INSIDE: THE SAINT n ALPHA FEMALE n IVAN KOLOFF n BRITISH HALL OF FAME n UFC
CONTENTS 4 6
the wrestling scoop News from around the world
mr anderson: wrestling’s unluckiest man Why has Mr Anderson failed where others have succeeded?
john cena as a heel: you can’t see it! Why turning Cena isn’t a good idea
THE WRESTLING PRESS
ed@thewrestling press.com CONTRIBUTORS
Phil Austin Dusty Wolfe Matt Singh Justin LaBar Mark Satrang Rob Sivell Jeremy Graves John Milner The CYNIC David Schmida Dark Kitty Darren Wood The Wrestling Press is an independent publication and is in no way endorsed by or affiliated with any wrestling group, including WWE and TNA. The views expressed by the writers does not necessarily represent the views of The Wrestling Press. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. © Riot! Promotions 2010
steve austin: movie star Exclusive interview with the ‘Texas Rattlesnake’
ways local 42 20promotions can use social media How to raise your online presence
the wrestling priest Blessings to Mark Sloan & DG: UK
the british wrestling hall of fame A look at FWA’s new initiative
saint 52 the 4FW’s shining light female interview 57 alpha Revealing chat with female Euro
star the legacy 20 undertaker: 20 years of the ‘Phenom’ where to begin with 62 far-fetched? japanese wrestling 24 ‘What if’ Shane Douglas never Jeremy Graves shares his joined ECW?
passion for all things puroresu
to 65 25 countdown lockdown competition Exclusive TWP give-away - win a signed copy of Mick Foley’s book
guerrero tribute 26 eddie Five year anniversary of Eddie’s death
immortalising the 30 industry How TNA’s major faction encompasses all aspects of professional wrestling
Remembering a true great
Rundown of the top dogs in MMA
interview with guerrero universal
the wolfe pit
NEW FEATURE! Send your questions to ROH and CZW commentator Joe Dombrowski
Is MMA a better career choice than pro wrestling?
A taste of Mexican wrestling
the grass really is 40 greener
the russian bear ivan koloff
WWE Money In The Bank 2010 WWE Iron Will TNA: Best Of The Asylum Years TNA Slammiversary 2010 ROH: Salvation & Hate Chapter II Evolve 4 Hunt To Kill Countdown To Lockdown Anecdotes from Dusty Wolfe www.thewrestlingpress.com 3
The Wrestling Scoop With Mike Aldren courtesy of the wrestling globe newsletter Recent rumours that WWE agent Dean Malenko recently suffered a heart attack are not completely accurate. People had attempted to keep this quiet but the story is that doctors detected a clogged artery after Malenko experienced shortness of breath and nausea at the 26/10 Smackdown taping in Milwaukee. Subsequently he underwent surgery to have a heart stent put in. Malenko, 50, has already returned to work following the procedure. MTV, Us magazine, TMZ and ESPN’s Bill Simmons were among the mainstream media covering Miz’s WWE title win on RAW. WWE is actively recruiting new writers from Hollywood. They don’t want anyone with a wrestling background or anyone who knows too much about the product, as crazy as that seems. The only person now left on the current creative team with a wrestling background other than the McMahon family is Michael Hayes, who heads up Smackdown. CM Punk is expected to remain on commentary for the rest of the year. He’s said to be shooting to return for the Royal Rumble in January. The younger brother of Dolph Ziggler, Ryan Nemeth, 26, started training with OVW in Louisville about four months ago. He’s said to be a taller, better looking version of Ziggler who is past his brother as a pro at this stage 4 www.thewrestlingpress.com
of the game. He also has an MA in English from Xavier University and is the author of a novel titled, I Can Make Out With Any Girl Here. There is talk of Bret Hart returning soon as part of a new angle with the Hart Dynasty. A new video of the Hardy brothers hanging out wrecked at a diner has surfaced on YouTube at http://tinyurl.com/3993w65. In the video Jeff cuts a promo on CM Punk accusing him of taking Ambien (prescription sleep med) – mocking the notion that he’s Straight Edge, says he’s a nerd, says he’s cocky inside and outside the ring, says he made Punk a “mother FN superstar”, and finishes his diatribe with a big FU and double middle finger salute. Matt Hardy is also in the video saying that Amy Dumas (who has dated both Matt and Punk) still calls him when she gets emotional. Jim Ross at www.jrsbarbq.com noted that a rep for MMA fighter Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson recently contacted him about Nelson getting into WWE. “Roy Nelson might become a star in pro wrestling if he applied himself to it but so many athletes come into the wrestling biz thinking that it’s easy and takes little effort to be good at it. Nothing could be more wrong,” wrote Ross. “For the record, I have not gotten involved in this matter and likely will not. If I were Nelson, I would cultivate my relationship with UFC and look to earn some hefty paydays before looking for the next in ring career move. Nelson fits well into the
UFC heavyweight division and I could see him earning some nice money with his puncher’s power the next couple of years especially if he would focus more on his conditioning.” UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson says he’d be interested in working for WWE in the future. He said he would never go on the road as a regular, but may be interested in special appearances when his fight career is over. There are several new WWE DVDs in the works for 2011. This includes a Bill Goldberg 3-disc set with documentary and matches; a ‘Best Of Nitro Seasons 1 & 2′ set; a ‘Best Of Cage Matches’ set; The History of Wrestlemania with documentary and matches; plus 3-disc sets on Triple H, DX and Big Show which is tentatively titled ‘A Giant’s World’. Kurt Angle is under consideration for a major movie with Sony Pictures… Angle also recently wrapped another movie in Pittsburgh called Death From Above which is direct-to-DVD in February. Sid Eudy, Matt Morgan, Rhino, ODB, and James Storm either had cameos in the film or did stunt work, along with Angle’s new bride, Giovanna. Wade Barrett was interviewed by IGN.com recently and he claimed before wrestling he was involved in illegal bare knuckle boxing in the UK. For what it’s worth, those who know him believe this to be true. When asked about the UK indy wrestling scene, he was very negative, and said: “I haven’t seen too much of the independent scene in America, so I can’t really compare the two. But I can talk about the English independent scene and unfortunately it’s nowhere near the wrestling heyday that British wrestling had in the 70′s and perhaps the early 80′s when British wrestling was huge and there were some really big stars that came out of there like Big Daddy and Mick McManus and people like that who were literally household names across the UK. But nowadays it’s very small time, there’s not a lot of glamour. A lot of the show’s you’re lucky to
get a hundred people in there. And the quality isn’t so good over in the UK these days as well. Don’t get me wrong, there some very good wrestlers out there, but there’re also a lot of small time companies who just let anybody wrestle for them. Guys who have no business being in the ring. And unfortunately the public will go along and see a company like that who are putting on a really bad product for people and putting some really terrible wrestlers in there. So the UK. seems to be just covered in a lot of bad wrestling at the moment, with just a few high peaks of good wrestling thrown in.” Scotty “2 Hotty” Taylor noted that he recently autographed an old wrestling outfit of his that was actually stolen years ago by a fan in the lobby of a hotel in Tokyo. For those who asked, WWE is actually legally entitled to use the old WWF block logo. The lawsuit with the World Wildlife Fund several years ago only prohibited the company from using the Attitude Era scratch logo. John Cena is currently ranked the No. 11 most popular athlete on Facebook with over 3 million followers. No 1. is soccer star Christiano Ronaldo with just under 15 million followers. DH Smith visited with Tom “Dynamite Kid” Billington while in the UK. Billington, 51, is confined to a wheelchair due to his years of drug abuse and the high-impact style of his wrestling. These days he lives a quiet life in the suburbs of Manchester, England. Mick Foley’s book signing at Waterstone’s in London was among the highest turnouts they’d ever had at the store along, with the likes of major UK celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and Keith Richards.
To receive all the latest professional wrestling news and gossip direct to your mailbox send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org www.thewrestlingpress.com 5
Why Has Anderson Failed Where Others Have Succeeded?
By john m. milner
y 2010, ken anderson should be remembered as a multi-time world champion. he should be on the same level as john cena, randy orton or even kurt angle or a.j. styles. instead, fate has just dealt anderson yet another in a long-line of career setbacks. he was supposed to challenge tna champion jeff hardy for the title at turning point. instead, anderson will be on the sidelines due to a concussion, watching as matt morgan takes his spot in the championship match. Optimists say that every time one door closes, another one opens. But in Anderson’s case, every time he has been set to cross the threshold of success, a door has been slammed in his face. Time and time again, injuries or controversy have dragged him further and further away from the pinnacle of success he might have achieved. As recently as three years ago, it would have been appropriate, in discussing Anderson’s prospects, to quote Tom Petty’s Into the Great Wide Open, because, indeed, “the future was wide open.”
EDGE, another injury prone superstar Anderson, wrestling as Ken “Mr.” Kennedy, had just won Money In the Bank at Wrestlemania XXIII, and announced he would cash in his title shot at the next Wrestlemania. By then, Anderson / Kennedy was a former U.S. Champion and his unique, boxing-like ring introduction, which he did himself, bellowing out “Kennedy.... KENNEDY!!!!”, was beginning to become popular with fans. Although wrestling as a heel, Anderson was winning over fans due to his look and skills on the mic. It’s possible that when he cashed in his Money In the Bank title shot, he might have
done so as one of the most popular WWE stars. But we’ll never know. Just days after he announced his intentions with Money In the Bank, Anderson was diagnosed with an arm injury. Initially expected to be out five to seven months, he returned in approximately half that. But before he officially went on the DL, Anderson lost a match, and his Money In the Bank title shot to Edge. And perhaps it was ironic that, of all the WWE Superstars, it was Edge who not only won the title shot, but would cash it in against the Undertaker, spent from a cage match against Batista and attacked by Mark Henry, on May 11th to win the World Heavyweight Championship. I say ironic because Edge has also had his share of injuries over the years. A neck injury kept him out of action for nearly a year in 2003. Injury cost him the Intercontinental Championship in 2004 and the World Heavyweight Champi-
onship in 2007. In January 2010, as Anderson was heading to TNA, Edge returned from an almost seven-month layoff to win the Royal Rumble. But Anderson’s run of bad luck and setbacks would not end with the injury that cost him his Money at the Bank title shot. Upon his return, he was set to be in an angle where he would be revealed as Mr. McMahon’s “illegitimate son”. But before the storyline could be played out, Anderson would be named in a steroid scandal and face a 30-day suspension under the WWE’s Wellness Policy. The role would be given to Hornswoggle.
MANY PEOPLE HAVE REPORTED ORTON CONFRONTED ANDERSON BACKSTAGE AFTER THE INCIDENT
against Shelton Benjamin. Although he made sporadic TV appearances in a non-wrestling capacity, Anderson would not return to the ring until May 25th, 2009. It was on the May 29th episode of Raw where Anderson competed in a 10-man tag match. During the match, Anderson both injured his wrist and botched a move against Randy Orton. Four days later, Anderson was released. Had the WWE had enough of the injury-prone grappler? Not so, says Anderson himself. Shortly after his release Anderson released a video on his website, waving his hand, seemingly unencumbered by any injury. Text on the website stated Anderson was 100% healthy.
Anderson would once again return from his injury and begin a feud with Shawn Michaels. He would have to step away from the ring temporarily, after Wrestlemania XXIV. But this time it wasn’t due to an injury. Anderson, like John Cena and Ted Dibiase, was taking advantage of the WWE’s desire to enter the film world. He earned a role in the directto-video release Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia.
Although accounts differ, many people have reported Orton confronted Anderson backstage after the incident. Some say Orton’s words were heated, others say Orton was calm, simply telling Anderson to be more careful. There are many who believe Orton approached WWE Management asking them to release Anderson.
Anderson returned at the end of April and finally completed his long expected face turn, feuding with William Regal, who was Raw’s General Manager at the time. With a trade to Smackdown, a face turn, and a role in a movie, Anderson seemed to be on the cusp of finally reaping the success so long denied to him.
Orton himself was no stranger to injuries, including a shoulder injury shortly after his WWE debut in 2002, and a broken collarbone (re-injured in a motorcycle accident just before his return) in 2008. Orton may have been concerned Anderson’s move might aggravate the injury. In watching the Anderson/Orton exchange, the viewer can see that, after Anderson executes a back suplex, Orton (the recipient) angrily gestures at his foe.
But then, on August 4, 2008 at a house show, Anderson dislocated his shoulder during a match
With a history that saw Anderson come under fire from Finlay, Eddie Guerrero, Shawn Michaels
and Triple H and, after an incident with Matt Hardy, even Vince McMahon himself. Following his release from WWE, Anderson did a stint on the independent circuit where he wrestled in Puerto Rico’s World Wrestling Council, NuWrestling Evolution, Hulk Hogan’s Hulkamania tour in Australia and Great Lakes Championship Wrestling. Then, in January 2010, Anderson signed with TNA. Despite TNA not having as high a profile as WWE, Anderson seemed to be carving a niche for himself. Much like his arrival in WWE, Anderson came to TNA as a heel, feuding with Abyss and Kurt Angle. But as the weeks and months went by, his ability on the mic (he had a new catchphrase, which we won’t print here) and charismatic personality soon won fans over. By the spring of 2010, he had become a fully-fledged face in TNA and was solidly entrenched in the World Championship scene. At Bound for Glory, Jeff Hardy, Anderson’s frequent tag partner, turned on Anderson and the fans to join Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff’s new heel stable. And so it seemed as if it was falling on the shoulders of Ken Anderson to take the TNA Championship from Hardy.
But Anderson is hardly the first wrestler to be injured. As stated earlier, both Edge and Orton have seen multiple stints on the DL as it were. And yet Orton is, as of press time, the current WWE Champion and Edge was recently named the #1 contender to the World Championship. And yet Anderson’s resume has a few independent titles, and a U.S. title reign. What separates Anderson from Edge, Orton and others? As far as being “over” is concerned, Anderson has the charisma to win over a crowd, to the point where it was the fans’ response that turned him face, weeks, perhaps months before he did so via storyline. The botched moves and the fallout from them might have something to do with that. But Anderson is not the first nor will he be the last to botch a move in the ring.
so what is the answer to the question as to why anderson doesn’t have at least a world title reign or two on his resume? They say timing is everything, and Anderson’s injuries, not to mention other career setbacks all seem to come at a time when his career was on the verge of being elevated to the next level. As a younger man, I remember watching the first Saturday Night’s Main Event of 1987, which featured a steel cage match between Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff. Following the match commentator Jesse “the Body” Ventura told fellow commentator Vince (Not yet Mr.) McMahon, “it’s better to be lucky than to be good.”
Perhaps finally, it was Anderson’s time to step up and become World Champion. Instead he suffered a concussion, one that isn’t expected to keep him on the shelf for long, but long enough that he’ll sit out Turning Point. No matter how optimistic a man Ken Anderson may be, there must be times when he shakes his head and wonders just what he’s done to deserve this string of bad luck, wonder just what bad sign he was born on.
Ken Anderson may very well have been good, and with a few good years in TNA or back in WWE, he may still find himself with a World Championship belt around his waist. He may still main event Wrestlemania. But due to his run of bad luck when it comes to injuries and controversy we will never know just how good he could have been. n contact john at email@example.com
By justin labar
JOHN CENA AS A HEEL YOu CAN'T SEE IT!
hen will cena turn heel? how will it happen? if he turns heel, will it be equal to hogan turning heel? that is what the iwc keeps asking. I ask all of you, why should he turn heel?
Hogan was never thought of or viewed as anything but a fan favourite who fought evil. In 1996 when he turned heel, nothing had ever been seen quite like it. Hogan, Hall and Nash made a black shirt with 3 letters cool. Similar to how Flair and company made holding up 4 fingers a gesture that meant something.
thing we saw was Austin playing an acoustic guitar and hugging Vince McMahon every night. You can’t have a Santino Marella as champion and top heel. Why should Cena turn heel? It won’t be original. Alright, I’m playing devils advocate. Truth is that for two reasons I would enjoy seeing Cena turn heel. 1. The IWC would go nuts over it and with the Chair Shot Reality show I host on Wrestlezone.com, the IWC is my audience. So Cena heel, means money for me. 2. I’m bored with the same good guy routine we have been seeing. From WWE’s view point, Cena is everything. He gets the biggest reaction of the night. Love him or hate him, when you go to a live event the chances are you make your opinion of him heard. The worst thing for a booker is to have a performer who gets no reaction. People sitting down quiet with no care of what happens to the character. Everybody cares what happens to John Cena.
