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WorLd nEWs


Who’s on FIrsT?


ed@thewrestling WRITERS

Dusty Wolfe Phil Austin John Atkins John Milner The CYNIC Froggy David Schmida Dark Kitty Rob Sivell Darren Wood Mark Allen Justin LaBar Martyn John PHOTOGRAPHERS

Lee South David Seto Budd LaMantia Tony Knox Tom Lancaster 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.

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© Riot! Promotions 2010

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During the UK airings of Smackdown they had John Cena and Sheamus cutting promos about touring in April. Bret Hart was also pushed as part of the tour....

As we approach another Wrestlemania, it’s that time when every wrestling fan gets excited.... where every wrestling fan becomes a kid again...where every wrestling fan thinks back to all of the exciting ‘moments’ that Wrestlemania has brought about over the years....

hardcorE hoLLY InTErvIEW I am still learning, even though those guys may be green they may do something I might learn. You just never know....

WhaT ThE WorLd Is MIssInG Outside the glamour of the WWE and now even TNA, America is bursting at the seams with independent wrestling promotions; featuring guys and gals you’ve probably never heard of....


hard knocks





Hard Knocks comes hot on the heels of applauded 2008 feature film The Wrestler, which was the first mainstream movie to approach the sport in a non farcical way....

When I started checking my emails, I couldn’t make sense out of anything. Then I realised. I had died in San Francisco. Problem with this. I didn’t know. The rumor of my death by heart attack had hit the internet....

Younger fans of the WWE may know Ted Dibiase, Sr. as the father of Legacy member Ted Dibiase. Older fans may remember his days as the dastardly “Million Dollar Man” who once tried to purchase the WWE (then WWF) Championship....

dEcadE In rEvIEW (ParT 2) When we had last left off in 2004, new stars were created out of Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit. But in 2005 WWE struck gold with their own homegrown stars....

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Bad nEWs BroWn ProFILE




MondaY nIGhT Wars or JUsT sMack TaLk?


Who Is shE? sErEna dEEB

He caused one of the biggest upsets ever to grace British soil and now ten months on ‘Bad News’ Brown is still reigning supreme as the Superslam British Heavyweight Champion....


shanE on YoU?


MIchaEL kovac ProFILE


charLY Manson InTErvIEW

Before we look at WWE’s new brainchild, I feel it’s only fitting to eulogise ECW and its inbred spawn....

One of the biggest elements in the original Monday Night Wars is again present in 2010’s competition. The aspect of lightweight / cruiserweight / X-Division wrestling. Vince McMahon doesn’t promote it or hold a belt / division for it, his competition does, and quite well....

Truth be known though, I could not imagine any other diva doing this right now. Seriously, could you image Maryse shaving her hair? Never gonna happen....

Having recently attended a Future Shock Wrestling show, The Cynic wonders if the Stockport based fed can live up to their Champ’s aspirations....

Michael Kovac, has been a key factor to the wrestling circuit in Germany ever since the famous Catch Wrestling Association closed. When promoters started to rebuild the German Wrestling circuit, Kovac was there. He still is until this day.....

Winning the Copa Antonio Peña was one of the greatest achievements in my career. The reason it meant so much was because Sr. Antonio Peña gave me the opportunity to join AAA at the time....

Front cover shots of Shawn Michaels & Bob Holly courtesy of David Seto.

Special Announcement . . . . . . . . . . . . TWP now bi-monthly As hinted at last issue it has been decided that this magazine will now be published bi-monthly. A lot of hard work goes into each edition and we try not to cut corners and 'rush out' an issue which would be littered with mistakes. Having two months to put each issue together will result in a much better and fuller product, with less stress!!! You will notice in this issue that we are starting to adhere to the 'worldwide magazine' tagline, with coverage from Mexico, Germany, England and America. This is an area we intend to strengthen and may start introducing reports from other parts of the world. With great writers and photographers, attractive layout, coverage from all over the world - a little something for everyone, as well as substantial commentary on WWE & TNA - TWP magazine is surely a 'must read' for all wrestling fans. To keep up to date with TWP developments you can follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter! If you have any comments, letters or suggestions please direct them to me at Next issue will be out in May! Thanks for reading.

worldwide wrestling magazine 3 news

World News n

by Mike Aldren Courtesy of THE WRESTLING GLOBE Newsletter

The Hollywood Reporter has a story on the financial benefits of Wrestlemania to host cities. The writer said that Wrestlemania revenue was comparable to the Oscars. WWE CFO George Barrios is quoted. "WrestleMania XXV was the largestgrossing event in company history, and we expect this year's installment to break that record yet again as indicated by recent strength in PPV buys and some recovery in consumer spending." The story didn't mentioned that "recent strength" was mostly due to a $5 price hike.

Eric Bischoff got into a verbal spar with Roy Ferris (The Honky Tonk Man) on his Facebook page. Nothing much to it other than trading insults. Bischoff also claimed that he just got a WWE royalty cheque for $50,000 for his 2006 book, Controversy Creates Cash. Hilariously, has responded by reducing the price of the book from $15 to a break even price of $1.98. Tremendous. Awesome Kong wrote on Twitter confirming her departure from TNA. Both sides had been working on an amicable split for the past few week's.

One of the new attractions this year at Wrestlemania Axxess will be a Hart Family Dungeon including memorabilia from Bret's personal collection. They are also planning a special area dedicated to Shawn Michaels with various ring attire he has worn over the years. During the UK airings of Smackdown they had John Cena and Sheamus cutting promos about touring in April. Bret Hart was also pushed as part of the tour. A funny story from the Antelope Valley Press out of Palmdale, CA. Cops were called out to a suspected armed robbery after a security guard from a jewelry store called in four suspicious guys in masks. The guys were actually local wrestlers in Lucha masks promoting some upcoming matches. Dispatchers from the LA County Sheriff's Department sent seven squad cars to take care of business. The cops had their guns drawn and it was quite the scene until they realised that they weren't dealing with robbers. 4 worldwide wrestling magazine

Chair shots to the head or any blow to the head deemed "intentional" have now been banned as part of WWE's Impact Concussion Management Program. The policy was actually instituted in January, according to WWE PR guru Robert Zimmerman who told The Hartford Courant, although this was news to pretty much news

everyone including more than one wrestler. The policy also states that any talent not adhering to the new rule may be fined and/or suspended by WWE talent chief John Laurinaitis. Chuck Palumbo's band 3 Spoke Wheel played a downtown sports bar & grill following Raw in San Diego. Dave Batista, Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero were among several WWE people who came out to show their support. Tommy Dreamer noted on his Twitter that he had dinner the other night with Taz, Brother Ray, and Paul Heyman, stating, "Let the rumors start..." Heyman hasn't tweeted or mentioned this on his website like the others so I assume it was nothing more than a personal dinner with old friends. Or maybe not... During a recent interview Bobby Lashley said he doesn't see himself doing any more pro wrestling for at least 12 months as his MMA schedule is loaded. There are some incorrect reports circulating that the Iron Sheik was arrested earlier this month at the Atlanta airport. The real story is far more entertaining. Sheik, who just turned 67, was traveling home on a flight from Las Vegas after attending a bong convention at Mandalay Bay. He was refused alcohol on the plane, lost his cool, and cut a typical Sheik promo on the flight crew. When the plane landed in Atlanta waiting police officers took him to a private room for questioning. They searched his bags and found a stash of complimentary bongs that he was given in Vegas. The police thought they had hit the jackpot. Sheik eventually talked himself out of trouble and was escorted to his drivers car and sent home. He gave the officers a signed 8X11 for their trouble. Former WWE Tough Enough winner Dan Puder debuts for New Japan Pro Wrestling in June.

TOP STORy Hart & Soul: The Hart Family Anthology released on April 6 includes several matches that have never been released before including some Stampede Wrestling footage from the 1970s and 1980s where Bret started in his father's promotion. Matches include Bret vs. Davey Boy Smith for the IC title at the 1992 SummerSlam in London, England which is arguably one of the greatest matches in history; The Hart family vs. Shawn Michaels & His Knights (under a mask--Barry Horowitz, Greg Valentine & Jeff Gaylord--who is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for a bank robbery last year in Colorado) from the 1993 Survivor Series; and The Hart Foundation (Bret, Owen, Davey, Jim Neidhart & the late Brian Pillman) vs. Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust & LOD at the 1997 Canadian Stampede which was one of the most heated matches of the 1990s. Women Superstars Uncensored, the New Jersey-based women's group, say they have signed a deal with The Fight Network to launch a television show called Uncensored in April. Each episode will be 10-15 minutes and is designed to complement the WSU DVD series. More info at David Hasselhoff was announced as guest host for Raw in London, England, on April 12. He is filming a new reality show in the UK. Vince McMahon has purchased a 47-foot sports yacht in Boca Raton which he has named "The Sexy Bitch." You can't make this stuff up and you can imagine how this is going down with Linda's opponents in the Connecticut Senate race.

To receive all the latest professional wrestling news and gossip direct to your mailbox send an email to worldwide wrestling magazine 5 wrestlemania

Who’s On First A By Phil Austin -

s we approach another Wrestlemania, it’s that time when every wrestling fan gets excited.... where every wrestling fan becomes a kid again...where every wrestling fan thinks back to all of the exciting ‘moments’ that Wrestlemania has brought about over the years.

Wrestling historians and journalists will be picking up their notebooks and laptops once again to write about the great histories and traditions of the event, the largest crowds drawn, the biggest audiences that watched worldwide, the dramatic main events, and the matches and moments that are remembered years later. But there are some very important people that are almost always forgotten each year. And these are the people I want to make mention of in this article.

To coin a phrase made famous by Abbot & Costello, I want to look at who’s on first.

You see, year after year, fans may leave a Wrestlemania show talking about the excitement of a Rock / Hogan, a Money in the Bank, Steamboat / Savage, Hogan slamming Andre, or Michaels & the Undertaker, but it is always important to make a first impression, and the people put on to open the show have to be

very carefully chosen. After all, Wrestlemania is viewed by more people each year t h a n  a n y  o t h e r wrestling event, so the opening match may be their first taste of wrestling in some time.

So let’s take time to recognise the unsung heroes of Wrestlemania. The guys who had the unenviable task of stepping through the biggest curtain in wrestling’s calendar first of all.

Wrestlemania 1

Wrestlemania 2

Tito santana v The Executioner

Paul orndorff v don Muraco

Essentially a squash match, Santana was a returning hero on this night, having been out since the previous September with an injury. This match was a way for the WWF to showcase one of their most exciting stars, and signal his return. A return that would mean future Intercontinental and Tag Team championships. By putting this match on first, the WWF was opening with athleticism as well as a recognisable fan that older fans could latch onto (Santana had been with the WWF since 1979).

Playing off the initial Wrestlemania’s main event, Orndorff was still being established as a top face competitor (something that would never really come to fruition in the WWF). This opener played off his allegiance with Hulk Hogan. Hogan had recently been attacked by King Kong Bundy during a match against Don Muraco, setting up Wrestlemania 2’s main event. By putting this on as the opener, it again put two established and skilled workers in the first match. It also gave a foreshadowing of the main event, reminding fans of the events that lead up to that contest, and giving them some taster of vengeance for the evil diabolical cohorts of Bundy and Heenan.

And lest we forget Santana’s opponent, the man under the mask was Buddy Rose, a respected veteran who could be counted on to give Santana a solid match.

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Wrestlemania 3 The can am connection v don Muraco & Bob orton Don Muraco became the first man to open two Wrestlemania’s with this match, and it was again a foretaste of vengeance for later on in the card, as it was Orton and Muraco who had helped Adrian Adonis attack Roddy Piper setting up that match for Wrestlemania III. The Can Am Connection were a pretty hot young team at the time. Tom Zenk and Rick Martel were a good pick for future champions and, although that tandem wouldn’t win tag gold (Tom Zenk left the WWF that Summer), Martel would go on to win the titles alongside Tito Santana as Strike Force. Again, this match has respected veterans, working with gifted highfliers to put on a great opening bout

Wrestlemania 4 Battle royal The first battle royal to open a Wrestlemania, this had two real aims. Firstly, as the main bulk of the card was taken up with the tournament for the world title, this had the effect of giving the remainder of the roster an opportunity to be on the show. It was also, as Bret Hart states in his book, the first of many a promised push for the Hitman as he ended the match by turning face, beating up the battle royal’s winner Bad News Brown with the trophy. (Although this particular singles push wouldn’t transpire, it was a nice taster of things to come).

