Interview: Rockstar Spud on being Dixie’s chief of staff and forthcoming TNA UK Tour

January 31, 2014

IMG_0986If you watched TNA’s British Boot Camp on Challenge TV this time last year, you’ll doubtless remember my own personal highlight of the series – when Rockstar Spud stepped in the ring with mentor Rollerball Rocco, who then proceeded to batter the hell out of him.

“You didn’t see the half of it,” confesses Spud. “He gave me a slap, and it brought tears to my eyes. Why they didn’t use it, who knows, but I can still feel it now. I can feel the handprint appear on my face.”

Spud was the antagonist of the series, butting heads with Marty Scurll and tormenting the Blossom Twins, and he argues that his role in wrestling is to be an illusionist – to manipulate people to love him or loathe him depending on the circumstance.

“You’re not paying to see people who are ordinary, because why would you pay to see them?” he asks rhetorically. “Have you ever watching a film where it’s really positive the whole way through? If you did, there’s no trial or tribulation – it wouldn’t be very good. If you haven’t got something to overcome, it’s not an interesting tale.” Read the rest of this entry »

Question: has CM Punk left WWE forever?

January 29, 2014

Everyone in the entire world seems to already know this, but just in case – stories suggest that CM Punk has walked out on WWE, hence his absence from Monday Night RAW.

There’s always the wobble over whether this is real or kayfabe, but, like the Daniel Bryan/Royal Rumble saga, this is also being covered by mainstream media; and although WWE are sticking to their “no comment” line – as they did over the weekend – they don’t need to, there’s enough hysteria (and, obviously, interest) being whipped up without them having to do anything. Read the rest of this entry »

Question: what did WWE expect to happen at the Royal Rumble?

January 27, 2014

I hate to quote myself, but I was right, wasn’t I?

Thing is, if I could predict this, why couldn’t the WWE? Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Julie Hart talks about Bret, Owen, Montreal…and being a Hart

January 24, 2014

julie bookJulie Hart’s easy to track down on Twitter – and more than that, she’s easy to chat to there as well. However, she’s not so easy to talk to in real time, because she’s a very busy woman.

“I’m currently in credit classes that will enable me to get into social work in the fall of 2014,” she explains. “Four long years of school! I suppose I should have done this 11 years ago when I first went back to university…ah, life! I’m a tad more focused [now] on what I want to do with my remaining years and social work seems like a good fit for me.

“I’m still very much involved in charity work, but my feeling now is to get into the homes of broken families and do what I can for them. I can relate on so many levels. I guess that’s not hard to figure out after reading my book!”

Julie is, of course, the ex-wife of the legendary Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, and the latest of the extended Hart clan to publish a memoir – hers is called ‘Hart Strings’ and subtitled ‘My Life With Bret and the Hart Family’. Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts on ‘The Squared Circle: Life, Death and Professional Wrestling’ by David Shoemaker

January 21, 2014

squaredcirclebookThere isn’t enough good literature about professional wrestling, so I was really pleased when David Shoemaker, aka Grantland’s The Masked Man, announced his intent to expand his ‘Dead Wrestler of the Week’ column into a book.

Those musings on the late greats of wrestling have developed into soliloquies on their lives, their impact, and their meaning; fans of Shoemaker’s writing will be very happy with this.

It’ll also be enjoyed by people who share Shoemaker’s background in wrestling fandom – largely NWA/WCW-dominated.

However, it gave me pause for thought in several places – and made me stop reading repeatedly with frustration and anger. Read the rest of this entry »

Facts from IPW, Zack v Hero, Angel Centre Tonbridge, January 19th 2014

January 19, 2014

20140119_194756Well, I told you I was going to drag myself to Tonbridge, (very expensive) rail replacement services notwithstanding.

And frankly I think it was probably the best decision I’m going to make all year.

From the opening triple threat between Party Marty Scurll (resplendent in fur), Mark Haskins and Jonny Storm to the spectacular main event between Zack Sabre Jr and Chris Hero, every match was a gem for its own reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Fact: Fergal Devitt is making his IPW debut this weekend

January 17, 2014

1493187_635050056532787_2064297271_nI’m always a bit loath to go out on a Sunday night, especially when it involves travel.

