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  • ITR On the Go: Heck in a Kitty Carrier and Survivor Series is Big Again

    Posted on by VOC Nation

    Alright. So nobody was expecting any bleeding, and “Heck in a Kitty Carrier” is taking it a bit far. Fine. On to the big picture.

    Pay-per-views are weird things. Sometimes, a great one never really seems to get its due recognition (Wrestlemania 2 comes to mind). Other times, one gets embraced as being good, even though other people can’t really seem to understand why (pick any Spring Stampede you want). But, if you’ve ever wondered if it’s possible to put together a solid show, with good matches top-to-bottom, and accomplish nearly everything you needed to, without leaving people unsatisfied, yet still have the show be difficult to get through, congratulations! Hell in a Cell 2012 shows that is possible.

    Let’s start with the little matches. All the matches were solid, even that Divas Division match. Kaitlyn really stood out as an improved wrestler, and Eve kept the belt–a move that seems for the best for now.

    Continue reading  Post ID 12930

  • ITR on the Go: TNA is Bound For…Something Anyway

    Posted on by VOC Nation

    If you’re trying to grade a pay-per-view, there are two ways you need to look at the event.

    The first way is to look at the event as a stand-alone, individual occurrence with no bearing on the past or future. Look at the matches and promos for what they are, and look to see if the crowd is hot or not. You ask if the matches would have made sense if they were someone’s first exposure to the company. Does the event, stripped of outside meaning and context, work well overall–or at least more often than not? Does the company in question display at least a rudimentary sense of backstage technological sensibility, thus allowing us viewers to focus on the match and the crowd instead of peripheral things? (For your information, despite the fact that I’m a total mark for what they theoretically stand for, Ring of Honor has yet to get full marks for that last one.)

    Getting positive answers to those questions is a sign that–at the very least–the show in question wasn’t a complete disaster. By and large, TNA did that. As a stand-alone event that was completely independent from everything else, Bound For Glory wasn’t a bad little show. Sure, the crowd died for a little while and there were a few hiccups when it came to psychology, but I never found myself questioning the spending of my time on the show despite my panning of the Tenay-Taz booth for all three hours on Twitter. (A brief aside: Tenay and Taz are an undeniably and unforgivably horrible broadcast team. Taz in particular has no place in a booth.) By and large, it was three hours of reasonably solid matches…and something involving Al Snow and a retro porn star.

    The second way you need to look at things is in a broader sense. Look at the past and toward the future and ask if what you watched made sense. Do the matches–and the event itself–feel as big as they were supposed to feel? Does the company appear to be headed in a positive or negative direction? Were the ideas presented fresh, or at least exciting re-makes? Are your company’s important slots in good hands? Was this, in the broader and more complicated picture, a good event?

    It’s there that I think my colleagues and I start to differ. It wasn’t a bad show, but it was a letdown with some questionable decisions which should make any objective observer question what exactly it is that TNA plans to do going forward. Yes, as stand-alone events the matches were solid. Ten years from now someone might even pop this into their DVD player to introduce someone to wrestling and actually succeed in making them like it. But for us big picture folks, this event just didn’t live up to the hype or deliver the kind of breakthrough moments we keep waiting for TNA to have.

    If you were looking for a grade from me, I’d say it could probably range anywhere from a 75-80 out of 100 depending on how generous you want to be and what you plan on scoring. Like I said, despite my sardonic commentary throughout the night this wasn’t a bad little show. But this column isn’t about giving TNA a grade on a pay-per-view. This is about TNA not treating their supposed answer to Wrestlemania like it is an answer to Wrestlemania; this is about TNA making the same mistake with its primary title that it has made time after time after time.

    Regardless of how one feels about hardcore matches (I don’t), you’ll be hard-pressed to make the argument that they don’t take a lot out of a crowd. Roode-Storm was no exception to this principle. While that’s not a problem in-and-of-itself, the rest of the show was allowed to plod along while while the then dead crowd contributed to it not feeling like the company’s biggest event of the year. Sure, some of that is out of the company’s hands, but Roode-Storm was the third match on a card that opened with RVD challenging and defeating Zema Ion for the X-Division title, and Magnus challenging, but losing to, Samoa Joe for the television title. (Aside: Isn’t the point of a Television title that it is defended on Television?) Surely they could have spaced the better matches out to give people time to breathe. That’s not me being a nitpick, that’s Card Building 101.

    It’s a shame that happened too, because while I have problems with the Aces & 8’s angle, the reveal of Devon as a figure within the group should have elicited more than the tepid gasp it got. Even the smartest of the Smarks should have at least given polite applause to TNA for keeping something fairly under wraps. That sort of leads into the problem of what TNA plans to do long term, because there are concerns that should arise with this new reveal.

    So Devon is the leader of the group–or at least is a power figure within it. What’s the payoff? Is it Devon versus Bully Ray? Does Sting somehow factor in at the end? It wouldn’t be out of the question for that to happen. But the reaction is “so what” no matter what. Just as importantly, when is the final payoff for all this? Logically it’s next year’s BFG, but that’s a long way off for three guys whose combined average age is almost 45. In the mean time, what happens from here? Is Aces and 8’s going to run out of control from a creative standpoint?  I, for one, fear it will. This whole thing feels too nWo-ish for me. And how do you keep the angle going for a year?

    And why did everybody play so nice in a no disqualification format? Yeah yeah, suspension of disbelief and all that jazz, but I’m not saying the Aces should have showed up with shotguns either. It’s No DQ and if you lose you’re “gone.” Break counts, use weapons–hell, if you watched the matches before yours you’d know they were available to you–don’t just stand around and hope something good happens for you. The Aces seemed to spend a lot of time doing that. Why show up to a match with no rules if you plan to spend the whole night following them?

    If there was ever a pay-per-view that shouldn’t leave people asking all these questions, it’s your promotion’s premiere event of the year. I’m not against a big reveal at your biggest show, but the questions I’m asking border on being basic procedural stuff. And while I shouldn’t be able to predict what’s going to happen step-for-step, I should at least be able to say “Ah, okay, I have (compelling angle 1 and 2) to look forward to now!”

    But speaking of basic procedural stuff, we get to what really soured the show for me: The Main Event.

    Much like the rest of the show, the match was great as a stand-alone event with no implications to the future, nor any past fears to dig up. If it was just a one-off event that happened independently, it was actually a really great match. I’m saying this even though I still see absolutely no wrestling skills in Jeff Hardy’s possession, or even a reason to be interested in him for that matter. He’s wrestling’s answer to the Mexican Jumping Bean, and I commend Austin Aries for getting an otherwise really good match out of him…it…whatever.

    Still, this makes the second time in three years that Hardy has won the TNA WHC at BFG. Meanwhile, I can’t imagine he’s staying clean and he definitely hasn’t remained uninjured, or under contract, or even interested in wrestling. Hardy isn’t only older, he has harder miles on his body and at the end of the day has never been someone whom could be trusted to have a company built around them. He’s definitely over with a lot of people, but that should tell you something when someone so over still gets shoved aside by an even bigger promotion with a more driving need for that sort of thing.

    Seriously, four years (ish) ago, Vince McMahon sat down and said something to the extent of “Jeff, you’re really over and we almost don’t even have to try to make gobs of money off you. But we’re going to go with four other people: a guy who can’t even get over in his hometown, a former reality tv personality with almost no wrestling background, CM Punk, and something my son-in-law calls Sheamus. I don’t know. Anyway, good luck doing your painting or whatever.”

    Meanwhile, Austin Aries got the call to be Ring of Honor Champion as it made its initial move to television and held the belt during what was arguably its most successful period to date. And while I can’t truthfully say that I know for sure why he left Ring of Honor, if I said “Ring of Honor is kind of cheap” none of you would really call me on it either.

    The match was a microcosm of the entire night if you think about it. Fun to watch in isolation, painful when you begin realizing what it all means.

    I sure hope TNA knows what they’re doing. It would be nice to have them prove me wrong for once.

    Quick Hits

    – During my live tweeting of the show I took some shots at the laughable TNA Hall of Fame video package with sting. This got me called out by wrestler Joey Image. The conversation went as follows…(edited only to remove superfluous Twitter things)

    Me: “When I was a kid I dreamed of being in front of tens of thousands of people.” – Sting. Not all dreams come true.

    Image: did WCW not draw tens of thousands?

    Me: Numbers vary, but WCW was lucky to get 15k at a ppv. at best, that’s “ten of thousand.”

    Image: He didn’t specify “at a PPV”. He just said “in front of”, and that dream came true.

    I didn’t really have the space to respond on Twitter, so I’ll do it here.

    Fine, Joey, I concede your point. In a mindbogglingly reductionist world you’ve managed to split a microscopic semantic hair with me and sort of eek out a philosophical victory. Never mind that even in the world of professional sports broadcasting the phrase “in front of the crowd” almost always refers specifically to the on-location attendance. Never mind that ten year old Sting couldn’t have even been aware of the concept of being viewed on a pay-per-view or closed circuit television format in someone’s home. (PPV wouldn’t even become a recognizable and sustainable technology until 1980, by which point Sting was around age 21 and CCTV never caught on as a method for home viewing.) And speaking of ten year old Sting, never mind that no ten year old has ever thought in such broad platitudes.

    Actually, I don’t concede that point. You’re humorless.

    – It will be really interesting to see how guys get time distributed on Raw tonight. I say this because of something we sort of touched on during ITR last week, but didn’t really get into a whole lot.

    Based on last week’s numbers, Vince knows the following things: 1. Ratings were up once he came into the picture. 2. These were the ratings which were up during CM Punk’s time. 3. John Cena seemed to have no impact on ratings, but that could be a red herring because of when Cena’s airtime was.

    Vince and crew will need to see if they can find tangible evidence of who does and does not impact ratings the most. That will dictate a lot of what is going to happen between HIAC and the Rumble, and by proxy Wrestlemania.

