this match. Daniels & Kazarian have so much experience, everything they do looks natural and off-thecuff. Anderson makes the best of his situation with commendable gusto. Bennett & Taven get better with each match they have. Both men already have a ton of chemistry, but its starting to show more in their in-ring work these days. Maria’s presence was sorely missed, though. The Kingdom goes over with a spike piledriver. ***1/2 out of *****

BJ WHITMER vs. RODERICK STRONG

This is a strange set-up. It’s the story of two members of The Decade lashing out at each other, leading to a grudge match. Another page from the Pro Wrestling Stable 101 Playbook. While Whitmer is ultimately the heel in this scenario, there’s not much to invest in Strong with this storyline, unfortunately. Roderick Strong is doing far more interesting work as the current PWG World Champion, so the interest isn’t that great here. BJ Whitmer was always an adequate worker, but he never quite had that spark like other ROH performers. Maybe during the RoH/CZW feud, but not in 2015. Regardless, both men have a decent contest that see Strong go over. *** out of *****

MARIA KANELLIS w/ Mike Bennett vs. O.D.B. w/ Mark Briscoe

This was fun. More about spots than wrestling, but it works in this case. In true heel fashion, Maria tries to get out of the match claiming she’s pregnant. It turns out to be a ruse and all hell breaks loose. The miscommunications between Maria and Mike Bennett elicit laughs, the parallel beatdowns in-and-out of the ring are welcome, the crowd’s constantly engaged, and Steve Corino has some choice lines over commentary. “Don’t hit her in the stomach, she’s pregnant!” A notable Doomsday Device spot between ODB, Mark Briscoe and Mike Bennett might be the biggest highlight. ODB goes over, recovers the “Title of Love.” *** out of *****

ACH vs. AJ STYLES

This was an interesting pairing, to say the least. ACH is known for his deathdefying acrobats and spots more than his wrestling acumen, but he adjusts his style to work with IWGP Champion AJ Styles. Between the crazy spots, there’s some sound psychology and chemistry with Styles and ACH. Styles takes advantage of ACH’s knee to eventually go over with the Styles Clash, but not before treating the Las Vegas crowd to one of the better wrestling matches on the card. Kudos. **** out of *****


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(c)

If you didn’t know any better, you would have thought this was the main event from the Las Vegas crowd reaction. This is another match in their long-standing feud - and it’s just as entertaining as the previous entries. Expect the usual Superkicks, reversals, double teams, high-risk moves and attitude you’d expect from both teams. There’s really not much to say here, except that both of teams are just plain awesome. reDRagon retain their titles for another day. ****1/2 out of ***** ROH WORLD TV CHAMPIONSHIP ALBERTO EL PATRON vs. JAY LETHAL (c) w/ Truth Martini

Solid title match. Alberto El Patron has made the most of his post-WWE appearances. He’s injected a fair amount of excitement into the RoH, in terms of potential feuds. Pairing him with Lethal not only provides a fresh rivalry, but it allows Lethal to step up his game. Jay Lethal’s inflates his heel persona to look like an equal to Alberto El Patron. El Patron works the arm of Lethal throughout, but cleverly uses this to his advantage with a fake-out Lethal Injection. ***1/2 out of ***** SAMOA JOE COMES HOME

Oh, Joe. After languishing in TNA, Joe

returns to the house that he built. Joe challenges for the RoH World Title and that’s all you need to know. Short and sweet segment. FOUR-CORNER SURVIVOR MATCH for ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HANSON vs. MICHAEL ELGIN vs. TOMASSO CIAMPA vs. JAY BRISCOE (c)

Briscoe walks in as champion, having been more than 2 years since anyone has defeated him - a worthy statistic. A match like this calls for a ton of spots, since Hanson, Elgin, Ciampa and Briscoe bring their own unique traits into this four-way. Elgin’s piledriver to Briscoe through a table is particularly brutal, as is Elgin’s Razor’s Edge to Ciampa into the barricade. Hell, even referee Todd Sinclair takes a gnarly bump from the apron to the floor. The drama revolves around the lack of an official, with referee Sinclair being taken outfairly early in the match. While Ciampa and Hanson seem to spend more time on the outside, Elgin plays up the desperation card to pretty good effect here. Elgin’s constantly doing what he can to be the last man standing tall with the title, including putting Briscoe away with a con-chair-to. In the end, Briscoe retains by fluke and sets up his title defense with Samoa Joe at Supercard of Honor IX. That’s pretty much what the entire match builds to and it works fairly well. ***1/2 out of *****

