Sunday, April 29, 2007

UWA, Seven Hills-Toongabbie RSL, April 28

Crsm dives onto his opponents at Sunday's UWA card

DESPITE a disappointing crowd of around 80 people, the UWA put on another entertaining card today.
Going through the bouts in order:
Will Phoenix b Mexicutioner: The rotund Aja Kong lookalike from UWF made his UWA debut and looked okay with one of Australia's finest workers. Nothing particularly wrong with the match, but it always seemed obvious Will was going over. Mexi would make a great comedy mid-carder, in my opinion.
FATAL FOUR-WAY: Dean Draven b Crsm (with Sebastian Fabuloso), Dementor & Chris "Iron Horse" Kay: Kay is new but shows promise. Dementor is always solid and Draven is possibly the best Chris Benoit impersonator in Australia today (and that's not an insult, by the way). The highlights of the match:
* Sebastian introducing "Crsm Juice" to the crowd. I got my very own free bottle and it tastes like...MEN. Nah.....just kidding...it's tastes like aloe vera juice. Sadly, the bastard RSL staff threw away my bottle while I wasn't looking, so I lost my little souvenir :(
* Crsm's over-the-top rope flip on the other three wrestlers (see above), AND
* Crsm having the living shit knocked out of him after receiving an exploder suplex (is that the right technical term for it?) from Draven. Crsm was legitimately knocked silly by that move.
Somehow, Dean - who was the face going into this match as it was his UWA "return" after some unhappy experiences with the AWF - turned himself heel in the after-match interview.

Iron Horse wails on Dementor

Salem b Big J: Apart from J botching the ending somewhat by standing on the top rope way too long while waiting to take Salem's big finishing move, this was a good match. Almost a squash to be honest, as Salem beat the hell out of his opponent. The fans really, really hate Salem (which is the sign of a great heel). I heard one woman who was upset and complaining to her brother (a wrestler) that Salem had used awful language to a fan (he called her "a trollop"). Her brother rolled his eyes and explained to her that it was all a work. Ya gotta love pro wrestling. :P
Shane Steele b Wayne "Punisher" Pickford: A real upset here by the UWF newcomer who went hold for hold with the savvy ring veteran and scored the roll-up pin while Pickford attempted a figure-four leglock. Nice technical bout and a surprise ending.
Johnny Rage b Troy The Boy: Make that TWO surprise endings for the show. Troy's finisher is the superkick. So imagine my shock when rookie Rage pinned Troy with...a superkick. Hmmm...I smell a feud here. Good match - Rage has a lotta potential.
UWA Ultimate Title: Jass b H8red & Devlin DeSkyes (with Discord): Normally, I'm not a big fan of triple threat matches, especially as I was keen to see Devlin and Salem face Redrum for the tag team titles instead. Still, you can't go wrong with these three blokes in the ring. A fun, action-packed main event. I ain't complaining.

Overall, it was a fun afternoon and it was great to again catch up with the likes of Sandy, Bec, Nic, Sarah, Fozz, Ed, Jass, Seb and Lofty (who is a living encyclopaedia of Aussie wrestling history...someone needs to interview him ASAP!).

If you wanna know more about the UWA, head to their web site at http://www.uwaprowrestling.com.au/main.html.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

REVIEW: Ric Flair & The Four Horsemen

The original Four Horsemen (from left): Tully Blanchard,
Ole Anderson, manager JJ Dillon, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair and Arn Anderson

BEFORE there was an NWO or DX, The Four Horsemen was the ORIGINAL gang of rasslin’ rule-breakers. Consisting of Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Ole and Arn Anderson, the Horsemen dominated the NWA in the mid-80s, winning titles and beating up good guys like Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA and the Garvins.
They were bullies who ran roughshod over the federation with impunity.
All four were the perfect combination of in-ring talent and out-of-the-ring mike skills. They also partied hard.
The Horsemen seemed unstoppable, but backstage politics eventually killed the group.
With many classic interviews and matches, this entertaining WWE-produced two-disc doco covers the Horsemen’s rise and sad decline (including the many half-arsed reincarnations of the gang that were implemented right up until the late 90s).