    – I’m getting really, really tired of all these Steve Austin comeback rumors. Please…for the love of Jesus…stop.

    Thoughts Completely Unrelated to Wrestling

    – Nice to see the Packers get back on track, at least for a week.

    – Thank God I’m not a big UFC fan because I could never do those late pay-per-views.

    – “People of the CTA” is an interesting Facebook Page. While I will absolutely deny your friend request if you find me, you should check it out anyway.

    I <3 The 80’s Song of the Week

    “Golden Brown” – The Stranglers

    Ray Bogusz is the co-host of the In The Room Show and a syndicated wrestling columnist. You can reach him via his Twitter @RayITR. To get his column on your website, email intheroompodcast@gmail.com.

  • ITR On the Go: When Undertaker Returns, There is Only One Feud He Should Want

    Posted on by VOC Nation
    Photo by WWE

    About a month ago, in my monthly column for The Color Commentator, I made a passing comment that the Big Show had done something I’d thought wouldn’t happen: He completed the Grand Slam by winning the Intercontinental championship in April. I realize that that’s an odd way to start off a column that features the Undertaker in the title, but I’ll get to that.

    At some point, the Undertaker is going to come back to WWE. It may not be until November—it might not even be until January—but at some point this winter, Undertaker is going to come back to the ring. That’s just what he does. That’s just how his schedule works. And because he’s Undertaker—because he’s pretty much done it all and been one of the all time greats—he can do that; for better or worse—right or wrong—we’re going to watch.

    We’re going to watch because the Undertaker is one of those transcendental stars—like Savage or Sammartino—who will be looked at decades later as being one of those who reached a level of greatness unattainable to nearly all wrestlers. But we’re not going to get anything out of it.

    Continue reading  Post ID 12930

  • TWD Inside the Wrestler’s Studio: ITWS: Why Jerry Lawler Should Win the WWE Championship

    Posted on by VOC Nation

    By this time next year, Jerry “The King” Lawler should have a reign as WWE Champion under his belt.

    That’s a weird idea, isn’t it? In an era where there’s so much emphasis on making new stars and building up the next generation of talent, it would seem counterproductive to put the company’s most prestigious championship on a 62-year-old Hall of Famer who’s spent most of his WWE career at the announce position instead of the ring.  Nevertheless, it should happen. Putting the title on Lawler gives WWE a chance to tell a story that’s not only compelling, but also inspiring and heart warming.

    Despite being an announcer first, Lawler has always had a presence in the ring during his WWE career. Over the last 15 years or so that presence has increased and decreased depending on story lines, roster depth, and whether a young talent could benefit from working with him. Only recently have we seen him lock up with main eventers like the Miz and CM Punk. Lawler even challenged Miz for the WWE Championship on his 61st birthday in November 2010, then again at the Elimination Chamber pay per view the following February. And of course, his lengthy feud with Michael Cole made for some memorable and even emotional television, if not a fantastic pay per view match.

    What this has all equated to is a gradual shift in the way fans have been trained to perceive Lawler. Three or four years ago, putting the title on Lawler would have been a cheap stunt to get some quick attention from old school wrestling fans. Now? You can certainly argue that it would still be a stunt, but it would also be the fruit bore from a seed planted and nourished over the course of several years. From a mark’s perspective, Lawler winning the title would still be a long shot, but it’s not nearly as far fetched as it was a few years ago.

    Mind you, it can’t happen any time soon. CM Punk’s reign as WWE Champion needs to last through the year at the very least. My assumption is that he’s going to drop the belt to The Rock at the Royal Rumble, then we’ll see Cena take it at Wrestlemania. I’m thinking some time in the summer of 2014. Assuming Cena is still the all America hero at that point, you probably don’t want him to be the one Lawler beats. These days the King’s old school wrestling persona works best when it’s matched against a conceited, disrespectful villain who can cut scathing promos. That makes CM Punk the most likely candidate for the job, but we shouldn’t forget guys like Alberto Del Rio, the Miz or even Wade Barrett. Lawler could also be put into a multi-man title match, which would allow the creative team some leeway in terms of having him beat a current superstar.

    "Did anyone else pick 'He Hate Me' in the first round of this year's fantasy football draft?"

    But man, oh man…what a moment it would be. Fans have a much more personal connection with Jerry Lawler than they have with any other wrestler, because he spends most of his television time indirectly talking to them via the announce position. He’s been with us for so many amazing, memorable, funny, and even tragic moments. When Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Batista won their first WWE Championships, he was there with us. When Mick Foley flew off the cage, he was there with us. When we mourned the loss of Owen Hart, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, he was there with us. Consider how many times we’ve invited him into our homes over the years. We know him so personally that to see him with the WWE Championship would almost be like seeing a brother or an uncle win it.

    Having Lawler hold the title would also give the image-conscious and kid-friendly WWE a nice inspirational human interest story to feed to the press. A 60-something-year-old wrestler wins the big title after over 40 years in the business? That’s PR gold, right there.

    Lawler obviously wouldn’t be a long term champion. Give him a month with the title, at most. But it has to be the WWE Championship, or more accurately, whichever title is associated with Monday Night Raw. They can’t chicken out and make him the Smackdown champ. No disrespect to Smackdown. But if they’re going to do this, they have to go all out.

    Clearly, Lawler isn’t a saint. He’s had his issues over the years, mostly with women. But can you honestly tell me that after all these years, and all he’s done for the business, that he doesn’t deserve it? Imagine the crowd reaction. Imagine Lawler’s reaction! Think of the raw emotion that it would emit from all parties involved. It could very well go down in history as one of the most touching moments in WWE history. Would it fit in with the company’s youth movement? No. Would it make for some interesting television and a great story? Absolutely.

    Rob Siebert was the Associate Deputy Chief of Breaking News and Noteworthy Events for the website formerly known as The Wrestling Daily. These days he is part of the “brain trust” over at PrimaryIgnition.com.

  • JJ Dillon: The TWD Interview

    Posted on by VOC Nation

    As one of the most iconic figures in the history of professional wrestling, legendary manager J.J. Dillon has experienced just about everything that the business has to offer.  Whether he was in front of the crowds and cameras as manager of Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen, or he was working behind the scenes at WCW and WWF during the legendary Monday Night Wars, J.J. Dillon set an industry standard for the pop culture phenomenon known as sports entertainment.

    Although officially retired from wrestling since February 2003, J.J. still makes occasional appearances with independent wrestling organizations from time to time, including Chikara and Ring of Honor.  He recently published Wrestlers Are Like Seagulls: From McMahon to McMahon (Crowbar Press, 2005) which chronicles his experiences in the world of professional wrestling.

    J.J. Dillon generously agreed to participate in an interview for The Wrestling Daily to share a little about his celebrated past and his current endeavors.

    Mike Bessler, September 2009

    TWD:  J.J., your book Wrestlers Are Like Seagulls is truly an impressive undertaking.  Not only is the book packed with candid and insightful recollections of your decades in the business, but you’ve also included a wealth of great photos from your personal archives.  Please tell us a little about the writing process for the project and how it felt to look back through time at your distinguished career.

    JJ:  I was introduced to Scott Teal by a close friend in the business.  I had given passing thought about someday writing my memoirs, but never gave it serious thought until meeting Scott.  The whole process took almost a year.  We spent months recording extensive phone interviews.

    I had kept detailed daily journals from the beginning of my career which gave us a documented basis from which to touch on details of each venue in the various territories I worked including the names of the wrestlers I worked with.  Scott had our phone conversations transcribed by Philip Varriale, and Phil injected additional information about my career that added more depth to the final draft.

    Scott broke my life story into chapters to make it easier to read, and added photos from my personal collection and photos of other wrestlers to coincide with references to specific individuals.  (Scott Teal is a gifted author and a respected wrestling historian.)  My story was told with brutal honesty including a hard look in the mirror at my own strengths and shortcomings.

    I am very proud of the book.  It has been very well received by all those that have read it.  It is not available in book stores and you can only get a copy through www.jjdillon.com (or Crowbar Press), or at one of my personal appearances.  I try to attend Cauliflower Alley Club each year, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame functions, and at any other appearances, and I always try to carry a few books with me.  For copies ordered through my website, I continue to sign (and personalize, if requested) the book at no additional charge as my way of saying thanks to all that have picked up my book.

    J.J. Dillon, November, 1975; Image credit: J.J. Dillon

    TWD:  In the process of delving into such a vast array of material, were there any “time capsule” moments in which you unearthed a particular memory or two that had been long forgotten?  How did it feel to revisit some of the more difficult times in your career, such as your personal disputes with folks like Dusty Rhodes and Vince McMahon?

    JJ:  When I sat down in one-on-one exchange with Scott, as I reflected back I did tend to remember specific dates or matches in great detail.  In real time, one is often so busy wrapped up in the moment that one doesn’t appreciate the significance or impact of what is taking place.  As Scott and I discussed the whole of my career, I found that I did develop a greater appreciation for certain highlights of my career that I had never focused on before.  I realized just how lucky and blessed I had been.  I had a lot of help from many people along the journey and I felt it was important to acknowledge that help and I tried to thank each individual by name.

    I’m glad you asked about Dusty Rhodes.  I’d like to set the record straight.  In Seagulls, I did say that I often found it difficult working with Dusty at times over the years because of his intense ego.  I still stand by what I said.  However, it would be wrong to characterize our relationship as a personal dispute ever at any time.  To the contrary, Dusty was very kind to me and to this day I respect and admire Dusty.  I want it known that I acknowledge my gratitude to “The Dream” and I attribute a large part of the success I enjoyed at the peak of my career to the opportunities available to me from working with Dusty.   I have also come to understand that the ego is a big part of what has made Dusty an icon in the wrestling business.  It is an essential part of the make- up of “The American Dream.” I consider Dusty a friend.