In 2001, Steve Austin shocked fans in his home state by aligning with his rival Vince McMahon, and cheating to beat The Rock, on the biggest stage of the year. This didn’t have the long-term stability or pay off that Hogan‘s turn had. Austin’s turn wasn’t original. At the time WWE creative had about 20-25 guys to book on RAW and SmackDown. At the same time Austin turns, WCW and ECW become no more and the WWE has doubled the roster. I feel they got in over their heads with the whole invasion angle and lost control of effectively selling Austin as a heel. Beyond having a large amount on your plate as a writer, the other challenge is changing the fans perception of a face who was also anti-authority. He was a rebel that people cheered. It seemed as if the creative team threw their hands up in the air and went the comedy route. The next
The older males who don’t buy into his character will tune in and show up wanting to see him get his ass kicked by a “bad boy” like Orton or Sheamus. The kids look up to him and think he is cool. So the parents of the kids fork over money for everything from arm bands to spinner belts. Yes, they will buy a 9 year old a 200 dollar spinner belt. I’ve seen the madness myself. Cena is a powerful weapon for public relations. He is great with the media and Make A Wish foundation. John Cena played a good heel when he first came to the main roster. The rapping of edgy words to cut up on his opponent was a great promo and verbal
males who love to hate him will embrace him if his character makes certain changes. The more violent language and rapping before matches will probably connect with those who have hated him as a face. They will find him funny and not fill the arena with “Cena sucks” chants, but they won’t spend 200 dollars on his merchandise as a bad boy rebel. Many reports from speaking to those in “the know” of possible future plans say that Vince McMahon has made it clear, if Cena goes heel then he wants him to be the biggest heel ever. Not one person to like him. This sounds intriguing and something I would want to watch. But I ask, how? How could you make someone in todays sports entertainment that despised? tool he brought with him. Cena had the ability to come up with some very clever promos in a rhyming form. These promos are not the product of someone who the WWE wants to ride all the way to the bank and the front page of good media publicity. Its the evidence of a bad boy to ride with in attitude era days. Those days are long behind us and are not coming back. Beyond any political aspirations any McMahon ever has, a publicly traded company with family sponsors are not going to go for attitude era programming. All the evidence points towards a good business move to keep Cena as a face, and it seems that we are being set up for a heel turn in the future. The turn will involve the Nexus group. A group led by a young Wade Barrett. Barrett is good, real good. So if Cena turns heel and is aligned with Nexus, Barrett isn’t as important. That is a TNA type mistake. If Cena is a strong face and in the struggle can put over Wade Barrett, that is good for the future. Barrett has been getting put over for months now and its working. If you make Cena a heel and he has some power or leadership in what was Barrett’s group, all of the work you have done in the building of Barrett is now pointless. If John Cena ends up turning heel, then it will be a true test for the WWE to make profit in the longterm. The possibility is always there that the
IF CENA GOES HEEL THEN HE WANTS HIM TO BE THE BIGGEST HEEL EVER Todays sports entertainment, which includes the content rating limitations and nothing is really a secret. The sport or art of entertainment, however you choose to label it, has been so publicised and the kayfabe has been broken through movies, books, documentaries, interviews and much more. Even a top heel like Sheamus who “retires” people and is totally ruthless is doing media interviews and taking smiling pictures with fans if you can catch him in public. All of the above would play a role in preventing Cena from being the biggest and most hated heel ever. The turn won’t be a surprise as everyone is waiting for it and discussing when it will go down. If Cena turns heel at a Pay Per View, the next night on RAW will do good numbers. After the explanation and seeing Cena come out as a heel, then what? A black shirt with a yellow ‘N’ isn’t going to be a new symbol of cool and be worn by everyone in public schools. That is what the NWO shirts did. In the 90’s when everyone watched wrestling, whether they admitted it or not, the black NWO shirt represented something cool to be apart of. Today, if you want anything close to that effect, you wear a shirt that says Tapout. n contact justin at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is without question that the Attitude Era of the late 1990’s to early 2000’s was the most successful period in WWE’s long and illustrious history. Looking back there is no doubt that one man clearly embodied the direction that Vince McMahon wanted to take with Sports Entertainment. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was the perfect anti hero, a disrespectful, beer-drinking, foul mouthed redneck who routinely did what most people dream of by defying his boss. Whether it be flipping a middle finger or hitting a Stone Cold Stunner on the helpless McMahon, Austin was constantly a thorn in the owners’ side. He held the WWE Championship on no less than six occasions, was a 1996 king of the ring winner as well as the winner of the 1997, 1998 and 2001 Royal Rumbles.
getting ready to go back to filming in October and I’m looking to take what I have learnt from Hunt to Kill and working with Sly [Stallone] and all those other great actors in The Expendables and kick ass on the next film. As you said earlier a lot of the shooting took place outside, is it hard as an actor to adjust to different surroundings and climates? Well for me now I am starting to really get my whereabouts as far as trying to be an actor goes and the climate didn’t really play a factor for me. It didn’t really bother me at all. But I feel that after doing this movie and working with Sly I am really starting to settle into my characters and not really worrying so much about dialogue, but just focusing on being that character. I’m
Since leaving WWE and the wrestling business Austin has started pursuing a career in acting, TWP’s Darren Wood managed to grab a quick chat with the Texas Rattlesnake himself. Hi Steve, right first question. What brought you to Hunt to kill in the first place, did they come to you or were you actively looking for film work? We were in Canada filming another movie in the forest and a picture was taken of me with some kind of stick or something like that and this inspired the movie, and Frank Hannah wrote the script for me and we made it happen. How was it working on Hunt to Kill? Man I had a blast, I’ve always loved being in the outdoors, hunting and fishing. I loved spending the bulk of the movie outdoors filming. It was cold, it was raining and it was in the winter and you were very cold and wet. Everybody worked their butts off, cast and crew, and there were no prima donnas’ so I had a great time. I really enjoyed the movie, it’s my favourite movie that I have shot and then I followed this up with The Expendables, now I’m
trying to get as fluid and as good at acting like I was being an adlibbed, impromptu act on live TV. How different is it learning dialogue for a movie compared to improvising a promo like you did in WWE? Because I was so entrenched in the storylines and being Stone Cold Steve Austin I knew exactly what that guy said and did at any given situation. I think I was great at that. Now though its learning how to do that from a character standpoint and I think the more you know about the character the easier the words come. I’m trying to reach that comfort level with all the characters I play and that’s why I am looking forward to filming my next project and taking everything I learnt into that one. Finding that comfort level is something that I find difficult and its something that I am looking to improve upon. Austin of old, battling The Rock
Would you be in favour of doing a movie with another wrestling personality such as The Rock, or would you see that as relying on past relationships rather than creating new ones like you have had to in the movie industry? Chemistry is chemistry and I love making new relationships and that is one of the things that I had so much fun doing on The Expendables. It was a wonderful cast and a wonderful group of
people to work with. As long as it’s a quality movie, has a good story and it’s not really a wrestling movie absolutely I would. The past is the past, what we got now and the future is what it is. Now I think working with anyone from the wrestling business would be great and I don’t think it would be living or relying on the past whatsoever. Were you worried or anxious about any resentment from wrestling fans when you announced that you weren’t going to be an onscreen wrestling personality anymore and you were going to be making the transition into a film star? You know I worked my butt of to try and entertain the fans in a job that I absolutely loved to do and its a business that I absolutely loved. When I had to ride off into the sunset it was a result of a bunch of injuries saying ‘hey you need to get your ass outta here and go do something else.’ Quite frankly if I hadn’t got dropped on my head back in 97, I’d probably still be in the ring. In life you gotta play the cards you’re dealt with. I love the wrestling business but it was time for me to go down the road. You know what, in 10, 20 years I still want to be able to go hunt, fish and do all the things that I do in a pain free fashion. Right now I am 100% pain free and 100% healthy. Had I stayed in the ring with the very violent physical work style that I had, I wouldn’t be in very good shape so I had to get out when I did and it is what it is but I love that business. Do you feel you are in a favourable position in the fact that you have lived a passion of yours for many years in wrestling and now you are pursuing something else that you enjoy in acting? When I got out of wrestling it wasn’t my goal to be an actor, when I got out of WWE I stayed around in Texas for three or four years, I didn’t do anything. I hunted and fished and I was retired. Finally I thought to myself well I
enjoyed doing Nash Bridge’s so I said hell lets go to LA and try to get into acting. I came out to LA and at first didn’t really pursue it full time but then I thought you know you better get your act together and do something. Then I met some guys and we made damn near five movies back to back. When I got into acting, I got into it because I needed something to do. I wanted something to do. It wasn’t so much a passion it was a job that I could go from wrestling into this because I had somewhat of a name. Now that I have done five, six movies I am passionate about it, now I understand it and the process. Now I want to be as good as I can be, I wanna be a great convincing, compelling character in any movie that I do. So now I am passionate about the acting profession whereas again when I got into it it was just something to do. I want to be the best I can be and become a successful actor.
(laughs). I mean I was learning from some of the biggest box office stars of all time. I watched Sly behind the scenes and seeing what he was doing so I am going to apply everything that I learned in that movie and put that into my next film. Being from the wrestling business, when you entered acting was there any problems in getting your name out there for film projects or generally being accepted in the movie industry? Probably when I first started yeah, because people think that the character you play in wrestling is who and what you are. You know I’m not totally Stone Cold Steve Austin, the ass kicking, crazy, beer drinking, hell raising and finger gesturing redneck. I loved being that guy and it’s a big part of me but its not who and what I am. It was tough to distinguish the two but I think now people are starting to get a sense that I am a different cat. Or can be a different cat. At first it was hard but now I think it goes with the territory, you gotta get out there and network, which is not something I really like to do. But you have to meet people and get them to have a sense of who and what you are in real life. Do you feel Hunt to Kill will appeal to fans of yours and wrestling fans in general?
It would be nice to equal the success you had in WWE with your acting career wouldn’t it? (Laughs) If I could be as a successful in this line of work as I was in wrestling I would be the next Tom Cruise. (Laughs) Look the Stone Cold Steve Austin character was tremendously successful. I’m getting a little bit of a late start into acting but I have improved from when I got into the profession of acting, so all I can do is keep a positive attitude, keep learning and soaking up information like a sponge like I always do. That’s why I enjoyed working with Sly and all of those guys so much on The Expendables because, man it was like getting a PhD in acting real quick
Oh yeah I do, when I watched the film it instantly became my favourite movie. Its more action based, more action driven. It was a blast filming this film and being in the outdoors. It’s more defining of the brand of movie that I want to make. Steve, just wanted to say from all wrestling fans around the world that we are all extremely happy you are 100% healthy and enjoying life after wrestling. Is there anything else you would like to add? I love my wrestling fans and if I can’t entertain you in the ring no more, I hope I can entertain you on the screen. Thanks very much.
hunt to kill is reviewed on page 80....
TWP Online has 5 copies of Steve Austin’s latest movie ‘Hunt to Kill’ to give away, check out thewrestlingpress.com for all the details.
By mark satrang
would make a wager that there is no north american wrestler active today who commands or receives the respect that the undertaker does; not only from the fans but the boys as well. when jim ross called him the “conscience of wwe,” he meant it. it’s been said that no one in front of or behind the camera has more “pull” than the dead man outside of the mcmahon family. In that regard he stands in a class all by himself. After twenty solid, consecutive years with World Wrestling Entertainment it is clear that there will never be another quite like The Undertaker again. All of his peers have their share of detractors. Hogan has been called untalented and egomaniacal. Flair has been painted as a “belt mark” and a backstabber. Michaels and Hart are
labeled whiners and crybabies. Triple H is accused of marrying into his success. Goldberg and Warrior were in it only for the money. Austin is ridiculed for taking his ball and going home when things didn’t go his way. The Rock is chastised for not “giving back to the industry.” Yet the Undertaker has seen them all come and go. He’s stood tall through all the changes over the better part of the past two decades, and has lived to tell a magnificent story. His career started like so many of his contemporaries in the 1980s. He earned his stripes working through the regional territories of the day, primarily in Texas and Tennessee, under a variety of gimmicks like Texas Red, The Punisher and The Master of Pain. He eventually hit the “big time” at the very end of the decade when he joined WCW under the guise of “Mean” Mark Callous and replaced an injured Sid Vicious as one of The Skyscrapers until Danny Spivey left the company. He then paired up with Paul E. Dangerously as the token midcard heavyweight “jobber to the stars,” not unlike what we see out of someone like Vance Archer or Luke Gallows today. His most notable match was a loss to United States Champion Lex Luger at Great American Bash ’90, while his only notable victories came over smaller men like Flyin’ Brian and Johnny Ace. (As a side note, look back at a match between Mark Callous and Johnny Ace with Paul E. Dangerously on the outside, and just try to comprehend the heights all three of those men have risen to in the industry. It’s something no one could have predicted.)
do with him. They released “Mean” Mark in September 1990, but he wouldn’t remain unemployed for long. When “Million $ Man” Ted DiBiase began touting a mystery partner for his “Million $ Team” at Survivor Series ’90 no one really knew what to expect. It was an era where the Internet was non-existent and word didn’t really spread all that fast in regards to wrestling news. A young mark (much like me) couldn’t see beyond the logical choices of The Skyscrapers Dustin Rhodes, Virgil or Randy Savage. Needless to say no one could have expected what we got with The Undertaker. In his initial match he captivated the audience in a way so few ever have. His look, style and mannerisms immediately made him stand out from the rest of the roster. Despite what seemed like a hokey, one-note, supernatural, dead guy gimmick, he caught on with fans and management alike, and he hasn’t looked back since. It is mind boggling to think that his upper-mid card to main event push started immediately upon his debut and hasn’t really subsided once in twenty years. Without getting into a blow-by-blow recap of the man’s storied career, it’s easy to see that his stats are truly remarkable.
‘TAKER VS SID press play or click here for external link
Unfortunately his pale skin and shock of red hair didn’t exactly give him the look of a main event superstar, and WCW didn’t really know what to www.thewrestlingpress.com 21
His now unrivaled WrestleMania unbeaten record started humbly by defeating “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka in a throwaway match on the undercard of WrestleMania VII. That streak has now extended to 18-0, with victories over all four principal members of Evolution, three World Championship victories and three legit showclosing main events. His reputation as the “giant killer” or “beast slayer” has found him in truly abysmal matches with far less talented super heavyweight lugs like Kamala, Giant Gonzalez, King Kong Bundy, Yokozuna, King Mabel, Sid, Heidenreich, Mark Henry, The Great Khali, and others that have been blocked from memory. Yet somehow he’s come out of every one of those rivalries with his integrity and credibility intact.
IN HIS INITIAL MATCH HE CAPTIVATED THE AuDIENCE IN A WAY SO FEW EVER HAVE
He has also endured some of the most ridiculous and over-the-top stunts ever pulled by WWE, including the infamous ten-on-one Casket match beat down from Royal Rumble ’94, the fake Undertaker bit from later that same year, tying Steve Austin to his “symbol” in 1999 and of course burying his own “father” Paul Bearer in cement in 2004. And that is without getting into the entire twisted logic of that whole Paul Bearer-Kane-Undertaker family story.
What makes him so special is the versatility that he has shown with the character. The Undertaker gimmick could have easily turned into a cheese ball, Wrestlecrap-worthy waste if not for the work put into keeping it relevant in WWE’s constantly changing climate. The character has transformed from an Old West style mortician, into the purple “Phantom of the Opera” mask phase of ’95, to gothic Undertaker in ’96, and then into the Lord of Darkness as the leader of the Ministry. In 2000 he went through a complete overhaul when he became the motorcycle driving American Bad Ass. He finally came back full circle when he returned to his roots as the Texas dead man in 2004. This latest stage, which has been around since WrestleMania XX, has allowed him to incorporate little bits of all of his previous characterisations. He is now a completely evolved character in which he can still go “old school” while incorporating new MMA based offense into his arsenal. Yet through all of the character changes, all of the bad angles and all of the super heavyweight
brawls, the man has remained at the top of the industry. He has been in main events since 1991 and even to this day is considered one of the company’s remaining true remaining draws. He has worked with, and beat, every big thing that has come through the doors of WWE.
Everyone from Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Kevin Nash, Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Ric Flair, Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Vince McMahon himself and even his greatest rivals Kane and Mankind have fallen at the feet of Undertaker. His character has been responsible for some of the more memorable gimmick matches in the company’s history, ranging from the Buried Alive match and the Last Ride match to the more famous Casket match and Hell in a Cell. He’s been a seven-time World Champion, picked up seven Tag championships and even got the old Hardcore Championship one time. Yet he has never been defined by the Championships he has won or lost. He’s won the Royal Rumble, an Elimination Chamber, retired Shawn Michaels and really has nothing else to prove. It is really remarkable to think that Undertaker has already been around for two decades. The ability to constantly re-invent himself, as well as his new part time schedule constantly keeps him fresh in the fans’ eyes. His longevity within the company is unparalleled, and
other than a violent crime against society I do not picture a world where Undertaker and WWE aren’t linked in some way. When Ric Flair received his hero’s farewell back in April 2008, people wondered if there would ever be a career celebration like that again. And in my mind you can count on one hand the number of others who are deserving of such accolades. Undertaker is one of those who is certainly deserving of it, but don’t expect him to be standing there blubbering in the middle of the ring, expect him to go like he came in: quiet and with a purpose. n contact mark at email@example.com
n by david schmida
lately i’ve been watching a lot of the great stuff shane douglas, and not to forget the triple threat in all of its versions, did in the original extreme championship wrestling (ecw) and i wondered: what if douglas hadn’t experienced trouble during his career prior to his very successful run as ecw’s television champion and world heavyweight champion from 1996 to 1999 and had stayed in wwe? he had been “the franchise” before that time but to me the gimmick really took off and led the company to new heights in those three years. maybe fans would’ve never witnessed and truly enjoyed the run he had in ecw and he would’ve never had the impact (no pun intended) he had.
