wrestling

Wrestle Wednesday: What Happened To The Foreign Excursions?

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Just last week, New Japan Pro Wrestling announced the launch of their streaming service similar to the WWE Network, New Japan World. For 999 yen (or a smooth $8.40) a month, I can watch all of content dating back to the late 1970s. From Antonio Inoki, Akira Maeda, Riki Chosu, and Great Muta to the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Kazuchika Okada today. The best part is also watching some of the classic Tokyo Dome shows which featured the likes of Sting, The Steiner Brothers, Big Van Vader, Hulk Hogan, and even Ron Simmons.

While watching some of these shows, something dawned on me. I remember particularly watching a tag match with Hogan and Stan Hansen against Antonio Inoki and Bob Backlund, way before the phenomena that is HulkaMania. Hulk worked as a heel, but the style was far different from what he had done in his Hollywood persona and had a finisher that he used solely in Japan which was called the Axe Bomber. It was the little things like that along with Sting going wild against the Steiners which begs the question for me: What happen to the glory and fun of foreign excursions in American Wrestling?

Growing up as a wrestling fan in the 90s, I fell in love with the Cruiserweight Division due to its diversity of talent, pacing of their matches, and the array of moves rarely seen at that time. Workers representing all ends of the earth, from Mexico (Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera), Canada (Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit), Japan (Jushin Liger, Shinjiro Otani, Ultimo Dragon), and America (Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko). All of those individuals were critically acclaimed wrestlers who have traveled the world making names for themselves and honing their craft. A few, if not most of these aforementioned names went on to have very successful careers in professional wrestling and even became world champions in an industry that once never favored smaller workers.

Nowadays, the world journeyman is becoming a dying breed as territories have collapsed and WWE monopolizing everything in sight. The independent scene has become the alternative with Ring Of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and CHIKARA bringing in talent and having them sharpen their skills before hitting the big stage. With WWE, they have grown to a level that they don’t look to sign well-known workers from their “competition” any more and decided to rebrand and create stars for their own purposes.

Sure, the new Performance Center for WWE has done wonders for the company in producing the most exciting product there with NXT, but most of their talent comes off as cookie-cutter guys that just can’t over and/or won’t get above the midcard. The obvious exceptions are their recent signings of Finn Balor (Prince Devitt), Kevin Owens (Kevin Steen), and Hideo Itami (KENTA). There’s also Adrian Neville and WWE’s best babyface right now in Sami Zayn, who all share a common trait one another. Not only have they toiled around in the independent circuit, but they also have travel abroad and worked with larger crowds, learning different styles, and how to be accommodating workers.

The Performance Center can only teach guys so much about learning the ropes, but the talents are restricted to learning one style and have a limited view on interacting with audiences. For the indie guys, it becomes second-nature to them only starting from square one, only to be pushed to the moon there pretty quickly because they know what they’re doing. I feel if that WWE allows some of their trainees to work overseas for a few months to gain some experience, it can be beneficial to their development.

Workers being allowed to tour for international promotions has become a lost art for WWE and they have their reasons. With no more legitimate competition in their way and an abundance of tours at their disposal, there’s little time for any of their workers to make a schedule perform at say CMLL or New Japan. It’s why they don’t book supershows with other promotions anymore, as WWE claims to be its own Universe in a little bubble of divisive mindsets. But boy would it be cool to see Cena vs. Tanahashi or even Undertaker vs. Kenta Kobashi in their healthy, younger primes.

Unfortunately due to all of that, there has been a ton of complacency with the product and almost their entire roster running in place and barely moving up the ladder. We get the same matches, the same scripted promos, and very few of their wrestlers are compelling enough to connect with the audience. If there was ever a chance for some of the workers to freshen up their character and go overseas, it would be very useful for the workers that creative ‘have nothing for’.