Wrestlemania 5 hercules v king haku At this time, the WWF had a lot of feuds going on. Up and down the card, feuds were occurring, from the main event ‘Megapowers’ feud, to the midcard feuds such as Jake Roberts and Andre the Giant, or Demolition and the Powers of Pain. So it was only appropriate that a feud opened the show. Hercules Hernandez had been a longtime heel under the tutelage of Bobby Heenan for some time, until the previous year, when Heenan sold him to the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase. Hercules went on to have a feud with Dibiase, and Wrestlemania was the time to turn his quest for revenge on Heenan and his charge. Meanwhile, Haku had gained the ‘King’ moniker from Harley Race, after Race sustained an injury. The newly revitalised solo career of Haku was on the rise, and this feud was a chance to give both men a push.

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Wrestlemania 6

Wrestlemania 9

rick Martel v koko B Ware

shawn Michaels v Tatanka

Having split with his partner and turned heel, Rick Martel was now establishing his ‘ M o d e l ’  p e r s o n a (which he would soon establish even further by ‘blinding’ Jake The Snake Roberts). This opening match was a pure showcase for Vince McMahon’s new heel. Putting him against the popular, but seldom winning, Koko B Ware was a way to establish that his nefarious ways could help him beat an established veteran.

By this point, the Heartbreak Kid had won the Intercontinental championship. His defence against the undefeated native American was the first title match ever to open a Wrestlemania. Again, Michaels’ ability to provide a solid show opener provided a great start to the event. But from here on in, Michaels would be the show stopper rather than the show opener.

Wrestlemania 7 The rockers v Barbarian & haku Despite having never (officially!) won the WWF tag titles, the Rockers were a tremendously popular tag team. And an exciting one at that. Once again, Vince McMahon went with the tried-and-tested ‘pit established hardened veterans against young popular highfliers’ formula. And it worked. The result was another exciting opener for Wrestlemania. Michaels would soon become a major singles star in his own right. Jannetty less so.

Wrestlemania 8 shawn Michaels v Tito santana Wrestlemania VII would actually be the start of a nice little run for Shawn Michaels as a Wrestlemania opening act. It says a lot about his ability to excite in the ring that Vince McMahon opened the biggest show of the year with him so often. His opponent here was also a Wrestlemania mainstay. Tito Santana had competed in more Wrestlemania’s than almost anyone else, and though his WWF career was winding down here, he was still respected by fans and the locker room.

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Wrestlemania 10 owen hart v Bret hart Possibly one of the bestremembered opening matches to a Wrestlemania, this was a tremendous contest, and one of the few openers to end up almost stealing the show (if Shawn Michaels hadn’t ended up stealing it with, ironically, Bret Hart’s own match concept). It also established Owen as a top contender to the title that Bret would win later that evening. One of the most important and respected Wrestlemania openers ever, this match still holds a place in many wrestling fans’ hearts to this day. wrestlemania

Wrestlemania 11

Wrestlemania 12

Lex Luger & davey Boy smith v Jacob & Eli Blu

vader, owen hart and davey Boy smith v Jake roberts, Yokozuna & ahmed Johnson

The Allied Powers was a last ditch effort to salvage Lex Luger’s WWF career. And there was no better way to get them over than have them beat a giant pair of mountain men that had debuted in the WWF that year in the Harris Brothers, then known as Jacob & Eli Blu. This match was also the only Wrestlemania appearance for a gentleman by the name of Dutch Mantell, who managed the Brothers Blu under the moniker Uncle Zebekiah. (As you can see from this match, the WWF wasn’t at its best period here!)

The first and only six man opener in Mania’s history, the match again took place in the WWF’s ‘bleak’ period, although this match did feature some of its more talented stars, especially on Team Cornette.

Wrestlemania 13 The headbangers v The new Blackjacks v The Godwinns v doug Furnas & Phil Lafon Believe it or not, the WWF’s tag division was once thriving with legitimate tag teams, as evidenced by this and next year’s opening bouts. This match was designed to showcase some of the newer teams on the scene (although given that one of them featured Barry Windham, who had last appeared at Wrestlemania 2, ‘new’ may be an odd choice of words). Sadly the most talented of these four teams didn’t last long, as Furnas and Lafon would very soon be gone from the WWF.

Cornette had led Yokozuna and his team to some success in the WWF, but a falling out with Yokozuna and Mr Fuji lead the angry Samoan Sumo to find some likeminded soles to band together against the villain and his cohorts. Those likeminded souls ended up being partChristian part-drunk addict Jake Roberts and the unintelligible injury prone Ahmed Johnson. It turns out the only way in which they were ‘likeminded’ was in their hatred of Team Cornette.

Wrestlemania 14 Tag team battle royal And another demonstration of the huge tag team division in the WWF at the time. This match allowed the WWF to put on a match that would showcase the depth of its tag division (although given that some teams included ‘Bradshaw & Chainz’ and ‘Steve Blackman and Flash Funk’ this may have been pushing it a bit). Interestingly, this is the only time in Wrestlemania history that you would ever have the Rock & Roll Express, Midnight Express and Legion of Doom all in the ring at the same time (even if this version of the Midnight Express consisted of ‘Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart’!). The match also gave a nice surprise element to the proceedings as the mystery tag team in the battle royal turned out to be the returning Legion of Doom (now called LOD2000, and managed by Sunny).

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Wrestlemania 15 hardcore holly v Billy Gunn v al snow The Hardcore division was being established at this time, and it was felt that having a Hardcore title match would make for an interesting start to Wrestlemania (and thankfully this was before the ‘everyone come out and join in 24/7 rule’ kicked in). Sadly, with such ‘hardcore’ competitors as Bob Holly, Billy Gunn and Al Snow participating, this one was never really going to live up to its hardcore billing!

Wrestlemania 18 Wrestlemania 2000 The Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan v d’Lo Brown & The Godfather This would be consider somewhat of an odd choice to open a Wrestlemania, except for one fact. Godfather’s theme at the time was being ‘sung’ by rapper Ice T who made a guest appearance at ringside with ‘the hos’ and cheered on the babyface team. This would mark the first and only time that an opening match at Wrestlemania featured a celebrity guest appearance.

Wrestlemania 17 chris Jericho v William regal The second Intercontinental title match to open a Wrestlemania, this match went back to the old adage of ‘start the show with something that is going to be good’. It’s a simple formula. If I wasn’t an avid wrestling fan, and pretty much only bought Wrestlemania once a year (as some people do) then my knowledge of ‘wrestling is just the Rock, Stonecold, Undertaker and Hogan’ would be completely blown away by suddenly seeing the likes of Jericho and Regal in the ring. First impressions last, and this was a good one!

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William regal v rob van dam Now it was Regal’s turn to defend the Intercontinental title at Mania, and the formula of ‘put on something exciting to start with’ occurred again, as Rob Van Dam challenged, and defeated him, for the belt. Van Dam had become a tremendous asset to the company during the Invasion angle and, despite some detractors backstage who wanted his career (ahem) ‘dead and buried’, he was a bonafide star for the company now.

Wrestlemania 19 Matt hardy v rey Mysterio The cruiserweights had established themselves as one of the most exciting parts of WWE programming, so it was determined that the Cruiserweight title match between Matt Hardy and Rey Mysterio was the ideal opener for Wrestlemania. Again, seeing the likes of Rey Mysterio would totally change the ‘casual’ fans perception of what WWE was all about. wrestlemania

Wrestlemania 20

Wrestlemania 21

John cena v the Big show

rey Mysterio v Eddie Guerrero

If someone said to you now that John Cena and the Big Show were an opening match at Wrestlemania, and for the US title no less, the uninitiated would probably think they were crazy. But this actually happened. And when Cena picked up the Big Show (which was clearly the point), it certainly established Cena as the future main event he would become. Meanwhile, Big Show is now teaming with the Miz...someone got the better deal out of that match!

This was one of the most anticipated, and perhaps therefore one of the more disappointing, opening matches in Wrestlemania’s history. Guerrero and Mysterio had put on one of the best matches of all-time in WCW at their Halloween Havoc event and, with that match having been featured on Mysterio’s DVD, the hype was on that this match would top it. It didn’t. Partially due to a problem with Mysterio’s mask, and partially due to the bar having been set just too high already, the match was very good, but not at the level of their WCW encounter. Still a great way to open the show though, and a nice reminder of the terrific performer that was Eddie Guerero.

Wrestlemania 22 kane and the Big show v carlito and chris Masters The fact that this match was just a few years ago, but is remembered by almost nobody (when I looked it up I met the result with a resounding ‘huh?!’) shows just how bad this must have been. Clearly this is one best forgotten....we’ll move on...

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Wrestlemania 23

Wrestlemania 24

The Money in the Bank ladder match

Finlay v JBL

Great news! After last year’s horrific opener, we got the Money in the Bank ladder match to open this year’s event. And with Edge, Randy Orton, both Hardys, CM Punk and Booker T in the match, it was guaranteed to be exciting. Exciting it was. The usual cavalcade of crazy insane spots and innovation, the match was a great opener and was won by the deserving competitor.....Mr Kennedy! WHAT??? Seriously?? Yep, that year Mr Kennedy actually won the Money in the Bank match and, has been said numerous times, the Money in the Bank has always gone on to win the championship gold...erm, except this time he didn’t. Ah well.

We are almost there. And for the 2008 Wrestlemania, Vince McMahon decided to open with a good old fashioned streetfight (Belfast Brawl as it was called here). Weapons, violence and a midget. Nothing says WWE like that. And so the biggest show of the year started with a wild brawl that certainly kicked things off in a different manner to most years! And for Virgin Media customers, it also kicked off a whole night of frustration as this was the point we lost the PPV signal never to get it back again!

Wrestlemania 25. The Money in the Bank Once again last year’s Wrestlemania started with the always exciting Money in the Bank ladder match (this year won by CM Punk who WOULD go on to win the gold). And once again it became an exciting start to the 25th Anniversary show. So who will kick off this year’s event. Will Vince McMahon go with an exciting ‘match to remember’ like the Money in the Bank or CM Punk v Rey Mysterio? Will we get a match to establish a newcomer, such as The Miz v Bryan Danielson? Or will it be another Carlito & Chris Masters v Kane & Big Show disaster? One thing is for sure. At Wrestlemania this year, no matter who has the match of the night, no matter who closes the show, whoever opens the show could end up being just as important. After all, first impressions last....

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Š david seto



here are a lot of British wrestling companies that book overseas talent; it gives the promotion a much needed recognisable face to help advertise their show and attract as many fans as possible to the event.

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Former WWE wrestler Hardcore Holly is one of Varsity Pro Wrestling’s biggest stars but whereas most talent coming onto these shores just wrestle for the company, he has a massive hand in the development of young talent at VPW’s School of Excellence. “I was asked if I would hold a training seminar, I did and enjoyed it. The students really applied themselves, if they didn’t I wouldn’t waste my time doing it. They really took an interest in wanting to learn and getting better.” Holly has a very direct approach with training, believing that getting into the ring to show the young rookies how it is done is the best method of helping them learn. “You can tell somebody all day long but until they actually do it they won’t know how it’s done or how it’s supposed to be done. You can’t talk somebody through it, or give them a mental image of how it is meant to be done, they have to physically do it.

E I DON’T CARE IF I MAkE A DIM T juS I . y... PAN COM AT FROM TH WANT [THEM] TO SuCCEED “I don’t just stand outside the ring and instruct them, I get in there because I have a passion for what I do. “If they don’t see that passion in me and feel like I’m not bothered with training them, they won’t want to be there. I am still learning, even though those guys may be green they may do something I might learn. You just never know.” The former WWE Tag Team Champion has been asked to wrestle and to take training seminars all over the world but he shows loyalty to VPW. “It is a first class promotion.” Exclaims Holly, “They gear everything they do towards the fans, take pride in the talent that they have and don’t just put anybody out there to wrestle. “Everybody is critiqued night after night; The UK Kid won’t let anybody from the school into the ring, in front of people, until he feels they are ready and to me that is very important.

