Wrestling round-up 29 March 2012

More bad news for former WWE star Kamala, his son Kamala Jr has admitted that he may have to have his right foot amputated. Last year the Ugandan giant had part of his left foot removed.

Bit of a Hall of Fame special to start with, Arn Anderson has said that he isn’t worthy enough on his own for an entry into the Hall of Fame and Edge has said he was surprised to go in so early more…

Kevin Nash was interviewed for the Sun newspaper and when asked about HHH ending the ‘taker’s streak, he said:

“If the WWE did have HHH end the Streak, what’s the bragging point since it took him three tries? There’s no bragging point, and it doesn’t do anything for business…It wouldn’t be good for business at all. It’d be like, yeah HHH ended it, but it took him three tries…Big deal. How does that impact the business to the good side?”

WWE Officials felt it “beneath” Alberto Del Rio to appear in the 12 man tag at Wrestlemania hence why he isn’t performing. Word is he’ll be in a feud with Randy Orton when he returns to a full-time schedule.

Interesting interview with CM Punk on the Marvel Comics website which you can check out here… it’s a preview to Wrestlemania piece but with a lot of focus on comics too.

WWE Hall of Famer Ricky ‘the Dragon’ Steamboat has recently given his thoughts on what stars are ready to make the jump from FCW to WWE. They include: Seth Rollins, Bo Rotundo, Husky Harrisand Antonio Cesaro.

Wrestling round-up 28 March 2012

Christian was pulled from the Wrestlemania match due to his previous foot injury having not cleared up enough.

Wrestlezone have an exclusive photograph of the Wrestlemania 28 ring set-up including the Hell in a Cell here…

WWE and TNA have come to an agreement that will allow Ric Flair to appear at the Hall of Fame. The problems seemed to revolve around his appearance at Wrestlemania and on TV etc, not the Hall of Fame itself.

Sticking with the Hall of Fame, Jack Roberts has given his thoughts on not being inducted yet…

Former WWE creative team member Seth Mates has suggested that HHH may be behind some of the backstage resentment towards the Rock.

In TNA news, Chris Sabin is cleared to return to the ring and the James Storm music video will debut this week on Impact.

Really interesting interview with Alex Greenfield, who used to write for Smackdown, and was told not to pitch Randy Savage for the Hall of Fame. You can read more here…

Dragon Gate USA have announced details of their $1.99 IPPV this Friday. You can check out the details here…

Updated Wrestlemania 28 card

Following the announcements made on Raw last night, the card is now…

The Rock v John Cena
WWE champion CM Punk v Chris Jericho
The Undertaker v HHH in Hell in A Cell with Shawn Michaels as special referee
World champion Daniel Bryan v Sheamus
WWE Intercontinental champion Cody Rhodes v Big Show
Randy Orton v Kane
David Otunga & Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger & Mark Henry & Miz & Drew McIntyre v Santino Marella & Great Khali & Zack Ryder & Kofi Kingston & R Truth & Booker T
WWE Divas champ Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres vs. Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos

Raw results 26 March 2012

Match 1: Kane and Daniel Bryan (w/ AJ) beat Randy Orton and Sheamus with Bryan pinning Sheamus following a Kane chokeslam.

Match 2: Santino beat Otunga after a cobra. Afterwards the Miz is announced as the latest member of team Johnny despite Johnny initially saying he was part of team Teddy. Ooops.

Match 3: Kelly Kelly beat Eve (w/Beth Phoenix) after Eve missed a moonsault

CM Punk then obliterates Christian after Chris Jericho infers he is a bastard as Punk was born out of wedlock.

Match 4: Brodus Clay squashed Curt Hawkins in customary style.

Match 5: The Big Show squashes Primo (w/ Rosa and Epico) as the WWE continue to make the tag team division look pa.

After this match we find out that Drew McIntyre has replaced Christian in team Johnny.

Match 6: Mark Henry (w/ Johnny) beat The (really not at all) Great Khali (w/ Teddy Long) with the world’s strongest slam.