New Japan has had tremendous success sending their workers to Mexico and America only for them to return with big pushes. The biggest example was Keiji Muto and his invention of The Great Muta character in WCW, but more recent examples such as Shinsuke Nakamura and Kazuchika Okada come to mind. Nakamura was a great amateur wrestler and MMA practitioner who was pushed very early in his NJPW career, but rarely made a connection with the crowd and had a personality dry as concrete on a hot summer’s day. Then something amazing happened where he turned heel, began touring in Mexico, and changed his style and appearance. From there he became one of the more charismatic Japanese wrestlers around and currently New Japan’s second biggest draw behind Tanahashi.

I can see WWE benefiting by sending a few of their stars to work 6 months to a year in Japan or Mexico to brush up on their charisma, in-ring skills, and watching how certain crowds react. Roman Reigns would be perfect in a New Japan tour and working with the likes of Togi Makabe, Hirooki Goto, and Tomohiro Ishii, becoming a more proficient brawler and putting together finishing stretches in his matches. He can then come back an even bigger force and more ready for the Main Event scene than he was beforehand.

But one can dream, right?

WWE rumored to have signed top indie wrestler

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Reports this weekend suggest that top indie wrestler Uhaa Nation has signed a development contract with WWE. The Californian wrestler has previously worked out for the WWE at a recent tryout.

#DIDYOUKNOW: Randy Savage almost made it in Major League Baseball.

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Today is the birthday of Randy “Macho Man” Savage, instead of discussing matches and promos, I would like to share a fact you may or may not know about the “Madness.”

Before getting in to the world of profession wrestling, Randy Savage was almost a professional baseball player? Randy’s father Angelo encouraged Savages major league dreams, so much so they built a winterized batting cage and pitching machine next to the family’s home. Naturally a righty, Randy taught himself how to throw with his left hand in the event of an injury.

As a high school senior, he hit .525 for the Downers Grove Trojans. When no team picked him up in the 1971 amateur draft, Angelo drove his son five hours to an open tryout at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Randy went home with a minor league contract. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Reds and White Sox organizations, Randy hit .254 with 16 home runs, playing catcher, outfield and first base.

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Unfortunately Randy’s baseball dreams ended when he badly separated his shoulder during a collision at home plate. Being extremely determined (and a bit insane) Randy forced himself to become ambidextrous with hopes of making the big leagues his final attempt to play in the major leagues ended when the White Sox organization cut him in 1975, before the end of spring training.

“When Randy got released, he broke all his bats and got rid of all his equipment,” Savage’s mother Judy remembers. “It was horrible. But The Sheik saved him.”

The Sheik was Ed Farhat, was a huge influence on Randy’s career. It was The Sheik who taught Randy a concept he’d later impart to younger wrestlers: “Be the main event, even if you’re on first.”

There you have it a quick story about baseball dreams and what happens at a low point that turn into a legendary career.

Bret Hart reveals crazy time he cut Steve Austin with razor blade

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While speaking in Leicester, England Hart revealed that he risked his entire WWE career during his match with Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13 in order to create the intensity and drama he felt was required for such a stage.

Hart opened up about the moment he and Stone Cold Steve Austin decided to add a little color, aka blood into the match up despite the WWE’s policy against it at the time.

Wrestling Inc, reported Hart and Austin agreed upon using the razor blade (which Hart kept in his upper lip) in the match up but because Stone Cold had never done that kind of move before he entrusted Hart to make the cut when it came down to it in the ring.

Hart explained that when the moment came and he spat the blade out onto the canvas Austin told him that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. Hart’s response? “It’s too late!”

Stone Cold Steve Austin wants bigger push for Cesaro

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Stone Cold Steve Austin has been very vocal on twitter and his podcast telling Vince McMahon and co to spend more time in developing Cesaro. Cesaro was involved in WWE’s Hell in a Cell weekend PPV, facing Dolph Ziggler for the intercontinental title, but once again he wasn’t given the chance to shine as Ziggler beat the Swiss Superman in back to back pins in there two of three falls encounter.