“VPW is a company that gives people opportunities to become wrestlers and they want to see people succeed, if wrestlers come out of VPW and get booked elsewhere then that makes the school look good, the company look good and the UK Kid look good for training them.” Over the years Holly has seen a lot of wrestling promoters push talent who haven’t deserved their position, giving wrestling fans the best show with the best talent possible is something he is passionate about. “Other promoters I have worked for just don’t care about what talent they show, they are only worried about what they are bringing in at the door. They don’t try and critique the talent working for them or give them tips. They go out there and just do whatever and that’s not how it is in VPW. “The UK Kid is a very good trainer and booker, he is one of the few guys I know who actually can go out there and knows how to wrestle, he worldwide wrestling magazine 15 profile

knows how to go out there and put on a match and tell a story. Nowadays people like that are few and far between, The UK Kid has what it takes to make it and yeah his size hurts him but other than that he has what it takes. “If I was a wrestler just coming in I would want him to train me. I’m not saying that because I work for VPW, I call it like I see it. He is that damn good.” The former Hardcore Champion whose tenure with the WWE ended in 2008 was a part of the companies ‘attitude’ era of the late 1990’s which targeted the young male adult demographic with nudity and swearing to make the WWE more popular than ever before. Holly now believes that wrestling should be more family orientated and this is what VPW is catering for perfectly. “It’s a family friendly show. It’s catered to every one of all ages and it’s important to do that so everyone can come and enjoy it. There is always a good entertaining story going on which will

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give people a reason to come back and watch another show.” “My goal with VPW is that I am there to help the company.” States Holly, “I want to see the company become successful, The UK Kid works his ass off for that company and there is constant work that goes into a show. In those two or three months that the company isn’t running a show, he is constantly working on trying to promote and advertise the next show the best he can. “I don’t care if I make a dime from that company or not I just want that company to succeed.” n darren can be contacted at independent

What the World is Missing By Rob Sivell


utside the glamour of the WWE and now even Tna, america is bursting at the seams with independent wrestling promotions; featuring guys and gals you’ve probably never heard of. Why should I be bothered I hear you cry? You feel WWE and TNA offers all there is? Well you naysayers may need to broaden your horizons; as the Indy scene has all a wrestling fan could want under the banners of promotions that are filled to the brim with talent.

Lucha Libre (without having to listen to Spanish commentary) or still hold a flame for a good old fashioned bloodbath. Then the Indy scene fronted by Ring Of Honor, Chikara, EVOLVE, Dragon Gate USA, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Combat Zone Wrestling will likely have the type of action you’re looking for. If however, your wrestling knowledge currently extends to just the stale products presented by WWE and TNA, then be prepared to be amazed at some of the spectacles these indy companies can offer.

There are a host of current stars that are currently some of the biggest names in the WWE and TNA. CM Punk, Evan Bourne (Matt Sydal), Samoa Joe and WWE NXT prospect Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson) to name a few have all produced some amazing matches before they reached the big leagues.


So if you want hard hitting fast- paced action, big name Japanese imports, comedy wrestling,

Now that I’ve preached about what Indy Wrestling can offer, who are some of the Stars you can watch.

Necro Butcher

davey richards - possibly the hottest thing in the Indy’s, he brings buckets full of intensity to the ring with a hard hitting MMA based style he rightly draws comparisons with the legendary Dynamite Kid. Mike Quackenbush - a guy who might not have the traditional ‘look’, but who can do it all. He started wrestling on the Indy circuit in 1994, just watch in awe as he ties his opponents in knots. Jack Evans - he can fly better than nearly anyone else on the planet. A drastically improved wrestler, who now hones his craft in Mexico. necro Butcher - as crazy as they come.

Mike Quackenbush independent

The barefoot, toothless Wildman, seemingly has a pain threshold second to none. Whether it’s barbed wire, thumbtacks or light tubes, he delivers some of the craziest brawls you may ever see. Now what about the future of the business? Well the Indy scene looks to have a few diamonds in the rough, who are the Ones to Watch. I’ll try to pick out someone whose star looks set to shine in the future each month. In the spotlight this month is: Johhny Gargano “The Bee’s Knees, The Cat’s Pyjama’s and The Whole shebang” looks as though he could be set to be a major star within the next few years, he has been featured on every DGUSA show to date, which could prove to be very important for him to gain some additional notoriety amongst fans. Gargano has a good look; he’s charismatic and has a good move-set to match. I think 2010 could be his breakout year, look out for him on his very funny webcam show, ‘The Johnny Gargano Power Hour’. Events to get you started..... IWa Ms - Ted Petty Invitational 2004 (nights one & Two); could be regarded as one of the best independent shows ever, it features a stacked line-up of indy stars and some truly great matches. roh - Joe vs kobashi, supercard of honor; Two events definitely worth getting. Joe vs Kobashi features a solid card topped off with an epic main event of Samoa Joe against Japanese legend Kenta Kobashi. Supercard of Honor II is a stacked show coinciding with WrestleMania weekend and the match quality here overshadows any WWE spectacle, featuring a 5 Star Dragon Gate six man tag match. cZW - Best of the Best 2; An older show dating back to 2002, that showcases high flying talent with some crazy spots, featuring UK standouts Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch.

dGUsa - open the historic Gate (aka Enter the dragon); The Dragon Gate’s first venture to American Soil, features fantastic action from start to finish, a truly stacked card featuring CIMA, Shingo, Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino and Dragon Kid. PWG - kurt russellMania; the most current show on this list. The DVD is soon to be released and not only is it an awesome name for a show, but it is filled with great talent. Such as RVD, Great Muta, Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger, Super Crazy, Paul London, Brian Kendrick and Davey Richards. It looks set to be a show not to be missed. So go on, hunt down these wrestling gems and enjoy what the alternative has to offer. n rob can be contacted at

Davey Richards © Tony knox profile


People praised Robert De Niro for his dedication when he gained 150 pounds to become Jake La Motta in Raging Bull. How come the same compliment isn’t paid to pro wrestlers who bleed in the name of realism? - Bret Hart


rofessional wrestling is a sport that is often misunderstood by large amounts of people. ridicule is something that the business has had to endure for years even though the majority that poke fun know next to nothing about it. 23 year old Arthur Cauty is attempting to change those perceptions with his documentary Hard Knocks, a 40 minute film that aims to show the passion and desire of the men and women who put their body on the line every time they enter the squared circle. “I want to capture the artistry and admirableness that has captivated so many fans,” Cauty states. “I’m not saying I want people to watch my film and instantly become fans of wrestling, I would just like

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“I guess the reason why wrestling is badly misunderstood is because on the one hand people are being told ‘it’s a sport’ then on the other that it’s ‘entertainment’ and ‘predetermined’. People just don’t know how to approach it - is it real or fake? “It’s both,” Exclaims Cauty. “Wrestling is a sport, but it’s non-competitive, it’s a performance. Similarly when you watch a film, watching wrestling is all about suspending your disbelief. Nobody ever complains that films are fake.”

them to come away with a better understanding of what wrestling is and to respect it. “I think I have managed to achieve that, People have spoken to me after watching saying it has completely changed the way they see the business, which is the reaction I was looking for.” Hard Knocks comes hot on the heels of applauded 2008 feature film The Wrestler, which was the first mainstream movie to approach the sport in a non farcical way. “Countless films over the years have been made about boxers and other athletes, The Wrestler was the first drama to approach the sport seriously; there are people I know personally who have come away from that film with a deeper respect for the sport. “But as you will see in Hard Knocks, there are still people who are willing to shoot it down.” Professional wrestling has and will forever bridge the gap between reality and fiction, with fans of the industry never quite knowing where the line is drawn.

THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF INTEREST IN ME DOING ANOTHER WRESTLING MOvIE Last year saw Hard Knocks screened across the UK, Europe and the USA, the film was also nominated for best documentary in 2009 at the Norwich film festival. Cauty has high hopes that his film can enjoy even more success in the coming months. “The film has been received really well; the DVD release is just around the corner. There has been a lot of interest in me doing another wrestling movie, which is a possibility somewhere down the line. “With filmmaking what matters is the story and how you tell it, it’s all about how you translate your vision to the screen. What I plan to do with all my films is just tell good stories.” For more information on the documentary check out Photos © De Cauze Films worldwide wrestling magazine 21 wolfe pit

Dusty Wolfe

the Wolfe Pit



returned home late last week to find a few email messages from the home office. It seemed as if I had missed the latest issue. When I was reassured by “M” that readers would not miss my words of wisdom, I felt so much better. I returned from a rasslin tour of Korea. That’s Texan for “a weeks worth of professional wrestling shows in the country of South Korea.” Just wanted to clear up what I meant by returned. Even tours today aren’t like the tours we did years ago. Then, promoters wanted two to three weeks,

minimum, out of the talent. Now, a week is usually the limit. Some actually fly the talent out for a weekend only. A week is perfect. Enough time to make a little money without getting homesick. Anyone at home that cares gets a break from having me under them, and I get home before the “miss you” becomes “**** you”. This trip started out just fine. My tickets, with needed info, was in my hands in plenty of time. Bags were packed. Dogs were provided for. Ethan had plenty of frozen dinners and popcorn. Everyone that needed my info, had my info. I drove to the San Antonio International Airport, parked in my usual spot that is safe from towing

Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated

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for the first 7-10 days, with plenty of time to spare. Both flights were on schedule. The flight into San Francisco was almost pleasant. And the flight from San Francisco to Seoul would have been fine, if I hadn’t been squeezed up next to some 400 pound Korean that spoke no English. The guy reminded me of Kubla Khan, the Marauder, from the old movies. We landed in Seoul and made our way to the hotel. This was a very nice, very beautiful hotel in downtown Seoul. This hotel was also proud of its telephone and internet service. Something inside of me prevented me from paying $5US to use my phone card, OR pay $25US to use their internet on MY computer. I decided I would find my family the next day. My son Brett was raised to know that no news is good news when travelling, so I wasn’t worried. Brett is my contact person and level headed. The next morning, we made our way onto the US Army base for our paperwork. All of our events were on US military installations, and we had to prove we were the rasslers listed on the rasslin list, if we ventured too far from the building. Double 00 spy type stuff, is what I figured. Someone has gone and taken all the payphones out of the country of South Korea, so I was down to using the internet. Having been on this base a few years ago, I knew where to go for a computer. When I started checking my emails, I couldn’t make sense out of anything. Then I realised. I

had died in San Francisco. Problem with this. I didn’t know. The rumor of my death by heart attack had hit the internet. My family was frantic. This was news, and it wasn’t good. I found Brett, and settled everything down. I took nearly three hours calming people down, but I got the word out. And then, I could rejoin the living. We had a great crew. Billy Gunn, Scotty Too Hotty, Kevin Thorne, Raven, Eugene, Bob Holly, John Saxon, and a few others. We spent the next four days being driven to our shows in a tour bus. Good crowds in modern buildings that actually have running water. All in all, a tremendous deal. Six matches a night with no egos. Just a group of guys having some fun and making a few dollars. This is one of the few times out of my 30+ overseas tours I can’t recall someone having some sort of major issue. We wrapped up the trip, and made our way home. Paid, no injury, flights departing and arriving on schedule. There just isn’t much more to ask for. I took something away from this tour much deeper than any memory. I listened to the thoughts and comments of the guys that recently left TNA and WWE. So much of what I have heard through the grapevine and confirmed for myself was proven true. And some of that info, I may share at later dates. Right now, I’m home, making sure nothing was left behind in the funeral procession. n


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ounger fans of the WWE may know Ted dibiase, sr. as the father of Legacy member Ted dibiase. older fans may remember his days as the dastardly “Million dollar Man� who once tried to purchase the WWE (then WWF) championship. But Ted Dibiase has a long legacy of his own, that began when he stepped into an Oklahoma ring in June 1975 to defeat Killer Karl Kox. 24 worldwide wrestling magazine profile

Born in omaha, nebraska on January 18th, 1954, Dibiase was the adoptive son of “Iron Mike” Dibiase. The elder Dibiase was a former champion in the Pacific Northwest, Chicago, AWA Midwest, Central States and Florida before his tragic death in the ring in July 1969. After her husband’s death, Helen Hild (Ted’s mother and a wrestler in her own right) fell into a deep depression and turned to alcoholism, forcing the young Ted to live with his grandparents in Willcox, Arizona. After attending high school in Willcox, Dibiase received a football scholarship to West Texas State University. He would never graduate from West Texas, however, turning his attention to pro wrestling instead. Trained by Dory and Terry Funk, Jr, Dibiase’s early career would take him to Japan and back to North America to the Central States and Mid-South Territories. Dibiase would win the Central States Championship from Sgt. Slaughter and the

Missouri Championship from Dick Murdoch before teaming with Murdoch to win the NWA U.S. Tag Team titles.