ROH 13TH ANNIVERSARY

ROH TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. REDRAGON

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FOZZY LIVE

PHOTO: OLLY HANKS


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LUCHA UNDERGROUND

WORDS: ALAN BOON

LUCHA UNDERGROUND 08/04/15 H

ey, it’s Lucha

This was very spotty, as you’d expect, and

his match in Mexico last year, and has

Underground! It’s gone

suffered a little for that. Still, I’ve seen

wrestled a few times here without it,

trios crazy!

worse. This week.

which really shouldn’t happen. So think of this as simply putting the universe

The show started with a

Backstage, Prince Puma was training and

straight…

re-cap of the recent storylines featuring

was interrupted by Konnan. Konnan said

Ivelisse & Son of Havoc, Sexy Star

he’d found Puma a partner – Hernandez

I guess I gave away the winner there,

& Pentagón Jr, and Prince Puma &

– which Puma didn’t seem to like. It’s

didn’t I? Yeah, Super Fly lost, when Sexy

Hernandez. So that’s your line-up for

weird, because Hernandez has done

Star pinned him with a roll-up of all

tonight.

nothing wrong to Puma yet, so he’s

things. It wasn’t a great match, truth

acting like a jealous child.

be told. Functional. After the match,

In Dario Cueto’s office, Konnan and

he offered his mask to Sexy Star, who

Prince Puma were told by Cueto that

Johnny Mundo appeared and said that

reluctantly took it, and we all got a good

they should find two partners for the

Puma had already found a partner, so I

look at Super Fly – he’s one of the rare

trios tournament. They would face King

guess that’s their trio. He said he’d have

luchadores who looks better without his

Cuerno next week, and he’d already got

Puma’s back in the main event tonight.

mask so he’ll be okay.

The announcers told us that this match

Suddenly, Pentagón Jr appeared, and

Also, Prince Puma would be facing King

had been made for reasons. I’m really not

knocked Sexy Star out of the ring and

Cuerno tonight. And it would be for the

sure why. Does it matter?

then broke Super Fly’s arm. Sexy Star

his partners.

Lucha Underground title. Sweet.

stopped him from doing it last week so Dario Cueto leaned out of his office and

payback’s a bitch. I suspect this isn’t

Hey, it’s Melissa Santos! She introduced

told them that he wanted a fight tonight,

over… Pentagón Jr rules so hard.

the team of Angélico, Ivelisse & Son of

and that because they were friends he’d

Havoc – and then Drago, Fénix & Aero

have to add something to the mix. He

Prince Puma came to the ring with

Star – for the opening trios tournament

made it a máscara contra máscara match

Hernandez & Johnny Mundo, and wearing

bout.

– loser has to unmask – and they both

a puma skin as a headdress.

lost their shit. The story of this match was partners not

King Cuerno then came out, wearing

getting along. Drago and Aero Star, torn

Now here’s a thing: luchas apuestas, as

his deer skin headdress, and we waited

apart by their best-of-five series, bickered

these stipulation matches are known

for his partners to emerge. They soon

and came to blows, and cost their team

in Mexico, are usually pretty big deals.

appeared, and it was Texano & Cage! This

the match.

The loser often gets a HUGE pay-off to

is BIG TIME.

compensate for losing their mask or their Ivelisse wanted little to do with either

hair, and they come at the end of months

They locked up and King Cuerno caught

Angélico or Son of Havoc, and outright

of feuding.