    As for Vince McMahon; though at the time we parted company in 1996, our individual emotions were charged and intense, I don’t harbor any ill-feeling towards Vince.  I appreciated that I was asked to participate in the WWE Horsemen DVD; that I was invited to the Flair retirement celebration on RAW in Orlando following the Flair-Michaels match (and I wrote Vince a personal letter congratulating him and the WWE for a job well done for Flair, and for inviting me to be a part of it); and that I was invited to participate in two recent taped sessions of the WWE Legends of Wrestling Roundtable that took place in Stamford.  I guess time does soothe old wounds.

    TWD:  You’re best known for your work with The Four Horsemen through Jim Crockett Productions and NWA, but in the mid 1980s, you also did some work in the Memphis/CWA territory.  I recently revisited some of the promos you shot for the old Championship Wrestling show in which you dish out some serious verbal abuse at Jerry Lawler and his devoted fans.  You brought every last bit of your signature style and swagger to the Memphis territory and the fans seemed to respond well to your personality and presence.  How much input and influence did you have on the creative process when you crossed over into Memphis and other productions and territories?

    J.J. captures the International Heavyweight Championship, May 1984; Image credit: J.J. Dillon

    JJ:  My role as Leader of The Four Horsemen was certainly the pinnacle of my career, but also just a snapshot of my career.  Remember, I had over 3000 wrestling matches throughout my career.  I had a great time the first time I appeared in Memphis at the studio with Lance Russell.

    As is often the case with special moments in one’s career, it came about through a series of events.  Lawler had worked a big show in Florida and faced Kendo Nagasaki for the Southern Title, and I managed Kendo at the time.  Business was so-so in Memphis at that time, and Lawler had the Florida match with Kendo taped to air on Memphis TV.  Kendo and I stole the title from Lawler and a return match was ordered for Memphis.  I was asked to do a promo for Kendo for the Memphis rematch, but I didn’t appear myself.

    It jumped the house significantly in Memphis and I think that Kendo and Lawler ended up getting three matches out of the deal.  Each week I got a call in Florida to do just one more promo for Memphis.  Lawler eventually took back the Southern Championship, and Jerry Jarrett wondered why they hadn’t created their own Kendo-like character.  Kimala the Ugandan Giant was born.

    Again, I was asked to cut a promo for someone I had never met or seen since it was a natural transition from Kendo.  The new character continued to grow in Memphis as did my mystique.  The fans started asking when they were going to see me in person in Memphis (remember, this is all before cable television changed the landscape).  Arrangements were made with the Florida office for me to be booked a few dates in Memphis.  My first appearance was the Memphis TV, and how could I miss with a front-story like mine prior to showing up?  Jerry Jarrett gave me free reign, and the rest is history.

    TWD:  The Memphis/CWA area was a hotbed of pro wrestling in the late 1970s and early 1980s and an impressive roster of heel managers left their mark on the region during that period.  From Jimmy Hart to Tux Newman to Angelo Poffo, some of the biggest and best names in the business did their share of memorable work in Memphis.  Did you feel like you had to work harder to draw in the fans or did your reputation already generate a fair amount of heat for you?

    JJ:  As I already indicated, my work on the promos I cut from Florida for Kendo and for Kimala spoke for itself.  You hear people say that they were in the right place at the right time and then capitalized on the opportunity.  That is what happened with me in Memphis.  I had a blast in Memphis, helped draw a few bucks and I was treated with the utmost respect and professionalism. They took good care of me.  Jimmy Hart was there at the time and he briefly formed an unholy alliance with Jerry Lawler and Jimmy and I worked against each other a few times.  Jimmy is a great talent and he went on to bigger and better things and is a credit to our business.

    TWD:  In your book, you mention that the last time you spoke or corresponded with Vince McMahon was prior to your departure from WW(E) in 1996.  Was it a difficult decision to return to a WWE ring for Ric Flair’s farewell show in 2008?

    JJ:  It was not a difficult decision at all for me.  I did say in my book that I would never again work for the WWF (now WWE), or for Vince.

    For me personally, I see a distinction between appearing at the Flair farewell celebration (or to appearing on the WWE Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen DVD, or participating in the Legends of Wrestling Roundtable) and becoming to a full-time employee of the company (or a consultant, etc., on any basis).  In fairness, I should make it clear that I have never had an offer or any type of overture for any type of employment from the WWE, nor do I ever expect any.  I would never consider going back, so my feelings remain the same as they were in 1996.

    I am not splitting hairs, and I’m not trying to search for some basis to justify my recent decisions.  I knew that I owed it to my fellow Horsemen and to all the fans that supported me so well throughout my career, to put any personal feelings from the past aside and to do what was right for the business.

    TWD:  Your book also provides a candid look at some of the most infamous debacles in the history of pro wrestling, such as the 1998 “Road Wild” main event which involved the ill-conceived showdown between industry superstar Hulk Hogan and talk show host Jay Leno.  You described this moment as “the beginning of the end” and “a sad day for the wrestling business.” With the recent introduction of regular “guest hosts” on Monday Night Raw, WWE has seemingly resurrected the idea of integrating celebrities into the wrestling world and a good deal of these appearances involve some degree of physical interaction with wrestlers as a kind of impromptu, on-the-fly booking.  Has WWE learned from the mistakes of Bischoff and WCW or are they simply repeating a regrettable chapter in sports entertainment?

    JJ:  I don’t agree with a lot of the things Vince has done and the direction he has taken the wrestling business, but I also cannot ignore his success.  The problem as I see it is that once you go down a certain road, you can’t reverse and pretend you were never there.  I refer to the use and treatment of females, the all too frequent changes in title holders (as often as two or three times in the period of one show), and the emphasis on being perceived as purely sports entertainment.

    If you acknowledge that everything is scripted, and if you show that the title (any title) no longer has any real meaning, how can you expect me to get emotionally involved in who is to be the winner of a title match when you’ve already demonstrated that the title itself doesn’t mean anything anyway?  What are they fighting for, and why?

    TWD:  I recently spoke with someone who had the pleasure to meet you while working an indy show a short time ago and he was thoroughly impressed with your warmth and professionalism.  He said that you went around the locker room and personally greeted each and everyone there, suggesting that your genuine interest in talent and staff is uncommon in the business today.  Do you feel like you have a distinct or unique philosophy when it comes to pro wrestling?  Who were your most important influences in the area of business relations and behind-the-scenes work?

    JJ:  I don’t know that I have a distinct or unique philosophy about professional wrestling, but I do have a distinct appreciation for how I got to where I am today.  The purpose of doing this interview is not to sell my book, but you really have to read my life story from beginning to end to understand where I’m coming from.

    I was never the biggest or the best, but no one wanted it more than I did or was willing to work any harder than I did.  Even with hard work and dedication, I had the benefit of a lot of help from lots of people throughout my career.  Please find a copy of my book even if you borrow a copy from a friend.  I owe so much to so many.  I’m hesitant to start listing names, because I can’t begin to list them all.  They are listed in my book.  You also have to be lucky, and I was often fortunate enough to be the right place at the right time.  I also owe the fans everything.  Wrestling fans are the best fans in the world, and the most loyal.

    Whatever success I’ve enjoyed in the wrestling business, I owe first and foremost to the fans that supported me and supported professional wrestling throughout my career.

    Happy in retirement, December 2004; Image credit: J.J. Dillon

    TWD:  You seem to be very happy in your retirement, devoting as much time as possible to your children and grandchildren.  But wrestling fans always enjoy seeing you back inside the squared circle and we’re always eager for the next chapter in your storied career to unfold.  What can we look forward to in the coming months and years from the magnificent mind of J.J. Dillon?

    JJ:  I have slowed down a little bit.  I look back on the era of the Horsemen and the lifestyle, and I wonder how did I do it?  I had full, left-knee replacement two years ago.  A year ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  It was detected very early, I had excellent treatment and today I am cancer free.

    I continue to work full-time for the State of Delaware.  I am active in Cauliflower Alley Club and again this year I will be the MC (along with Terry Funk) for the awards banquet in Las Vegas in April.  I am on the board of the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Amsterdam, NY.  We have our annual induction (the 11th) coming up in early June of 2010.

    The PWHF is an amazing place.  Just as every baseball fan must someday make a pilgrimage to Cooperstown, every true wrestling fan owes it to his or herself to make a similar pilgrimage to Amsterdam to see pro-wrestling’s only true brick and mortar Hall of Fame.  I don’t have the words to describe it; you must see it for yourself. (If you go to www.jjdillon.com you will find convenient links to CAC and PWHF.)

    I am also scheduled to appear at WrestleReunion 4 in Los Angeles the last weekend in January of 2010.  I also look forward to the NWA Legends FanFest presented by Greg Price in Charlotte.  I believe it is the first weekend in August. The Original Four Horsemen were all together this year in Charlotte and the turn-out and response was overwhelming.  What an event!  You never know when I may show up at one of the local events.  Life is good for J. J. Dillon.  I am blessed and I have much to be thankful for.

    Please visit J.J. Dillon’s personal homepage to read more about his life and work.  JJ. Is also available to be booked for personal appearances and he can be contacted through his official website.  His book Wrestlers Are Like Seagulls: From McMahon to McMahon is available for purchase through Crowbar Press for $25 plus shipping.

    (This article was originally published under the title, “Riding Shotgun with the Four Horsemen:  TWD Interviews J.J. Dillon.” Minor revisions were made for publication on thebradyhicks.com.)

    Mike Bessler was a co-founder of The Wrestling Daily. Like JJ Dillon, Mike has much to be thankful for. 

  • TWD Inside the Wrestler’s Studio: Cut AW’s Mic Off

    Posted on by VOC Nation

    People need to stop feeling sorry for Brian Jossie, a.k.a. Abraham Washington.