Express for the Mid-South Tag Team titles, going on to become one of the top teams in Mid-South/UWF history.

In December 1976, Dibiase’s first of five North American Championships began with his defeat of the Spoiler. His success earned him an NWA World Title match against Harley Race, but a neck injury robbed him of the opportunity.

In 1987, Dibiase left the UWF and joined the WWE. His character was said to be the type of wrestler Vince McMahon would have been were he to have stepped into the ring at that time. When Dibiase made his debut he was accompanied by his bodyguard Virgil (Mike Jones, who had been known as “Soul Train” Jones in Memphis’s Championship Wrestling Association).

Dibiase’s first stint in the WWE would come years before he became “the Million Dollar Man”. In 1979, Dibiase arrived as the North American Champion, a title he lost to Pat Patterson on June 19, 1979. (The title was a forerunner to today’s Intercontinental Championship). Remaining in the WWE, Dibiase was Hulk Hogan’s opponent for what would be the first of many Madison Square Garden appearances for Hogan.

Dibiase’s character lived by the credo “Everybody has a price” and used his wealth to get what he wanted. However, by the end of 1987 he found that it couldn’t buy Hulk Hogan’s championship. So, he tried to do the next best thing, buy the services of Andre the

For most of the early 80s, Dibiase would wrestle in MidSouth Wrestling (later the Universal Wrestling Federation), with trips to Georgia to feud with “Wildfire” Tommy Rich, and Japan where he teamed with Stan Hansen. In Mid-South, however, Dibiase would continue to maintain the North American title, defeating Mike George, Paul Orndorff, the Junk Yard Dog and Brad Armstrong, before losing it to Terry Taylor in March 1985. Two months later Dibiase teamed with Steve “Dr. Death” Williams to defeat the Rock ‘n’ Roll worldwide wrestling magazine 25

Check out 45 Minutes with The Million dollar Man on Evan Ginzburg’s Legends Radio show at profile

Direct link: Giant, who defeated Hogan on February 5th, 1988 (with the help of a corrupt referee) and handed the title over to Dibiase. Dibiase’s “reign” as champion was short-lived and the title was held up, pending a Wrestlemania VIII tournament. Speculation has it that Dibiase was to win that tournament, but backstage drama forced a re-booking of the event. Dibiase would, however, spend the summer feuding with eventual winner, Randy Savage. Dibiase would feud with Hercules, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, the Big Boss Man, Dusty Rhodes, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and even Virgil. Although never winning the WWE Championship, Dibiase became an unofficial champion in his own right with the unveiling of the diamond-encrusted “Million Dollar Championship” belt. As the 80s ended and the 90s began, Dibiase switched from singles wrestling to tag team competition, forming “Money Incorporated” with Irwin R. Schyster. Schyster was the former Mike Rotundo, who had won tag team gold with former partner Barry Windham. As Money Inc, Schyster would win the WWE Tag Team Championship three times, feuding with the Natural Disasters, the Nasty Boys, the Legion of Doom, the Steiner Brothers and make-shift teams such as the Ultimate Maniacs (the Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage) and Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake.

manage the former “Stunning” Steve Austin, dubbed The Ringmaster and given Dibiase’s Million Dollar Championship. In 1996, Dibiase left WWE for WCW, becoming the fourth member of the NWO before leaving the group to manage the Steiner Brothers. After leaving pro wrestling, he became a Christian minister and motivational speaker. In 1999, he founded the Heart of David Ministry.

After leaving the WWE in 1993, Dibiase wrestled in Japan for a short time before quietly announcing his retirement. But while his in-ring career was at an end, he remained active in pro wrestling. Returning to the WWE, he began forming the Million Dollar Corporation, which included I.R.S., Bam Bam Bigelow, Nikolai Volkoff, Kama (Charles Wright, later the Godfather), King Kong Bundy, the 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman, later Syxx and X-Pac) and Tatanka. At one time, Dibiase claimed he had recruited the Undertaker, only for it to be revealed an imposter, played by Brian Lee. Dibiase would also lead Bam Bam Bigelow into battle against NFL star Lawrence Taylor at Wrestlemania XI.

Since 2005, Dibiase has made sporadic appearances in the WWE. Initially he was a creative consultant and road agent for SmackDown but would make appearances at Wrestlemania 22, the Raw Family Reunion in October 2006, and the Raw 15th Anniversary Special in December 2007 (paying off former partner IRS to win a battle royal). After introducing his son, Ted Dibiase Jr., on Raw in May 2008, Dibiase returned a year later to guest-host the show.

While the Million Dollar Corporation would eventually dissolve, Dibiase would continue to

n John can be contacted at

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At Wrestlemania 26, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. update

More photos & videos at Photo by casey Lessard


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Decade in review (Part 2) | By MARK ALLEN - |


elcome back as I continue my exhaustive look at World Wrestling Entertainment over the first ten years of the new millennium. When we had last left off in 2004, new stars were created out of Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit. But in 2005 WWE struck gold with their own homegrown stars.

opener between Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero and the closest Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak came to ending when he took on Randy Orton. The show also featured an appearance from Hulk Hogan, a Rowdy Roddy PiperStone Cold Steve Austin confrontation and a fun Hollywood theme that was highlighted by movie trailer parodies.

The year started out with the ascension of Batista and John Cena to the main event stratosphere in WWE. The two men were the final two in the Royal Rumble match and it was a dead heat on who would be the winner. Batista won the match to earn the WrestleMania World Title match, but Cena, after winning an eight-man tournament on SmackDown, earned his way to the WrestleMania main event as well. And in back-to-back matches, Cena and Batista walked out of WrestleMania 21 as the WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion respectively. From that point on it would truly be the year of Cena and Batista, as neither man lost their Championships in the calendar year.

While at the time of their wins Cena was on SmackDown and Batista was on RAW, a month long draft lottery between the two brands saw them swap places. When the draft had finished at the end of June, Cena and his WWE Championship were now on RAW while Batista and the World Title were home on SmackDown.

Cena and Batista’s victories capped off what ended up being a phenomenal WrestleMania. In addition to the crowning of new superstars, the show hosted the first ever Money in the Bank ladder match, a incredible Shawn Michaels-Kurt Angle one-on-one match, a fun

Meanwhile another young star, Edge, found success in an unlikely way. After winning the inaugural Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 21, Edge

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looked to be on the track to superstardom. However a reallife affair with Lita, the girlfriend of his good friend Matt Hardy, broke on the Internet thanks to Hardy and Edge’s wife. The Internet was abuzz in regards to the story, and Hardy (who was injured at the time) lost his job over the deal. WWE tried to ignore the scandal on screen at first but crowds who were hip to the room hurled derogatory slurs at Lita and Edge. Striking while the iron was hot, they were quickly paired as an item on screen and Hardy was re-hired. The story was played out on-screen as real-life bad blood transferred onto an on-air story. Over the course of the summer and fall, Hardy and Edge battled in a standard match, a Street Fight, a Cage Match and a Ladder Match before the rivalry was resolved. Edge parlayed that villainous heat into main event superstardom while Matt fell back into the midcard position he had previously. Hulk Hogan also made a return to WWE in 2005. After being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at WrestleMania 21 he became a semi-regular character once again. The mini reunion tour culminated in a battle of icons with Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam. Hogan won the match with his usual formula and routine, but a surly Shawn Michaels did his best to drag a really fun and entertaining match out of the loss regardless. With all this chaos going on in WWE at the time another revival was starting up across both SmackDown and RAW. Based on the massive success of the Rise & Fall of ECW DVD documentary that was released in 2004, talk turned to a reunion PPV for Extreme Championship Wrestling. Much of the former company’s top stars were already working in WWE so the idea seemed easy to pull off.

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Thanks to Vince McMahon actually listening to former ECW mainstay Rob Van Dam’s ideas, it was decided that on June 12 the ECW One Night Stand revival pay per view would be held from ECW’s old stomping grounds at the Manhattan Center in New York City. The show featured a mix of WWE contracted ECW alumni combined with former ECW stars from around the independent circuit, converged into a series of nostalgic reunion matches. The show was a rousing success in every sense of the word thanks to WWE personnel staying pretty much out of the way, and let the ECW faithful run the show from top-to-bottom. Many ECW alumni got WWE contracts out of the deal and talk even turned to reviving ECW as a third brand under the WWE umbrella, but more on that later. After WWE’s five-year partnership with Spike TV had wrapped up, the company moved back to their long-time home on the USA Network, where they re-embraced with open arms. To commemorate the return, WWE hosted a three-hour Homecoming special in October, featuring talent from both brands, pay per view quality matches and appearances from numerous wrestling legends. These three-hour specials would become a staple for RAW in the years to come. Despite the great high WWE was riding all year, it all came crashing down on November 13 when Eddie Guerrero was found dead in a hotel room in Bloomington, Minnesota on November 13. The wrestling world was in shock and went into an immediate state of mourning. That night Guerrero and the entire roster were to participate in a double television taping in downtown Minneapolis. The show still went on that night, but all the matches were done without storyline and all in tribute to Eddie.

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While a lot of premature wrestling deaths had already unfortunately happened in the decade, Eddie’s death was the one that rocked the hardest. At the time of his death he was one of SmackDown’s top stars and in line to regain the World Championship at some point soon. He had just finished a lengthy feud with Rey Mysterio that produced a lot of quality television and pay per view matches throughout the spring, summer and fall of 2005 and had now moved onto a friendly rivalry with Batista. His death continued to play a role in WWE well into 2006, but at that moment the wrestling world stopped and wept.

2006 World Wrestling Entertainment was still reeling from the death of Eddie Guerrero from late 2005, but rather than let Eddie rest in peace, he became the focal point of the promotion. His nephew Chavo Guerrero essentially became an Eddie Guerrero tribute wrestler while Rey Mysterio dedicated his every match to the memory of Eddie. Mysterio started off the year by winning the Royal Rumble match and did so from the number two position, lasting the longest of anyone in history. He went on to win the World Heavyweight Championship in a phenomenal triple threat match against Kurt Angle and Randy Orton at WrestleMania 22. He became the lightest and shortest World Champion in history. Although his entire run (which lasted until July) was considered pretty much an entire failure, it was still historic in a number of ways. Meanwhile over on the RAW brand, Edge became a superstar in every way. While

Mysterio was the focal point of SmackDown, Edge became the new star of RAW. After winning in the inaugural Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 21, he cashed in at New Year’s Revolution in January, pinning WWE Champion John Cena after he survived an exhausting Elimination Chamber match. Edge only held the belt for a month before losing it back to Cena, but he became a true superstar with that victory. Edge would battle Cena off/on throughout the entire year of 2006 before finally losing to John Cena in a great TLC match at Unforgiven in September. Amidst all the other chaos a feud between Shawn Michaels and Mr. McMahon led to a reunion of one of the most influential teams in WWE history, as Michaels and Triple H reformed DeGeneration X. With both Michaels and Triple H having individual problems with the McMahon family during the spring of 2006 it hinted at the reunion. The two men reunited officially in June, complete with the old music and new merchandise, and they ran roughshod over WWE through the rest of the year, defeating Vince & Shane McMahon, The Spirit Squad, The Big Show and a host of other henchmen. They finally met equal opponents at the end of the year when they began feuding with Rated-RKO (Randy Orton & Edge) in a rivalry that led into 2007. But the other real story of the year in WWE was the resurrection of Extreme Championship Wrestling as the third brand under the WWE umbrella (besides RAW and SmackDown). Based on the unexpected success of the Rise & Fall of ECW DVD in 2004 and ECW One Night Stand pay per view in 2005 it was determined ECW would come back as its own entity. A one-hour time slot on the Sci Fi Network (sister network of the USA Network, which hosted RAW) was procured in the summer of 2006 and the brand was underway. One Night Stand II happened live on PPV in June and saw

ECW alum Rob Van Dam defeat John Cena for the WWE Championship in front of a rabid ECW-friendly crowd in downtown New York City. Van Dam’s victory led the way for the relaunch of Extreme Championship as the company’s third touring brand. ECW gained a one-hour timeslot on the Sci Fi network on Tuesday evenings. Originally the show featured many ECW stars of the past and highlighted new WWE wrestlers who had yet to debut on television. With Van Dam as WWE and ECW Champion the new brand gained immediate exposure. Unfortunately, in July Van Dam and Sabu were arrested in Ohio for possession of drug paraphernalia. Van Dam immediately dropped both the WWE and ECW Championships in consecutive nights on the RAW and ECW television tapings, and was then suspended thirty days for the incident and the course of the new brand was changed. While new stars were being created on WWE television, the top stars of the company’s women’s division were saying goodbye. Both Trish Stratus and Lita, arguably the two most popular “Divas” of the WWE in the 2000s, left the company within two months of each other. Stratus, who had been the poster-girl for the women’s division since 2001, was allowed to leave the company with her head held high as in her final match she defeated Lita to win the Women’s Championship at Unforgiven, which was conveniently held in Stratus’ hometown of Toronto. Meanwhile her contemporary Lita, who had been drawing the fans’ scorn since becoming the valet of

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Edge in 2005, left in a far worse fashion. After winning a tournament to win back the Women’s Championship that Stratus retired, she lost the belt to Mickie James at Survivor Series. Rather than being able to leave with her head held high like Stratus, she was humiliated and booed out of the building. Such is the life of playing on live TV week in and week out.