Rumour has it that Triple H was more than just influenced by Douglas’ work. Not only did he, on occasions, wear a very similar outfit – remember the beret and the sweat pants – but also might have even sounded like Douglas in his promos. He also referred to DeGeneration X as Triple Threat – including the hand gesture – in the early days of the group. Triple H developed into “The Game” using the fact that he had been held back as a punishment for being involved in the MSG incident, also known as the curtain call, in a promo to substantiate the credibility of his character. Prior to that, Douglas certainly used his anger and disappointment to spice up his promos. In addition to that, both of them portrayed calculating manipulators.
So let’s imagine Douglas had stayed in WWE and have his share of success. He might have won a few more titles and might have been in a position to take his gimmick as the teacher “Dean Douglas” into the Attitude Era and develop into something similar to “The Franchise”. But let’s not forget one thing: the comic-like period in WWE was still in progress and it might have never changed if that same Shane Douglas would’ve stayed in WWE. He was, among others of course, the guy who helped ECW grow to a point where WWE and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) copied elements from ECW that helped to create the Attitude Era.
One could say that Douglas may have never taken on “The Franchise” persona in the first place and create an outstanding character if he hadn’t had his troubles in WCW prior to his very first stint in ECW. Maybe all the anger he had endured made that gimmick possible and believable in the first place and even better later in his career. Now we all know that when Douglas talks about being screwed by other people who might have ruined his career, he might also talk about money. And who wouldn’t be sour if someone took your ideas and made a fortune with it? The industry took a turn towards being a grown up product around fourteen years ago and it turned out to be one hell of a ride. Many wouldn’t want to miss either of the two gimmicks. And how many wrestlers have spent years in the big leagues and haven’t really done anything significant enough to come close to the importance of Shane Douglas?
At the same time we might never have witnessed Triple H becoming what many called the best heel in the business the way he did. It has been said before that Triple H was highly inspired by the persona of the former three-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion and added a few franchised elements to his character in order to make the final step up to the top. 24 www.thewrestlingpress.com
But maybe all this is too far-fetched…or not? n contact david at firstname.lastname@example.org
MICK FOLEY INTERVIEW press play or click here for external link
The Wrestling Press has a copy of Mick Foley’s latest book ‘Countdown to Lockdown’ to give away to one lucky reader. Personally SIGNED by Mick Foley himself, this great prize could be yours simply by answering this question:
Who did Mick fight at WCW Beach Blast 1992?
PODCAST BY JOSH MODABERI
send your answer to email@example.com Competition closes 25th December 2010
this book covers mick’s 34 days leading up to his emergence from retirement and debut with tna. it’s a chronicle of training, injuries, and rehab. but it’s also a collection of anecdotes about the wrestling world, musings about the use of steroids in the sport, and accounts of charity work in sierra leone. the book satisfies on a number of levels (particularly foley’s self-deprecating humour). hardcover: 336 pages price: £16.99
"Mick Foley is a masterful storyteller whose tales are guaranteed to engage and entertain." chris jericho
read the review on page 81
FIVE YEAR AN 26 www.thewrestlingpress.com
ive years can seem like a lifetime in the wrestling industry but some things can remain fresh in your memory as though they happened yesterday. Everyone who has followed the sports-entertainment world at some point in their life was shocked to hear the news on that fateful date of November 13th 2005. Cause and effect is an amazing thing, and if I was to get all deep and philosophical I could argue that everything happens for a reason. But as a wrestling fan for over a decade, I have seen what this crazy business can do to good people and it’s hard to justify that statement. Too many great, talented, magnificent performers have been taken long before their time. Guerrero was in great physical shape with a positive outlook on life. He looked healthy, had a loving family and many members of the locker room looked up to him. Regardless of whether he was lying, cheating or stealing there is no doubt he had thousands of fans across the globe.
Like all great artists throughout history you don’t truly appreciate them until they’re gone. That’s what Guerrero was – an artist. Every time he stepped through the ropes he had audiences captivated with his masterpieces of in ring work, he was destined to be a World Champion long before he even got the chance to compete for main event gold. He finally got the chance to hold the richest prize in the industry, defeating Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at No Way Out 2004. However, looking back to 2001 it was hard to believe that Guerrero would reach the pinnacle of the WWE ladder and that his World Championship success might never have happened. In 2001 his closest friends – Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn told Jim Ross of their concerns for Guerrero, who quickly looked into the situation. Guerrero had developed an addiction to pain medication stemming from a severe car accident in 1999. He was eventually sent to rehab in May 2001. However, on November 9th 2001, he was arrested for drunk driving and was subsequently released by the WWE three days later. To use J.R’s words: He had no choice but to release Guerrero from his contract: “What message would he be sending to the other boys if he didn’t fire Guerrero?” Guerrero had lost his dream job with WWE and was also facing a divorce, many thought he was down and out for the count. He was on a downward spiral and eventually hit rock bottom. He was crushed, losing everything that he had worked so hard for. His demons had cost him his wife, and his dream job. It would have been easy for Guerrero to give up, walk away and start over with something else. The Guerrero’s were never quitters though and Eddie wasn’t going to give up either.
NNIVERSARY www.thewrestlingpress.com 27
His story is truly one that whether you are a wrestling fan or not you can gain true inspiration from. He sank to unimaginable lows only to bounce all the way back up to the top and beyond.
I couldn’t sleep. Instead I frantically searched the internet into the early hours of the morning trying to find answers. I wanted to desperately find out that this information was wrong, that it was all just a bad dream.
He fought his demons, worked the indie circuit for a while and reconciled with his wife Vickie Guerrero. This all lead to a triumphant return to WWE and he finally lived his dream on that fateful night at The Cow Palace in Daly City, California.
I remember calling my friends, who didn’t believe me either. This well and truly turned my perception of the wrestling world upside down. When the curtain closed prematurely on Guerrero’s life in 2005 it seemed that beyond all the sorrow every fan across the globe had the same feeling ‘Damn, he was so good’. These still rings true, he could make you laugh, cry or hate him at the blink of an eye, he could do it all, and he was always going to take you on his journey with him – even before he made his ring entrance in a low rider Cheating Death, Stealing life was not some exaggerated slogan cooked up by WWE for DVD sales. Guerrero had literally cheated death – twice. Miraculously surviving a car wreck, only to return to the ring to do what he loved a mere 6 months later and then also surviving heart issues as a result of his addictions.
It was a victory for everybody and one I shall never forget. There are very few Title victories in wrestling these days that include such elation and emotion. Guerrero had fulfilled his destiny. But destiny sometimes sadly has its dark side.
It’s hard not to simply repeat what has been written before about this legend but five years on I still have the same respect for this man, who truly lived and loved to entertain you.
When Guerrero passed it affected everyone in many different ways and ever since I have been a fan of this great sport, I have never seen so many wrestlers come together to mourn one of their own.
As a fan you instinctively know what guys sleep, eat and breathe the business when you see them perform, and with Guerrero you could see that every single night.
The news of his death wasn’t something that quickly faded into obscurity. The entire wrestling world publicly reached out to mourn a man that had become one of the biggest inspirations to them. I remember the night I found out Eddie died, I found out through internet dirt sheets, just before I went to bed.
Many times I, like probably most other fans have pondered the ‘what if?’ scenario: If Guerrero’s time hadn’t
FIVE YEAR AN 28 www.thewrestlingpress.com
“On that fateful day in 2005, the wrestling world lost one of the best in ring competitors of all time. Eddie could do it all and he will never be forgotten by anyone who has a passion for the sport of professional wrestling. R.I.P.” darren wood
ended prematurely, where would he fit today in WWE’s PG product? How many World Titles would Guerrero have now held by the year 2010? These questions unfortunately are met with impossible answers; Guerrero’s death goes way beyond the boundaries and controversy of the wrestling world. This was a mans life and so it almost seems selfish in a way to keep wondering ‘what if?’ Like you would mourn a fellow family member who passes unexpectedly it’s important to remember how they affected your life and what you learned from them. What positive influence they had on those around them and how you can take that experience to continue your own personal journey in life, just like they would want you to. In 2006, the night before Wrestlemania 22 Guerrero was rightfully inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. His memory will live on and fans will carry the memory of Eddie Guerrero with them forever. He stole our hearts. Viva La Rasa. n contact andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org
“One of the first things that comes to my mind when I think about Eddie Guerrero is a man flying half way across the ring executing a perfect frog splash. There were plenty of matches that stood out and some will probably be forever in those imaginary lists that people create when they’re being asked about their favorite bouts. I was fortunate to see Guerrero live and I fondly remember a match he had with Rob Van Dam in Germany at a house show. They held nothing back and put together an exciting technical treat that stole the show. But more important than every show stealer, every funny vignette and every championship is the fact that Eddie Guerrero faced and overcame his addiction, which is a true accomplishment. That makes him a champion inside and outside the ring.” david schmida “Eddie was one of the greatest all round performers in the business. From unmatched charisma to technical brilliance, Eddie was unparalleled. I remember watching Eddie battle at FWA Revival. I remember hearing what a class act he was backstage. I remember Vampiro’s shock when I told him Eddie had passed away. In this crazy wrestling world, Eddie was someone who touched everyone’s lives. While so many wrestlers have died and become just another sad statistic, it is a testament that Eddie is still so fondly remembered.” phil austin
NNIVERSARY www.thewrestlingpress.com 29
n by phil austin
“Cheap NWO ripoff. Another wrestling ‘gang’. Just a thrown together band of headliners”
o far we’ve heard the detractors of the new ‘immortal’ group throw their oar in to say what they think of this new wrestling faction. since hogan, jarrett, abyss, bischoff, hardy, (and subsequently) flair, aj, williams, beer money, kazarian and matt morgan joined forces, they have run roughshod over tna. but there is more...far more...to this group than just another ‘nwo’ faction. To examine how immensely important this group is, we first need to look at some of the factions that went before.
IT ENCAPSuLATES THE PAST, PRESENT AND FuTuRE OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING The core of the four horsemen were a band of men with one goal. Technically sound, yet willing to go to any lengths to achieve a common goal, the Horsemen were united in their goal to assist Ric Flair in remaining or regaining the World title. Primarily, Flair was the main star of the group throughout with the remainder being second tier headliners or upper midcard guys in support of his leadership role. the nwo. Hogan, Nash and Hall were the three main stars of this group. Other members came and went, and the group became diluted fairly 30 www.thewrestlingpress.com
soon after its inception. While everyone remembers the NWO fondly, it’s fair to say that not every member of the NWO should have been anywhere near that group! dX. Shawn, Triple H, Roaddogg, Billy Gunn, X Pac, Chyna. They were the band of rebels in the WWF that redefined the Attitude era with their lewd, crude and out of control behaviour. Yet, as good and as influential as each of these groups are or were, they don’t have that underlying influence that Immortal has. Now I’m not going to be so bold as to say that Immortal is better than these groups, or that it is the greatest wrestling group ever, but it encapsulates the past, present and future of professional wrestling in a way that none of those previous groups have done. By going through each member individually, we will see by the end of this article that Immortal really does immortalise the wrestling industry from the 1980s until now.
HULK HOgAN Let’s start at the top, and the most obvious. There’s never been a guy who has had more influence on the wrestling industry than Hogan. Ever since the dawning of Hulkamania in the 1980s, the world at large has seen Hogan as synonymous with the wrestling product – even if he wasn’t on the shows. Hogan has star status above and beyond the wrestling industry and epitomises the term ‘superstar’ when it comes to a wrestling personality. Immortalising presence and charisma as aspects that are vital to being a mainstream wrestling personality, Hogan has redefined himself throughout
the past 20 years to keep himself on top of an industry that, to all intents and purposes, should have passed him by at this point. The name ‘Hogan’ still draws casual viewers and still can provide fans with the ‘Wow’ factor when they see him. ‘Smart’ fans may not like Hogan, but they can never deny that he is the biggest star this business has ever had.
ERIC BISCHOFF We hear it hammered into us every week. “Wrestling is as much about politics as it is the in ring product”. Eric Bischoff is a man who helped define wrestling in the 1990s, as much as Hogan did in the 1980s. With Monday Nitro, and the WCW/NWO era, Bischoff took the fight to Vince McMahon and created the Monday Night Wars, an era that fans still talk about to this very day. Bischoff is never going to be remembered as an in ring performer, but he is every bit as influential to the business today as Hogan was. Bischoff created competition, which forced McMahon to put together some of the most exciting television the company ever had. And let’s not forget that it was Bischoff who first brought many stars to many of our screens (those of us who didn’t have access to ECW etc that is), such as Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho, So with Hogan and Bischoff in the group, we already see how it covers the real boom periods in the 1980s and 1990s. But there is far more to Immortal than that....
is a man who spans all sorts of different aspects of the wrestling business. Jarrett may not have attained the legendary status of a Hogan, Austin or Rock, but the importance of Jarrett is that he was one of the parts of the glue that held so many eras together. Many wrestling historians forget that, while (for example) the Attitude era was all about Austin / McMahon and the DX skits, it was supported by a backbone of other guys that helped flesh out the shows around those more memorable moments. These guys are often neglected when looking back, but it’s the solid, dependable guys like Jarrett who have helped support the industry throughout all periods of its life.
JEFF HARDy Hardy is the young highflier that, along with Edge, Christian and his brother, started to reshape the business from the slow plodding feuds of the 1980s and early 1990s to high flying, risk taking shows. Hardy isn’t alone in this of course (Shawn Michaels, Ricky Steamboat and others predate him). But Hardy is the man in the group that represents the shift in the industry from big brawling main events to smaller, high flying, exciting stars.
Whoa now! Abyss?
As well as being the man behind TNA, Jarrett has a rich history in this business. More than almost anyone else, Jarrett has been around many of the ‘events’ in wrestling since he began.
Surely there is no argument for Abyss representing the wrestling industry in the way that others we mentioned before do?
From the territories, to the WWF ‘Attitude era’, to WCW in the ‘Russo’ era, to TNA itself, Jarrett
Abyss is every bit as important as the others to representing this group. Abyss actually represents two aspects of the wrestling industry.
Think back to the Hogan era. Hogan was constantly fed big monsters to deal with and, with each one dispatched, his popularity rose. Abyss represents these ‘wrestling monsters’ that have constantly appeared to face off against the babyface competitors of the WWF/E and WCW. But Abyss also represents another aspect of wrestling that really came to the forefront in the 1990s with ECW. That being ‘hardcore’. With an era of thumbtacks, spiked bats and bags full of glass, Abyss represents the violence and barbarism that wrestling has epitomised at times. It may not be the nicest aspect of wrestling, but it’s an aspect of the business nonetheless. That’s the main core of Immortal then, but the group has also aligned with Fortune. And this alliance brings even more power to the group.
RIC FLAIR As Hogan was the figurehead of the WWF, Flair was always the figurehead of WCW and the NWA. The ‘heel’s heel’, Flair was the man in all he did, said or touched. Flair epitomises the promo ability, the ability to really work a good match, and even the dawning of the really great factions in professional wrestling.
Styles is an exciting, innovative performer that is helping to produce exciting matches in the past few years that would never have been seen in the past.
DOUg WILLIAMS Hey America! Did you know that the wrestling ‘world’ is not just in the US or Canada? Yep, wrestling is very much alive and kicking in other parts of the world too. Doug Williams represents the very best of not only the European wrestling scene, but of the Japanese scene too (having been a star in NOAH, and a former GHC and IWGP tag champion). Williams is the consummate technician utilising a European style that is becoming highly regarded throughout the US.
BEER MONEy Once upon a time tag team wrestling was big business. The Midnight Express, Hart Foundation, Rock N Roll Express, Road Warriors, Demolition and others were every bit as important to business as the top singles stars were. Beer Money, as one of the top teams in TNA and the world today, represent the art of tag team wrestling. Having just come off a phenomenal series with the Motor City Machine Guns, Beer Money have helped to re-establish the tag division as something to watch in TNA.
Flair is, in his own right, pretty much an epitome of professional wrestling by everything he said and did, but with Hogan also in the group you have the two big stars whether you were a WWF fan or an NWA fan.
Tag wrestling was, and could once again be, an important staple to wrestling shows. And Beer Money epitomises that.
Frankie Kazarian was once known as ‘the Future’. As much as Immortal represents the past and present of wrestling, Kazarian’s presence also means it represents the future of the business.