    Am I sorry we won’t be seeing any more of him (at least for the foreseeable future?) Yes. He’s a great talent, and I liked where his character was going. He was a great mouthpiece for Darren Young and Titus O’Neil, and it looked like those three were about to hit their stride together. But then…

    “Titus O’Neil is like Kobe Bryant in a Colorado hotel room. He’s unstoppable!”
    That was what Jossie said on the July 29 episode of Raw, a live broadcast, which ultimately led to his downfall in the company. Allegedly he made additional comments in public that aggravated the situation, including some about Linda McMahon’s senate campaign. But that was the remark that started it all. He was let go August 10. After his release was announced, Jossie threw a Twitter tantrum, and ha since thrown a few more on his new personal account, @BJRatedR.Among his Tweets were…

    I’ve offended the wrong people that taught me how to have ATTITUDE It was the #WWE that made me bold and now it has turned it’s [sic] back on me

    Let this be a lesson to up and coming talent in the WWE don’t try and be great like the Rock or Stone Cold. WWE isn’t the same…

    [To Linda McMahon, referencing WWE allegedly going TV PG for the benefit of her senate campaign] Creates jobs my ass!! I’m fired thanks to you and your campaign.

    The #WWE is afraid of me…

    Vince, you shook my hand and betrayed me within the same week…

    He and his Twitter followers also called WWE out on various “edgy” moments from their programming over the years, most notably Big Show making a similar Kobe Bryant crack in 2003, Vince McMahon beating up a one-legged wrestler Zach Gowen, and the company’s celebration of Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist.

    Ugh. Whining about the PG era? Really?

    Despite all his Twitter rage, and one or two valid points (he’s got them on the Mike Tyson thing), Jossie really has nobody to blame but himself.

    From WWE Superstar to ShamWow demo guy at the mall...Hey, at least he still has the headset mic.

    When you’re a performer and you’re on a stage, you not only have to keep your audience in mind, but remember whose stage you’re on. No matter what part you’re playing, or where, you’re there because someone has chosen you for the role. In Jossie’s case, as he wasn’t star, if you’re disrespectful there are literally hundreds of other performers willing to step up and take your place. Respect your audience, respect your stage.

    When AW made that Kobe Bryant joke, my response was: “…huh?” The reference was dated, made Titus O’Neil sound like a rapist, and it came off as a poor attempt at shock entertainment. What purpose did that crack serve that couldn’t have been accomplished by something less crass?

    Apparently, Jossie had a bad attitude about the backstage heat he got from the incident. A WWE representative told TMZ that Jossie made “offensive and inappropriate comments on live television and on social media.” Allegedly it had something to do with him talking about Linda McMahon’s campaign. I don’t know anything about all that, but considering how Jossie is conducting himself publicly these days, it’s not exactly far fetched, is it? Over the past few days he’s made derogatory comments about Linda’s appearance, comparing her to the Crypt Keeper, and has put pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X up on his account. Because he’s obviously the head of a new revolution, right? The sour grapes, rape joke revolution…

    Yes, Linda McMahon’s senate campaign has undoubtedly had an impact on WWE television. No, WWE is not the same as it was when Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were on top. You can’t say some of the things they did. But those two would have been stars in ANY era. Whether they’d have been as big a stars is up for debate, but their talents were not limited to four letter words and innuendos. I honestly believe that people who whine and complain so much about WWE’s PG rating and long for the Attitude Era don’t understand what made it so great in the first place: Great characters, great performers, good drama, good storytelling. None of that is necessarily dependent on being edgy for edginess’ sake.

    Linda McMahon did not get Brian Jossie fired. Brian Jossie got himself fired by saying something he knew was off limits on a PG show, and then being a child about it. Now he’s taken to social media to display the same kind of behavior that got him fired in the first place. I can only imagine the anger, frustration and bitterness he must be feeling about it all. But he’s humiliating himself. Worst of all, he’s got a bunch of other childish idiots feeding his misguided sense of righteousness. Fans are setting up Twitter accounts dedicated to him, talking about censorship, racism, #WeWantAW, etc.

    Hey, I want AW back too. I liked him. But I think if we’re ever going to see him again, Brian Jossie needs to grow up.

    Rob Siebert is the former Chief Theatrical Correspondent for The Wrestling Daily. Nowadays, he’s marking out for comics, wrestling and all sorts of pop culture at Primary Ignition.

  • Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. The Rise and Fall of TWD, part three

    Posted on by VOC Nation

    To read part one of this series, click here.
    To read part two of this series, click here.

    Part Three: Agitato

    When it comes right down to it, I don’t know if missing the boat on the whole Wrestlicious ad was completely our fault. As noted in “Rise and Fall…part two,” we were contacted by lotto tycoon Jonathan Vargas about the possibility that he’d take out some ad space on our now burgeoning hotbed of pro wrestling journalism. Content Director Jason LeBlanc, Chief Editor Ray Bogusz, and I tried to hammer out some prices for premium ad space at the very top of the site and we did reply to Vargas with what we thought were very reasonable prices but no deal ever materialized. Adam Testa, who joined TWD’s Administrative Committee as our Marketing Director, had tried to steer us in a direction that was more consistent with what he’d seen as a journalist but we were too excited to really get our heads around it all. Whatever the case, nothing ever came of it.

    It might have been around this time that I was getting very sensitive to the financial aspect of things. I felt like I’d shelled out more than my share for our setup costs with the understanding that this was a collective effort and that expenses and profits would be shared. And while expenses were nominal up to this point, I was getting frustrated that my fellow administrators weren’t contributing to fees for the URL purchase, site hosting and the like. Moreover, we had also turned down another offer by an advertiser who wanted to pay something like $30 to put an ad on the main page for something like 60 to 90 days. Those who opposed this said that the offer was too low but to my mind, something is always more than nothing…and anything is always a good place to start. Expenses for the site would ultimately pick up yet again with the need for a better hosting plan. Truth be told, I did live in a two-income household at the time and, in fact, both my wife and I had some small part-time jobs that were bringing a little more to the family coffers but I didn’t think this necessarily figured into who should pay the bills for TWD. Besides, nobody asked me how much my house payment, outstanding medical bills, and the entire myriad of living expenses that go along with raising a small family figured into my overall financial picture. With all that in mind, though, here’s the truth of it: we had a crappy business model. Okay, maybe it’s even more accurate to say we had no business model. There were better approaches to consider (pooling resources before the project began, true shared ownership registered through a third part or service, etc.) but none of us could really see beyond our initial vision and excitement to build a foundation that was more stable than what we’d ended up creating. The end result was that we were constantly stressed out over a lot of things that could’ve been handled differently.

    With our continued increase in traffic and the establishment of a dedicated fan base, there came a call for a site overhaul. In our present configuration, our main page could feature somewhere around 9 to 12 articles with additional links appearing in the sidebar(s). It seemed that quite a few TWD writers and readers felt that our general aesthetics could be greatly improved and a good deal of the criticism was that the site appeared drab and gloomy. I have to admit that I internalized the critique of my design and was even a little bitter about it. This was also one of the few things that Ray and I were in complete agreement on by this point (to my recollection, anyway), as we both liked TWD’s layout and appearance up to this point.

    At some level, though, it seemed reasonable to expect that TWD should evolve to a more elaborate and ornate layout and it was mostly the vision of Adam Testa who made this happen. He selected a much more powerful “theme” for the site’s overall appearance as well as a black, red and white color scheme that seemed to evoke the spirit of the old ECW logo. I purchased the theme package and Adam and I customized the hell out of it using our admittedly limited experience with HTML, JavaScript and PHP. It also turned out that Adam was both adept and prolific when it came to graphics and design elements. He created new logos and used pictures he’d taken at WWE & TNA house shows and local events to enhance the look and feel of TWD. But what really amazed all of us in the end was his drive and determination to make TWD something great. I mean, the guy would sit outside of his local library late at night well into the fall and winter months just so he could use their Wi-Fi connection to work on TWD. . I remember the night of the re-launch well, as a bunch of us including Adam, Ray, Scott (don in Australia) and possibly Michael Scanlon stayed online for hours chatting on Skype as we recategorized all of our old articles to fit into the site’s ne configuration. It was a really happy and exciting time. In the end, the site’s re-launch was extremely well received and it gave us a much more credible and dynamic appearance on the ‘net. Adam gets the lion’s share of the credit for this. He brought a lot to the table, but this might well have been his crowning achievement as part of TWD.

    Adam also brought a journalistic flair to TWD that compelled him to go straight to the men and women of the industry itself for comments and for full-length interviews. One of the biggest interviews he landed was with Ring of Honor’s Tyler Black (now WWE’s Seth Rollins). It was really cool that ROH talent were directly communicating with our site and Adam’s piece on Black was particularly timely as it spotlighted Black’s imminent return to the ring after a neck injury. So, it seemed there would be a lot of eyes on the piece. Indeed, a lot of folks did read the article and, oddly enough, that created a few conundrums with regard to both TWD and Black himself. In the original draft of the article, Black had made a rather unflattering comment concerning ROH’s television deal with HDNet. In his 2012 intro to the re-publication of the article, Testa recalls:

    The article originally contained a comment from Black about HDNet being a “stepping stone” to something bigger. The day after publication, Black sent me a text message, stating he had received heat from management about those comments and asking me if I could remove them.

    If this was my real newspaper job, ethics would have prevailed, but for our fledgling site, it wasn’t worth burning potential bridges to take a moral stand over the issue. In the end, it paid off, as ROH plugged the revised article in their newswire.

    The decision to revise Black’s quote(s) came pretty easily to us. I think there was some unspecified concern among Ray, Jason, and me that Adam’s journalistic integrity would put us at odds with our desire to go ahead and revise the piece in hopes of fostering a relationship with ROH I recall that all four of us came to agreement on the matter quite quickly and I think we were all quite relieved to have come to agreement with very little hullabaloo.

    Adam's mock up of the business cards we never printed. Image credit: TWD Media

    There was some discord behind the scenes, though. I’d say a fair amount of it was between Ray and me. It was probably more than that; we argued, after all, about damn near everything up to a point. We argued about whether an interview should be called an “interview” or an “exclusive,” we argued about what a “byline” really was. We argued about whether or not to put a disclaimer at the end of our articles. Hell, one time Ray and I even argued about the correct spelling of the phrase, “Que sera sera.” (For the record, I was correct but Ray got in the last shot of that one by saying that working with me made him feel like he was running a preschool. Something like that, anyway.)