2007 On the weekend of June 23-25 it was declared that Chris Benoit had murdered his wife, Nancy Benoit, and then later his seven-year-old son Daniel. He then took his own life via hanging. On June 24 he was scheduled to wrestle CM Punk for the vacant ECW Championship at the Vengeance: Night of Champions pay per view, but he no-showed the event due to “personal reasons.” Twenty-four hours later it was determined Benoit and his whole family were dead. That night’s Monday Night RAW was cancelled in favor of a three-hour Benoit retrospective. By the show’s end it was determined that it was a case of double murder-suicide.

As would be expected, World Wrestling Entertainment took a sound thrashing in the media. They quickly distanced themselves from Benoit, pretty much erasing him from history like he was never there. The company was on the defensive and spun their story as well as everyone else was spinning their own stories about the tragedy. They claimed Benoit was a “monster” that wasn’t in the right frame of mind. He was stressed about his family, and he became a different person. According to WWE, they had nothing to do with Benoit’s state of mind or well being. Under the newly intense scrutiny WWE became harsher with their Wellness Policy and ended up suspending ten men in late summer for various drug violations. Meanwhile the mainstream news and entertainment media created a proverbial storm out of the whole mess. The 24-hour news networks devoted their quiet June days to Benoit. Every aspect of the entire ordeal was dissected and redissected. The first hours and days were devoted to just the shock of the case, combined with the unraveling thoughts and news. Then talk shifted to every other thing they could think of. Chris’ son may or may not have had Fragile-X syndrome. Pro wrestling is a brutal industry that can lead to life-altering physical and mental injuries. There were the consequences of a child being killed by a father. Then the fall out of Chris being a role model and hero to millions of people who watched him on television or saw him live in person. There were revelations of Chris’ personal life with his friends, co-workers and his immediate family. He fought with wife constantly, and apparently never got over the untimely death of his best friend Eddie Guerrero. And of course, there was the talk about drugs and steroids. Every talking head had his/her own analysis on the situation. Everyone quickly formed opinions and it soon became a media circus. Pro wrestlers and former pro wrestlers came

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out of the woodwork in droves trying to reclaim their fifteen minutes of fame. Men who had been out of the public spotlight for years, men like Steve Blackman, Brian Christopher, Marc Mero and Marc Bagwell all of a sudden had opinions of their “friend” Chris and had a worldwide platform to broadcast them. Dr. Phil Astin, Benoit’s personal doctor, was pretty much thrown under the bus and took a beating in the media. He was placed under house arrest, had all his professional records seized and pretty much lost all credibility in the medical field, as well as gaining a nice criminal rap sheet. Everything else in World Wrestling Entertainment that year became a watershed moment surrounding Benoit. In the first half of the year John Cena continued to become the face of the entire company. He was WWE Champion from September 2006 until an injury in October forced him to vacate the belt. He brought stability to the entire company with his wholesome image becoming a perfect front for WWE in promotional and public relations situations. His WWE Championship reign, at 380 days, was the longest since Hulk Hogan’s first reign in 1984. Meanwhile on SmackDown, two unlikely opponents like Batista and The Undertaker ended up having fantastic chemistry. The two powerhouses, angry about not getting the main event slot at WrestleMania 23, tore the house down in their World Championship match. The match was much better than expected and it led to an extended rivalry between the two men, including a cage match on SmackDown in May, a singles match officiated by Stone Cold Steve Austin in November and a Hell in a Cell match later in the month. As for everything else in the company it was greatly affected by the Benoit situation. Just a week before Benoit’s death the company started a “Who Killed Mr. McMahon” storyline, complete with an exploding limo

supposedly featuring Mr. McMahon. Thankfully it was stopped due to the Benoit tragedy. That transitioned into a soap opera-like story about Mr. McMahon having an illegitimate son. That son was rumored to be Mr. Kennedy, but due to an untimely suspension for Kennedy the “son” ended up being Hornswoggle, the diminutive person who portrayed Finlay’s leprechaun sidekick up until this point. Kennedy’s suspension was part of a larger scandal that saw eleven wrestlers suspended for the month of September due to receiving prescriptions from an online Signature Pharmacy. The investigation and suspension came on the heels of feeling the heat of the Benoit tragedy just weeks earlier. Among those listed in the scandal were Kennedy, Sho Funaki, Umaga, Chavo Guerrero, John Morrison, Edge, Santino Marella, William Regal, Gregory Helms, Booker T, Charlie Haas, Randy Orton and Mike Bucci. Bucci, who had wrestled previously as Simon Dean and Nova, had become a front office person in charge of the company’s developmental territories by the time of the scandal. Instead of being suspended like the majority of the on air wrestling talent, he was released altogether from the company.

EvERy ASPECT OF THE ENTIRE ORDEAL WAS TED DISSECTED AND RE-DISSEC The one bright spot that came out of the end of 2007 in WWE was the return of Chris Jericho to the company. Jericho left WWE under his own accord in 2005 to rejuvenate his love of the wrestling business while working on his music and acting careers as well. He also took time to write a memoir, a look back at his life up until that point. Mysterious viral code that would randomly

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appear on bumpers on WWE programming that hyped his return got fans talking about who was behind it ad nauseum. The mysterious coding was reminiscent of Jericho’s first WWE arrival in 1999 and it kept fans guessing right up until his return that November evening. The coding guesswork was a great distraction to get fans’ minds off of Benoit and the abysmal McMahon storylines and gave hope to WWE fans that things would improve.

2008 The over-reaching story in WWE that led to a yearlong, interlocking storyline was the retirement of Ric Flair. After a decree from Mr. McMahon that said Flair would retire once he lost his next match all eyes pointed to WrestleMania XXIV, where it was predicted Flair’s retirement would happen. Flair himself chose Shawn Michaels for his last match and the two men put on one of the best matches of not only 2008, but of the decade. The next night Flair got a hero’s farewell from WWE, including a long in-ring segment where wrestlers past and present got their chance to say goodbye. What developed from Flair’s retirement was one of the best WWE storylines of the decade. Batista, who considered Flair his mentor, was upset that Michaels would knowingly retire him. Michaels felt compelled to do what he was asked to do. It was a great story as both men had legitimate arguments that the fans could get behind, yet were still able to remain good guys in the fans’ eyes. Chris Jericho was inserted as a third wheel, trying to stir up trouble between the two. It really picked up when Jericho turned on

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Michaels, and he became the hated bad guy that the story needed. By the middle of the summer the rivalry had evolved into a heated and bloody feud between Michaels and Jericho that went well beyond Flair’s retirement and into something much more personal. By the late fall of the year Batista had re-emerged as a challenger to Jericho, who was now the World Heavyweight Champion. And remarkably Jericho came out of the entire mess as the victor, having beaten Batista in a cage match to regain his World Championship and then defeating Shawn Michaels shortly thereafter in a Last Man Standing match. This feud carried seven months of quality programming for the RAW brand, and involved not only the three men but numerous tertiary participants as well. The matches were great, the promos were entertaining and believable and the storyline was realistic and easy to follow. In another effort to drum up interest and ratings for WWE and Monday Night RAW the chairman would come out on live TV and give away money to viewers watching live at home or in the arena. The gimmick ran for weeks during the summer months and gained some fans serious money. While in the long run it didn’t do anything for the company, it provided some unpredictable entertainment. Other than Chris Jericho, no one had a better year in WWE in 2008 than CM Punk. He entered 2008 as the ECW Champion before losing it to Chavo Guerrero in February. But he rebounded quickly and won the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 24. It was in June when Punk became a true international star. On a live edition of Monday Night RAW Punk came out to cash in his Money in the Bank contract on the World Heavyweight Champion Edge, who was already in the ring and incapacitated. Within moments Punk hit his patented Go To Sleep and pinned Edge to become the new Champion. The victory was wholly and completely unexpected and was validation

not only for Punk but also for his legion of fans that had followed him on the independent circuit and worried that he would never get a chance at superstardom under the bright lights of WWE. Punk lost the Championship a couple months later after a fairly underwhelming Title reign but remained a prominent part of WWE. By October of 2008 he had won the World Tag Championship with Kofi Kingston and entered 2009 as the Intercontinental Champion. In January 2009 he picked up the Intercontinental Title. Within a ten month period Punk had won a World Title, the Intercontinental Title and a Tag Title reign, making him the record-holder for picking up that trifecta of Championships in the quickest amount of time. Jeff Hardy also began his meteoric rise to the main event in early 2008 by challenging Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble, a match many viewers and analysts pegged Hardy to be victorious in. After a very untimely Wellness Policy violation kept him out of WrestleMania XXV, Hardy rebounded. He soon found himself a major player on the SmackDown brand after the June 2008 Draft. His dreams came true at Armageddon in December 2008 when he became the 38th person to win the prestigious WWE Championship. Infamous boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather played a high-profile part of 2008’s WrestleMania XXIV. He was a guest of the company during February’s pay per view No Way Out, only to encounter the 7’2, 500 lbs. Big Show. During the confrontation Mayweather clocked Big Show and broke his nose. It set up a one-on-one match between the two athletes at WrestleMania XXIV, which naturally Mayweather won via knock out. The size differential between the two men made for an outstanding visual and brought a lot of mainstream coverage for WWE during the build-up to the match.

If it weren’t for the Ric Flair saga, Undertaker and Edge would have run away with the company’s feud of the year. The feud started in 2007 when Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase in early 2007 to defeat Undertaker to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Due to injuries to both men, their feud didn’t truly pick up until late 2007. But it was in 2008 when they battled non-stop over the World Heavyweight Championship. At No Way Out, The Undertaker won an Elimination Chamber, to become the number one contender for Edge's World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXIV. He defeated Edge at WrestleMania with his Hell's Gate submission hold, to win his second World Heavyweight Championship. Then at Backlash Undertaker defeated Edge once again to retain the World Title. SmackDown general manager Vickie Guerrero announced that Hell's Gate was an illegal hold and stripped him of the belt. The two men battled for the vacant title at Judgment Day, which Undertaker won by countout, but the Title remained vacant due to the count out finish. They met again for the vacant championship at Extreme Rules in a TLC match, which Edge won. Then they had one final match at SummerSlam inside Hell in a Cell, which saw Undertaker emerge victorious.

To be continued . . . . …

worldwide wrestling magazine 35

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36 worldwide digital magazine wrestling for magazine pro wrestling fans profile



e caused one of the biggest upsets ever to grace British soil and now ten months on ‘Bad news’ Brown is still reigning supreme as the superslam British heavyweight champion. Back in May last year Brown competed for All Star Wrestling in a four way elimination match that would determine a new heavyweight champion. The former title holder Robbie Brookside forfeited because of injury.

Brown himself admitted: “I’m still surprised that I am the champion; I don’t really believe it to this day. I am happy and humble.” The Superslam Heavyweight Championship has a rich, vast history and for a 25 year old who had the dream of becoming a wrestler since he left school, this is a remarkable achievement and one that Brown himself never thought would come true.

On his way to championship gold he defeated experienced grapplers such as Karl Kramer, James Mason and TNA superstar Doug Williams.