Wrestling has never been just about the ‘big two’. After the death of the territories, the independent scene rose up and began to thrive. Stars on this scene began to gain acclaim and several stood above and beyond the others. These included Bryan Danielson, Low Ki, Samoe Joe and ... yes .... AJ Styles. AJ is the epitome of those who rose through the ‘Ring of Honor’ route to stardom, a route which has brought many of today’s stars to the ‘big two’. AJ
The business should be looking to talented young competitors to help it carry on in the coming years (as WWE is currently finding out), and Kazarian represents the talented youngsters that can bring the business into the next era. So there you have it. Immortal really does immortalise the wrestling industry over the past 30
years. It’s like a living, breathing textbook of professional wrestling’s history these past few decades, as well as a look at wrestling’s future. We don’t know whether Immortal will crumble at this stage (Matt Morgan has left the group, and perhaps Doug Williams is next!) or whether it will
truly go on to be a powerful and influential wrestling stable for many years to come, but the fact is there has never been a wrestling group that truly immortalises everything that professional wrestling is about. n contact phil at email@example.com
Q&A with JOE DOMBROWSKI (current ROH, former 1PW and soon to be CzW commentator)
“hello uk wrestling fans! it’s been a little over four years since i’ve seen you guys, so when The Wrestling Press came to me and presented me an opportunity to reach out and connect with all of you i jumped at the opportunity! my four trips to england in 2005 & 2006 still stand out to me as some of the most special moments in my career, and a big part of that was the passion and emotion that you fans gave to the wrestling business every time i saw you. i want to return the favor and be a part of that passion, even in just some small way, once again. so when twp asked me about writing for them, my first thought was to take it one step further... to get to interact with all of you personally! i’ve encountered a lot in my 8 year career. from being a driving force behind the formation and early times in 1pw and working with every major star and being around for every major decision in that time period, to my current role as one of the voices of ring of honor’s live ippv broadcasts & dvd releases. i’ve spent three years as a producer/writer of a nationally televised wrestling show here in the u.s. called pwo (look us up on youtube!) and have been the voice of the iwc promotion since 2003. i’ve also lended my voice to 15 other wrestling promotions, hosted a podcast, wrestled one professional match, and recently debuted as a broadcaster in cZw as well. and there’s a lot more left to come in the future! but i’d like to know what’s on the minds of you, the fans of the united kingdom. what are your questions and concerns in wrestling? what or who do you like and dislike? what are the major companies and independents doing right and wrong? i want to hear your thoughts and your questions - ask me anything! have a 1pw memory you just have to know more about? want an inside-the-industry opinion on something you just saw on television? want to know my shoe size? i’ll cover it all, inside or outside of my career, from things that i was directly a part of, to opinion on things i wasn’t. so what are you waiting for? start talking! you can send me questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org and if it’s good enough, we’ll print it here! i’m looking forward to hearing from you all, and making up for the lost time!”
L A C I N Y C MIND HE CY with T
THE GRASS REALLY IS GREENER
n the night of brock lesnar’s humiliation and possible fan favourite reinstatement due to his beardy magnanimity (ufc 120, for those who had to go to bed without any supper), there was a dark-browed gent leaning out of the crowd doing that waving / devil horn/peace sign move then having to smile glassily as the camera stays on them rather too long. who was this? the undead / big dog in the yard / lumbering injury magnet the undertaker. A WWE superstar at a UFC event. Seems simple to all you whippersnappers doesn’t it? But a few months ago, this would be tantamount to Churchill cuddling up to Adolf. They were the enemy, taking the bread out of Vince’s mouth – the better, more successful alternative, dammit! A few years ago, Mean Mark Callous would have been carpeted for, if not sleeping with the enemy, at least spooning them. 40 www.thewrestlingpress.com
And yet, no spittle flecked, nostril strained “you’re fired!” issued from Vinnie K Mc’s purple-hued lips. Nothing. If he’s not careful, we might think he doesn’t mind. And he wouldn’t want that. Would he? The usual rubbish about a Taker v Lesnar fight was floated and discounted. Taker didn’t deny it. Why not? Oh, a few reasons: wrestling is dead at the moment. WWE is in the dumper. TNA is witless; or it’s WCW. ROH is not a major player. The weekly programmes rehash the same skits, angles and matches that we’ve seen before. Taker v Kane? I have to see that! It’s only been done ten times before (alright, no need to go to your home-made match statistics, yellowing in a special file and going back to 1995. You are such a sad case that; 1. eHarmony can’t even help you and 2. you fit the profile of a serial killer) and the fact that those two gents are much older now just makes it even harder to resist! UFC is not new. But it is successful. It does fill halls, it does sell PPV’s, it does MAKE PEOPLE TALK. Grappling used to do that. No good being the Big Dog In The Yard if that yard just has a rusty bike and a rotting bench in it. Taker gets the brush with success he wants. Ego is a demanding mistress.
you don’t work so often. Taker is old. Not Micky Rooney old, but old. He is banged up. And keeps getting banged up. That’s a bad sign. Even if he’s allowed to skip some house shows, he’s still going to have to work every week. For at least 10 or 20 minutes (let’s face it, no-one wants to see longer than that). But in the UFC, you only work a few times a year. You have a long camp. Then you work 15 or 25 minutes. He could do with a rest, although admittedly the matches are a lot more intense. these men are athletes. They dedicate their lives to it. Live right. Eat right. Do it properly. These geezers don’t take bumps. They don’t do kayfabe. They do their interviews SITTING DOWN, for Miliband’s sake! And it’s still scary. Dan Hardy is at least as good as Randy Orton. Some wrestlers are shooters. They think yet are tough guys. Almost all MMA fighters are tough guys. They get cut, they don’t blade. That’s what people want, the real danger, the real pain, as they are going through so much themselves. You know your job at Stabuck’s as senior barista, where you get to shake your beans in that new girl’s face? That pleasure may even be snatched away from you in this wild world of worklessness. Real fighters. Who do the WWE have? CM Punk. Great talker. Great shooter. But just one man. Taker wants to be a fighter. So does little Davey Batista. Not to mention Babyhead Bobby Lashley. They want to be real men. Their egos hurt. ufc makes money. Big money. Sure, VInnie makes money too. But barrowloads? He’s a businessman. One gets the impression that he could be selling widgets and he’d be happy if it made him a gazillionaire. UFC makes cash. Mucho dinero. Lotsa wonga. Cartloads of cash. Hang on, here he comes. Nice to see you Vince. Heard that, did you?
Capitalism just wants to make profit. MMA isn’t that hot. UFC is. And it’s a market leader. WWE used to be that. But like all corporations, it uses what it can. It will co-opt what works; WWF(E) took all the goodness out of ECW and sold it better to make more profit. If UFC works, expect to see cross-pollination and another Brawl For All in the near future. Yes, I know we had one before, (oh, the horror, the horror!) but now Big Mc has something to copy - sorry, be inspired by - and should be able to add that “reality” into his programming and that cash into his purse. Wrestlers are desperate to get that popularity rub. They are in the fight game. But everyone knows they are just faking. No kayfabe any more. They want to be thought of as legitimate tough guys. UFC guys can spit in their face. And then grind their face into the mat whilst simultaneously pulling their arm out of its socket, brandishing a bulging billfold and laughing at the WWE schedule. They are the new warriors. Even the new superstars. WWE better wise up. UFC is where it’s at. What a shame that WCW ditched the octagonal ring. I know you’ve waited long enough; it’s OK, my job prospects are safe. You can breathe now. Ed Mili won the leadership election and...I have a job! I was about to have to take a position at Carphone Warehouse. A Saturday job. Imagine. Me. The pain. But now, no more. Taker needs that validation and he’s not the only one. So tomorrow I go out to local communities to ask them how they feel that their benefits and services have been cut. It’ll be nice to talk to people and tell them their lives are over. I go to Leeds first and then Oldham. That should be alright. Shouldn’t it? n contact the cynic at email@example.com
By rohan herbstreit
Ways Local Promotions Can use Social Media
when promoting your wrestling event on a budget, every piece of marketing needs to be costed and justified. yet there are many effective methods of using social media applications that are virtually free. For many companies, the last thing that is thought about whilst trying to run a successful wrestling promotion is a social media strategy, but having a website and nothing else simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Whilst some promotional methods from 10-20 years ago might still be effective today, the days of walking the streets with flyers and putting posters on poles might become obsolete sooner than you think. By having a social media strategy that actually works, the future won’t be battled out by how many bums a company can put on seats, it will be how many people are willing to download your show or application.
Here are 20 ways you can use some of the social networking tools currently available to enhance and promote your show..... 42 www.thewrestlingpress.com
#20 twitter hashtag Setup a HashTag for your event, either with the event name or name of the promotion. Leading up to the event always use your HashTag when posting Twitter updates and encourage your followers and fans to do the same. #19 Qr code On your event poster include a QR code that links to a special members website or ‘virtual’ offer such as ticket offer, merchandise or give away. QR codes can be read by iPhone and smart phones that use a camera with a small free app. #18 myspace MySpace still exists, and is still free. It’s the perfect way to connect with bands and source music for your show. By networking with a band you can also promote your show via fans of the band and reach out to a new audience with video clips and highlights featuring the bands own music. #17 youtube YouTube is already very popular within the wrestling industry for virtually every piece of
video footage you can think of. Promos, Matches, Highlights it is the perfect tool for any wrestling company. Use keywords in every clip to make sure your clip can be easily searched and encourage people to subscribe to your channel otherwise you will be preaching to the converted. YouTube becomes another revenue source when you run ads over your clips. Viral campaigns are fun and work when done right. #16 flickr The photo sharing site is perfect for event photos and promotional photos. All photos can be shared throughout your social media network, and you can encourage fans to post their own photos from the event. The event poster can be shared with a single link. #15 facebook events Already extremely popular to create and invite people to shows, encourage everyone involved in the show to also invite their friends and join the main Facebook page of the promotion. The key is to have regular updates featured and share information that makes the person not only click the “attending” button but also get off their seat and physically attend when the show comes around. If you have 1,000 people saying they are attending and 100 people show up then you are not using it correctly. #14 paypal This should be a promoters dream yet so many people are not using it. Paypal can accept payment for merchandise, tickets, and memberships, anything you can think of. Mobile Paypal is not far away and it can also be integrated throughout your network and websites as a payment method. Easy to setup, easy to use. Everyone should be using it. #13 google adwords Whilst not free you can offset the cost of an Adwords account with an Adsense account. Not making sense? Adwords are those ads that appear at the top of search results after you do a Google Search. Adsense are ads that appear within a website in a banner or text ad. Use both and you will be ahead of the pack.
#12 foursquare Foursquare is a perfect tool for events as it uses your location to run ads and features, meaning you can promote directly to those who are physically at the event or near the area. Nobody has quite worked out how powerful this tool is yet, but location based applications are going to be the next big thing. Setup a Foursquare location for your event to offer anyone within 1km of the area a special discount on tickets and promote your show to them. Encourage everyone to “Check In” to your show as soon as they arrive to the venue. #11 facebook places Like Foursquare but you can tag other friends when checking in. This means you can provide a special group discount for those who tag friends, or a special ticket offer for the fan that brings the most friends to the show. Eg. “Tag 5 friends with you to receive a free drink” - “Tag 10 friends for free entry on the next show”. #10 facebook groups A brand new feature of Facebook is the groups section which is a perfect way of communicating with a select group of fans, members, or even your own promotional team to keep them up to date on activities. By linking to Foursquare you have both a virtual place and physical place to meet and communicate. Perfect for street teams! #9 blogs By having talent post regular blogs leading up to a match or by having a storyline that is played out both online and offline is a powerful tool which people can subscribe to and can also be shared via your website. Popular blogs can feature advertising which then becomes another revenue source. #8 giga alerts Want to know when your event is mentioned by someone else in a website or article? Setup a Giga alert via Google that emails you as soon as your name is mentioned.
#7 google maps How many times have you tried to explain to someone where your event actually is taking place or where your wrestling school is located. Get yourself onto Google maps to share the link and send directions out via mobile or email. Google Places is your friend. #6 email It may not be a social tool but if you haven’t got a database together by now then you’re living in the past. Use an EDM platform that connects to your website so fans can subscribe to your monthly e-Newsletter or send out special email alerts about your show. There are plenty of free email platforms available. No longer do you need to BCC your entire database! #5 google apps Another dream for promoters, a free integrated “in the cloud” solution that can run your company, and with no cost! You can virtually run your entire event with Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Sites - just get it! #4 addthis When you start to build up your network you really need to link everything together, at the same time you want your fans to talk about you and spread the word. The best way is using a sharing widget, so fans can post your news and event information to their own blogs and Facebook. Check out AddThis - addthis.com #3 hoot suite The easiest way to integrate your social networking is by running it all from the one application, saving valuable time in the process. A great piece of software is Hoot Suite (hootsuite.com) a dashboard for all of your new social networking tools. Download now! #2 twitter Twitter can be a promoters dream yet a nightmare to monitor at the same time with both talent posting updates alongside fans. Using a 44 www.thewrestlingpress.com
hash tag, post live updates during your event with results, and photos or small video clips. Encourage fans in attendance to tweet live opinions and thoughts, plug your twitter page via the ring announcer and in printed material including posters and programs. #1 facebook 25% of all US Internet Traffic goes to Facebook. With more than 500 million active users it’s the place to be. Facebook Ad’s anyone? Every company should be thinking of using social media to accompany their current promotional strategy using some, or all of the above tools. How you use some of the social tools available is up to you, but it easily becomes an additional revenue source if it is done properly. Having a special offer using Foursquare or Twitter at your merchandise stand for example is a great way of driving merchandise sales. Running your street team or crew via Facebook groups and Google Applications saves time and is much more effective. Nothing replaces a good “old school” printed campaign with flyers, but the battle of promoters is soon going to be virtual so jump on board now before your company is left behind. Did I mention 98% of the above tools are completely free ? http://www.google.com/apps http://www.foursquare.com http://www.phplist.com http://www.google.com/ads http://www.facebook.com/advertising http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code n contact rohan at firstname.lastname@example.org
very month we hear how wrestling is getting worse, not what it used to be, or lacking in good booking, talent or matches these days. what we don’t hear are the positives. The Wrestling Priest is here to point out those positives each issue, and dish out blessings to those who deserve it. This month we break from previous tradition and, rather than deliver blessings to an individual, we bless an entire company.
Academy, had recently backed away from both in order to concentrate on his A-Merchandise operations, and the training of his select few students (such as standout performer Mark Haskins, and a man we will mention later, Lion Kid). In order to help promote A-Merchandise Mark decided to promote a number of shows over here, starting with Pro Wrestling NOAH. With the assist of Doug Williams and the NOAH office,
This month, our blessings go to ....
Dragon gate UK Quite frankly, wrestling in the UK has plummeted into the depths over the past few years. There have been a few shining lights, but for the most part it hasn’t really delivered as much as it could. Fans have particularly been starved of those ‘supershow feel’ events that they became used to under the auspices of Alex Shane and crew back in the first few years of the millennium. But now, thanks to a gentleman named Mark Sloan, they have ‘big shows’ to look forward to again. Mark, who had already achieved a lot in the formation of the FWA, and in the renowned FWA 46 www.thewrestlingpress.com
Naruki Doi greets the UK fans
© warren powell
Sloan provided fans with an opportunity to see stars such as KENTA, Naomichi Marufuji, Kenta Kobashi and (sadly, for the last time) Mitsuharu Misawa up close. Mark’s next venture proved to be even more lucrative for the fans. Dragon Gate, the hottest promotion in Japan these days, not only provided long time fans the chance to see their heroes up close, but delivered such a quality product to non-Dragon Gate fans (and even several non-wrestling fans) that it converted many to Susumu the product! Yokosuka High-flying, fast-paced and well-produced riveting combat were the order of the day on all three Dragon Gate UK dates thus far, especially on the final night of the second tour in St Ives, Cambridge. Fans were treated to action unlike anything they had witnessed before. So blessing number one goes to Mark Sloan, whose hard work and dedication in organising the shows right down to the minutest detail produced a product with unprecedented professionalism here in the UK. Blessing number two goes to the Dragon Gate regulars. Each of them, from the mammoth Cyber Kong to DG veterans such as Masaaki Mochizuki, CIMA and Dragon Kid were clearly happy to be here, and not one person can be said to have viewed the shows as a ‘holiday’. The crew were out to impress, and put on their best performances for the fans. And their best performances were a sight to see. From Shingo and Yokosuka battering the hell out of each other, to the incredible tag and six man bouts, the show was filled with jawdropping moments. It would be difficult to single out one of the Dragon Gate performers on the show, but our blessing for the Japanese stars must go to Susumu Yokosuka. A guy who proved what a solid performer he is, Yokosuka impressed on
each of the shows. First, he had a hardhitting, incredible bout against Shingo on the first Dragon Gate show, then managed to top that performance on the first night of the second tour, and then finally had a match of the year contendorship bout against old rival Masaaki Mochizuki en route to scoring his first ever singles victory over his old foe. As much as Yokosuka is impressive on video, he really has to be seen live to be believed. Then there were the Brits. Each and every one performed tremendously. From guys like Marty Scurll (who was the perfect opponent for the massive Cyber Kong) to the established Dragon Gate imports Pac and Mark Haskins (both of whom showed exactly how far they’d come since joining the Dragon Gate roster), every single Brit on the show didn’t disappoint. Which brings us to Lion Kid. Slowly but surely, Lion Kid has been ‘sent to the wolves’ of the hardcore Dragon Gate audience. His ‘familyfriendly’ getup and initial nervousness led to a few detractors at first, but as the Dragon Gate UK shows have gone on, Lion Kid has really progressed well, culminating in a tremendous outing against Yoshino on the final night. Fans who were ready to boo poor Lion Kid out of the building when they saw he had been matched up against their Dragon Gate hero were (perhaps still begrudgingly) giving respect to the young star after he held his own against the ‘fastest wrestler on the planet’. Lion Kid may have had to wade through some difficult reactions, but it has made him a stronger, more confident perfomer that now richly deserves our blessings. I am convinced Mark Sloan has far more surprises up his sleeve for us in the future. No doubt we will see more Dragon Gate shows here in the future, but with NOAH and Dragon Gate already under his belt, could this be only the beginning of what he has in store for us?
THE BRITISH WRESTLING
HALL OF FAME Words: darren wood
ince 2004, wwe have regularly staged their hall of fame event and this year will be no different. on april 2nd 2011, the night before wrestlemania 27, the company will once again honour the men and women who have risked their bodies and put their careers on the line to entertain you, the fans. It is a tradition that has seen some of the greatest names in the world of wrestling rightfully take their place in wrestling’s history books.