    Adding to my concerns about our business model was an odd decision by some of the administrators to start crediting original artwork and logos to “TWD Media.” I had no idea what in the freakin’ hell TWD was and I couldn’t seem to get anyone to explain it to me. My brain kind of filled in the gaps and I ended up thinking that this was some kind of way to undermine any possibility that there was collective ownership of TWD by making “TWD Media” a larger entity that would encompass TWD itself. (No word if it would’ve also included “The Motorsports Daily,” which was a pie-in-the-sky idea between ray and I that never got off the ground). The whole “TWD Media” flap made me feel like Michael Kiske’s memorable line in the song “Your Turn”: The thing that I once started isn’t mine anymore.

    I was, for my part, trying to keep my uncertainty and the friction between some of the administrators under wraps and hidden from the writers’ bullpen. I can’t really remember how or when it ultimately came to their collective attention but I recall that some folks were surprised about the seriousness of the schism by the time everything  was finally out in the open. Our political differences had a lot to do with the tension. I had come to expect that this would be a problem at some point but I was actually rather taken aback when our first really huge blow up over site matters ended up spilling into a disagreement over politics. I don’t know how the dispute started but I recall getting some grief because one of my Facebook friends had showed off a picture of his living room that included a framed picture of Mao Zedong. It was like a total non sequitur to me but since it was obviously such a sensitive situation, I resisted the urge to share the information that I keep a framed picture of Mao at Anyuan on my side of the bedroom. What frustrated me most is that I felt like I had to hold a lot back for the sake of everyone else. Any of my replies – even ones that seemed innocuous to me – usually tended to inflame things and I felt like everyone who knew what was going on secretly blamed me for each and every argument.

    In hindsight, I know that everyone wasn’t against me. I know there was blame to go around, too. Surely it wasn’t all on me and it wasn’t all on Ray, either. Here’s the truth of the matter, though—it’s something about me that I’ve never really articulated in any amount of detail: I loathe neutrality. I feel the same way about neutrality that Charu Mazumdar felt about Centrism. I want people to take sides. I want contentious matters out in the open so they can be vetted, examined and dealt with. I hate tension. I prefer quick resolutions. Further, I prefer not to sound so moralistic that I believe that everything is either “right” or “wrong,” but I do view most things – especially in debates – along the lines of “correct” and “incorrect” ideas. I think that, fundamentally, most people tend to think they’re “right” or “correct” when taking a position and I’m certainly no exception. I’m also fairly absolute about things and I can be very, very difficult to deal with when I am accused of being in the wrong or otherwise mistaken or dishonest. I think this was definitely a factor in the problems with the administrative dynamics of TWD. Put rather bluntly, there were some very strong personalities at odds with one another…and I was surely one of them.

    Still, TWD’s combination of timely news reports, in-depth analysis and thought-provoking opinion resonated with fans. We enjoyed interacting with an assortment of regular readers, most of whom were now visiting the site at least once a day. Once we started touting our work on Facebook, a handful of folks even sought out their favorite writers and sent “friend” requests, which isn’t nearly as creepy as it may sound. There was hate mail, too. Some folks looked at us as smarks and others were just run-of-the mill trolls. The thing of it was, the site was founded by three guys who’d bonded by trolling it up over on Bleacher Report. A lot of the headstrong, know-it-all loudmouths who tried to take shots at TWD were put down with overwhelming force. I think Ray and I blew about an hour and a half taking apart some guy from State College, Pennsylvania one night. That was a fun evening with some outlandishly hilarious insults flying hither and yon. It kind of says a lot about a relationship, though, when the only time you get along is when you’re tearing someone else apart.

    So how’d we know the commenter was from State College? Well, the blogware that we used allowed us to see the IP addresses of folks who were posting to the site. From there, it was pretty easy to figure out where they were unless they were smart enough to use some kind of proxy service. It was both a blessing and a curse to have this kind of information at our disposal. On the one hand, it was helpful to know more about our readers, whether they were hostile or — as they were in most cases — good-natured and friendly. At the same time, though, this did foster some mild paranoia on our end. Some of us had been concerned about people sabotaging the site in one way or another and for a time, it became a regular thing to “look up” where this commenter or that e-mailer was posting from. I remember thinking it had gotten especially bad when a reader of the site wrote to us asking to become a regular contributor. Despite some impressive skills and credentials, a few of us (including me) thought it might be someone trying to infiltrate the site and cause trouble. I mean, just based on the guy’s name alone, I figured he had to be a provocateur of some kind. Really, have you ever known anyone with the first name Denim? As I recall, I think I asked Jason for a second or third round of info for the esteemed Mr. Millward before we formally brought him on board but Jason effectively put an end to my quasi-hysteria by telling me that he’d already told Denim that he was “in.”

    The Wrestlicious banner we never got to use. Image credit: Powerball

    We also came to regard other IWC sites as “competition” although when it comes right down to it, this was just a charitable way of saying they were “enemies.” I actually don’t have any problems with Jason taking shots at Lords of Pain (a.k.a. “Fjords of Shame”) in his hilarious S.C.O.R.E. columns. I also took a swipe or two at a WWE recapper that would always refer to himself “Your Personal Harvester of Sorrow” and that mouth-breather who’d always stick his “Hot Asian Bitch of the Week” cheesecake pictures into his wrestling columns. Yeah, be proud of that crap-ass idiocy, 411mania.com. Still, some of of the shots we took at guys like Joe Burgett, Matt Hester and his Ring-Rap.com site and even our old pals at Hit the Ropes were way over the top and completely uncalled for. Those guys were almost always complimentary and many of us would respond to their posts by making cracks about the quality of their work while hoping that they’d spontaneously fold in the shadow of TWD’s collective badassery. I remember it got especially out of hand in the comment thread of a pay per view recap one night when one of our contributors and someone from another site were threatening to physically assault one another (despite the fact that they lived hundreds of miles away from each other, mind you). That level of nastiness did suggest to me that it was time to cool things off and I did make some efforts to patch things up with that site’s administrator shortly thereafter. After TWD’s ultimate demise, I personally reached out to the guys from those sites I listed above and apologized for things that I had done to insult or offend them. Old pretty criticisms and rivalries aside, the fact that they were willing to mend fences without even the slightest bit of hesitation says a lot about them…and it’s all good.

    While there were a number of problems with regard to those of us who were running TWD, the general construction and functionality of the site itself seemed satisfactory for quite a while. There were some glitches but we all thought that we were just getting an “up close” schooling on some relatively typical hiccups for an otherwise successful website.

    In my mind, however, my personal mantra of “hope for the best but expect the worst” was causing me to anxiously fixate upon some of the site’s developing performance issues along with all of the recurring personal disputes and that was definitely taking a toll on my habitus mentis.  Things took an even more discouraging turn when I received an ultimatum from our web hosting service: The skyrocketing volume of traffic TWD had been enjoying for the past few months was causing their server to crash repeatedly and knocking other sites off line in the process.

    We would have some hard choices to make from here.

    Mike Bessler was a co-founder of The Wrestling Daily. He hasn’t thrown up in at least four years, which has to be some kind of personal record.

  • Tyler Black: The TWD Interview

    Posted on by VOC Nation

    In the fall of 2009, I was still relatively new to the worlds of both professional wrestling journalism and independent wrestling.

    But as a writer and marketing director for TWD, I knew I had a special opportunity to use my real-life skills as a newspaper reporter and command of the English language to create feature articles that differed from the standard fare of dirt sheets and wrestling tabloids.

    Being a new, young site without much of a reputation, it seemed the right mindset would be to be grateful and appreciative of any wrestlers willing to grant us an interview. Thus, it all began with “Through the Looking Glass,” an article examining the career of Minnesota-based Alison Wonderland.

    That interview would be the launching pad for a variety of in-depth interviews to follow, featuring names like current Ring of Honor star Mike Sydal, CHIKARA founder Mike Quackenbush, Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE promoter Gabe Sapolsky and wrestling legend Jesse Ventura.

    But in the early days of the site, there were two interviews that jointly represented a milestone, both for TWD and myself personally. In October of 2009, Ring of Honor made a visit to Collinsville, Ill., a suburb of St. Louis (for lack of a better descriptor), and I decided to attend. This would be my first major independent wrestling event.

    In advance of the show, I made contact with ROH about arranging an interview to help promote the event. While waiting for their response, I also took it upon myself to contact Tyler Black, who had been a personal favorite of mine since beginning to watch the company’s HDNet television show, through MySpace – yes, MySpace.

    Black returned my message and was gracious enough to grant an interview. The story that resulted follows, but there’s more to the story than you’ll read here.

    The article originally contained a comment from Black about HDNet being a “stepping stone” to something bigger. The day after publication, Black sent me a text message, stating he had received heat from management about those comments and asking me if I could remove them.

    If this was my real newspaper job, ethics would have prevailed, but for our fledgling site, it wasn’t worth burning potential bridges to take a moral stand over the issue. In the end, it paid off, as ROH plugged the revised article in their newswire.

    Granted, seeing one’s name in an ROH newswire is really a meaningless accomplishment, but to me, at that time, it meant the world. The same would happen a few days later when I published “The World’s Hero,” an interview with Black’s “Clash of the Contenders” opponent Chris Hero.

    Now, nearly three years later, the scope of the wrestling world has changed. Black and Hero have both been signed to WWE, where they compete in the developmental system as NXT Champion Seth Rollins and Kassius Ohno. Ring of Honor has been bought out by Sinclair Broadcast – whether that be for the better or the worse is up to you.

    As for me, I’ve moved on in the wake of the collapse of TWD. After a sabbatical from wrestling journalism, I returned full force, now writing for the Baltimore Sun’s Ring Posts blog and having a major backstage role with All American Pro Wrestling.