Paul Roma...not bitter

OK...this is a great DVD 'cos it's a great subject. And despite its kayfabe nature, there are some surprisingly open comments, the highlights being:
* Paul Roma's bitterness
* Horsemen manager JJ Dillon's accurate statement that Vince McMahon mishandled Flair's WWF debut in 1992 'cos Ric wasn't a VKM creation
* Flair's open hostility towards Sid Vicious, Roma, Jim Herd and Eric Bischoff
* His nice comments about Sting (even though Sting's now a major player in TNA)
* Tully admitting his cocaine usage in the WWF, AND
* The difference of opinion regarding Dillon's importance to the Horsemen - Michael Hayes and Teddy Long say he was of little importance, while Flair said he was majorly important.
Of course, there were aspects of the DVD I didn't like. I was bugged by the spelling errors in the scrolling text describing the Sid Vicious-Arn Anderson stabbing incident in the early 90s. But that's just the journalist in me getting all nitpicky.
And there were perplexing smart comments amidst all the kayfabing - like when Arn and Tully talked about jealousy in the NWA locker room over the Horsemen holding all the belts.
Or when Barry Windham (who looks fucking OLD, man) said he was angry with then-world champ Flair for jumping to the WWF in 1991 when Barry had been told he was in line for the title.
Very schizophrenic.
Anyway, like I said before, this is a very good doco despite the many glaring WWE "history revisions" and, of course, the bizarre need to use kayfabe.
And one can only wonder why WWE didn't bother to seek on-screen comments from the likes of Lex Luger, Sid Vicious and Ole Anderson.

Still, at least we can be thankful they didn't interview Steve bloody Lombardi.

Barry Windham (second from left) made a great addition to the Horsemen
after Arn, Ric and Tully dumped Lex Luger in 1988



Sunday, April 15, 2007

UWF, Regents Park - Saturday, April 14

WHEN legendary rasslin’ commentator, historian and promoter Ed Lock invited me along to a UWF card last Saturday night, I didn’t know quite what to expect. I was only familiar with two names on the roster – Phil “Birdman” Picasso and Greg “The Professor” Stekker. The rest were unknowns to me.

Well, after attending the April 14 card at the Regents Park Sporting & Community Club, all I have to say to the boys and UWF promoter is, “Well done on a great show!”

There are some excellent young workers in this fledgling promotion – I’m glad that Ed convinced me to come along and check them out.

I was very impressed with high-spot artists like MH Cydell, Kody Hohaia, Alex Rudka, Mikey Lord and Adam Lord (no relation, I assume).

Also, big men Shane Steele, Bruza and Morbid look like they’ll be names to watch in the future.

Add to that the sparkling commentary by legends Larry Memmry and Trevor Singleton, and Mr Singleton’s stirling work as ring announcer, and it added up to a fantastic night for me, Ed and the 120 other fans who turned up.
A
s always, it was also great to catch up with the “one and only” UWF Hall Of Famer, Misterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Graeme “Fozzy” Young, reuniting the Four Horsemen once more...well, three quarters of them anyway (where were you, Tully?).

Results: MH Cydell b Kody Hohaia, MEW match: Mexicutioner b Shane Steele, Morbid b Alex Rudka – COR, NSW Championship: CJ Irwin (c) b Antonio De'Ath (w/- Mika LeStrange), UWF Australian Heavyweight Title: Greg “The Professor” Stekker b Phil “Birdman” Picasso, The 3 Factors (Adam Lord & Bruza) w/- Chris Sanchez b The Immortals (Bane Youngblood & Mikey Lord) w/- CJ Irwin.

Friday, April 06, 2007

FILM REVIEW: Lovestruck: Wrestling's No. 1 Fan

Sue Chuter is flanked by UWA wrestler Devlin DeSkyes (left)
and tag team partner Salem at a Q&A session following
last night's screening of "Lovestruck"

I ATTENDED the Sydney premiere of this fascinating documentary last night at Sydney's Chauvel Cinema and I have to say I find it quite a moving, surprisingly affecting film.
Lovestruck is a 10-year labour of love for director
Megan Spencer (from Triple J, SBS’s The Movie Show, etc) and it tells the amazing story of Melbourne wrestling fanatic Sue Chuter (many long-time Aussie fans will know Sue).
At times hilarious, at other times quite poignant, Lovestruck reveals the depth of Sue’s passion for these pseudo-athletes, particularly her idol Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Lovestruck will open at the Chauvel Cinema in
Sydney from April 5. It'll open at Cinema Nova in Melbourne from April 19.
I recommend it to wrestling and non-wrestling fans alike.
Oh yes, and my blogging compadre Dann Leonard (sic) appears briefly in the movie. Boy, was he FAT back in 1998!
Anyway, I had a hoot last night - congrats to the boys from the UWA (especially owner Ed Lock) for organising the fun "extracurricular" activities before and after the film screening.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