But when I saw the card for this weekend’s IPW:UK show in Tonbridge, featuring Chris Hero vs Zack Sabre Jr, I decided I’d go, and damn the railway engineering work and its stupid replacement buses.

And now, Prince Fergal Devitt’s been added to the line-up, facing Dave Mastiff. This is going to be good.

“Obviously I’m looking forward to debuting for IPW but I think I’m more looking forward to the fact I’ll be returning to Kent and seeing some of my oldest friends, especially Danny Garnell and Zack Sabre Jr,” says Devitt, “not to mention Jimmy Havoc who I hope does a run-in of some sort and puts someone through a flaming table covered in thumb tacks and pops the crowd!” Read the rest of this entry »

Question: what was your WWE Best PPV match of 2013?

January 13, 2014

BEST_PPV_2013_BD_2DIdly watching WWE’s latest home DVD release – Best PPV Matches of 2013 – was an odd experience for me.

To be honest, give me a show or compilation with Renee Young presenting and you can guarantee I’ll watch – she’s smart, she knows her stuff, and she has a real personality – a terrific addition to the WWE’s reporting team.

But even with Young doing the links between matches, it seemed a bit strange to me to watch PPV matches in isolation – out of the context of their PPVs and their broader storyline. Although I saw all last year’s WWE PPVs, watching them back in this setting was like watching them for the first time, entirely free of the baggage I brought to them initially.

Obviously MY best PPV matches of 2013 would mostly involve the Shield, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, but I understand and appreciate that this has to be evened out to appeal to people who aren’t ladysmarks, so of course you’ve got John Cena v the Rock and Alberto Del Rio v Rob Van Dam as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Question: what does the WWE Network mean to the UK indy scene?

January 12, 2014

wwe-network-logoYou’ve probably seen the details of the long-awaited WWE Network by now.

Launching in the US next month, its current plans are to include:

  • All the PPVS – including WrestleMania – live and on demand;
  • Pre- and post-shows for the PPVs and for RAW and Smackdown;
  • ‘The Monday Night War’ – a series about the WWE-WCW battle;
  • ‘WrestleMania Rewind’;
  • ‘WWE Countdown’ – where viewers get the chance to rank the roster (this will clearly end well);
  • ‘Legends House’ – where old wrestlers live together and with ‘house staff’ (this will clearly also end well);
  • NXT – the best WWE show;
  • Superstars – the most meaningless WWE show;
  • ALL THE WWE, WCW, and ECW PPVs EVER, “uncut and uncensored”, possibly including Chris Benoit?;
  • Episodes of RAW and Smackdown immediately after they air.
  • US viewers are being asked for just $9.99 a month at the moment; and though it’s not available to UK viewers at the moment, it will be soon, apparently.

    Basically you can now watch wrestling 24 hours a day without leaving your home, and get new content pretty much all the time.

    So what does this mean for the indy scene – if anything?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Fact: Kaitlyn has left WWE, and the Divas Division is diabolically depleted

    January 8, 2014

    Have you missed Kaitlyn lately? I have. Remember when she was champion? Remember when she was feuding with her best pal AJ? Remember when she had two weeks of a storyline with Cody Rhodes, and then the Bellas came back and WWE forgot about the Divas who can wrestle?

    Well, it’s probably not a surprise that today WWE has announced that Kaitlyn will be pursuing future endeavours outside the sports entertainment world.

    Kaitlyn followed up by tweeting that it was “bittersweet”, and confirmed that there are “big things on the horizon for 2014” (which her fiance PJ Braun described as “an awesome new project”).

    Wrestling fans being wrestling fans, there’s a lot of chatter about womenfolk not being interested in wrestling once they snag themselves a man, or the possibility of Kaitlyn posing for nude pictures.

    Rolling my eyes at this and moving on, I’d like to wish Kaitlyn the very best – she has consistently been a great performer, she’s hilarious on Twitter, and I like her hair.

    So waving her a fond farewell, let’s look at what we’re left with – a continuing feud between Divas who are on Total Divas, and Divas who are not. Wrestling doesn’t even matter any more. Read the rest of this entry »