    I’ve interviewed Jerry Lawler, Sheamus, Christopher Daniels, Cody Rhodes, Jeff Hardy and a contingent of other top-caliber and world-famous stars; I’ve had locker room chats with Colt Cabana, Dragon Gate star PAC, El Generico (albeit it difficult with his broken English-speaking skills) and “Tough Enough” contestant Matt Cross.

    But when I look back at what’s gotten me to this point, I’ll never forget those men and women willing to talk to a nobody writer on a no-name website. I’m glad to see many of them have found more success in life than I will ever enjoy. They all deserve it.

    In October 2009, with the assistance of Tyler Black, the revolution was published.

    – Adam Testa, August 2012

    Tyler Black: The TWD Interview

    Originally published by The Wrestling Daily, 4 October 2009

    After being sidelined with a neck injury for more than a month, Tyler Black said Tuesday he’s ready to return to Ring of Honor Wrestling this weekend.

    Black, 23, said his recovery has gone well, despite complications and the need to have his wound reopened and re-stitched a few weeks ago.

    “I wrestled two smaller shows in the last couple of weeks and really feel like my neck is back to not-quite-100 percent, but it’s getting real close, and I had a good week in the gym,” Black said in a phone interview. “It’s always nice to get some ring time, and it worked out fine. I got thrown around a little bit here and there, but everything worked right – no side effects, no reoccurring injuries or problems with the neck. This weekend should be fairly exciting for me to get back in the swing of things.”

    Black will face Chris Hero in his return match Friday at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, Ill., located outside St. Louis. The next night, he will begin his quest of revenge against ROH World Champion Austin Aries, who took Black out of action with a fireball to the face in ROH storylines, by challenging Aries’ ally Kenny King in Indianapolis.  While he’s not feeling 100 percent yet, Black seems confident this injury won’t have a lasting impact on his young career.

    “The neck itself is going to be an issue, as it is for a lot of wrestlers, for the duration of my career, but it’s not really something that hinders my performance or anything like that for the time being,” he said.  “I’m not terribly concerned about it. You’re not going to see a different Tyler Black when you’re watching me. I’ll still be going out there giving 110 percent every time.”

    During his recovery, Black only traveled with ROH for television tapings for the promotion’s Monday night broadcast on HDNet. The company tapes six episodes at a time, and he did not want to be absent from television for that extended of a period.

    Stepping Up

    Though Black has only been out mere weeks, the landscape of ROH has changed, and the returning star recognizes the potential for growth and development in the new atmosphere.   Two of the promotion’s top stars, “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness, signed contracts with World Wrestling Entertainment, the largest professional wrestling company in North America.

    “It’s kind of a bittersweet time for us because we’re sad to see Bryan and Nigel go, just like all the fans, because those guys are both locker room leaders. Bryan’s literally been with the company since day one,” Black said.

    He continued: “But at the same time we’re really happy to see them go because it’s great for both of them. They’re able to transition to the next part, the next step in their career.”

    “They’re going to have an opportunity to make a really big name for themselves on a grander stage and make money. I’m sure both of them would have loved to have had that opportunity if ROH would have grown, but the time comes when you’ve got to transition, you’ve got to make moves, and they did that.”

    But the departing stars aren’t the only ones to benefit from the move, Black added.

    “It’s also good for us because it gives guys like myself and some of the younger guys on the roster, like Kenny Omega for example, a chance to really step up and shine and really earn a position as a top-spot kind of guy in Ring of Honor – that is a sought-after position in the company and in the wrestling world,” he said.

    Image credit: Tyler Black

    Black, a two-year ROH performer, said his time has come to establish himself as a legitimate contender to carry the company on his shoulders and one of the best wrestlers in the world.   To accomplish this goal, he desires to expand his experiences, earn bigger wins and compete in more high profiles matches. For about the past year, he’s worked toward that goal, finding himself in the ROH world title picture.

    “Being around the belt and having high profile matches with top contenders or world champions are something I’ve gotten used to and grown accustomed to, and hopefully at some point down the road, take that belt from Austin Aries or whomever and I can hold the flag, I can wave the banner and I can actually be the top guy in the company and be someone they want to build around for the future,” he said.

    And when he makes it to the top and looks back on the path he took to get there, Black will find himself reminiscing about the same men whose departures will likely help open doors for him.

    “I really think my matches against Bryan Danielson have been really memorable for me just because he was someone I looked up to when I was younger, and I also think that my title matches with Nigel going into the Take No Prisoners pay-per-view a while back was a real big deal for me,” he said.

    “Then we did the main eventing in New York at the Hammerstein Ballroom, which was really kind of exciting for me, as well, something I was really proud to be a part of.”

    TV dealings

    Another highlight of Black’s career came on March 21 when he faced former Age of the Fall partner Jimmy Jacobs in the main event of ROH’s debut show on HDNet.   The launch of a national television deal helped secure the promotion’s place as the No. 3 company in the United States.

    “It was cool being in the first main event,” Black said.  “That’s important for Ring of Honor, and for wrestling in general, to really start to establish a third party besides WWE and TNA and build some company from the ground up that really deserves some credibility, and I think it’s cool to kind of be the guy that kicked that off. I know Jimmy was as excited about it as I was.”

    Some wrestling fans and pundits questioned the broadcast’s ability to succeed on a network not readily accessible to many cable subscribers, but Black, as a performer on the show, looks at it in a different light.

    “TV’s great for us,” he said, noting that the deal helped bring the company into the national spotlight even with a limited audience.   Recently, the company and network switched up its scheduling, choosing to air ROH programming on Monday nights prior to WWE’s flagship Monday Night RAW.

    “I think it kind of helped the wrestling world take direct notice that, ‘You know what? We’re not just going to sit by and let WWE run the show,” Black added.  “We are hands down, in my opinion, a better wrestling than anything that’s on TV. You can take the two hours of RAW and the two hours of Impact and put them together and you’re not going to get a single match that’s as good as what we’re putting on. I really think we put in the effort.”

    Looking forward

    Black’s long-term goals for himself and his career are simple.

    “I want to work hard, travel the world and make money, and meet fans, meet people and just enjoy my time in the wrestling business and the people and beautiful artform of professional wrestling,” he said.

    He remains under contract with ROH through September 2010, and the next year will help him decide what may lie in his future.

    “I’m sure we’ll see some developments with the direction of the company within the next year and see what kind of interest I have from the other parties, but for the foreseeable future, I will be with Ring of Honor,” he said.

    But for now, Black’s attention remains focused on this weekend and his return to the ROH ring.

    Adam Testa was the Marketing Director of TWD. He keeps his “surprised face” in a drawer and he only puts it on when absolutely necessary.

  • TWD Editorial Roar: Kurt Angle Has The World’s Dumbest Marks

    Posted on by VOC Nation

    When you talk about the meteoric rise and equally rapid collapse of TWD, the discussion inevitably begins to bring up different articles which, for whatever reason, just seem to live on in people’s memories. Nearly all of these columns in question were the watershed moments for TWD’s brief existence. They were pieces of writing which, while not always Fitzgerald, were in their own way incredibly well composed. Each had a sort of obvious importance to the writers, and often to the site as a whole. Among these few esteemed columns are:

    Adam Testa’s interview with Tyler Black where Adam did such a good job interviewing Black, he accidentally killed the latter’s push in RoH. None of that, by the way, was Adam’s fault. The fact that a relatively major promotion like RoH was paying that kind of heed to us was amazing; the interview was also top notch.

    Keith Ensminger’s review of “The Rise and Fall of WCW,” for all we know, actually garnered attention from WWE.

    Jason Le Blanc, Mike Cranwell, Scott Beeby, and others’ joint effort in producing the TWD 50 was both a phenomenal feat of coordination and writing prowess, but also got us a tweet and direct link share from Chris freaking Jericho. Jericho pimping the site is honestly the highlight of TWD for me, and I can say that—for me—there was no cooler feeling during its existence than when we received that mention.

    To that end, I’ve always wondered why I get included in that list for, of all things, a column typically only known as “That Tolcat Article.”

    I don’t think it’s the best writing I did for the site; that sentiment lies with the collection of drubbings I gave Dixie Carter. It’s also not the piece I was proudest of overall. That sentiment lies with my article calling Deangelo Dinero a hypocrite, among other things; I’d wanted the site to be about tackling topics that other sites either couldn’t or wouldn’t, and that was a perfect example of what I wanted—especially because it had that “wow, he really went there” factor going for it.

    Instead, the column by me which people remember the most, and by a mile I might add, is a scathing reply to an email sent by an obvious Kurt Angle Apologist whom happened to go by the name of Tolcat. As far as I’m concerned, its greatest attributes were that I had worked in some of my better digs and that I was in rare form with my use of pictures that day.

    At any rate, I suppose this article would probably be the one to start with if different columns I wrote are going to be reprinted here. Give the people what they want, right? Below, you’ll find the complete “Tolcat Article,” including original pictures and captions, just as they appeared on TWD the first time around. If that sounded like I was advertising a restored film, I sort of was. Finding these old columns of mine in tact is wrestling journalism’s equivalent of finding complete and ready for restoration copies of every film Theda Bara ever starred in. I hope reading it (or reading it again as the case may be) is as enjoyable for you as my experience getting to relive it was for me.

    — Ray Bogusz, July 2012


    TWD Editorial Roar: Kurt Angle Has The World’s Dumbest Marks

    Originally published by The Wrestling Daily, 30 November 2009

    One of the things that makes me so proud to say  I’m one of the three founders of this site is that we seem to attract a particularly bright breed of reader. All of our writers–and the vast majority of our readers–are an absolute pleasure to interact with on a daily basis, and I wouldn’t ask for anything to change.