The show closes with a Rock and Cena face off. They should do that more. Oh…

Not really much happened this week. A poor Raw considering it is the last one before mania.

Wrestling round-up 27 March 2012

A lot of rumours circulating the Internet Wrestling Community suggesting that Wrestlemania 28 will be the final ‘mania for one current superstar… The money seems to be on Mark Henry.

By all accounts Chris Jericho has signed a new contract with the WWE beyond his current six-month deal which will mean he’ll stay with the company through the summer.

Rey Mysterio won’t be returning at Wrestlemania. There was an expectation that he’d be part of the Team Johnny v Team Teddy match but he’s meant to be nowhere near an in-ring return.

Kevin Nash has admitted that he is open to a return to TNA stating that he has a lot of friends there still. Judging by his more recent performances in the WWE, a return to the ring won’t benefit TNA all that much.

Maria Menounos is going into her match at Wrestlemania with a broken rib which occurred during her appearance on ‘dancing with the stars’ in America. File this under the ‘who really cares?’ section.

The WWE have released Yokozuna’s WWE Hall of Fame entry video. He will be being inducted by the Usos. You can see the video below:

Wrestling round-up 26th March 2012

Craig Wilson

Former WWE star Sean Waltman says the heat that the Rock is getting backstage blows his mind but attributes this to the Rock’s stand-offish impression he gives more…

TNA is reported to be having financial issues resulting in it paying both talent and vendors late. Janice, the mother of TNA president Dixie Carter, took control of the company in order to stop losses under Dixie. Janice has set a company policy of only allowing TNA what the funding that is “deemed necessary” so as to keep financial losses down.

TNA X Division Champion Austin Aries responded to David Otunga’s recent about Impact TV ratings. Otungan had said: “If imitation is the highest form of flattery, I’m flatter than Impact’s ratings right now. #OtungaLaw.” Aries replied stating: “Shocked @DavidOtunga took time to comment on @ImpactWrestling. I’d think he’d want to become at least a good hand first… #MrJenniferHudson.” Otunga 0-Aries 1 by my reckoning.

During a recent media appearance in Puerto Rico, Alberto Del Rio stated that he doesn’t expect to be part of Wrestlemania. I’d thought maybe he’d be part of Team Johnny v Team Teddy. Talking of which, the last member of each side is to be announced on Raw tonight.

The latest episode of my favourite WWE Youtube show, “Are You Serious?”#8, is online now. You can watch it below

The triumph and tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling – Part 2

Craig Wilson

Another tragedy was just around the corner for the Von Erich family, this time it was Mike. The WCCW toured the middle east and during a match in Tel Aviv, Israel, Mike’s should popped out and during surgery he developed toxic shock syndrome and his condition was so bad his family were urged to visit him to say goodbye to him. While he pulled through and returned to the ring, his in-ring performances were a lot poorer and his dependence on drugs and alcohol affected his promo work and his speech was noticeably slurred and led to erratic behaviour.

The company became desperate at this stage and started using a wrestler by the name of Lance Von Erich. This hurt the company as fans rightly did not believe he was part of the Von Erich family and this is largely regarded as the worst mistake that Fritz ever made and saw the fans turn against the company after being lied to.

By now Gary Hart had returned to booking for the company and was instructed to help Gentleman Chris Adams turn heel. He soon found himself aligned with Gino Hernandez in a team named ‘Dynamic Duo’. The team was short lived as the two entered into a feud with each other which saw Adams’ being kayfabe blinded – in a move designed to allow him time to travel back to England to spend time with his new wife. The day after this incident Hernandez no-showed a house show and was found dead by local law enforcement officers. Again, there is debate over the cause of his death with it initially being seen as a cocaine overdose yet the autopsy found 3 times the amount of cocaine in his body to cause a fatality and foul play has not been ruled out due to the fact that Hernandez’s dead bolt on his door was not locked and he made it a habit in the past to lock the dead bolt at all times.