I’M STILL SuRPRISED THAT I AM THE CHAMPION; I DON’T DAy REALLy BELIEvE IT TO THIS 17 stone Brown who hails from Leeds was considered a rank outsider and shocked everyone when he won the championship, but nearly a year on he has rose to every challenge put before him. “What a great honour to hold this belt” states Brown. “I didn’t see it coming at the time and it was a really big moment in my life to win it.” The former Champion Brookside commended Brown for winning the title: “Like most people I thought one of the former holders Doug Williams or James Mason would come through, but fair play to Brown, he took everyone by surprise.” I will certainly treat him with the greatest respect if I can get a title shot.” digital magazine worldwideforwrestling pro wrestling magazine fans 37 profile

© darren Wood

“With no ring to train in, the first time I ever ran the ropes was before my first professional show. I arrived at the building during the day and the promoter of the company said ‘get in the ring and show us what you got’. So I went in there and kinda picked it up so it was alright. I learnt the hard way.” It wasn’t until working for All Star Wrestling that things really took off for Brown; he saw an advert for All Star Wrestling and sent in pictures in the hope of gaining a match with them. “Eventually they gave me a call asking me to go to a show so I did. I got lucky and must have done something they liked, they gave me a match and it went on from there.

“Winning the belt was an extremely humbling experience, My experience and my time in the business is not a scratch compared to people who were in that tournament and also it doesn’t compare to who has held the belt before. “The promoter of All Star Wrestling Brian Dixon must have some confidence in me because the proof is in the pudding, I have the belt. So he obviously saw something. “There is immense pressure on whoever holds this belt, pressure from your peers and the fans. But I feel the most pressure is from myself to be honest. I just gotta keep my head above water and give them a reason to keep the belt on me.” Submission specialist Brown started his career training under the watchful eye of Chris Curtis at GBH wrestling based in Stoke-on-Trent and while he didn’t stay with them for long he learnt the necessities. “Training was OK but it was pretty basic. You always learn the most when you are in the ring and in front of the crowd. I was taught how to put on a headlock and things like that but it was just a starter really. “We had no ring, just used blue mats and took bumps on them all day. By the time we finished we were pretty beat up.

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The name ‘Bad News’ was given to Brown when he started out for All Star Wrestling and while it has stuck with him, Brown is quick to point out that it is in no way associated with wrestler Allen Coage, who performed under the name ‘Bad News’ Brown in the WWE during the mid 1980’s. “The ‘Bad News’ moniker has kinda stuck with me and to be fair I liked watching ‘Bad News’. He was on his own, he didn’t need anybody’s help and I loved that when I was a kid, I thought he was a bad ass. In a sense I’m proud to have his name but on the other hand I would rather not live in somebody else’s shadow.” On Saturday 6th March Brown notched up another successful title defence by toppling Gladiator Warrior. The former champion Brookside is his next challenger and that match will take place in Liverpool on Friday March 19th. Brookside will be hoping to retain the belt that was cruelly taken away from him and the match could prove to be the downfall of Brown’s illustrious reign on top of All Star Wrestling. For more information on All Star Wrestling visit profile

Š Tony knox -

worldwide wrestling magazine 39 wwe


Big Flop?

By Martyn john


o after four painful years, vince McMahon has finally switched the life support machine off and let WWEcW die. The sad thing is that I would have loved to add “with dignity” at the end of that sentence, but every attempt at typing the word was viciously interrupted by my own constant sniggering. regardless, just like EcW, WWEcW is dead and gone. so I guess the real question is what’s nxT?

Before we look at WWE’s new brainchild, I feel it’s only fitting to eulogise ECW and its inbred spawn. There is no doubt that ECW was a great wrestling company and did feature some of the best angles, matches and competitors the wrestling business has ever seen. As a result it’s easy to see why wrestling fans hold the original company in such high regard and why the WWE’s reincarnation of it was doomed to fail.

TNA HAS BEEN AROuND FOR yEARS AND I STILL HAvE NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING ON But for all the good memories ECW gave us, it had its fair share of Hector Guerreros (plus ten brownie points if you got the Gobbledygooker reference). Of course just like anything or anyone who has passed away, most of the bad stuff has been forgotten and instead many wrestling fans hold ECW up as the holy grail of professional wrestling, the Valhalla of federations. Now I’m not here to rip ECW apart, nor am I trying to highlight the problems it had; the point I’m trying to make is that ECW wasn’t as perfect as many (most of who weren’t there at the time) seem to remember it being. That’s why when WWE revived ECW in 2006 it never 40 worldwide wrestling magazine

The Miz shares some wisdom with ‘rookie’ Daniel Bryan!

stood a chance against the original, after all how do you compete against something “perfect”? Now WWECW is dead and gone, maybe it’s time we focused on some of the positives of the brand. But the problem with that is, there was only really one positive aspect of WWECW; it gave new talent a platform. Talent like CM Punk, Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston these guys had their real “shot” at getting over with the WWE fans on WWECW. If WWECW had one saving grace it was that it gave airtime to new talent that they never would have gotten had they made their debut on SmackDown! or RAW. It was a place where new talent had a chance to develop and work on the enormous WWE scale; it took the risks the other brands couldn’t have taken. Luckily for us then, WWE has taken WWECW’s greatest strength and revolved an entire new show around it; WWE NXT. The question is whether it is ‘the NXT big thing’, or ‘The NXT big flop’. So what exactly is WWE NXT? Well, NXT sees new WWE Superstars – ‘Rookies’, work their way into the WWE, under the guidance of wwe

mentors who are established Superstars; ‘Pros’. The ‘Pros’ serve to give guidance to the ‘Rookies’ on how to cut it as a WWE Superstar, whether that is on how to improve in the ring or how to improve on the microphone.

the ring and the microphone seems like a hit or miss concept. Indeed, WWE’s penchant for not acknowledging anything outside of WWE seems like a recipe for disaster in building up the ‘Rookies’ credibility.

Now, if you’re thinking this sounds familiar, rest assured this is no Tough Enough. All the ‘Rookies’ compete in matches against each other and ‘Pros’, with the in ring competition presented in full Kayfabe, ie wrestling as a real fight sport. In addition we do not see the ‘Rookies’ being taught on how to take bumps, plan spots, work the crowd or job to Triple H. Instead all the ‘Rookies’ are presented as the characters they are on screen and in the ring. Effectively treating the show as a Kayfabe, scripted reality/ wrestling show.

Although NXT is a hit or miss concept, I feel happy to report that it could be the NXT Big Thing and that the risks have for the most part paid off. So what is it that makes WWE NXT a success?

Don’t worry, I’m confused too, especially since we haven’t been formally told what the rules of NXT are, or what the goal of NXT is. For instance, on numerous occasions ‘Rookies’ have said that they will ‘win’ NXT and become a WWE Superstar. But aren’t they already Superstars as they are competing in a WWE ring on a regular basis and picking up victories over established WWE Superstars? If NXT is a race to become the next WWE Superstar then is there only going to be one winner? How long does the competition last? Who decides the winner, the WWE Universe? Why is it that to be a Superstar these guys have to compete in NXT, but Santino Marella can just jump the rail and win the Intercontinental championship?

The most obvious feature is the format of the show. WWE NXT capitalises on the success of shows like UFC: The Ultimate Fighter whilst still appealing to the traditional wrestling audience. The result creates a refreshing hybrid between the two programmes and a welcome change to a product that has become stagnant in recent years. The fresh feel of the show is supported by the WWE’s always incredible production values, the show feels vibrant, exciting and high budget; giving the impression that a huge amount of effort and money has gone into the show. A special mention goes to the ‘Rookie’ promo videos which feature a candid style interview mixed in with clips from the ‘Rookie’s’ FCW days. The idea works very well and boosts the ‘Rookie’s’ credibility as well as letting us know what they’re about.

It seems NXT does indeed have a few uncertainties that surround it. With that said, NXT is still in its early stages and TNA has been around for years and I still have no idea what’s going on, so maybe I’m expecting a little too much out of NXT. So let’s focus on what NXT does give us. Well, on paper NXT does present a bit of a paradox. On the one hand, brand new wrestlers showcased in a brand new format seems like an exciting prospect and a step in the right direction towards pushing new talent and creating new stars. However, on the other hand a show revolving around ‘Rookies’ that are green to both

Christian with his protégé Heath Slater

The way the show is laid out is also different to other wrestling shows. Matt Stryker serves as a backstage interviewer who interviews the ‘Rookies’ after their matches and offers advice to them. Though this sounds pretty simple, it is extremely effective in creating a ‘live’ feeling to worldwide wrestling magazine 41 wwe

the show and works well in building up the importance of matches and the significance of becoming a WWE Superstar. The WWE Superstars themselves work well in their roles as ‘Pros’. In particular, Christian, The Miz, CM Punk and Chris Jericho all do a brilliant job in building up their ‘Rookie’ to be somebody the audience should care about (either by helping or hampering them). As the ‘Rookies’ are being mentored by the ‘Pros’ (often sharing the same camera time as them), the performance of the ‘Pros’ is vital to the success of the show. Luckily, WWE seem to have picked the right people for the job as the ‘Pros’ have successfully put the focus on the ‘Rookies’ and not on themselves. WWE NXT works because all the aspects of the show fall in o place and work together really well. However, its biggest triumph is its focus on new talent. It’s all well and good to have a show with high e` pl by exam production values, Jericho leads and interesting concept, but if the talent being showcased isn’t up to scratch, then it’s just putting lipstick on a pig (or Piggy James...). Luckily for WWE the NXT ‘Rookies’ don’t disappoint and most of them do have the potential to become big stars. This works thanks to a two way system with each end doing their part properly. Firstly, the NXT ‘Rookies’ are all bringing something new to the plate and as a result are being pretty entertaining to watch. Secondly, WWE are utilising them correctly. WWE are pushing the NXT ‘Rookies’ as wellestablished wrestlers or fighters outside of the WWE, breaking from the tradition of the independent scene being in the Bermuda Triangle and therefore not existing within WWE’s Universe. This break from tradition works in

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WWE’s favour, as it not only establishes the ‘Rookies’ as a big deal, but it also reflects well on WWE as the ‘major league’ (the most obvious example comes in the form of Daniel Bryan). By establishing the ‘Rookies’ as a big deal in the reality show format, WWE can effectively run a show that revolves around previously (for the most part) unknown wrestlers without them getting buried in the midcard. This effectively creates a protective bubble around the ‘Rookies’ that lets them develop without getting the rug pulled out from under their feet ala Dolph Ziggler. The NXT ‘Rookies’ themselves seem to be using their opportunity well and are producing decent quality promos and (admittedly green) matches. There are obvious standouts ie Daniel Bryan (the former Bryan Danielson), Wade Barrett and Justin Gabriel, however there is no real deadwood amongst the bunch. In short, if you take away all the glitz and glamour of WWE’s production, it is ultimately the talent that drives WWE NXT forward. But if NXT’s biggest strength is that it showcases new talent and is willing to take risks, aren’t we back to stage one with WWECW? Ultimately, you could argue that all of the ‘Rookies’ could be just as successful in WWECW. However, the radical new format change acts a draw to watch the show and therefore facilitates a draw to watch the ‘Rookies’ perform. NXT is confusing, contrasting and has a focus on unknown wrestlers. But it works. All the risks taken have paid off and every single person on the show seems to want to make it work. NXT is the most interesting thing that WWE has done since the brand separation and it’s very existence proves that WWE can still be cutting edge and innovative in the PG era. Will WWE NXT stand the test of time, or will its ratings dwindle? Will any of the ‘Rookies’ become Superstars? Will WWE pull the rug from under NXT’s feet? Will we ever see the Cattle Mutilation again? Will R-Truth ever be interesting? I guess only time will tell, but in the mean time; WWE’s latest venture looks like The NXT Big Thing. n Martyn can be contacted at adverts

worldwide wrestling magazine 43 monday night wars

Monday Night Wars or just By justin LaBar

Smack Talk?


or the first time since 2001, the WWE is going to have professional wrestling competition ever week on Monday nights. From September of 1995 to March of 2001, WCW and WWF had to bring their best to be considered the top company. Just as it was 15

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years ago, Vince McMahon’s company is starting this Monday night war in the number one position. The question everyone has, is can the competition that is once again headed up by Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, knock the Stamford empire off of the top spot? In September of ‘95, most had their doubts but were soon standing monday night wars

corrected. History repeats itself, we learn from the past, what goes around comes around, take your pick at what cliché sets the most exciting atmosphere for your specific taste!

such an image attached to it that resembled southern wrestling during the 80’s and they needed to get people to see the changes they were making.

The tale of the tape is quite similar. So many of the roster who oppose McMahon, are former guys who established themselves in the WWE. Guys such as Kurt Angle, Ken Anderson, Mick Foley, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, D’Angelo Dinero, all are prime faces on TNA who have had storied and in some cases negative departures from the WWE.