Being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (or any sports Hall of Fame for that matter) is by far and away the greatest accolade an athlete can achieve. While the WWE Hall of Fame aims to recognise the achievements of those who made an impact in their company (or achievements made in one of the many companies WWE owns). It has long been asked why British wrestling doesn’t have its own extravaganza, that one special day of the year where wrestling personalities come together to rejoice the careers of those that paved the way for others. A British wrestling Hall of Fame has been long overdue but finally the time has come. Over the course of Saturday, November 20th and Sunday, 21st November, Frontier Wrestling Alliance will be hosting the first ever British wrestling Hall of Fame at the Memorabilia event which takes place at Birmingham’s NEC arena. FWA’s Managing Director Tony Simpson believes that paying respects to the heritage of British Wrestling is absolutely vital.
“Both Alex [Shane] and I feel that we, and everyone else in today’s industry, owe our respects to the people that gave their blood, sweat, and, unfortunately for some, their lives, to help build the industry that we all love today.” Throughout the Memorabilia event, the British Wrestling Council will be collecting donations for a new trust fund that has been setup for retired and injured wrestlers. Simpson understands that it is important to give back to wrestlers who have helped shape wrestling in this country. “If it wasn’t for these men and women that risked their lives to build the foundation of the wrestling industry, it simply would not exist on the level it does now. For this, as fans, we owe them a great debt. The least we can do is pay heritage to them.” Also confirmed for this very special weekend is Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, which is great news for the FWA’s British Hall of Fame plans. By having someone like Hart in attendance will no doubt bring extra fans to watch the FWA
and will surely add to what will undoubtedly be an emotional event. Showcasing some of the most recognisable faces in the world of sport and entertainment, both days of the Memorabilia event are expected to draw over 40,000 fans each, meaning that there is huge potential for the FWA to gain mainstream exposure. For most promotions in the UK, this would seem a very extravagant and brave idea, one that many other companies would not be able to pull off. But the FWA however, have previous experience of ‘exhibition’ type shows already under their belt. The company has appeared on two of the London MCM Expo events this year, to great success. Simpson is confident of the FWA’s ability to make the British Hall of Fame event a successful formula, one which can be used to make the event become a British wrestling tradition. “The first time we did the London MCM Expo event our unexpected popularity actually caused some issues. The crowd was so big that some of the surrounding stalls were damaged in their celebrations at the end of the event. “We all learnt from that and at the recent October London MCM Expo event, we were given a separate makeshift area away from the other merchant and exhibitor traffic. Yet again we went over our allocated area and will be looking at a bigger area allocation for the NEC. “All of this proves that this is not only a winning formula [being associated with the Memorabilia event] but is essential to the growth in the FWA’s popularity and acceptance amongst the mainstream public.” During the course of the weekend the company will also be showcasing the biggest show in their 11 year history, European Uprising. Long time fans will know the significance of the name ‘Uprising’ and how it has become
synonymous with the FWA. Between 2002 and 2004, the original FWA’s biggest event produced some of the most memorable scenes to ever grace these shores. “We have been building up to European Uprising since we re-opened our doors in August 2009,” states Simpson. “We were always planned to run a huge pay-off event 18 months in, and we are going to hit that target early.” “The original idea was for European Uprising to be held as a completely free to enter event in Essex. We wanted to make it free to encourage a large local attendance. Our market research shows that most ‘casuals’ won’t attend a British Wrestling event as they are not willing to spend money on a product of an unknown quality; which is fair enough when you consider the wide variety of product quality within this industry. “ I feel the best way to encourage Mr and Mrs General Public to invest time into following a relatively unknown-to-the-mainstream entertainment brand is to eliminate the financial burden.” While at a meeting with the MCM Expo Group (who are the same company that are organising Memorabilia) the FWA’s involvement was being discussed at the October London expo event. The topic was then brought up of the idea for European Uprising and the British Wrestling Hall of Fame. The result of that meeting was that the FWA would have an area in the NEC at Memorabilia for a full 2 hour FWA: European Uprising show and a slot in their theatre schedule for the British Wrestling Hall of Fame. Being placed at the London Expo shows and now having a slot at the Memorabilia event is no doubt a massive coup for the company and Simpson realises that the mainstream exposure could be invaluable to the FWA’s growth.
“Our presence at the MCM Expo and Memorabilia events places FWA with the rest of the entertainment industry, where, I feel, we belong. We have shown that we can draw those crowds in at these large events of which the majority are not wrestling fans. “I like to talk to the people that are seeing FWA for the first time and find that most of them are not wrestling fans, but they are so drawn in by our product and its direction that they will queue for 20/30 minutes to have a photograph with Leroy Kincaide. “This is truly a massive step to drawing in the mainstream.” One of the biggest talking points in the UK wrestling scene over the past year has been the FWA’s Resistance storyline. This is an angle that has its parallels with WWE’s Nexus storyline, in which the Agenda (featuring Martin Stone, Dave Moralez, Iestyn Rees and Joel Redman) have aimed to destroy FWA talent along with British wrestling on their way to gaining contracts in America. Martin Stone © tony knox
“For ‘smart fans’, they know that there is a huge uncovered back-story to it all. There are rumours that Martin Stone stole Johnny Moss’s WWE tryout and got signed himself. Leroy Kincaide’s WWE tryouts have been sabotaged. WWE has backed up FWA storylines. And it goes deeper and deeper. “Alex [Shane] is the man behind the storyline, and one of his sayings is that ‘god is the best booker’. So many things have happened now that back up the storyline, most of which doesn’t make its way to the public eye, that I truly don’t have a clue what is real and what is not anymore. “I don’t know who’s working me and who’s not. It’s very surreal.” Simpson has plans to run the FWA in ‘seasons’ and FWA: European Uprising at the Birmingham NEC is going to be the climax and ending to Season 1 and set-up for Season 2. The company will then offer fans the chance to purchase the whole of FWA Season 1 from New Frontiers to European Uprising to get up to speed and ready for 2011. TWP hopes that the FWA can make this amazing weekend live up to the hype, as this has the potential to be the biggest set of shows staged on these great shores for a number of years. The FWA presents the first ever British Hall of Fame and European Uprising live at the Birmingham NEC on Saturday the 20th and Sunday 21st November.
It’s a storyline which has had mixed feelings within the British wrestling community, it massively blurs the line between fiction and reality with even Simpson not knowing what is real and what isn’t. “I believe this storyline is entertaining on multiple levels. For children, they know that The Agenda are bad. For adults, they know that Martin Stone and his faction want to use British Wrestling as a stepping stone to bigger things, and will sacrifice the industry to make it.
For more information on the FWA check out www.fwauk.com or you can subscribe to the FWA’s official YouTube channel located at www.youtube.com/frontierwrestlingtv n contact darren at email@example.com
By darren wood
lot can happen in a year and certainly a lot has happened for 4 front wrestling star the saint, over the course of 2010 he has wrestled two of japanese hottest names, in april he had the privilege to face takeshi morishima and in august he squared off against go shiozaki. These two matches would go down in any wrestlersâ€™ eyes as a huge moment but for the powerhouse from Cambridge these two matches are crowning achievements in a career that has spanned over a decade. 52 www.thewrestlingpress.com
Watching wrestling from an early age, like most fans and wrestlers of professional wrestling he was transfixed by Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and Macho Man Randy Savage. The larger than life characters were something he loved as he was also in awe of British stars Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and Rollerball Rocco. Unfortunately when World of Sport was removed from our screens, his interest in wrestling waned as there was little to no access for it. It wasnâ€™t until his teens, that the wrestling bug bit back. Friends of his got him into the new
direction WWE were taking their company, it was of course the companies ‘Attitude Era’ and like most he loved it. The edgy storylines that pushed the envelope coupled with the daring characters really struck a chord with him. At 18 years of age, he strived to look like the figures that he idolized on the TV every week. Triple H and The Rock were what he saw as extraordinary physical specimens that were in phenomenal shape, he decided that he wanted to sort his fitness out rather than being a weedy overweight guy that he always considered himself to be. It took just six months for him to be happy with his physical shape; it was at that time he decided to give wrestling a shot. While searching for wrestling schools, he found a local school that ran weekly sessions on a Sunday and this is where he got to grips with the basics. His involvement with 4FW began six years ago in Swindon, when the company first started. Originally training sessions only ran once a week in a community centre and were what he describes as very relaxed.
THE DECISION WAS MADE TO D GET SOME INVESTMENT AN EL LEV T NEx THE TO IT H PuS “They were conducted in a friendly atmosphere, making it more like a social club than a true training school. A bit later on, the promotion was taken over by David Sharp and James Dunn and training started to change. The intensity of what we were doing increased and the sessions started to become a bit more formal.” Over two years ago Mark Sloan started running training sessions at 4FW, these were run once a month and it really opened his eyes. Finding them physically tough, they pushed him past his limits in every physical aspect.
He found inspiration from the guys who came down with Mark. The likes of Wade Fitzgerald, Joel Redman and Mark Haskins, handled his training with apparent ease. He realised soon that if he wanted to wrestle at the top level, he would have to improve his game, fortunately this coincided with what was to be a blessing in disguise for 4FW. In 2008, the venue that had been home to 4FW’s weekly training sessions and their popular monthly shows closed its doors to the public as it was in line for demolition and redevelopment as a new school. This could have been a setback that could have spelled the end of the promotion and the training school. The decision was made to get some investment and push it to the next level. 4FW started renting an industrial unit in Swindon to be the permanent home for the 4FW academy; this meant that there was access to a wrestling ring that was set up all week long. At this point, he was attending sessions 3 times a week alongside regular gym work. “This additional time brought on another improvement in my awareness and conditioning. Also alongside continuing regular sessions with Mark Sloan I was privileged enough to have access through 4FW to seminars with Kid Kash, Tracey Smothers, Doug Williams, Alex Shane and John Walters amongst others. “Two years down the line and 10 years since I started in this business, I still try to attend 3 sessions a week, take bookings from other companies and am healthy with little to no injuries.” www.thewrestlingpress.com 53
some dispensation must be made for physical development. Believing the main thing to look for in a younger trainee is a high work ethic and level of effort from them each session. Making it to the top is something that doesn’t come easily, The Saint understands that to make it to the top that a certain unqiue quality is necessary, but he doesn’t think that it’s any one thing for every person.
Having been part of 4FW since the start, he has always tried to be on hand to help and advise trainees using his experiences. It wasn’t until recently that he had been running occasional sessions. Earlier this year 4FW owner David Sharp asked him to become involved in training on a regular basis and he now runs a share of the sessions each week. “I like to be hands on when I train,” states Saint. “I like to get involved in sessions demonstrating and helping trainees to refine their form. I believe that trainees need to see that I have good form and that I can do what I am asking them to do. It is important to be hands on and also be able to take that step back in order to assess progress. “I try to vary the training sessions that I run and will focus on different areas depending on what we feel needs improving at the time. This can range from cardio and conditioning work, through to match structure and mat wrestling. I generally like to demonstrate what I want trainees to achieve and give them a few key things to focus on either as a single move or action or as a complete drill. He truly believes that the best way that anyone can train is in a ring and that absolutely nothing compares to it. Training young workers in the same way that he trains older trainees is a way he feels works best although realising that 54 www.thewrestlingpress.com
“Some have this inbuilt natural timing and aptitude for it, some have a natural charisma, some have a natural physique and some just have a great work ethic and determination to succeed. The main thing I want to see as a trainer is that they showcase the attributes they have and also that they put in the effort on the things that don’t come naturally to improve them.” 4FW have a great reputation of using a lot of ‘home-grown talent’ instead of bringing in many workers from outside the company. Using their own talent is a good step for the company in making its own stars and giving graduates of the training school the necessary experience. It also enhances 4FW’s training school reputation for making their own stars and trusting those who have gone through the school to be on the main card. “4FW has always set really high standards on its shows using some of the best workers from around the UK. Now that 4FW trainees are starting to become the majority on the 4FW roster without compromising on quality, it’s a real testament to the talent that’s coming through. “It’s not just within 4FW either, more and more trainees are getting the opportunity to work for other companies against different people to help their experience grow. “To give trainees exposure to working in front of a live crowd once they are ready is really important, for all the training we do at the academy the final piece is being able to perform in front of a live crowd and that we can’t replicate.
“It’s still important to have some people from outside of the 4FW circle on shows, so that there are a variety of people for the trainees to get the experience from.” In April this year Morishima and fellow Pro Wrestling NOAH performer Taiji Ishimori arrived at 4FW for Battle Britannia. This saw The Saint lock horns with former ROH and GHC Heavyweight Champion Morishima; it is what he has called one of the greatest moments in his 10 year career. “I felt privileged that I had been chosen to go up against someone of that calibre. The fact that I was trusted enough by the people involved to hold my own against one of the world’s top workers was a real statement about how much I had developed as a wrestler.
I WAS TRuSTED TO HOLD MY OWN AGAINST ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOP WORKERS “Don’t get me wrong when I say this. I did enjoy that match and would have probably put it as my top match at the time but I’m always striving to push myself further and better myself. I didn’t think that I thought I would get the chance to face another Japanese wrestler again but over the next couple of weeks I was told that there were plans to bring some more Noah wrestlers over and for me to face one again.” His next opponent was Shiozaki, once again a former GHC Heavyweight Champion. The Saint believed coming into this match that a contest against Shiozaki would give him more chance to stand toe to toe with someone that he knew had similar attributes to him namely size, build and style. “This is the best match I have been involved in to date; it was fairly even and went back and forth. We traded mat wrestling holds, shoulder tackles, forearms, clotheslines and chops and the crowd seemed to love it.
“The thing that surprised me most about Shiozaki was the intensity in everything he did, the forearms were solid, the chops were brutal and the super kicks he gave me bust my lip open. I was expecting the match to be tough physically and the strikes to be stiff but still wasn’t quite prepared for the level that it came at. “I was surprised at how easy it was to communicate despite the language barrier. Shiozaki’s English vocabulary was a lot wider than that of Morishima’s so communicating was even easier than it had been previously, although wrestling does have an almost universal language that makes it a bit simpler. I was also surprised at how willing Shiozaki was to let me get in the things that I wanted to help me look strong in front of the fans who knew me. “If I had to sum it up in one word what these matches have taught me it would be intensity. Everything they did wasn’t just done with good form or huge force but with meaning and that’s what makes them stand out. I look back now at some of the matches I have had in the past and think about how much better it would have been if they had that level of intensity that I experienced. This is now what I am trying to integrate into what I do.” On 30th October at the 4FW Halloween Spectacular, The Saint won the annual 30 man over the top rope in which now he is the number one contender and will receive a 4FW Heavyweight Championship match against JD Knight at New Years Wrestleution. This event will take place on Saturday 29th January 2011and could see The Saint finally reach the top of the 4FW and claim the Heavyweight Championship. For more information on 4FW please visit www.4fw-online.com or www.myspace.com/4fw_wrestling All photos © 4FrontPhotography (Flickr) n contact darren at firstname.lastname@example.org
By david schmida
ALPHA FEMALE PHOTO: © Stephany Smutny
receive enough support. I must say I never got a real chance to prove myself in Germany.
tell us about your first steps in the wrestling business. where did you train and was there someone who supported you throughout that time? I started training in September 2000 at the wrestling school of the German Wrestling Federation (GWF). It took one hour with the bus to get from where I lived to the school so I used that time to focus on my target. Before I was allowed to start training there, I had to prove that I sincerely wanted to become a wrestler. But my persistence paid off. On 7th April 2001, at 18 years of age, I had my first match at one of GWF’s shows. I didn’t really get any support either from my family nor my friends but I knew I wanted it and overcame every hurdle with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. My ambition was just stronger than anything else. you wrestle considerably more matches abroad than in germany, especially in france where you are very successful. do you think women’s wrestling is well represented in germany? The people in other countries appreciate good things. Seriously, I think women’s wrestling is not very popular in Germany. The reasons are that on the one hand there are not enough talents, and on the other hand talents we have do not 58 www.thewrestlingpress.com
you were part of several tours of american wrestling rampage (awr), including the one they organised in germany. they seem to have success with their concept. AWR is a very professional promotion. They treat their wresters very well and take very good care of them. They offer first class hotels, a comfortable tour bus and superb catering. Every wrestler has more than just one person that can be approached when there is a problem. All of them do a really great job making their events successful. AWR had difficulties in Germany. Everyone expected more feedback from the German wrestling fans. But the events in France, for example, are very successful. The audience is just different there, more excited about wrestling. It’s always a pleasure to step in the ring for AWR. recently you debuted for pro wrestling eve. tell us about that. I was really happy when I got the offer to work for them and at the same time a bit worried about how I would be received in England. But as soon as I arrived at the airport and after a heartfelt welcome by EVE’s staff, those worries were gone. All the other wrestlers were very kind as well. It was a lot of fun and I hope we’ll be working together in the future. Promoter Dann Read was happy with my performances and offered me another booking right away. Also the resonance from the audience at the venues was consistently positive.
photo credits: Stephany Smutny, www.dragonhearts.de, Wrestling Family Germany, Pro Wrestling Eve
in january 2010 you had a try-out at tna in england. how did that go for you? It was definitely different than I expected it to be. The events are similar to the ones I have been to, just bigger. Everyone was very kind and some of the people, like Doug Williams or Nigel McGuiness, I knew already. I had a match with Lisa Fury which was taped to present it to the office. It was a great experience and we’ll see where it leads us.