The decline of WCCW was in motion. 1986 saw the expansion of the WWF with other promotions, including WCCW, AWA and NWA struggling. It was also at this time that the WCCW split from the NWA due to Fritz’s belief that they did not want Kerry to be champion again. In July ’86, Chris Adams became the first WCCW World Heavyweight Champion but it didn’t hold the same stature as the NWA World Championship then held by Rick Rude.

Kerry Von Erich was involved in a motorcycle accident breaking his ankle and despite the WWE produced DVD showing Kerry state he wouldn’t rush back into the ring, unfortunately this is exactly what happened. With the company struggling and Kerry its biggest star, he felt obliged to return to teh ring far too early and this damaged his ankle further leading to amputation. It was around this time that Mike Von Erich returned to the ring but by this stage he was neither in the physical or mental condition to be there. Gripped by the belief that he was an embarrassment to his family and brought shame to the Von Erich name, he committed suicide.

Several unsuccessful attempts had been made in 1987–88 to take World Class national; among them was a sparsely-attended Von Erichs over America tour, and a merger between World Class, the AWA and CWA the following year. A major pay-per-view card, AWA SuperClash III, was held in Chicago in December 1988, featuring a world title unification match in which Jerry Lawler defeated Kerry Von Erich when the referee stopped the match due to excessive blood loss from Von Erich. However, SuperClash III was not a hit, and Pro Wrestling USA was dissolved. This is described as a futile attempt to recover form in the DVD combining 3 sinking ships to make 1 ship.

Kerry had yet another chance to fulfil his potential in 1990 when he joined the WWF and soon became the Intercontinental Champion. Gary Hart stated that he hoped this would straighten him out. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be the case. The Kerry Von Erich that joined the WWF wasn’t the same as the one from WCCW and he was largely gripped by a steroid and paid killer addiction.

Further tragedy occurred when Chris Von Erich committed suicide. Despite lacking the athleticism of his brothers, he was desperate to break into teh Wrestling business but picked up numerous injuries, including breaking his arm completing a drop-kick, and realised he wasn’t cut out for it. He was found dead weeks after breaking his arm after shooting himself. Kerry too committed suicide in 1993 due to an impending court appearance for forging drug prescriptions. He believed he was likely to go to jail and couldn’t take it and shot himself in the chest. His death came just two days after a failed attempt to reconcile with his estranged wife and kids.

Without doubt one of the saddest stories associated with the world of wrestling. The Von Erich boys had it all but, as Kevin readily admits; they lived their lives to the max in the 80s and with little in the way of guidance tragedy struck. This DVD is fantastic – equal part joy and equal part sadness. It shows the viewer the great talent and rivalries that the WCCW had as well as the unparalleled grief. The WCCW went from the highest and greatest of highs to the lowest and most brutal of lows. It will be difficult to find a better wrestling documentary on the market. If there is one, I’ve not seen it.

See part one here…

Random Wrestling Videos Part 3 – The Gobbledy Gooker

Craig Wilson

Maybe one of the worst gimmicks in WWF history!

For months leading up to the 1990 Survivor Series there was a huge egg on show at events which finally hatched, revealing the Gobbledy Gooker. You can see the video below.

As much “fun” as this looked, the crowd reaction was brutal. With the hype that the egg had been receiving, the fans I guess expected more than a guy in a turkey suit dancing about in the ring and there is clearly audible booing towards the gimmick and it was very quickly dropped from TV.

The Gobbledy Gooker was revived for WrestleMania X-Seven to participate in the “Gimmick Battle Royal” in which he was eliminated second. When “Mean” Gene Okerlund was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, he recalled some of his famous interviews and he acknowledged the fact that it was Héctor Guerrero in the costume, saying that “Héctor, we had a lot of fun, but all of this is forgotten.”

The triumph and tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling – Part 1

Craig Wilson

There is unlikely to ever be as tragic a tale in wrestling as that of the Von Erich family. The sons of Fritz Von Erich helped propel World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) to being one of the biggest wrestling promotions in the early 80s but the tragic deaths of David, Mike, Chris and Kerry brought such grief and removed the heart from the promotion. The WWE produced DVD ‘the triumph and tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling’ shows you the highs of the promotion, its innovation, its performers and characters but also addresses the demise of one of the greatest families in wrestling history and some of the other tragedies that struck WCCW.