Today the reason for fans to watch TNA is already there, the reason being so many are frustrated with the WWE product and were spoiled with the grand competition they got in the 90’s that they want it back. The desire for competition is great for TNA as many wrestling fans, no matter which “side” they will take, want

One of the biggest elements in the original Monday Night Wars is again present in 2010’s competition. The aspect of lightweight / cruiserweight / X-Division wrestling. Vince McMahon doesn’t promote it or hold a belt / division for it, his competition does, and quite well. In many wrestling fans, historians, and wrestlers themselves, WCW having a well represented cruiserweight division was one of the big weapons in their eventual move to the number one spot. This would be where the learning from the past cliché comes in for WWE. Internet geeks, casual fans, boys, girls, young, old, it doesn’t matter which demographic a person falls into, the fast paced high flying action appeals to a large majority of paying customers. Think of all the guys who get huge pops and fans cry out to see win a major belt, guys like Jeff Hardy who for years was subject to just the tag titles. Evan Bourne, RVD, even Rey Mysterio had to fight their way to the main event level. Fans never chant boring at these type of performers matches. Looking back I feel WCW’s biggest challenge going into the Monday Night Wars was giving people to have a reason to watch their program. As documented by Eric Bischoff, WCW had

Pssstttt.... Click here for FREE goodies!!! worldwide wrestling magazine 45 wwe

professional wrestling audience, at the end of that day Angle made his debut, they went to sleep not knowing anything more than what they did when they woke up, which was that Angle wasn’t in WWE. Today is a different scenario. The addition of Hogan and Bischoff, along with more time of being in existence, more travelling and shows, more established names on the roster, the letters TNA are more recognisable to more people than they ever were. Now if a top level WWE star shows up on TNA unexpectedly, it will have a much bigger positive impact for TNA. All it takes is a few clicks of the channel button on the remote and the large (by standards of how many had been watching TNA) audience that watches RAW, now have their eyes on TNA Impact. TNA to be a serious competitor to bring out the best product each company can deliver. The hardest aspect that is working against TNA is that WCW was able to use the element of surprise, which his a huge punch in the art of war, but 15 years later, the list is extremely small on things that you have never seen before. All of the points that were key battles for WCW becoming number one, like the New World Order, like one of your top stars being a free agent and coming down from the ceiling, have all been done and if done by TNA will only hurt them because everyone rolls their eyes and says they are copying off of WCW. This war can only really be lost by the WWE. They are in the top spot and can be knocked off. TNA is only going to get some benefit out of a head to head battle with the WWE. To what level of benefit and new viewers they get is to be determined. So what weapon(s) does TNA use in this war? One thing that never changes in the war of professional wrestling companies that are going up against each other on the same night, same time. Big stars that are established on the top company appearing on the other show. Kurt Angle making his debut for TNA in what I consider to be one of the best kept secrets in professional wrestling history, was a shocker, for the 1 million people that actually knew about TNA. To the rest of the 46 worldwide wrestling magazine

The internet is another interesting aspect of this war. In the 90’s, the use of getting wrestling news and gossip online was not nearly as popular as it is today. The “intelligence” the internet provides today makes for an interesting factor that can not be classified as a weapon for either side, but simply a new boundary line in this battle of surprise and ratings. Its easy to get excited and speculate that TNA versus WWE on Monday nights will be as good as the war of the 90‘s, but it remains to be seen. We do know that Vince is once again going to be up against Bischoff, competition brings out the best, and Hogan/Flair is going to still be in the main event picture. n Justin can be contacted at divas

Who is she?

Serena Deeb

n By Froggy


t’s not often that the women in WWE surprise me anymore, not least the creative team’s ideas for their female stars.

With that in mind, it has been refreshing to see a certain Serena being pushed into the limelight. Granted, she hasn’t done much yet as a member of CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society besides getting her bonce shaved. Yet speaking as a woman very fond of her hair, it was this simple act that caught my eye. I struggle to tell so many of the divas apart nowadays, all long blonde hair (extensions and very desperate roots), implants on near anorexic bodies (yes maybe I do have some jealousy issues emerging), so seeing someone take such a step was a welcome change.

SERIOuSLy, COuLD yOu HER IMAGINE MARySE SHAvING N PPE HA A NN GO vER NE HAIR? Yes I know it’s not totally original either, we’ve had the adorable Molly Holly with a shaved head after losing a match, and TNA’s Roxxi Laveaux was also shaved in similar fashion, so no, I accept it’s not a fresh gimmick. Truth be known though, I could not imagine any other diva doing this right now. Seriously, could you image Maryse shaving her hair? Never gonna happen. Rumours flying around online suggest that Serena was only brought up due to her being the only diva willing to actually go ahead with having her head shaved. So what if that’s true? It’s gotten her noticed hasn’t it? Born Serena Deeb, she has an impressive wrestling CV despite being all of 23 years old. It’s more impressive when you consider

© Buddy LaMantia

Serena vs MsChif Š Buddy LaMantia

worldwide wrestling magazine 49 divas

she only began training at the age of 18, whilst studying full time for her Bachelor of Arts and ultimately graduating. Serena was a sporty child with a love of adventure that has not left her. Initially soccer was her calling until a chance viewing of the still then WWF made a big impression – it was in her blood from that moment on.

Serena was intent on following her dream of becoming a wrestler and moved from Indiana to Louisville Kentucky to begin her training at Ohio Valley Wrestling, and has been trained by some of the best around such as Danny Davis, Al Snow and Lance Storm.

Although her actual graduation did not take place until 2008, she made her wrestling debut in tag action with Fuji Cakes during November 2005 at OVW. Unfortunately for Serena, her debut came with a loss against the hands of Shelly Martinez and Beth Phoenix. Most of Serena’s early matches were predominantly tag bouts, and her luck did not seem to sway much from her debut, despite changing tag partners often. Yet she would eventually pick up singles victories over both Martinez and Phoenix in later months. Events turned when she began a feud with ODB and gained some impressive wins; finally she was making 50 worldwide wrestling magazine

© Buddy LaMantia

her mark and ODB was firmly in her sights. When ODB announced herself as the inaugural Women’s Champion, claiming she had won the title during a tournament in Rio De Janeiro, Serena did not take it lightly. It was all a ruse on ODB’s part as the show had never taken place and Serena constantly called her out on this. At first it seemed she would not get to challenge ODB one on one as ODB had aligned herself with a bodyguard in the form of Charles The Hammer Evans, who towered over Serena and was at ODB’s beck and call. It all came to a head in September 2006 divas

when Serena got the pin in a four way battle against ODB, Beth Phoenix and Katie Lea. She held onto the title until October when it was lost to Beth Phoenix. Serena spent the next few months trying to get it back, but never quite getting close enough. Throughout this time she continued to feud with ODB whilst also trying to get to Phoenix. The following year was spent with much of the same format. Serena was absent for almost four months at the start of 2008, making a surprise return to answer an open challenge from the current OVW champion Josie. Her comeback was successful and she won the title for a second time. Serena proclaimed that she would defend the title at all times and a 24/7 rule came into play. This decision lead to her losing the belt back to Josie two months later when she attacked Serena, who just successfully defended her title against Reggie.

HER IN-RING SkILLS ARE ST ExCEPTIONAL GIvEN HER FA SS INE BuS E TRACk INTO TH The following months were chaotic with the 24/7 rule as the belt changed hands more times than they could lace their boots. Come August 2008, Serena won the title back for a unprecedented sixth time and the 24/7 rule was scrapped. She held onto the belt until November that year when she lost it in another four way match to Melody. Not being one to shy away from tough matches, she would challenge Melody in a steel cage match the following February, but once again failed to regain the belt. Throughout her time in OVW, Serena competed in various other promotions also, such as TNA, Shimmer and ROH. Unfortunately her beginning run of losing streaks in OVW seemed to follow her around, though she found strength and support through the likes of MsChif. Things took a turn again in July 2009 when she became billed as Mia Mancini upon arriving at Florida Championship Wrestling. At last she was

onto a winning streak. In August she pinned April Lee in another four way match to win the Queen of FCW crown, and kept hold of it until February this year when she lost it to AJ Lee (this time being billed as Serena Mancini due to her head already being shaved after asking Punk to save her). So what is next for Serena? She was popular with the fans from the beginning of her OVW career and has proved herself in the ring, both technically and as an entertainer on the microphone. Her in-ring skills are exceptional given her fast track into the business and she can only get better. She looks as if she wants to learn and is willing to do it the hard way by proving herself, not by flaunting her body or by association with a male counterpart. I am hopeful that the creative team appreciate the dynamite that they are sitting on with Serena. She needs to be given more to do other than run into the ring to cover CM Punk from attacks, she’s gritty and not afraid to take risks, and they should make the most of this. Personally I would love to see her in a feud with Beth Phoenix, though for now I think it’s in her best interest to stay with Punk and get the fans even more accustomed to her being in the picture, though she will need to leave him at some point. I’d hoped for big things with the women’s division what with Gail Kim coming back to the WWE, though once again I’ve been left very disappointed. Maybe Serena breaking away and getting into battle will spark some enthusiasm back into this division, and I seriously doubt she will let us down with her dedication and determination. n Froggy can be contacted at worldwide wrestling magazine 51

E N A H S ? u O y ON shane on you?

Having recently attended a Future shock Wrestling show, The Cynic wonders if the Stockport based fed can live up to their Champ’s aspirations.... Photos: Tony knox


o Manchester to interview spin doctors. a sort of “Fib Idol” or “Britain’s Got arseholes”. The latter of the two you’d know, of course, bearing in mind the clubs you go to. Manchester, the place I studied, where I fell in love with the hacienda, the place I spent a year using an alphabet comprised entirely of one letter. come on, this is not Woody bleedin’ allen, put your George osbornesized brains in, not there yet? It’s e, you bozos. And being back in the North West, I wasn’t going to pass up the chance of a taxi to the Masonic Hall in Stockport (their Groucho Club, I’m told) to see Future Shock Wrestling. If I told Adorable Alistair about my secret passion or Partyboy Peter about grappling glory, they might both flash me an indulgent smile. And then never speak to me again. Masonic Hall, here I come. Does one wear tails? One doesn’t. Standing in line (how refreshing! Like being a nobody all over again!), there were a wide variety of ages, styles and waistbands on view. I like Stockport, it’s like a more realistic Manchester, but it has challenges. Note to GB; we need to do something, something more than cabinet’s interesting idea to give the Hat Museum a Peaked Cap Annexe. But FSW is Northern-based, faithful to Stockport and it’s fans rightly love it for that. A poster for the Masonic Grand Wizard (oh wait, that’s the Ku Klux Klan isn’t it - totally different) on the way in tells us how the Masons will be a part of the community; thus probably changing the very basis of the Masons. ‘Bout time too. Simple venue, bit 60’s but charming in a Rita Tushingham way; Google it, printophobics, look

up the name and find an icon of the decade. Feels good to have taken some action? Then let’s talk about your pasty and Curly Wurly addiction. I am a mountain. The venue is completely right for a small promotion that can’t, but doesn’t really want to. Except that now they’ve got aspirations. Why? Because their Champ is none other than the Showstealer, Alex Shane. Shane was an icon, a big player in NewBrit wrestling Fed FWA and matchmaker with balls of steel, bringing Funk et

Dirk Feelgood shane on you?

al to our table. Don’t let his recent self-improvement role fool you (just looks to me like hokey conspiracy theory mixed with the bleeding obvious, like “do things really well and you’ll be successful”), he was important once. And he can work a crowd like few others in Blighty.