“I think his work is so strong that people will respect him and be drawn to him,”

“I think they (WWE) will in a war of attrition. There’s so many injuries, the roster is so thin, you’ve got to give this guy a green light push and I think he was headed for a babyface run, then he kind of got off track,”

“They put him with Paul Heyman, And just left to his own devices, I think his work is so strong that people will respect him and be drawn to him.” – Said Austin

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Many people expected Cesaro to be given a leading role in the WWE following his win in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXX, but while his success there led to a partnership with Paul Heyman his booking post WrestleMania has shown WWE isnt doing much with the King of Swing.

The Undertaker Reportedly Taking on a New Backstage Role in WWE

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According to PWInsider.com, The Undertaker attended last night’s WWE NXT TV taping and told people he will be assisting the developmental program as an “advisor.” I guess Taker will be a spirit advisor on a limited basis. Does this mean the “Dead Man” is finished?

I think its a clear cut sign that he is ready for a position with the company. NXT is very gimmick heavy who better to get advice from than a guy who made a the same gimmick work for over 20 years

New WWE Entrance Videos

WWE’s YouTube channel has released new entrance videos for John CenaNikki BellaBrie Bella, Slater Gator, Cesaro, Dean AmbroseSeth Rollins and The Authority. Above and below are the new videos for Cena and The Authority.

Wrestle Wednesday: Ultimo Guerrero vs. Atlantis – (Mask vs. Mask: CMLL 81st Anniversary Show)


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In professional wrestling, one of the key aspects is often missing to today’s product: Emotion. It is very rare nowadays to see an audience become invested into a character or match to the point the result brings them to tears and last Friday in Arena Mexico, all of that was experienced. For the 81st Anniversary Show for CMLL, two legendary luchdores and rivals Atlantis and Ultimo Guerrero had a main event that was years in the making. Originally set for last year’s Anniversary Show, it was replaced with Volador, Jr. vs. La Sombra to the disapproval of the crowd. Many would have thought holding it off for another year would hurt the event, but that was on the contrary.

Bringing in a gate over $1 million US, fans from all generations came to see the two titans go head-to-head and witness history. The match itself was good for what it was as both men can still bring the goods, but it is the post-match that is the treat. You see grown women in tears all through the crowd because a man had to take his mask off. It is that serious in Lucha Libre, as an unmasking can make or break a luchadore’s career. It couldn’t get more authentic than that.

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The Sparkz Foundation & WrassleRap Presents: Forever Madness (The Randy Savage EP) DOWNLOAD

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So I teamed up with Wrassle Rap formed The Sparks Foundation with John Sparkz, and Ryan Fionda and release “Forever Madness: The Randy Savage EP,” an ode to the late Great Randy Savage.

As most of you fine readers know, I am a HUGE wrestling fan. I finally had the time and support system to help create what your are or will be listening too. Thank you to all the artist and producers who helped shape what was in my brain. Respect to WrassleRap and Cloudkicker clothing for always inspiring me to push the limits of my passion.

Shouts to John Sparkz for sitting hours and hours mixing this labor of love. Thank you Ryan Da Snacklord for always believing in me and always being down to help spread the gospel.

Now go DOWNLOAD the EP and let both hip hop and wrestling fans know how rad (yes rad) Forever Maddness is.

RIP Macho and Warrior.

Hey You Watch the Trailer For My Wrestling Theme song Inspired EP

The video was created by the wrestling video genius Adam “PDA’ Ross.

If you ever wanted to peek inside my mind this video pretty music highlight how it would look. September 21st fight before WWE’s Night Of Champions pay-per-view I will drop Forever Madness: The Randy Savage EP.

Forever Madness: The Randy Savage EP is an ode to Randy Savage, who passed away 4 years ago. I always wanted to do an EP revolving around Professional Wrestling. I teamed up with Harry Fraud’s In-House Engineer and fellow wrestling aficionado John Sparkz, to form our own imaginary tag team tandem known as The Sparks Foundation with Ryan Fionda as the Jimmy Hart.

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