you were part of a clip for mtv and had appearances in various german tv shows. do you think these appearances help to elevate independent wrestling in germany in general? Of course I hope that it helps to raise awareness for wrestling and that people are drawn to a show. But I also want to make sure that my name is out there in order to increase my market value and get more bookings. I live for this sport, I want to share my passion and hope that wrestling will receive a real boost again someday.
what should be done to make the sport more popular in germany? where are mistakes being made? If I knew, I would have done something about it already. I don’t know what other promoters do, but back when I was planning a wrestling show I only received positive feedback. Everyone wanted a piece of the cake. The shows have to be very professionally structured and organised. The most important assets are the athletes though. You shouldn’t try to save money on wrestlers. They represent the sport and the events. The audience shouldn’t get the impression that wrestling is ridiculous or that they could beat the guy who is the ring. It’s important that the athlete’s reputation is intact. Untrained or drunken wrestlers shouldn’t be in the ring.
photo credits: Stephany Smutny, www.dragonhearts.de, Wrestling Family Germany, Pro Wrestling Eve
let’s pretend you win the lottery, would you continue wrestling? Definately! I would invest in a promotion as a silent partner, support them and make sure it gets bigger and stronger. The money would mainly be invested in wrestlers. A tour bus is a must-do, it elevates the moral and makes regeneration after a fight easier. A healthy catering, 3 to 4 star hotels, a well planned tour, enough sleep and always a gym nearby would be necessary. I would also hire a masseur and a doctor. I would stay in Europe and take everyone with me who works hard and earned it. I hope I’ll win someday besides your wrestling career you also have a “normal” job. how do you endure working all week, travelling throughout europe, fighting on the weekend and then getting back to work?
from Friday to Monday. If I’m lucky or not, depending on how you see it, I do that every weekend and at the end I’m just exhausted. what are your next endeavours, what can the fans expect from you? I applied to participate in a popular German TV show and hope to advance to the next round. The whole TNA thing is still in progress and maybe I can manage to obtain a job there. I regularly work in France and will be back at EVE. If you would like to book Alpha Female please write to email@example.com or visit www.alphafemale.de n contact david at firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO: © Sarah Barraclough (britishwrestlingpictures.com)
To be honest, it’s hard! Many times I have to work until midnight on Friday and get up at five the next morning to get to the airport, into the car or the meeting point to get to the show. After the fight we drive to the hotel and sometimes only sleep three hours before going to the next show on Sunday. Then we go to the airport again and it’s already Monday. The airplane lands around noon and two hours later we are home and I have to go to work again right away until midnight. That adds up to six hours of sleep www.thewrestlingpress.com 61
Where To Begin With
By jeremy graves
ith this being my first column for TWP, i decided the best place to start would be on a question that many people ask (not just to myself, but) in general, ‘where do you begin with japanese wrestling?’ i’ve tried to give answers to both friends and listeners of dropkick radio that would lead to a good introduction on where to start, but never really one that would provide a direct starting point. My first exposure to Japanese wrestling was during the time period that was dubbed ‘The Monday Night War’, when WCW Nitro was battling WWF Raw head to head in the USA (and over here in the UK on a Friday, but that’s a conversation for another time). It was during the early years of this war when I would see people like ‘The Great Sasuke’ and ‘Taka Michinoku’ (pictured) on WWF television and the likes of Ultimo Dragon and Yugi Nagata on WCW Nitro presenting a style of the wrestling I hadn’t seen before, and it caught my attention immediately. Through the help of family members, who lived in the US and watched wrestling, I asked them if they could
help me learn more about these Japanese wrestlers (In hindsight, I don’t know why I thought they would be able to help. Perhaps at the time I thought as they live over there, they might know something) this is when they would send over good old VHS cassette tapes of wrestling that featured these Japanese stars on them. Included in one of the early packages received (keep in mind, this was around early to mid 1997), was WCW Starrcade 1995! The event that saw WCW “accepting the challenge of New Japan Pro Wrestling” in a best of seven series for was dubbed ‘The World Cup Of Wrestling’. (Could it be that this is where TNA got the name ‘World X Cup’ from?) It was from this event I came to realise just how many wrestlers I was watching on WCW and WWF had also wrestled in Japan. The likes of Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Chris Jericho had all competed in Japan before experiencing major success in the US. I reached the conclusion that’s why I always enjoyed their matches more than others, the fact they had travelled the world and been exposed to many styles of wrestling meant they were showcasing
themselves in a way that had not been readily seen on television before. Thinking back to early 1997, WWF at the time wasn’t brilliant. Bret Hart and Steve Austin was perhaps the main feud and Shawn Michaels had ‘lost his smile’. Whereas WCW had the NWO running riot on them and Sting (now donned in black and white) was emerging as the man who could make all the difference and at the same time the company was delivering a superior quality of wrestling on a weekly basis. Although the International stars (for lack of a better term) were never really elevated to the top of the card, for me at the time that didn’t matter. As long as I got see those wrestlers putting on perhaps the best wrestling of the night, sometimes for only a few short minutes, I had no problem with that. By the time mid to late 1999 rolled around, my weekly exposure was drastically cut short. Sky television had opened up a new service meaning that TNT in the UK was no Yugi Nagata longer included in the selection of channels available to me. Although WWE programming was still entertaining, I’ll flat out admit that by this point I was a bigger WCW fan even though I started as a WWF fan, losing WCW was a huge blow for me. Even when ‘The Radicalz’ (Benoit, Saturn, Malenko and Guerrero) went to the WWE in early 2000, I still longed for WCW. Unfortunately this led to a good four or five year ‘break’ from being exposed to Japanese wrestling in any capacity. (I don’t include Kai En Tai from WWF because it wasn’t anything resembling what WCW wrestlers had been presenting.) In late 2004 (when by this point I was living in Los Angeles) I was introduced to US Independent wrestling. It was in a used DVD shop that I found 3 Ring of Honor DVDs, one of them was ‘Final Battle 2003’ that featured the stars of All Japan Pro Wrestling taking on stars from ROH. I was aware of TNA Wrestling and as a result of that, there were various names on the DVD
I recognised, viewing that DVD was like a breath of fresh air. Being able to see Kaz Hayashi after so many years was a very welcoming sight, having the Great Muta (who I’d seen in some of the tapes my family members sent me) was brilliant also. It was from this point where, although I still wasn’t being exposed to much Japanese wrestling, I was able to get a sampling of some through companies like ROH and Pro Wrestling Guerrillia. PWG used to run at a place called ‘Frank and Sons Cards and Collectables’, a sort of market where vendors would be all around the venue, with the PWG show in a cornered off section. There was one stall selling wrestling DVDs. Admittedly they weren’t all legit, but one event I found was a bootleg of ‘WCW Starrcade 2000’, and it was on that DVD I was introduced to the Jung Dragons, the team of Jimmy Yang, Jamie Noble and Kaz Kayashi! Looking back, it’s funny in many ways how I ended up being reintroduced to Japanese wrestling through Kaz Hayashi. By late 2007, I’d seen more Japanese wrestlers on ROH DVDs (including my first exposure to Dragon Gate), and it’s revealed that at the New Japan Pro Wrestling event ‘Wrestle Kingdom III’ in the Tokyo Dome, that TNA will be involved on the show. It was this show that got me fully back into Japanese wrestling, I got hold of the show shortly after it took place thanks to a friend based in Japan. I watched it from start to finish and thoroughly enjoyed it, I think one of the main reasons I enjoyed it as much as I did was because there were quite a few wrestlers (from TNA mostly) that I knew. Kurt Angle wrestled Yugi Nagata in a great match. AJ Styles, Christian and Petey Williams were involved in a six-man tag match and even Abyss was involved on the show. Because there were wrestlers that I saw on a weekly basis wrestling on this mammoth event, it
connected with me on a level I hadn’t expected and that was how I was able to get back into Japanese wrestling. Seeing (for example) Kurt Angle wrestle someone I remembered from WCW and how New Japan presented the in ring action as a sport rather than sports entertainment, really drew me in. It was also clear from this event who the top stars in New Japan were, the (actual) main event (contrary to the TNA Global iMPACT! DVD) was Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP title. That match showed me what Japanese wrestling had become, and I really liked it, this was aided more when Kurt Angle appeared in the ring following that match and challenged Shinsuke Nakamura to a match where the (then two) IWGP titles would be unified. Jung Dragons
unknown, but at the same time, you’re exposed to other wrestlers who you’ll become familiar with. To suggest a few other wrestlers in recent memory that may help, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin last year had a few matches in NJPW defending the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles. They eventually lost the belts to Irish born Prince Devitt and Ryuske Taguchi (collectively known as Apollo 55). I strongly suggest seeking those matches, and I mention Prince Devitt. He has quite literally been on fire over the last year. He also had a recent phenomenal series of matches against Naomichi Marufuji, which I heartily recommend. Another fantastic tool at ones disposal (aside from various English based websites) is the official You Tube channel of New Japan Pro Wrestling. They regularly upload matches from events (both past and present) and this is undoubtedly one of the most accessible ways to get hold of Japanese wrestling presented by one of the top promotions in the world. It’s far easier nowadays to sample Japanese based professional wrestling that has influenced the styles of many wrestlers we see today. For some the language barrier will always be a problem, a few of my close friends enjoy watching it, but find it very difficult to watch with Japanese commentary. If you can get past that (or bear with it), you won’t be disappointed.
Unfortunately, this was never acknowledged by TNA, but that didn’t stop me from scouring the vast world that is the internet to find out more about this challenge, which led to the event just a month later in February when Shinsuke Nakamura unified the two belts in front of a capacity crowd. I was 100% hooked and investigated other promotions I’d been exposed to up to that point including Dragon Gate, All Japan and even DDT thanks to Kota Ibushi being involved in four ROH shows in the first half of 2008. To answer the question ‘how do you get into Japanese wrestling?’ I suggest, finding events or promotions with wrestlers you are familiar with. That way, you get to see not only someone you know potentially wrestling against a complete 64 www.thewrestlingpress.com
Another way of sourcing Japanese wrestling is through DVDs. Dragon Gate for example has not only presented 3 shows from the UK, but has the regular USA base as well. All of those DVDs include optional English commentary. So you can literally watch how you want to. I hope this has article has been interesting, I appreciate that some may have a differing opinion on what I’ve said, but everything I‘ve written is either true, or how I genuinely feel about it. For me Japanese wrestling is an alternative, that’s what draws me into it and who knows – maybe it will become your alternative too. n contact jeremy at email@example.com catch jeremy’s audio broadcast live every sunday night at www.dropkickradio.com
www.thewrestlingpress.com 65 By john m milner
ans of the nwa in the 1980s, and of the wwwf in the ‘60s and ‘70s, came to fear the name “ivan koloff”. before the cold war thawed with the coming of glasnost, koloff strode to the ring, clad in russian red, his sights set on destroying the american wrestlers that stood before him. But ironically, the man who would be known as “The Russian Bear” was born Jim Perras, one of ten children in the small Ontario town of Crysler, on August 25th, 1942. He began watching professional wrestling on TV at the age of eight and grew up wanting to climb into the ring himself. At the age of 18, he left high school and began training for his future career at Jack Wentworth’s wrestling school in Hamilton, Ontario. His in-ring career started in the early 1960s, as Perras would debut as “Red McNulty”, an Irish heel with an eye-patch. Perras would wrestle in the Toronto area for several years before heading to north-west Canada and eventually Japan. In 1967, Perras became Ivan Koloff, initially billed as the nephew of 1930s wrestler, Dan Koloff. It was a year later, in Montreal’s Inter-
national Wrestling Association where Ivan Koloff first wore championship gold, defeating Johnny Rougeau to win the International title. In 1970, Ivan Koloff made his way to the WWWF where he would be managed by Captain Lou Albano and team with Killer Kowalski. On January 18, 1971, Ivan Koloff did what was then the unthinkable: In front of a stunned crowd in Madison Square Garden, Koloff ended the near eight-year reign of Bruno Sammartino as WWWF Champion. But Koloff would remain champion less than a month, losing the title to Pedro Morales on February 8th. Koloff would remain a top contender in the WWE until leaving in 1972. Koloff would head south, working for NWA promotions in Georgia, Florida and the Mid-Atlantic. He would win the Florida Heavyweight Championship in 1977 and be a multiple-time tag champ in both Florida (with Mr. Saito and Pat Patterson) and Georgia (with Alexis Smirnoff and Ole Anderson). In February 1981, he teamed with Ray Stevens to win his first of four NWA Tag Team titles. By the mid-1980s, Koloff was wrestling primarily in Jim Crockett Promotions. He teamed with a young powerhouse from Minnesota named Scott Simpson, who would debut as fellow Russian, and Ivan’s nephew, Nikita Koloff. Ivan and Nikita would be joined by Krusher Kruschev to form the feared triumvirate known as the Russians. Ivan and Nikita would win the NWA Tag Team titles on two occasions (although Kruschev was allowed to help defend the belts) as the Russians feuded with the Rock and Roll Express and the Road Warriors. The Koloffs would also team with Kruschev to win the
NWA World 6-Man Tag Team titles. When Nikita was moved into a singles program, Ivan served as a manager for his “nephew” during Nikita’s battles with Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A. and Ric Flair. Following Nikita’s face turn at the end of 1986, Ivan teamed with Dick Murdoch to try and get revenge on his nephew and Nikita’s new tag partner, Dusty Rhodes. Koloff and Murduch even teamed together in the 1987 Crockett Cup. By 1988, Ivan would join Paul Jones’ Army, serving in the much the same capacity to Jones’ charges, the Powers of Pain (the Warlord and the Barbarian – with whom Koloff would once again hold the NWA 6-Man titles) and later, the Russian Assassins, as he had with Nikita. A reunion between the Koloffs, uncle and nephew, came when the Assassins turned on Ivan in late 1988. But by January 1989, Ivan Koloff had left Jim Crockett Promotions, making a stop in Puerto Rico to win gold in the World Wrestling Council. In the early 1990s, Ivan Koloff appeared in Herb Abram’s UWF and was a part of the early days of Eastern Championship Wrestling. He would return to WCW as part of Slamboree 1993, teaming with Baron Von Rashke to take on Thunderbolt Patterson and Brad Armstrong in a losing effort. In 1994, Koloff retired from active competition, although he has made an occasional appearance over the years. He now lives in North Carolina with his wife, Renae and has four adult children. He briefly ran a wrestling school and, as a born again Christian, also conducts lectures on his faith and battle against drugs and alcohol. n contact john at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Ivan Koloﬀ photos © Peter Lederberg Peter has taken hundreds of great photos since the 70s which you can view and order from hp://home.bellsouth.net/p/PWP-flwrestlingpix Cost is $3.00 for each 4 x 6 print (taken from the original negative), $7 for each 5 x 7 print, and $10 for each 8 x 10 print. If you have any questions email Peter at email@example.com His mailing address is Pete Lederberg, 2720 NE 1st Way, Wilton Manors, FL 33334, USA.
U FC Words: matt singh
he ufc heavyweight division is clearly the biggest draw of any weight division, and it has more depth now than it ever has. It’s quite something to think that as recently as 2006, the UFC heavyweight division was built around the likes of Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski and Jeff Monson, who may all be capable fighters, but were and are not draws anywhere near the level of all the current UFC heavyweight title contenders. Contrast that with where the UFC heavyweight division is in 2010/2011, and the differences are staggering; an entirely new crop of heavyweight fighters have taken the spot light, fighters that are both elite-level athletes and have the ability to draw big pay-per-view numbers. Some would argue it’s unfair to criticise the likes of Sylvia and Arlovski for not being huge draws back in 2006, as the sport was only just starting to boom, however when one looks at the subsequent careers of Sylvia, Arlovski and Monson the aforementioned criticism seems at least partly warranted. The UFC heavyweight division has, and will continue to generate more revenue for the company than any other, and despite the super-star nature of George St-Pierre and Anderson Silva in the Welterweight and Middleweight divisions, that won’t change anytime soon. The UFC heavyweight division is stacked, and the title contenders are numerous...
JUNIOR DOS SANTOS (12W 1L) Of all heavyweight contenders, Dos Santos has the most impressive record from a win/loss point of view, as the Santa Catarina, Brazil native has only a single loss in his entire career, not just the UFC. Making his Octagon debut at UFC 90 against former Pride fighter Fabricio Werdum, Dos Santos knocked out his fellow Brazilian Werdum in the first round. The brutality and unexpected nature of the KO made MMA fans and followers stand up and take notice of Dos Santos, who joined the UFC with a very low profile (if any). Those who knew of Dos Santos prior to his UFC debut knew that he carried a great 18-0 kickboxing record, and also knew that if anyone was going to be knocking the other out, it would be Dos Santos battering Werdum. In his second UFC fight against 6’11’’ Stefan Struve, Dos Santos again stopped his opponent via TKO from punches. The fight took place at UFC 95 in London, and confirmed the Brazilian as a serious heavyweight fighter, with top striking skills, and a BJJ brown belt too. His third fight in the UFC was his crowning moment thus far, as he out-struck and out witted the legendary Mirko CroCop in what amounted to a battle of kick boxers. The Brazilian dominated the Croatian superstar for three rounds, destroying CroCop with strikes from the clinch and indeed stopped CroCop by TKO due to a nasty uppercut to the eye whilst throwing strikes in the clinch. This win took Dos Santos into contendership
material for the UFC heavyweight title, but would take three more fights until being named as No.1 contender; Dos Santos went through Gilbert Yvel (TKO), former title contender Gabriel Gonzaga (KO), and finally Roy Nelson which was officially a No.1 contenders fights. For three rounds the Brazilian pushed Nelson, but was unable to finish or stop him, the first time in his UFC career he’d not stopped an opponent. The unanimous decision victory sets up a clash against either Brock Lesnar or Cain Velasquez, depending on who wins the titanic battle between the two wrestlers at UFC 121 in October [this article was submitted before the ppv, Velasquez won the bout after referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 4:12 - Ed]. Dos Santos will look to get his deserved and earned heavyweight title shot sometime in early/mid 2011.