TOO MANy TuBBy MEN WEARING TIGHT LyCRA The trouble is, he seems to work them too early. I was present at an FWA event a few years ago when he appeared as we were buying our tickets, looking like he wanted a rub and hanging around chatting. Now, I don’t want kayfabe, but I do expect a bit of mystique. He’s supposed to know that. The problem with the FSW event was that the bathroom was through the entrance hall. So what did we get? AS coming out, through the punters, to get to the bog. Not once, but twice. He’s our star, I want him to keep us waiting. If you have to crap, do it hours before. If you need to slash, do it in a bottle. Seems like a small point? They’re what make the show “do come” rather than “ho hum”. So, the show. I took up an armscrossed, seen-it-all-before pose, my default position. And had a pretty good night. Not as good as Sid Little’s strip lacrosse evenings, but good. The main issue hits you early. Hate to say it, but Stevie Ray

Vaughan (something like that, he wasn’t interesting enough to memorise the name) seems to think a small beard and a big hat is enough to excite us. It isn’t. And he yawned several times as he watched the action. If you don’t care about the matches mate... But they have some real possible stars as well. Dirk Feelgood stands out as a cheeky heel who will be booked to lose constantly because that’s what he’s best at; he has the skinny physique and bargain-basement duds of a bullied schoolboy, but his shouted imprecations to the crowd are prime Jim Breaks. That good. Don’t know him? And you call yourself a wrestling fan. Chris Egan, similarly skinny, resolutely Mancunian, bills himself as from Basle (Switzerland, numbskulls) and enjoys his Walter Mitty heel work. His grappling may need work, but it’s going to get better. Jack Toxic is as good as he always was, but wasted in a curtain jerker. For Egan and Feelgood, main event status beckons. Either that or a comedy double act. Stockport loves Raynaldo. He’s a local lad and yes, it’s exactly what you think. He has a football gimmick, wears a football kit, carries a football. Bored yet? You might be, if his chirpy good humour and slightly odd adlibs didn’t keep you watching. Can he go any father? His wrestling’s ok (although here he was in a 6-

man with the appallingly named Vitamin C, so we didn’t see much of it) but he needs to supercede his gimmick. Mind you, people still like Mad Man Manson, so who knows?

Elsewhere, there is an unwelcome manager in a black suit and white socks that simply shouts everything in an effort to create heat. He’s so low rent even squatters have more rights. He has a stable. A tall but thin Norseman type (no, not John Nord) and a risible Papa Shango rip off. Very few people seemed to care about him. Except me. And that was just to hate every minute of it. Team Blossom are just a couple of conventionally good looking girls. As satisfying as a Lorraine Kelly interview. They try. They fail. They look good doing it. The main event is the Heel Stable of Stixx, Dave Breaks (I refer you to my earlier comment), Feelgood and Mr Shane. Stixx is big, looks right but his shtick is sub-Shane. Ah, so we get to it. Shane. In the ring he is superlative. Even I will give him that. And I saw Big Daddy. He sells shane on you?

need him? On balance, yes. Their heat magnets shine like diamonds in a bucket of slurry – too many tubby men wearing tight lycra; one of them even had his nasty briefs showing through. The roster is thin, the grapplers won’t travel well, the action is often ordinary. They need Shane to prop it up; he does, adding a bit of magic. FSW is a strange beast; when I partook a year ago, the wrestling was better. This time, they favour a combination of homely gimmicks (and they know their crowd inside out) and big dogs up top. The cossies could do with an upgrade, the ring needs attention (it was tipping at one corner – ”Hello, injury lawyers for you?...”) and the resolutely village hall performances need knocking up a few notches. A small Fed with a small crowd would be fine, if that’s what they’re happy with. The appearance of Shane would indicate that they have plans. A big personality needs a big Fed; they’d better start growing.

wonderfully, takes it out of the ring, makes us almost believe that his also ran opponent Danny Sensation (oh come on, buy a Thesaurus or something!) could pull off a surprise. It’s the most seamless putting over I’ve seen for years. And his chat is still in place. You know he’s not breaking new ground, you know he’s reusing lines, you know it’s a cliché. And yet his mastery of it is peerless. And when he comes back to beat down Raynaldo, he deals with the unfortunates in the front row who have been calling out all evening. They think they’re funny, like French and Saunders do. Guess what? Shane makes sure he’s close to them and every time they sally forth with a rib-tickling funny, he hits the ball-juggling grappler. He tells the funsters that every time they speak, he would hit him. They hear it. They keep shouting. He keeps hitting. Until he tells them “you’re hurting him”. They keep it up. Couldn’t help it. Raynaldo gets walloped. Shane gets over. Hilarious.

Or they might find themselves Shanefaced.

He’s not exactly ready for a Sunshine Retirement Home yet, but Shane is a veteran. Does FSW

n The cynic can be contacted at

The Cynic

Michael kovac n By David Schmida


The people behind GSW knew that when they put together their first show in September 2001, they needed a strong charismatic main event guy. Kovac was their man and so it was no wonder that he headlined the inaugural show in a match against Crazy Sexy Mike, an opponent he would meet many more times and with whom he had a bitter feud. When GSW organised a tournament to crown their first Heavyweight Champion, Kovac was one of the competitors of course. But things didn’t quite work out as planned for him. After beating his opponents in round one and two, he was screwed out of the strap and Ares won the title.


ichael kovac, born as Martin hutter, has been a key factor to the wrestling circuit in Germany ever since the famous catch Wrestling association closed. When promoters started to rebuild the German Wrestling circuit, kovac was there. he still is until this day. during that time, the austrian veteran, who debuted as a wrestler in 1993, has been very important to one particular p r o m o t e r  –  G e r m a n  s t a m p e d e Wrestling (GsW). "GsW has always been very good to me, we helped each other. at the beginning I brought them credibility, in return I got good opponents and was able to hold their title often. GsW will always be my favourite promoter in Germany."

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Meanwhile GSW was heading towards their biggest event until then. At International Impact in October 2003 Kovac was facing his biggest challenge so far, the then reigning NWA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles. It was one of those matches which had no loser. Ok, Styles pinned Kovacs shoulders for a three count after a Styles Clash from the second rope, but both of them came out strong. "The match against AJ Styles is one of my top five favourite matches on German ground. It also elevated the promotion to a new level." He finally won the crown at International Impact 2 in October 2004. But first things first. To be able to face the champion he had to beat Doug Williams and Eric Schwarz. And beat them he did so later that night, after Ares pinned Steve Corino, he challenged the Swiss for the title right after and beat him with a beautiful top rope powerslam. He lost his title later to Steve Corino in a Four Nations Tournament which also saw the turn of Kovac to the dark side of wrestling with an attack on Eric Schwarz's already injured knee. german wrestling

Something that seemed to be a long time coming was his feud with tag team partner and real life friend Eric Schwarz. They held the Tag Belts together, but as we have seen so many times, jealousy and pride turned good friends into bitter enemies. All this would lead up to a bloody Brawl between Kovac and Schwarz at International Impact 3 in 2006. Due to Schwarz's great amount of blood loss, the referee stopped the match and Kovac was announced as the winner. But the rivalry hadn't reached its peak yet. In July 2006 the former friends would meet in a brutal Fans bring the weapons match which saw Schwarz as the winner. "It's great fun to work with your buddies because you know each other inside and out. You can pull a little joke here and there without the audience even noticing it." In 2006 and 2007 Kovac was very busy beating every wrestler from North America that the promoters put in front of him. His character didn't like how the stars from overseas where treated and celebrated while the European wrestlers busted their asses to build a strong scene. Christopher Daniels was among them. After the Fallen Angel had beaten Doug Williams in September 2006 he was attacked by Kovac and a long lasting feud began. "This was my true attitude. Everyone kisses the US Wrestlers asses because they see them jump around on tv. They are very good wrestlers no question. Anyway, I don't see the point in paying them a lot more than the stars from Europe since they are not better. I was able to put my true feelings and thoughts into that program." That leads us to the question of how much of the real life Martin Hutter we can actually find in the wrestling character Michael Kovac. "A lot actually, it depends on the day though and how I feel. I either let out my good side or the dirty pig. Letting out the dirty pig is much more fun though.” In January 2007 GSW put together yet another Four Nations Tournament which saw Christopher Daniels lose his 1st round match against Bryan Danielson. You may see what’s coming. Kovac was responsible for that loss, so they wouldn't meet in the finals where Kovac

Kovac vs Daniels


beat Claudio Castagnoli to win the vacated Heavyweight Championship. But the night wasn't over. Daniels went on to win the Battle royal that same night which guaranteed him a shot at the title. Finally a feud which had been boiling for almost a year would culminate in a match at International Impact 5. Kovac retained his title with a devastating DDT which Daniels didn't come back from. "This is also one of my Top five favourite matches. It was a great match with a very long build up. " While knowing that his active career will be over one day he is sure that "when that day comes they are going to have to scrape me off the mat. Wrestling is not just a job for me it's a lifestyle, a calling. I already work as coach and promoter besides my active career and I will do that as long as I can move. It's so much fun to help new talents breaking into the business and supporting them." n david can be contacted at

worldwide wrestling magazine 57 mexico

By Dark kitty


ark kitty goes to Uruapan Michoacan on behalf of The Wrestling Press to interview Mexico’s heavyweight champion charly Manson of Perros del Mal. Upon arrival she was treated with the utmost respect from the people of arena coliseo Molina and all of the wrestling personnel that was present there. The evening was filled with excitement as there were two title bouts to be defended. The first scheduled match was Superchapulin and Aeroking vs Poison and Black Monster. This bout ended with the victory going to Superchapulin and Aeroking, even though Superchapulin did suffer some injury to his knee and head during this very aggressive match.

58 worldwide wrestling magazine mexico

Dark Kitty congratulates the new Champion

Prior to this event Dark Kitty had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Perros Del Mal wrestler Charly Manson.... dark kitty: In what year did you start your wrestling career? charly Manson: I started my wrestling career in 1990. dk: Who would you say was the biggest influence to make you want to be a wrestler? cM: I would have to say my brother Electro Shock was my largest influence and support for me to enter wrestling. dk: If you had the opportunity to wrestle any wrestler in the world who would you pick and why? cM: If I were to pick a wrestler I would most want to wrestle I would have to say Santo, because he is the biggest idol in the sport.

Match number two was Signo Solar and Danger vs Justicia and Relampago Azul with the best two of three falls going to Signo Solar and Danger.

dk: In 2001 you suffered a severe injury, could you share some of your thoughts during that time? cM: Yes, I suffered the most severe injury in my career doing a ladder and table match.

Third match of the evening was a title bout of the Welterweight championship of Michoacan. Arhgo vs Manico Crazy. This again was a very aggressive match with the champion hitting his head against the solid concrete floor. Despite this, Arhgo bravely managed to get through the match and retain his Welterweight Championship . The main event was none other than Heavyweight Champion Charly Manson defending his title against challenger Maniac. This was a two out of three falls title match that proved to be everything it was hyped up to be. Manson came out knowing he had a very tough competitor in Maniac and these two excellent wrestlers battled to a best of two falls victory for the challenger, and new heavyweight champion, Maniac in front of his hometown fans.

worldwide wrestling magazine 59 mexico

After we already won the match I decided to climb on the ladder, and unfortunately psychosis pushed the ladder and rather than falling onto a table, I fell straight to the concrete causing me a very severe injury. dk: In 2007 what was it like to win the Copa Antonio Peña and what did that mean to you? cM: Winning the Copa Antonio Peña was one of the greatest achievements in my career. The reason it meant so much was because Sr. Antonio Peña gave me the opportunity to join AAA at the time. dk: You have held several titles such as Copa Antonio Peña, Mexican National Atomics Champion along with May Flowers, Nygma and Picudo, Mexican National Heavyweight Championship, and the UWA world heavyweight Championship, What is you next move for a title shot? cM: First of all I want to recover the full National Championship I lost to x-fly on February 20 in Ecatepec, and then going for his hair in a match. dk: Over the years of your wrestling career you have worked for many different organisations, in your mind are there large differences in the way each organisation reacts with the wrestlers, and if so could you name a few? cM: Each company has its own way of working, there are some that give you more opportunities, and there are others who unfortunately do not give you the place you deserve and do not know how to appreciate the work you do.

dk: Would you ever consider doing a tag team match with your brother Electro Shock as your tag team partner? cM: At this point I do not think it is possible, but we are not closed to that opportunity, although it would be impossible momentarily. dk: You have represented both sides being a heel and a face, in your mind which do you prefer and why? cM: Well I must admit I like to be a heel, but right now I’m enjoying the great support that people give me for being a face. dk: As there are many upcoming wrestling stars in the future, what words of advice would you give to that upcoming wrestler? cM: You have to work at it very hard and put in a lot of work in training, because this race is difficult but with effort and discipline you may become the idol of an entire nation. dk: Thank you for this interview with The Wrestling Press n dark kitty can be contacted through her website at

60 worldwide wrestling magazine

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worldwide wrestling magazine 61

Blast from the Past Hulk Hogan promoting the first ever Wrestlemania in 1985. © wwe



The Wrestling Press Issue 7 NEW  

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