    Unfortunately, Co-founder JLB and myself attract a particularly unwelcome demographic, no matter how hard we try to write at a level that should be driving them away. This group is known as the “Blindingly Stupid” and to be honest, they give us a lot of headaches. It’s not like this is a new problem though. A long time ago–before TWD was even an idea–the aforementioned JLB and myself paired with a certain “Magnificent Bastard” who shall remain nameless, and terrorized the Internet Wrestling Community’s lowest common denominators as a sort of “Wrestling Journalism” version of the Fabulous Freebirds. Hell, we even had a name: The Mega Jerks.

    Even back then, despite the fact that we were utterly merciless to anyone who even happened to glance across our swathe of destruction, it seemed as if people just continued to line up in droves to be picked apart by our almost incessant vocabularical onslaught. Could some of this have been from a few incredibly cognition challenged individuals who just weren’t going to learn, thus causing all parties involved to engage in an unending moonlight dance? I guess that’s probably true–there are some horrifyingly retarded individuals out there who think they know everything (or anything) about pro wrestling…just ask the folks at wildtalkradio, who used to host some idiot’s show entitled “The Wrestling Report.”

    However, that can’t possibly account for all the activity we got trolling around the infinitely choppy seas of the world of online wrestling journalism, nor can it account for the equally infinite amount of hate mail us admins (particularly JLB and myself) manage to get throughout a given week. No, I submit that some people actually enjoy reading columns where TWD staff takes anger filled individuals’ incredibly stupid emails and tosses them around like chew toys in a virtual cage of trained attack dogs.

    It’s happened in spades with our omission of Kurt Angle from the recently completed TWD 50, and after Jason published a two part look at why Kurt Angle was left off “The 50” in response to a particularly mind-numbing comment, I figured that if we got any further email on the subject, that it would either be from someone looking for attention or from someone who’s head is so chock full of bird droppings that I’d have to contemplate starting a campaign to investigate whatever company had their heads so far up their own dickholes that they were dumb enough to accidentally hire someone who has an IQ on par with a sea cucumber.

    If I had gotten the first one, I’d have probably blown it off as some hack attempting to get his name on a website that in under half a year, has managed to become a reputable and established source for wrestling news, coverage, and opinion analysis. The email would have been deleted from my inbox and that would have been the end of it.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I got the second one.

    Below is the email received via the administrative address at approximately 10:00 am, November 28th, more than 24 hours after JLB published his two volume, point by point explanation of why Kurt Angle was left off the TWD 50. It is reprinted verbatim.

    I just happened to see your headline drawing people to your site by completely underrating Kurt Angle.

    I realize you’re trying to get attention from the other marks, but to not have Kurt Angle in the top 50?  He’s in the top 10, if not top 5, of wrestlers today.  Who is actually better?  Randy Orton? The Miz?  Big Show or the anonymous charisma-challenged greased body-builders that frequent the WWE?

    Most wrestlers would tell you that Angle is one of the stiffest workers out there, just like Taz, Conan (yes, Conan), the late Chris Benoit and Findlay (before WWE turned him into the Doink-like stereotype he is today) were.  He has one of the best work ethics, is not afraid to take a bump. 

    Not putting people over?!  Didn’t you see him wrestle Matt Morgan, and Desmond Wolff?  How about The Pope?  Angle had great matches with all of these, and wrestled two great wrestlers in one night!   And his mike skills have gotten a lot better, more Flair like in his approach.  Once he started wearing the suit was the beginning of Angle taking a page or two from the great Nature Boy’s book.


    ABQ, NM

    P.S.: I love how you say the e-mail goes to the “committee”.  Does that mean it goes to Mom’s computer in the den?

    Ahh, the joys of having serious issues. I guess I’ll start with the “P.S.” statement at the end, since I’d rather flow into more serious stuff through the end of this column.

    Rendition of How TolCat probably looked after seeing Kurt Angle was not on the TWD 50.

    To answer your question bluntly: Maybe. I mean, it would kind of depend on what your definitions of “den” and “mom’s computer” happen to be. I do have a blocked off workstation at my apartment where my computer sits, and my computer is the one I received as a graduation present from my parents. So, I guess in the same loose sense that Kurt Angle is a physically gifted wrestler, it does go to my mom’s computer in the den. The only way it could possibly *not* go there would be if you meant that it gets forwarded to my Mom’s email, which I then sneak on to after she falls asleep. In that sense, you’re completely wrong because it actually gets forwarded to my “corporate e-mail address” and there I find that we actually have some common ground to stand on before I get to the meat of your email, because I see that you have emailed *me* from *your* corporate address.

    A closer inspection reveals that you work for a company called “The Pompeo Group” which helps with executive recruiting. I’m kind enough to list a little about myself on *my* corporation’s page, and had been hoping to learn a little more about *you* on yours. To be honest, I had been hoping to read something around the lines of “TolCat helps place fellow Down Syndrome patients in executive janitorial roles at McDonalds’ across the globe. He is motivated every day by Kurt Angle and his unbelievable talent. Who needs a spouse when you can watch Kurt Angle struggle to get to his feet after a cover, then put a guy over by shaking his hand? Word is Bond.”

    Alas, I couldn’t find *anything* about you on the staff bio page, nor were you among those listed on the contact page. This either means you’re totally irrelevant at the company, or you’re such an embarrassment that you’re hidden away so nobody can accidentally come into contact with the radioactive brand of moron you happen to be. I’ll bet on the second.

    I’ll close out this section with a question of my own. I assume that your email is on a corporate server, so if I “accidentally” reprinted your email address (which I am perfectly free to do), and “accidentally” encouraged the thousands of loyal TWD readers to sign you up for bestiality and child porn, could you “accidentally” get fired and would that be funny? I guess I’m more asking if that would be funny to you, because it’d be side-splittingly hilarious to me, especially since I can’t think of anyone less deserving of a paid position *anywhere* than someone as dumb as I’m about to expose you to be. Idiot.

    I just happened to see your headline drawing people to your site by completely underrating Kurt Angle.

    One of the best ways to tell if someone is a complete dolt, or very drunk, is to see if they are reading imaginary headlines on the website.

    Personally, I love imaginary headlines. They can say whatever you want them to say, that way you can respond however you wish, and you won’t come off like some completely illiterate jackanape…at least you won’t come off that way in your own head. Unfortunately, that headline has never appeared anywhere on the site. In fact, the two articles that spawned both JLB’s responses and, in a way,  this one were actually titled: “TWD 50: Future 50’ers and Honourable Mentions” and “TWD 50: 10-1: WWE, TNA, New Japan, Dragon Gate and more.”

    Holy shit on a shishkabob! I don’t even see his name anywhere in the titles. It’s not even hidden somewhere with randomly placed capitalized letters that would spell out something like “A N G L E S U C K S.”

    What’s next? Imaginary TV where you tell us about Angle’s great matches in 2009? Imaginary radio where you call in to the now-in-development TWD radio and regale Jason and I with your chimp like thoughts on the world of wrestling while futilely attempting to convince anyone with an unbruised cerebral cortex that Kurt Angle is God’s gift to wrestling? I can’t flipping wait!

    “I realize you’re trying to get attention from the other marks, but to not have Kurt Angle in the top 50?  He’s in the top 10, if not top 5, of wrestlers today.  Who is actually better?  Randy Orton? The Miz?  Big Show or the anonymous charisma-challenged greased body-builders that frequent the WWE?”

    Myself, dictating this letter to my secretary, better known as TolCat's Mom. (Image Credit: The Internet)

    I’m glad you got imaginary conclusions from your imaginary headline, because that’s not what we were going for at all. In fact, I’m pretty sure the last thing we wanted to do was attract a bunch of TNApologists to the site so they could tell us how good Kurt Angle is and how awesome TNA is. For one, neither of those statements is even remotely true, and two, TNApologists are about as annoying as the hypocritical “Go Green” commercials NBC runs while it pumps out Sunday Night Football broadcasts.

    Even if that happened to be what we were going for, why in God’s good name would we have picked Kurt Angle as our lightning rod? There are infinitely more popular wrestlers out there right now than Angle whom didn’t make the list, or were placed far enough down that they could have been omitted and gotten better heat for us (again, assuming that that’s actually what we were going for). John Cena’s left toe outsells and outdraws Angle, and he’s not there. Why wouldn’t we have picked him, or even Christian? He’s ranked pretty low on the list, yet I could write a column entitled something along the lines of “Christian’s Chest Appears Sweaty and Fuzzy” and it would garner at least 9000 hits. Not to spend too much time reiterating points JLB already made, but since you obviously didn’t read his two part S.C.O.R.E. column, I’ll remind you that Angle doesn’t result in TV ratings either. TNA is still struggling to consistently stay above a 1.0 ratings share on a week to week basis. Ironically, that was the same situation it was in before Angle came to the company. It’s almost as if Angle has had little to no effect on the ratings. Could that possibly be because his skill set has deteriorated to the point that his matches are virtually unwatchable, thus rendering any benefit he may have brought utterly and completely useless?

    As for your question of “who is actually better” I’ll direct you to the pages bar at the top of the site, where you can see full archives of each installment of “The 50” and therefore read about no less than 51 wrestlers who are better than Kurt Angle. This isn’t to say that Angle is the 52nd best wrestler in the world, just that there were a minimum of 51 wrestlers in the world who had a better year than him…and Misawa died in June for Christ’s sake.

    The funniest part of this particular section is that you then ask “who is better” and follow that up by giving three examples: Randy Orton, Miz, and Big Show. The funny part? None of them made the list either!

    Since I *now* know that you didn’t even bother to read the actual list, allow me to inform you that for our purposes, none of them were ranked either and in fact, only The Miz was able to garner any real support at all. One must wonder why you’d be shooting off emails about something you didn’t even read.

    Most wrestlers would tell you that Angle is one of the stiffest workers out there, just like Taz, Conan (yes, Conan), the late Chris Benoit and Findlay (before WWE turned him into the Doink-like stereotype he is today) were.  He has one of the best work ethics, is not afraid to take a bump

    The fact that he is not afraid to take a bump does not in any way mean that he should. Angle is dangerously close to killing himself in the ring, and the slightest tick to his rapidly balding hobo head will probably kill him. This is what happens when you’ve had a “Broken Freaking Neck” numerous times and have never been enough of an adult to actually take the proper time to heal yourself. This really shows up in his work when the TNA announcers describe him as in “top shape” and “physically dominating” all while the official is attempting to help him stagger to his feet on his nearly useless knees.