FRANK MIR (13W 5L) Back in March former UFC heavyweight champion Mir battled Shane Carwin for No.1 contendership to the heavyweight title, but was stopped via TKO in brutal fashion in the first round. The loss to Carwin came after a spectacular submission win over dangerous striker Cheick Kongo in December 2009, which lined Mir up for the fight with Carwin. During the Kongo fight Mir showed excellent boxing skills, flooring Frenchman Kongo before finishing him off with a guillotine choke/neck crank. Mir entered the Carwin fight with renewed confidence in his stand-up skills, but quickly became tied-up with Carwin against the Octagon in the clinch, shortly after which Carwin unleashed a barrage of short-arm uppercuts which rocked Mir and eventually knocked the former champion out whilst facedown on the Octagon canvas. The nature of the finish was actually very similar to Mir’s loss to Brock Lesnar at UFC 100, in that Mir was controlled and out-powered by the bigger and more powerful wrestler who used strikes from closerange to counter Mir’s world class BBJ skills.
Mir’s UFC career has certainly been a rollercoaster, and it’s interesting to think that a short time ago, in August 2007, he was fighting (and beating) Antoni Hardonk on the undercard of UFC 74. Mir followed that win up with the submission win over Brock Lesnar in Lesnar’s debut, and then stopped Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira via TKO, which no one had ever done at that point. Those two huge wins made Mir back into the headline fighter he once was, and the Nogueira win earned Mir the Interim UFC heavyweight title while Lesnar was sidelined with the diverticulitis condition. Then came the rematch with Lesnar at UFC 100, in which Mir was totally dominated by the Minnesota mega-star for the first round, then got knocked out from ground strikes. Lesnar became the Undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, while Mir appeared to be back square one. He got back a lot of momentum in his next encounter, the Kongo fight, but then ran into a brick wall in the form of Shane Carwin. A big advantage Mir has over almost all other heavyweight elites in the UFC is that he’s been around for a long time (his UFC debut was way back in November 2001) so he has the experience, but yet he’s still only 31 years old. Those two factors will work to Mir’s advantage in the sense that he can afford to lose a fight, but will be given slack by UFC management and fans because he’s an established star with proven longevity, and also has age on his side which cannot be said of the likes of Mirko CroCop, Shane Carwin and Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira.
ANTôNIO RODRIgO NOgUEIRA (32W 6L) The Hall of Fame-bound ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira has had an unpredictable UFC career thus far; he’s been UFC interim heavyweight champion after tapping-out Tim Sylvia for the title at UFC 81, then dropped the title to Frank Mir at UFC 92 in his very first defense. Nogueira’s UFC debut was far from great, as he beat Heath Herring via unanimous decision in a fight many thought Herring actually won, and indeed Nogueira was knocked to the floor by a head kick from Herring which the Texasnative failed to follow-up on and allowed Nogueira
time to recover. The former Pride heavyweight champion was expected to dominate upon his UFC arrival but his rather dubious win over Herring posed more questions than answers, so many looked on with curiosity as the Brazilian challenged then-UFC heavyweight title holder Tim Sylvia for the strap at UFC 81, in what was only Nogueira’s second UFC fight. As it turned out, Nogueira again took significant punishment for the first three of five scheduled rounds, only to catch the champion Sylvia with a slick guillotine choke in round three to win the UFC interim heavyweight championship. After losing the title to Mir, the BBJ black belt then signed to fight Randy Couture, in something of a dream match, but as both guys were coming off losses, some of the aura and spectacle had diminished. Still, when the two fought at UFC 102 in August 2009, the fight turned out to be a rousing battle which Nogueira dominating the fight for most of the three rounds, and almost stopped Couture twice from strikes and a Darce choke. With the victory over Couture the UFC booked Nogueira against fast-rising heavyweight prospect Cain Velasquez for the company’s first Australian show. In the fight, Nogueira looked slow and sluggish as Velasquez constantly beat him to the punch and finally knocked out Nogueira with great combination of punches. The Brazilian has been in absolute wars in his career with the likes of Bob Sapp, Mirko CroCop, Heath Herring and Fedor Emelianenko and many are now saying he has sustained too much punishment and is too broken down physically to compete at the highest level, but with his incredible (and some would say unrivalled) ability to absorb a beating and pull out a world-class submission, no one should count the man nicknamed ‘Minotauro’ out. Nogueira was slated to fight Mir in a rematch at UFC 119, but had to withdraw due to a knee injury and subsequent surgery needed as a result which may be a sign of confirmation that his body is slow and steadily giving out on him, and at 34 years old that’s not a good sign.
SHANE CARWIN (12W 1L) Entering the UFC with a undefeated record of 70, Carwin had a certain amount of hype but not a marquee name. In his debut fight against Christian Wellisch, Carwin made most take notice as he knocked Wellisch out with a brutal punch at 0.44 of the first round. The huge wrestler, ironically, didn’t show much finesse or technical/tactical skill in this fight but did up his stock commercially due to the devastating nature of the KO. Next up for Carwin was the unheralded Neil Wain at UFC 89, and again Carwin ran straight through his opponent, winning via TKO from ground and pound, again in the first round. In his first two UFC fights, the massive wrestler had taken just over two minutes to finish his opponents via KO/TKO and the hype had already begun in relation to a UFC heavyweight title shot. The hype however, was somewhat tempered by the fact that Christian Wellisch and Neil Wain were nowhere near elitelevel heavyweights, but that would change when Carwin signed to fight former title-challenger Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 96 in the semi-main event (the first time Carwin had been placed that far up the card). Whatever questions were left in regards to Carwin being a legitimate title contender were blown away when he knocked Gonzaga out at the 1:09 mark of the first round. Again Carwin had blitzed his opponent in the very first, and ended the fight via TKO/KO, and this win earned him a UFC heavyweight title shot. Originally Carwin was slated to face title holder Brock Lesnar in November 2009, however with Lesnar’s battle with diverticulitis the champion couldn’t make the scheduled title defense. As a result of the whole situation, Carwin was offered and accepted a fight with Frank Mir in March 2010, with added incentive of the
fight being for the interim UFC heavyweight title. Taking place at UFC 111, the fight was again positioned in semi-main event spot, and many thought that Mir would again emerge victorious just like he did against Lesnar in their first fight. However Carwin quickly and easily demolished Mir with brutal uppercuts from the clinch and knocked-out his foe to win the UFC interim heavyweight title, and again set-up a mega-clash with Brock Lesnar to unify the two heavyweight titles. The two behemoth wrestlers locked horns at UFC 116 in the main event, and Carwin quickly felled Lesnar with his powerful boxing, and Carwin dominated so much that the fight was almost stopped with Carwin in the mount position nailing Lesnar with punishing ground and pound. Lesnar survived the onslaught and made it to round two, where he executed a double-leg take, and applied a head and arm triangle for the tap-out. Carwin’s cardio had already been called into question but when he gassed in round two, that confirmed his cardio was (and probably still is) his weakest point as a fighter. The pay-per-view drew in excess of one million buys, making it one of the highestgrossing show of the year, so Carwin clearly has star power. The big quandary for Shane Carwin is, who does he fight next? Clearly he has the skills and drawing power to clinch another UFC heavyweight title shot, but who will he face in his next two or three fights before he challenges for the heavyweight title again. It’s difficult to predict who he could fight next, but maybe a fight with Nogueira, CroCop or maybe even Pat Barry would be on the cards.
ROy NELSON (15W 5L) Being one of the biggest stars for the International Fight League as well as its inaugural heavyweight champion, it was something of a surprise when the UFC announced that the guy nicknamed ‘Big Country’
would make his UFC debut on The Ultimate Fighter reality show as opposed to in the Octagon on pay-per-view or cable television. But that’s exactly what happened on the heavyweights edition of TUF, with Nelson gaining something of a cult following due to his unique physique and ability to sell a fight through his verbal skills. Carrying a 134 record into the reality show, it quickly became evident that despite his physical look, Nelson would be a favourite to take the title of The Ultimate Fighter and indeed that’s precisely what he did by knocking out Brendan Schaub in the final. ‘Big Country’ made his UFC debut proper at Ultimate Fight Night; Florian vs. Gomi on March 31th, 2010 and again knocked out his opponent that night, 6’11” Stefan Struve earning Knock Out of the Night honours too. In his two most significant UFC fights Nelson looked unbeatable, however prior to his Octagon career, Nelson had suffered losses at the hands of Andrei Arlovski (former UFC heavyweight champion), Jeff Monson (former UFC heavyweight title challenger) and Ben Rothwell. The Arlovski loss was the first (and thus far only) time Nelson has been knocked out, and unfortunately suffered another loss immediately, against Jeff Monson via decision, a decision Nelson’s camp protested, however their protests were eventual dismissed and the loss remains as such. Coming off the demolition-job of Struve (Nelson knocked out the giant Dutchman in just 0:39), there was buzz that ‘Big Country’ would be booked in a No.1 contendership fight with a fellow contender and it was announced that at UFC 117 on August 7th Nelson would square off against Junior Dos Santos to determine who would fight the winner of Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez. Heading into the fight with confidence and momentum Nelson was out-struck and out-paced by Brazilian Dos Santos and ‘Big Country’ went down via unanimous decision. With a unique look and a great ability to sell a fight, Nelson will be getting plenty more opportunities to have a run at the UFC heavyweight title, and there’s talk that a possible showdown with Shane Carwin could be on the horizon, a fight that would be sure to end with either guy being knocked out in brutal fashion. n contact matt at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Dark Kitty in what year did you start your wrestling career? I started wrestling on September 16, 1994 in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico what made you decide to get into professional wrestling? My uncle El Chale and thanks to him I am in this wonderful sport.
what idea or character gave you the inspiration for the mask you wear? It was an original idea made by Sr. Alex Cortez who makes professional masks in Guadalajara.
who do you feel are the best partners you could have in the ring with you? The best partner I could have is Excalibor.
do you wrestle more as a face or a heel? I started off as a heel but now I am a face.
what do you feel was the toughest match you ever fought? My toughest match was against my Godfather Abismo Negro (RIP).
who do you admire the most as a wrestler? I have admired my uncle El Chale, now I admire my father.
if you had the opportunity to wrestle any wrester in the world who would you choose and why?
have you ever held any titles and if so who did you defeat for that title? I have held the Tag Team Championships of Triple A many times, the cruiserweight of Jalisco, Tag Team championships of Jalisco, and others. knowing what wrestling is all about, would you encourage your children or family members to become wrestlers? No, I want my son to have a degree when he grows up. if you could be part of any wrestling organisation worldwide who would you choose? Thanks to God, I have been in CMLL, and lasted 4 years and 8 months in Triple A. Now I wrestle as an independent wrestler.
I would not pick any wrestler from around the world I would pick a wrestler from Mexico, the teacher Negro Navarro. have you ever been injured seriously and how did it happen? The most serious injury was a back injury I received when I did a flying back flip and the person did not catch me properly – I took the full impact landing onto the floor.
Guerrero Universal will be taking on a new challenge in his life as he became the Godfather to a wrestling female in his state of Michoacan, none other than TWP’s own Dark Kitty. Guerrero Universal will be attending the opening of Dark Kitty’s school this December and is looking forward to seeing this young wrestler earn her way to the top of the wrestling world.
what was your funniest moment in wrestling? The funniest moment in wrestling was when I forgot my mask and ended up putting on my friend Rey Latinos’ mask, that day making it two Rey Latinos fighting! what was your worst moment in wrestling? The worst moment was the injury to my back.
n contact dark kitty at email@example.com
WWE Money In The Bank 2010 discs: 1 // 2 hrs 48 mins // region 2 // release: out now // £10.99 (down from £17.99) // distributor: silver vision A first for WWE, taking the ever-popular Money in the Bank ladder match that usually takes place at Wrestlemania to now happen twice in one night (catering for both brands) in what should promise to be a great event. The Smackdown Money in the Bank ladder match starts the show as can usually be expected with the ‘B Show’ going first. Matt Hardy, Big Show, Christian, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, Kane, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler all put on a great opener. The added spectacle of the specially made ladder for Big Show was something different to see. This match really warmed the crowd up, but may have sucked the life out of them a little early. All other matches on the PPV apart from Raw’s Money in the Bank are Title defences. This seemed like an attempt by WWE to add some more meaning to the event. Eve vs Alicia Fox for the Divas Championship quickly turns the crowd flat following such a good opener. The early exhaustion of the crowd continues to affect performances when The Hart Dynasty defend their Unified Tag Titles against Jimmy & Jey Uso. Smackdown not only gets over-cast by Raw with the money in the bank ladder match but 74 www.thewrestlingpress.com
also with the respective World Title matches. Rey Mysterio defends the World Heavyweight Championship against Jack Swagger in what proved to be an outstanding match with tremendous back and forth action giving Swagger one of the best matches of his career. This match saved the PPV from going downhill and picked up the crowd again. Layla defends the Women’s Championship against Kelly Kelly which hides its flaws by being short and sweet. The crowd remain on form for the Raw Money in the Bank match. This one didn’t stand out as much as Smackdown’s but nonetheless was equally entertaining. Randy Orton, John Morrison, Evan Bourne, The Miz, Ted DiBiase, Chris Jericho, Edge and Mark Henry did a tremendous job in working together to provide fans their money’s worth. There are some great spots to look out for in this one, particularly involving Morrison and Evan Bourne. The show finishes with a Steel-Cage match with Sheamus defending the WWE Title against John Cena. The cage provides little difference in their chemistry with each other and as a main event it feels a little dry. There’s the added component of Nexus giving the viewer a little sense of unpredictability but the match of the night definitely has to go to Mysterio vs Swagger. It’s good to see WWE trying new PPV concepts. Money in the Bank looks like it’s here to stay and it did a fantastic job in rewarding rising stars and celebrating seasoned veterans. Extras on the DVD include: Josh Matthews interviewing Kane and The Nexus addressing the WWE Universe. To sum up; even though it lacks in a few minor areas this PPV succeeds in being a great DVD to purchase and is guaranteed to entertain. andrew sharp
WWE Iron Will: Elimination Chamber Anthology discs: 3 // 8 hrs 29 mins // price: £17.99 release: out now // supplier: silvervision I find it unbelievable that WWE still continues to release DVD’s that are certificate 18 seeing as since 2008, the company has prided itself on PG programming. Anyway rant over, let’s get on with the review. Just like the Hell in a Cell match created a new evolution to the already popular cage match gimmick, the Elimination Chamber’s inception in 2002 has evolved the concept to a whole new level. This three disc set looks at all 11 Elimination Chamber matches to date, in chronological order and gives a nice (albeit) brief look at the feuds and storylines leading upto each match. The matches are in their entirety which is great but as the years roll by, it becomes plain to see where WWE’s PG stance has in some instances handicapped the match. The later entries in this DVD really show how the Elimination Chamber has become a shadow of its former self, which is a massive shame. The blood and brutality (which you would expect
from a match like this) seems to be no longer a factor in recent Chamber matches. Of course there are some great individual performances in the Chamber matches throughout this box set from the likes of Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam but there are some god awful performances in this set. Why the hell Big Daddy V and Great Khali were ever in a Chamber match is beyond belief. So what can you expect from this box set? Iron Will is a great addition to any wrestling fans DVD collection, with some truly great matches and moments included. The presentation as expected with WWE DVD’s is great but there is something that really annoyed us.... We watched this DVD on a big screen TV in the TWP office and in some of the earlier matches there were two annoying bars alongside the picture saying ‘elimination chamber’. It seems that this was done to make sure the picture wasn’t stretched thus degrading the quality. But my god it was annoying, just a minor gripe really though. There are some nice interviews added from the likes of John Cena and Batista in which they talk about certain Chamber matches and how they feel about being in the structure. Overall it has to be said that fans of gimmick matches, the Elimination Chamber and especially blood and violence will lap up this DVD from start to finish. darren wood
TNA: The Best Of The Asylum Years
Unfortunately though there are only a few wrestlers who offer their comments, why didn’t other TNA talent who are under contract and who wrestled or appeared at the Asylum give their opinions?
discs: 2 // 6 hrs // release: 6th december // £11.99 // supplier: tna wrestling The rise of TNA Wrestling since its inception on June 19th 2002 has been remarkable and looking at the footage from the early days of the company it is definitely plain to see just how far the promotion that started in the Nashville Municipal Auditorium has come. With that in mind TNA’s new DVD release ‘The Best of the Asylum Years Volume 1’ showcases some great moments in the infancy of TNA before their big move to the Impact Zone. As with TNA DVDs nowadays the production values are as good as you will likely see and it was interesting to note the contrast between their earlier and more recent efforts. Like most documentaries released in professional wrestling, throughout the DVD presentation wrestlers and TNA personalities from those early days offer their memories of wrestling in the Asylum and it’s nice to hear some of their opinions.