FLASHBACK: "Wrestling Observer Newsletter" on-line letters column, May 5, 2006

Waylon Mercy

APTER MAGS


Dave,

You've probably been asked this hoary old chestnut before, but I can't recall reading an answer on it, so I'll ask again: in the old Apter mags, were "journalists" Liz Hunter, Eddie Ellner, Dan Shocket and Matt Brock all fictional?

On another matter, Waylon Mercy (played by Danny Spivey) was one of the greatest WWF gimmicks never to "make it". What exactly happened to Spivey that killed the gimmick? Also, where's Spivey these days?

Cheers,

Dann Lennard
Sydney, Australia

Dave Meltzer replies: Liz Hunter and Matt Brock were fictional. Eddie Ellner and Dan Shocket were both real people. Shocket passed away young. Spivey's knees were shot by the time he got the gimmick and just couldn't go.

DOC RIOT SAYS: Pah! I could've told that idiot Lennard that - he didn't need to ask Meltzer. But...wait, Matt Brock was a REAL PERSON. I drank tequila shots with the guy in Memphis!!! Or did I? I know I was on medication at the time. Hmmmmmmm.......so who exactly did I arm-wrestle naked that evening?

RIP...f@#king everybody!

"King" Ernie Ladd

FOR a veteran wrestling newshound like myself, there's no bigger story than DEATH.
When death comes to the old, it's sad but expected. Old war stories are unearthed, reminiscences made and the dearly departed are remembered (usually with praise). I'm talking about the recently departed like Bad News Brown, Arnold Skaaland and Ernie Ladd. It was a good innings for all of these guys, I say.

But when death comes to the young, the sadness becomes tragedy as the expected makes way for the unexpected. You can reminisce all you like, but the overwhelming feelings are a sense of unfairness and loss. Vale Bam Bam Bigelow and Mike Awesome.

So, I'm gonna give you a personal favourite memory of these five legends of the squared circle, but while the initial three will be tinged with a celebration of their long, eventful lives, the latter two will be tinged with the bitterness of knowing Scott and Mike way died too soon.

Arnold Skaaland

Arnold Skaaland (died March 13, 2007, aged 82):
Sure, he's best known for throwing in the towel when the Iron Sheik had Bob Backlund in the camel clutch during their world title match on December 26, 1983. But I remember him better from Channel Nine's Wide World Of Sports. Back in the late 80s, the four-hour sports program would regularly show an old wrestling bout (usually early 80s WWF). One time, I saw a tag match from Madison Square Gardens with Jimmy Snuka and Skaaland taking on Don Muraco and Captain Lou Albano. I remember thinking, "Who the hell is that old guy and why are the bad guys selling for him?" It wasn't till later that I found out how huge Arnold was in the WWF.

Ernie Ladd (died March 10, 2007, aged 68): I didn't see much of Ernie on videotape till recently, but I was always impressed by his photos in the Apter mags. He looked so HUGE, even standing next to his nemesis Andre The Giant.

Bad News Brown takes on Roddy Piper

Bad News Brown (died March 6, 2007, aged 63):
Ah, it has to be his famed double-cross on Bret "Hitman" Hart during the battle royal at WrestleMania IV. A classic Pearl Harbor attack by one of the great, underrated heels of the 1980s.

Mike Awesome (died February 17, 2007, aged 42): His matches with Masato Tanaka in ECW were all high-impact classics. But, y'know, I have a fond spot for his lame-arse "That 70s Guy" gimmick in WCW. I saw him live in 2000 doing a kitschy "Lava Lamp Lounge" segment when WCW toured Australia. Mike was a funny dude, and made the best of the ridiculous gimmick he was lumbered with.

Bam Bam Bigelow (died January 19, 2007, aged 45): There were lots of great matches (and some shitty ones, too), but the thing I remember most about Bam Bam was travelling all the way to Zurich, Switzerland in 1995 to see a WWF house show. Bigelow and Psycho Sid (Vicious) has the best match on the card...and it was ALL thanks to Bam Bam.