    That particular scenario happened this past Thanksgiving, prompting my dad (who honestly does try to give wrestling a shot) to comment: “Look at that fake shit. That is the least believable thing I’ve ever seen. This is why I don’t watch wrestling.” Kurt Angle: World Class Wrestling Ambassador.

    Also, TolCat, “being stiff” is not a compliment in regards to wrestling. Unless Kurt Angle is looking for a career as a piece of lumber, he shouldn’t be aiming to be stiff.

    Not putting people over?!  Didn’t you see him wrestle Matt Morgan, and Desmond Wolff?  How about The Pope?  Angle had great matches with all of these, and wrestled two great wrestlers in one night!

    I’m still not 100 percent certain how Kurt Angle put “Desmond Wolff” over. It’s not like he was some new guy on the scene. You see, I’ve been watching the aforementioned man of a canine moniker wrestler under the name “Nigel McGuiness” in Ring of Honor for years. He was pretty over then, and to be frank, he seems like he could be pretty over now against anyone on the TNA roster…even the irrepressibly irrelevant Rhino/Rhyno.

    Why do I get to question his ability to put over Matt Morgan and “The Pope” too? Well…he hasn’t. Sure, he managed to work some decent matches with them, but they’re not exactly world beating phenoms being pursued by promotions across the globe. If Morgan and Dinero were such hot commodities, WWE, ROH, NJPW, NOAH, AAA, and even PWG would be fighting tooth and nail to get them to sign on.

    As it stands, Dinero is a jobber and Morgan is drifting along aimlessly as he has for much of his career.

    Plus, TNA’s ratings wouldn’t be in the toilet if Angle had made them stars. In fact, both Morgan and Dinero will be lucky to even be remembered in 30 years. I highly doubt that by that time, anyone will care that they worked a few good but not memorable matches with Kurt Angle at a random career point.

    Hell, does anybody outside of the Impact Zone even care the slightest bit about Deangelo Dinero? I mean really…he’s pretty irrelevant. You could even switch Matt Morgan in that question instead and the result would be the same.

    Thank you, Kurt Angle, for giving both of them such a great rub! With the obvious fame and popularity they’ve gotten thanks to you putting them over, both Dinero and Morgan can now go to any other promotion in the world and accomplish precisely dick.

    And his mike skills have gotten a lot better, more Flair like in his approach.  Once he started wearing the suit was the beginning of Angle taking a page or two from the great Nature Boy’s book.

    Hold the damn phone, because this might the dumbest thing I’ve ever read, and I once read a paper telling me that global warming was causing global cooling.

    Aside from the fact that you seem to think microphone is actually spelled “mikerophone” I’ll go ahead and tell you that Angle’s similarities to Flair end with the fact that they happen to share the same profession.

    Kurt Angle came to fame after winning a gold medal at the 96 summer Olympics with the same aforementioned broken neck. He went to WWE for a few years as a fairly good draw, continued to get hurt, continued to not rehab properly, and continued not being able to get anybody over. Remember the World’s Greatest Tag Team? In case you forgot (everyone one with a life probably has) it was made up of Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin. They tried getting a rub from Angle, and look how far their careers have gone. Do you think Shelton Benjamin is set to light the world afire like someone who has gotten a rub from an all time great would? Didn’t think so.

    Randy Savage: The Best Ever, and Still Better Than Angle

    Then again, Kurt Angle isn’t an all time great. Flair is. Ric Flair dominated the industry for the better part of three decades. He completely redefined the position of a heel in a way that at the time was only paralleled by the mannerisms of and reactions drawn by fellow 80’s mega star, Macho Man Randy Savage. Flair completely changed the face of the sport and for better or worse, had a direct hand in making some of the biggest stars of this or any other era. Hell, The Four Horsemen was the launching pad for some of the best careers in the entire history of the business.

    Flair was also an absolute marketing machine. Sure, Angle can cut a good promo and all, but for the better part of 20 years, Ric Flair’s promos were consistently in the top two or three in the world for a given year. If Billy Graham revolutionized the wrestling world that would become the 80’s, Flair revolutionized that and helped create what we would come to know as the Attitude Era 90’s.

    Even physically, Flair was and is infinitely better than Angle. At Wrestlemania XXIV, Flair showed that if it was just for one night, he could work a hell of a match. Angle often looks a lot like Flair did down the stretch. The problem is that Flair has 20 some years on Angle. That’s also about how many years Flair has in comparison to Angle career wise. Angle didn’t even start wrestling professionally until 1998, and not in WWE until 1999. That means he’s got a whopping 11 years experience and he’s about to fall apart. That’s not just a sign of somebody totally uncut for the business, that’s a sign of somebody who either can’t or refuses to take proper care of himself in favor of a bigger short term pay day because he’s too dumb to think long term and too selfish to bother being around long enough to put anyone over. What a guy. Flair has had some of the best longevity in the business. Even as he shits liquid feces all over his career down in Australia, Flair still looked infinitely better than Hogan, and at times, better than Angle. Again, the problem is that Flair is also infinitely older than Angle.

    In closing, I’d like to say that the above letter was written by a complete dumbass. It’s one thing for people to like Kurt Angle, it’s another to bury you head in the sand and insist he’s something he isn’t…and never was. Angle doesn’t have the list of guys he put over into stardom. He doesn’t have a sustained career filled with excellent matches throughout. His promos are not going to be remembered the same way as “Jet Flyin’, Limosuine ridin,’ stylin’ and profilin’ ” and “I am the Lord and Master of the ring andyou’re going to find that out, one athlete to another, right now. You can’t compete with me, no, history beckons the Macho Man” will. Kurt Angle will become a footnote in wrestling. Happy if he gets some sense and walks away. Sad if he continues attempting to kill himself. He isn’t one of the 50 best now. He won’t be one of the 50 best next year. And he sure as hell isn’t one of the 50 best of all time. He never was.

    Ray Bogusz was the editor of TWD. All opinions expressed here are his and not that of TWD as an entity. He is also 1/3 of a group formerly known as the Mega Jerks. They still kick ass.

  • Witticisms: A Somewhat Jaded Yet Undeniably Entertaining Look at Raw 1000

    Posted on by VOC Nation

    I told my brother Danny that I was having trouble figuring out what to write about for this installment of “Witticisms”.  After all, it’s been a while…Had to dust off the old keyboard, and yuk yuk — make us laugh clown — here we go again.  When I told him that I was stressing out about my writer’s block, there was a pause on the phone, and only in his dry, apt sense of truism disguised as humor that all listeners from our now defunct Sorta-Nerd-Talk-Radio show came to love, he said, “Who gives a s***, you realize you’re writing about WRESTLING, don’t you?”

    And therein lies the crux of what a farce my shtick first on Bleacher Report, and then, when I turned “legitimate”, as a columnist on The Wrestling Daily, actually was.  Here I was trying to make people laugh with making jokes about wrestling, while the very idea of writing about wrestling is the joke in and of itself.

    TWD alumnus Michael Scanlon conducting research for this article while under deep cover.

    My mom took me to a hair appointment once.  She sat there with all the other ladies, getting their hair curled, or dried or whatever those helmet things are, and they were discussing Days of Our Lives.  “Oh, I heard that this guy is coming back”…”I think that this girl should leave that guy, and she should become bad again”…”You know who from General Hospital I’d like to see on Days of Our Lives?”

    The thing is, if they were talking about well-muscled men in tights, rolling around a ring together, and they typed these opinions up, or had a radio show about it, I guess we could call my mom and these women wrestling journalists.  The IWC, in essence, is one big World Wide Web of ladies sitting in a beauty shop, waiting for their hair to dry.

    Raw 1000 Quick Hits

    • After Animal spoiling his return over the weekend, the only way I was getting excited about hearing “Ohhhhhh, what a rush,” was if Hawk was live there saying it.
    • I was so pumped when Punk did something really cool and unexpected, since I’ve been waiting for over  a year for him to do something like that again.
    • Nothing says 1000 episodes of Raw more than “Charlie Sheen”.  The plan going in was for Daniel Bryan to get verbally abused by a drug addict — Randy Orton was still on suspension, though.
    • My favorite part of the whole returning legends angle was that moment before they came out… right before the music hit, when you could pretend that the haggard looking fossil that limped out wasn’t going to make you wonder where the last twenty years of your life has gone.
    • Hulk Hogan was supposed to make a surprise appearance.  He was on the way there.  He got his son Nick to drive him.  I can’t imagine what could have gone wrong.
    • I have to admit I’m a little sick of an all-time great coming back sparingly while still being idolized more than all the other guys who are putting the time and effort in day after day.  No, I’m not talking about The Rock.  I’m talking about The Undertaker.  He’s had the same number of matches as Vader in the last year.
    • So, when is The Undertaker coming back again?  The buildup to the next WrestleMania?  Is it going to be, gasp, a triple threat match between him, and D-Geriatric X, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels?  Well, if they have to, hopefully they’ll take any one of my suggestions:

    1. It could be a ladder match: at the top of the ladder could be Rogaine, or Depends, or a “This is awesome” chant.

    2. I’d be afraid that the ring would not be big enough to fit their egos, but even more afraid it wouldn’t fit their enlarged prostates.

    3. Maybe a Casket Match – To finally find out which of these guys is the best at burying other wrestlers… that might actually put “The Streak” at risk.

    Commenters, if TNA fans could yell “You Still Got IT!!!!!” at a pregnant Jim Anvil in recent years, then you could go easy on me too.

    Michael Scanlon was the Raw Recap Specialist and Chief Humor Correspondent for The Wrestling Daily. He’s still got it.