The documentary contains extensive interview footage with the last remaining Von Erich, Kevin, as he takes you on the journey as the company grew and sold out stadiums to the final days when they performed in front of empty arenas. There are a lot of myths surrounding the father, Fitz Von Erich, but Kevin is keen to shatter many of these in the course of the interviews and explains that the boys did what they wanted to do, they weren’t forced by Fritz into wrestling.

The athletic prowess of the boys is highlighted very early on as comparisons are drawn with Fritz himself. He missed out on the Olympics as a youngster due to getting married whilst Kerry missed out in representing the USA in the discuss throw because of Jimmy Carter boycotting it. The logical next step for them all was wrestling.

Formed in 1966 as Big Time Wrestling, the focus was on Fritz Von Erich during the seventies before shifting to his boys in the early 80s. Fritz’s retirement match in a 1982 NWA American Title win over King Kong Bundy at Texas Stadium in Irving. By then, the promotion had switched to the World Class name and was centred firmly round Fritz’s sons, Kevin, David, Kerry, and later, Mike Von Erich.

While naturally such a shift resulted in accusations of nepotism, there were no question marks over the ability of the Von Erich’s in the ring. Unfortunately, it was their activities out with the ring that played a part in the demise of the promotion. No prodding was needed, either, to get the boys into wrestling. Loyalty to their Father and their natural athleticism made it a natural fit for them to get involved. It benefitted too as he could build the promotion around then and trust them not to run out on him.

In what was a rarity at the time, the Von Erichs were gimmickless. In a respect, that was their gimmick. Their movie star looks turned them into superstars and made them so over with the Texas fans. Their fanbase wasn’t solely based in Texas with viewers tuning in on pirated version of the TV show and crying out to watch it legally. At this stage the boys wanted to go nationwide but their Father’s loyalty prevented this from happening. What could have been…

It very much seemed that WCCW were ahead of the game, they were the first promotion to use entrance music and with the Freebirds it could be suggested that they started off the wrestling and rock ‘n’ roll connection long before the then WWF jumped onto that bandwagon ahead of Wrestlemania I. The WCCW is heavily associated with the Dallas Sportatorium, an arena it regularly sold out and at times seemed like it was constantly beating last week’s new record in terms of attendance and are rightly regarded as revolutionising wrestling in Texas.

Without question the biggest feud in the history of the WCCW was the one between the Von Erichs and the Fabulous Freebirds. On one side you had the clean cut movie star-esque Von Erichs who were huge crowd favourites against the brash and arrogant Freebirds who consistently drew heat as the antagonists in the feud. Not only the biggest feud in WCCW history but arguably in the history of American Wrestling. The rivalry catapulted those involved into becoming some of the biggest names in wrestling and drew in money like nothing else. In one week, and bear in mind this was 82, the WCCW brought in a quarter of a million. Quite incredible money for the time.

In what was to become the norm for WCCW, tragedy wasn’t far away. Despite clearly being ill, David Von Erich travelled to Japan for a match and died over there. Despite a number of contradicting stories, it is believed that David’s lower intestine rupturing resulted in a heart attack. At the subsequent memorial show, Kerry Von Erich defeated Ric Flair in the main event to capture the NWA championship in the main event of the show that also saw Fritz come out of retirement to team with his sons. Despite the obvious sadness, this turned out to be a great day for the Von Erichs as Kerry’s victory was greeted with deafening cheers from teh fans in attendance.

Would this title win be the beginning of a new era and see Kerry Von Erich finally fulfil his potential and lead the NWA as their new champion? Unfortunately no, the NWA saw the writing on the wall and the belt was returned to Flair in a match in Japan just 18 days later. By now a black cloud hung over Kerry Von Erich and there were doubts over his reliability and fears that he wouldn’t show for events. It seemed his title reign was never going to be anything other than a short term thing.

See part two here…