Prince Puma in an armlock. They went

walked away when Havoc tried to make

back and forth, with Puma trying to

a tag. It didn’t matter, because he made

This was made just now, with no prior

his own save and got the win with a

tip-off, and thus is contrary to luchas

shooting star press.

apuestas tradition. BUT Super Fly lost

escape, but Cuerno kept it on. Puma launched into some kicks but


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Cuerno rolled out of the ring. He tried to come back in, but Puma kicked him out again and then hit a dive. Unfortunately, he was caught by Cage and Texano, who threw him to that mat, and Cuerno hit a neckbreaker on the outside. Cuerno brought Puma back into the ring and hit some kicks, and stomps, and a clothesline in the corner. Cuerno distracted the referee and Texano & Cage attacked Puma. Puma fought back with a Superman Punch and a flurry of punches, and then threw Cuerno to the outside. Puma dived onto Cuerno and then Mundo hit a corkscrew onto Cage and Texano. Cage dragged Cuerno back into the ring and Hernandez told Puma to get back in, too. Puma botched a springboard into the ring but then hit a side slam for a nearfall. Puma missed a 450 splash, then Cuerno hit a series of German suplexes. Hernandez got up on the apron and clapped Cuerno round the ears, and Puma kicked him to set up the 630 splash. Puma seemed to scold Hernandez for his interference, and then hit the 630 for the win. After the match, Hernandez got in to celebrate with Puma, who wanted nothing of it. Jealous child. He eventually acquiesced into letting Hernandez raise his arm but they were attacked by Cage, and an all-out brawl ensued as the show went off the air. This was a Good Show. Not a great show, but a decent effort. Storylines are moving forward and we’ve got another big show next week. And it’s all moving towards Ultimo Lucha in a couple of months. Great stuff.

REGULAR REVIEWS ON STEELCHAIRMAG.COM APRIL 2O15 STEELCHAIR 33


THE WORK HORSE

WORDS: RICHART HART

THE WORK HORSE Lee Hazell looks back at the first episode of WCW Monday Nitro

T

HE WORK HORSE

underused. The guys I call work horses. A

Cesaro. Kidd has a flashy, effective move-

Signs go up about

wrestler with strong workrate, a wrestler

set, strong fundamentals, and makes

workrate, people chant

who can work with just about anyone, and

most opponents look good, thanks to his

“this is wrestling,” and

a wrestler who - most crucially - knows

excellent selling.

endless smart-mark fans

how to make another wrestler look good.

talk on forums about hard working pros

It may be that these guys are unselfish

When he first came up to the main

who are used badly: “Why isn’t this guy

and unambitious, don’t have the right

roster, Kidd was part of the New Hart

getting a push?” “Why isn’t my guy given

look to make it big with the WWE, or

Foundation, alongside white-meat second

a fair chance?” But wrestling is a strange

are often simply not in the right place

generation worker David Hart Smith.

business, and sometimes being better

at the right time. Very occasionally, the

He did what he could, but they were

than another performer is actually worse

work horse can go all the way to the top,

often just fed to people, utilized to help

for your career than if he’s better than

but they’ll never be the darling of the

make other wrestlers look good. His next

you.

promotion the same way as the likes of

tag team with Justin Gabriel showed

Shawn Michaels, Batista or the greatest

promise, but was never really given a

Some of these guys are wrestlers who

politician in wrestling history, HHH.

chance.

get pigeonholed as indie journeyman,

A good example of the modern work

who trawl the lower leagues working with

horse is Tyson Kidd, finally earning some

In the end he swallowed his pride,

promotions and winning second string

traction

reinvented himself, and moved down to

gold. They’re rarely likely to trouble the

plying his

trade

NXT, where he had a strong run. He had

big leagues for very long.

on the

main

superb matches with Adrian Neville and

roster

once

Sami Zayn before earning his way back

in WWE,

Some of them are also those wrestlers

again in

his

to a role in the main roster. Part of that

who get stuck at “gate-keeper” level,

solid

tag

process was finding a new character as

used to put up-and-coming stars to the

team

with

the spoiled prima-donna of NXT which

test, but never given a run themselves.

has worked out well for him.