It would have also been great to hear from wrestlers who were under contract with TNA at the time they were at the Asylum. Matches included are the memorable Triple Ladder match with AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn & Low Ki, XXX/AMW in the cage match, Jarrett and Raven’s feud and Jeff Hardy’s debut. There are a few moments that TNA should have featured that were missed out – the inaugural Ultimate X match and there isn’t much on the X division really, which is a major factor of TNA’s early success, not to mention there were some cracking X division bouts that took place at the Asylum. All in all, this is definitely a title that TNA wrestling fans will need to buy for their collection as this DVD is great to relive some of the amazing matches and moments that happened during TNA’s infancy. darren wood
TNA Slammiversary 2010 discs: 1 // 2 hrs 50 mins // release: out now // supplier: tna wrestling Billed as an event 8 years in the making, Slammiversary is one of the most celebrated PPV’s on the TNA calendar but at times this latest edition feels just like an episode of Impact. The show starts with an impressive video package highlighting TNA’s history; it’s great to see how far this company has come since its inception. The first match of the night sees Kurt Angle against Kazarian, which is a fantastic back and forth opener showcasing both men on top form as they unleash some great chain wrestling mixed with high risk manoeuvres. There were quite a few matches that were good but didn’t really hit expectations, Douglas Williams against Brian Kendrick was an interesting affair but never really kicked into gear, lacking the aggression that their previous encounters had. Madison Rayne against Roxxie, Title vs Career match should have been a bigger deal, considering the implications of the match and Matt Morgan against Hernandez was a drab affair which seemed more like a beat down angle more than a match. There seemed to be a lack of good matches at this juncture in the event, but the Monsters Ball
match saved all signs of the show going sour. Both Abyss and Desmond Wolfe tore the house down with some great hardcore spots. AJ Styles vs Jay Lethal is all that you can imagine it to be, here are two of TNA’s most talented performers, going at it in what can only be described as a truly epic match. Jeff Hardy & Mr Anderson against Beer Money was good but it didn’t quite live up to all that TNA was pushing it to be. Nonetheless both teams showcased some great chemistry in the ring to produce a very entertaining match. The main event of Sting vs Rob Van Dam was disappointing in many areas considering all the hype and the ability of those involved. It was way too short lasting only about 10 minutes; containing slow paced action that was filled with brawling in the crowd, ref bumps and interference by Jeff Jarrett. The DVD has good points throughout, but there are many matches that can be skipped and that didn’t feel special enough to warrant being on one of TNA’s flagship events. Main events deserve a lot more attention and time, Sting vs RVD disappointed me a lot. Styles vs Lethal was definitely the match of the night (Ric Flair was hilarious getting upto his old antics at ringside) followed closely by Angle vs Kazarian. The DVD is worth sitting through for these match alone. In conclusion Slammiversary fails to provide the necessary goods for one of TNA’s biggest events in their PPV calendar, but does provide quite a few great in ring moments. If you’re a major TNA wrestling fan, then this is definitely worth having in the DVD collection, be aware though that the great moments in this event are few and far between. andrew sharp
Ring of Honor: Salvation & Hate Chapter II hate – discs: 1 // $20 salvation – discs: 1 // $20 These are two of the events taken from a July triple shot weekend, and at first glance seem to have some intriguing matchups on offer. hate: chapter ii starts off with the Bravado brothers against now mainstay tag-team The House of Truth, little is on display here and it would probably have been best used as a TV taping match in which HoT could have squashed the Bravado’s in short time. The crowd is decidedly flat and makes for an uninspiring start. Unfortunately things don’t improve with Grizzly Redwood vs Erick Stevens trying their best, but not really pulling out anything of interest. Necro Butcher vs “Skullkrusher” Brown is listed as a match and could have been a good brawl but it descends into a non-finish as soon as it gets started, again the crowd are dead. Things pick up with a good showing in Roderick Strong vs Colt Cabana in a pick six contenders match, with Strong looking good and building him towards the Glory by Honor iPPV. The good times continue as Generation Me and the American Wolves tangle in a good match that lifts the crowds spirits and the quality of the event. A six-man pitches Aries and the All Night Express against Tyler Black, Delirious and Jerry Lynn that aims to further the altercations between Aries and Delirious, as Aries kidnaps Daisy Haze post match. We then get a grudge match in what may be the hottest feud on the independents between Kevin Steen and El Generico. It is listed as a grudge
match and showcases some excellent action but when in the hell should a grudge match end in a dq, a grudge match is supposed to be brutal with relaxed rules to showcase the hatred that exists between the two men. The Main event delivers another six person match with the Kings of Wrestling and Sara Del Rey vs The Briscoe Brothers and Amazing Kong. This was another stellar match up, with some excellent exchanges with both Del Rey and Kong taking on their counterparts. A good match to finish off quite a flat show, with nothing of real importance occurring. salvation is a tag team heavy show which features the opening round of the 2010 Tag Wars. What bugged me here is that there was no explanation as to what Tag Wars is, what happened if you win, or what the blocks of teams were. I felt a simple graphic and explanation from the commentary team could have ironed out this major flaw, which the whole event card is built around. Things kick off in a similar vein to previous night with Skullkrusher and Grizzly Redwood against the Embassy pairing of Necro butcher and Erick Stevens. The Embassy seem to be really dead in the water and need a new defining member to ignite the group again. The match itself is passable as action moves on to Sara Del Rey vs Amazing Kong. These two women put on a good hard hitting match that showcases women’s wrestling. The Briscoe’s are back in action versus House of Truth and again put on a good match, but with Tag Wars not being explained it seems of little importance. Roderick Strong is again in singles action this time against former stable mate Austin Aries. The two put on a good match, again building up Strong to his world title match at the iPPV. All Night Express vs Delirious and Lynn seems to fall flat with the crowd and is again passable, with little of note happening except for a post match altercation between Aries and Delirious. The American Wolves vs Cabana and Generico is a
better match with Cabana submitting Eddie Edwards in a surprise result, where one would think that the Wolves would be primed to win. The final tag team match pits the Kings of Wrestling against Generation Me. The match has a similar feel to the previous night encounter of Gen Me and the Wolves. A good match nonetheless, with Kings of Wrestling showcasing themselves as probably the best tag team in the world at present. The Main Event is the best match of the weekend with Tyler Black defending his World title against Kevin Steen, in a brutal, bloody match that had the fans on their feet. The match features some great wrestling, believable near falls and a great finish. A truly excellent match to end the triple shot of shows. rob sivell
Evolve 4 discs: 1 // 2 hrs 18 mins // release: out now // price: $15 // supplier: evolve wrestling (www.evolvewrestling.com) EVOLVE 4 features a match that I don’t think anybody ever expected would take place as Bryan Danielson (who was in the midst of his brief break of employment with WWE following the ‘neck tie’ incident) squared off against Bobby Fish. The show is another solid offering from the group and keeps establishing their momentum of one of the most promising independents in the US wrestling scene. Instead of the usual backstage promos and vignettes which as I stated in the EVOLVE 1: Richards vs Ibushi DVD review (which is on the TWP website) were really good at enhancing characters and building a big fight feel to matches, this event shows interviews that were conducted the next day.
This again is a really nice idea as we get to know more about the performers and how they are/ were feeling about the match instead of the contests just happening and having no real other mention for them (like most indie wrestling promotions). A wrestler reflecting on matches the day after is a really nice idea and one that other promotions (especially indie promotions) should think about incorporating into their DVD’s. As for the matches themselves there are some decent contests on here, the four way match featuring Ricochet vs. Drake Younger vs. Rich Swann vs. Chris Dickinson is a decent highflying affair, Arik Cannon vs Sami Callihan is a great hard hitting match which very nearly stole the show but the highlight of the event has to be Danielson vs Fish. In a match that really did have that big fight feel, (which it seems EVOLVE are very good at portraying) Danielson and Fish deliver a technical masterpiece and this contest does a really good job of getting Fish over. He takes an absolute beating from Danielson, but still manages to keep coming at ‘The American Dragon’. The match which lasts a good 20 minutes is an awesome contest which also features a lot of stiff shots; this encounter is definitely one that should be viewed. Overall I enjoyed this DVD, I’m not sure it was as good as EVOLVE 1 which we previously reviewed but it still contains some great matches that will entertain. EVOLVE is a promotion that should be watched and one that is really doing well to set itself aside from the competition. A big thumbs up from TWP. darren wood
Hunt To Kill discs: 1 // 1 hr 33 mins // price: £10.99 release: out now // supplier: anchor bay entertainment
prompting Rhodes to do a crazy quad bike wheelie to deadly effect. While over the top at times it has to be said that ‘Hunt to kill’ was thoroughly entertaining throughout and a really good watch. It seems Austin has found what seems to be the perfect character for him to portray, as it is a well known fact that the former WWE Champion enjoys the outdoor life, enjoys hunting and with this in mind it really does translate through the screen that this is the role he has fit into the easiest.
It seems over the past year, that a month hasn’t gone by without a new Steve Austin movie being released. The former WWE star has had a very busy 2010, showing massive dedication to his new found profession and he seems to be on a mission to become a major headline star in the movie industry. In his new film ‘Hunt to Kill’ Austin plays Jim Rhodes, a Border Patrol agent who keeps watch over the mountains of Montana. When Jim’s teenage daughter Kim (Marie Avgeropoulos) is kidnapped by evil crook Banks (Gil Bellows) and his motley crew it is up to Jim to ensure his daughter’s safety. He decides to help the crooks navigate their way through the treacherous mountains and forest in order to find Lawson (Michael Hogan), the man who double crossed the gang, stealing millions away from them.
His rugged appeal shines and because the film is set in a remote location this helps create tension, the action scenes progress slowly but nicely, helping build the ending up to fever pitch. Austin seems to have learnt a lot from his past movies, he looks to be growing and developing in his role as a leading man. Showing more screen presence with every movie.
The story itself is a decent enough affair as Jim eventually turns against the gang and starts to pursue his own personal game of cat and mouse, hunting down the criminals. Yeah OK the story may be a little clichéd and not very original but it is a fun movie to watch and is definitely Austin’s best effort to date.
‘Hunt to kill’ offers everything an action movie fan could want, with lots of good fight scenes and a decent storyline which offers plenty of thrills and spills.
However there are some really silly, over the top moments in this film that had me in fits of laughter, one in particular near the end of the film where no matter what Rhodes does to try and kill Banks he keeps rising from the dead,
Wrestling fans and action movie enthusiasts alike will enjoy this in equal measure and should definitely gives this film a go. for a chance to win a copy of this dvd for yourself check out the hunt to kill competition at www.thewrestlingpress.com
chapter on a scale of 1-10; this is a real fun and interesting approach.
Countdown To Lockdown
One aspect of the book that left me disappointed and really wanting to know more was when Foley details his annoyance of V i n c e M c M a h o n screaming expletives at him through his headset during his stint as commentator. Foley recounts this but doesn’t go into details, which is a shame as it would have been good to have known specifics of when and where.
By Mick Foley price: £16.99 // 336 pages // supplier: orion books Mick Foley set the standard for wrestling autobiographies back in 1999 with his debut title – ‘Have a nice day’ topping the New York Times best seller list. Now with his fourth memoir ‘Countdown to Lockdown’ the question to be asked before reading this book is what else is there to be told and will there still be enough important information to entice people to give it a go. “Countdown to Lockdown” chronicles the build-up to Foley’s match against Sting that headlined the Lockdown pay-perview in 2009. As Foley points out, that match and that show have already been largely forgotten, but it was a significant time period in Foley’s life, both personally and professionally, and I think wrestling fans will find the story compelling.
To be honest that really is the only aspect of the book that was a letdown, the rest is very entertaining; Foley does a great job (in all his books) of putting the reader at ease. Earlier in the review, the question was asked if this title would still contain enough important information to entice people to read Foley’s fourth memoirs. The answer to this is absolutely.
The book does not just show the lead up to his match with Sting but also details his thoughts on his short lived stint as SmackDown colour commentator, what led to his eventual departure from WWE and in what was one of the most revealing chapters in the whole book, he addresses the subject of wrestlers dying young and the Chris Benoit tragedy.
‘Countdown to Lockdown’ is a thoroughly enjoyable read and Foley proves that he still has the golden touch when it comes to storytelling. His undeniable charm shines through and it’s no surprise why he is still one of the most loved wrestling personalities.
A nice highlight of the book is a feature called the “Wrestlemeter” which is a gauge of how much wrestling content is contained in each
for a chance to win a signed copy of mick’s latest book check out our exclusive TWP competition on page 25!
the Wolfe Pit
STORIES AND OPINIONS FROM AN ORIgINAL WRESTLINg JOURNEyMAN
’m running a little late with this month’s column which really is nothing new. i was always under the impression when a man leaves the rasslin bidness, life was supposed to become more normal. was i ever wrong. i have one more month until i hang the boots up for good, and college life has taken over my world. on the personal side, i’m two whole classes away from a bachelors degree in history, with an offer to get my masters degree taken care of financially, if you will. all dependent on if i choose to teach at the university level. now, if anyone had told me the easy life of education and teaching was this damn hard, i would have gladly stayed ignorant! and then there is my friend daryl. and her grammar police tactics. she’s a whole series of stories. and ethan. and codee.............. and that doesn’t include the good child brett and his family. After reading through a list of suggestions, I decided to just run through the list. At one time, I thought my general boredom with wrestling was just me. Now I realise, there is just nothing to be excited about. I look at TNA and just shake my head. There are so many people in TNA I like and wish well, but the whole place is just one leaky, sinking ship. The “stars” can’t make a decent living, due to, and in spite of the TNA office. And the older guys are just padding their retirement funds. Or paying off the ex wives, or the car wre......you get the picture. There is no hope. That leaves the WWE and what Vince wants all of us to see. RoH and Dragon’s Gate will never be bigger than Vince allows. Hope and pray all you care. Vince has his finger firmly in their pies, so once again, hello WWE.
One of the questions rasied was the WWE’s new PG style. Well... now that Linda Mac has lost her run for the U.S. Senate, let’s all sit back and watch. If ratings and revenues are doing well enough, nothing changes until the next dip in both. Otherwise, who knows what happens? From my perspective, the PG rating doesn’t matter one way or another. Vince McMahon’s WWE is truly the only show in town, and we get what he wants. His Hollywood writers suck at PG and PG-13 equally. So, we can always just pull out old video’s when we want to be entertained with some rasslin, or we watch PG WWE.
are two big money rematches on the horizon for Lesnar with the UFC. Lesnar v Taker could happen down the line, and I could be completely wrong about Wrestlemania, but I don’t see Dana White gambling with his meal ticket five months from now.
The Undertaker was at a UFC event recently, and by all appearances, was laying the groundwork for a future event with Brock Lesnar. So many have said Wrestlemania next year, we will see ‘Taker v Lesnar. And I say no way it happens. At least not at this Wrestlemania. Lesnar is still too big in the UFC, with the big money rematch in the making, to take a chance of exposing Lesnar and the UFC at Wrestlemania. Win, lose, or draw, Lesnar stepping back in a WWE ring exposes the entire UFC. And if the UFC is as big a work as I believe, there
Will Shawn Michaels come back to active competition? Somehow, I just don’t think he will. At least not in any full time, permanent type capacity. The Shawn I saw at Lance Cade’s viewing wasn’t a man ready to go back on the road. We didn’t talk long, but just something tells me, Shawn will never walk away forever, but at this point in life, Shawn won’t be walking back for long. If he ever does at all. Shawn and I were closer years ago, and we have both grown older. And hopefully we’re a little wiser. The look I saw that day told me Shawn is happier at home. I have been reminded that the WWE may be bringing back
the King of the Ring concept. Why not one more title and gimmick in a place that already has way too many titles? This is one of those moments I truly have nothing. The concept is just old enough to be new again. Yet, exactly how does the WWE make anything new and exciting ever again? Six to ten hours of TV every week. No place in the wrestlng world to get truly different talent. On a side note. The NXT angle was great for the first few weeks, and then........... For a number of reasons. including the fact Vince has no bookers, and never trains workers. SO, King of the Ring, eh. Those that buy the PPV’s will do so, and those that don’t, won’t. I’m headed for the Rancho, where I get to tolerate more rays of sunshine among the moonbeams.. Daryl understands. Until next time........... n contact dusty at firstname.lastname@example.org
Competitions Congratulations to Jessica Sollhart of Austria for winning last issue’s competition prize of a signed Fozzy CD and T-shirt. The correct answer to the question was of course Lance Storm, Chris Jericho’s old Sudden Impact tag team partner. Make sure you don’t miss out this month – we have 5 copies of Steve Austin’s latest movie ‘Hunt to Kill’ to give away on the website, and a signed copy of Mick Foley’s new book ‘Countdown to Lockdown’ is up for grabs on page 25. Good luck everyone! – Greg (email@example.com)
NExT ISSuE For the next edition of The Wrestling Press we have a revealing interview with Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. Out in January 2011..... DON’T MISS IT! From all of us at The Wrestling Press....
MERRy CHRISTMAS and HAPPy NEW yEAR!