Occasionally these guys do get a push

Before Tyson Kidd there was the

or even a run as transitional champion

legendary Jerry Lynn. Lynn probably

themselves, but it’s usually short-lived.

would have been remembered as

It’s a comfortable career, and at the end of it they’ll likely have some respect backstage. Kane, The Big Show, Mark Henry, and Hardcore Holly have all been used in this role.

a journeyman indie wrestler if it wasn’t for Paul Heyman and his own incredible talents. Lynn had a series of matches with Rob Van Dam in ECW which captured the imagination of indie fans, and later earned

Then there are those that are unsung, underrated, and

him a spot with WWE. A packed roster and


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Hart again, always looking out for

fans. The work horse often gets

negligible impact and he would go

his next big thing while he had Hart

over. The work horse probably sells

on to become a solid supporting

in front of him. This seemed to be

some merch’, especially to hardcore

member of the Ring Of Honor and

Bret’s lot and perhaps that, as well

indie fans. The work horse will quite

TNA rosters, utilizing his strong

as the other tragedies that struck at

often get booked, even if not in

psychology and quality in-ring work

him, have left him quite bitter about

those lucrative top spots. The work

to make other wrestlers stand out.

the industry.

horse is one of those things that a

Lynn is universally well-liked and,

promoter will need but never love. Is

THE WORK HORSE

his own small size saw him make a

whilst he never made it really big

In the modern day, both CM Punk

it because there are a lot of them? Or

outside of ECW, he does have a good

and Daniel Bryan had runs where

is it because to be a top star in pro-

reputation at the end of his career.

their in-ring work was superb, they

wrestling you have to have that selfish

Which, in the wrestling business, is

were able to get over (and get other

streak to get yourself noticed in the

more remarkable than success.

people over), and both had runs as

crowd?

WWE champion. Bryan’s run was cut Being a work horse doesn’t mean

short by injury but you always got the

As long as workrate matters to

you can’t make it big with WWE. Bret

impression that WWE creative didn’t

fans, there will be a spot for the

Hart was probably one of the all-time

really want to push him. In Punk’s

work horse. There are some in the

great work horses. He was able to

case they gave him the title but kept

WWE who probably don’t want the

work strong matches with limited

him a firm second in the order of

wrestling to matter anymore. The

opponents, and his fierce, unselfish

importance behind the blue eyed

longest segment on this year’s

approach often elevated them above

boy John Cena, and sometimes even

WrestleMania was HHH and

their rightful standing. Hart had a

lower. Of course, even as a huge CM

Stephanie facing off against part-

strong grip of psychology and story-

Punk fan, I know he’s too much of a

time star The Rock and non-wrestler

telling, and he would often subtly

prima-donna to truly be considered a

Ronda Rousey. That was time that

alter his move-set to help tell a better

classic work horse.

could have allowed the Andre The

story and put his opponent over, even

Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s the

Giant Memorial Battle Royal or the

if Hart was due to win the match.

work horse was a bit less common.

Tag Team Championship match onto

Witness Bret’s work with Sean “1-2-3

In New York, the WWF was primarily

the pay-per-view, rather than the

Kid” Waltman, or his most famous

a brawling territory, where workrate

pre-show, but was simply used to put

match putting over another talent,

was less important than pure size.

over non-wrestlers in a non-wrestling

carrying a tired Davey Boy Smith to

Down south, actual wrestling was

segment.

one of the British Bulldog’s greatest

featured more, and the top guys were

ever matches at Summerslam ’92 at

mostly able to work. Even so, in the

If the WWE does move away even

Wembley Stadium.

WWF, guys like Arn Anderson, Tully

further from the in-ring product then

Blanchard, Rick Martel, and Curt

who will even need a work-horse

Although Hart did win five WWE

Hennig all had strong runs, good

then? And who would want to be

titles - back when that would be

careers, and have largely ended up

one then? And most crucially, who

an impressive achievement - Vince

with good reputations but none of

would want to be a wrestling fan

and creative never really got behind

them were ever truly given a run at

anymore? Because without guys like

him. He was often booked in mid-

the top. In some cases you think

Jerry Lynn – and Tyson Kidd, Curt

card feuds, put on half way through

perhaps they didn’t have what it took.

Hennig, Arn Anderson, Sami Zayn,

the show, or booked against limited

But Arn Anderson is one of the most

Dean Malenko, Bret Hart, and Daniel

opponents, whom he often made

underrated performers in wrestling

Bryan - wrestling simply wouldn’t be

look better than they had any right

history and Curt Hennig came within

wrestling anymore.

to. Hart was a second choice to Lex

a whisker and a Hogan political

Luger, who wasn’t getting over, and

stroke of winning the 1991 Royal

when it didn’t work out with Diesel,

Rumble.

for many of the same reasons, Vince shuffled the deck and went back to

The work horse gets respect of the

V


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