MMA: Wrestling’s Distant Cousin 6

by Daniel Johnson

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Metamoris is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu company running out of Los Angeles, California and founded by Ralek Gracie, a member of the famous Gracie family. Although Metamoris is marketed as a straight Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu company rather than an MMA organization, if you’re a pro wrestling fan first, Metamoris is a great way to transition into also being a MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

I know, I know! Hardcore pro wrestling fans and hardcore MMA fans are probably crapping on this piece already. If you’ve witnessed even a fraction of the online debate between pro wrestling fans and MMA fans that I have you know that combining the two in anyway is considered by many to be an abomination. Yet, pro wrestling, MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are fields that each produce a ton of fun stuff to watch. As Dean Lister said in the video package building up to his fight with Josh Barnett at Metamoris 4, “If you don’t have an open mind you’re not going to go very far.” This is true not only of combat, but of fandom. So if you’re a fan of one of these areas and not the others consider expanding your interest and taking in Metamoris as a way to aid this growth.

If you’re still reading this then you’re open minded enough to allow me to make a pro wrestling analogy. Metamoris reminds me of your standard fairly popular regional wrestling promotion. Big, yet aging stars are on top to attract the casual fans and younger guys fill out the undercard. Wait, a minute that doesn’t just sound like a regional promotion! That sounds like WWE Wrestlemania XXX!

Anyway, the reason so many companies use this formula is because it works. At the most recent Metamoris event, Metamoris 4 held on August 9. The two marquee matches were Chael Sonnen vs. Andre Galvao and the aforementioned Josh Barnett vs. Dean Lister. All four competitors were over 30 and three of them were 36 or older. Yet, using these fighters allows for a fun introduction to some people who have done great in the MMA world. Just by looking at him you can see that Josh Barnett today is not the same Josh Barnett at his peak in the early 2000s. However, the former holder of the UFC Heavyweight Championship and former NJPW superstar can still go and create memorable moments. At Metamoris 4, Barnett submitted Dean Lister for the first time since Bill Clinton was President of the United States.

Sure, if you want to get into MMA you can and should watch UFC as well as go back and watch older fights. Yet, Metamoris adds some perspective worth having. The average age of a marquee name for Metamoris 4 may be greater than that of the upcoming UFC 177, but these Metamoris fighters aren’t beaten down horses ready to put out to pasture. Barnett was knocked out by Travis Browne in a minute in his last UFC fight and it can’t be said he still shows signs of his former greatness. How could it? His greatness never left. At Metamoris 4 he had an intensely physical performance that went nearly 20 minutes and once again ended with him submitting someone just not known to tap. Looking beyond Barnett, Sonnen also has plenty of gas left in the tank. Sonnen may have lost three of his last four UFC fights, but his opponents for those losses were Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Rashad Evans. All three of those men had momentum going into these fights ranging from decent (Evans) to incredible (Silva and Jones). Heck, Silva and Jones are arguably two of the best MMA fighters ever regardless of weight class. If Sonnen had any competition less than the very best his recent win/loss record could look very different.

Other than the fighters another reason pro wrestling fans interested in becoming fans of MMA/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu should check out Metamoris is the theatrics. Metamoris has some stuff that UFC currently is very unlikely to do. One of the more interesting contests was an unannounced secret fight between Baret Yoshida and Jeff Glover. Glover was only announced after Yoshida had already come out. The real kicker though is that Glover had been doing commentary then after being announced took off his headphones and revealed he was wearing tights. That’s some pro wrestling schtick right there!

Lastly, the pure spectacle of Metamoris offers makes it worth watching. Like UFC, Metamoris has top notch production values. The buildup packages heading into fights get you pumped for the showdown. Likewise, the highlight videos give you anything you could want of any combat sport organization wrapped up in a nice little package. In about ten minutes you are fed six stories worth of action and even more awesome smaller bits. If you can’t set aside some hours to watch an entire Metamoris event than 10 minutes can offer a great condensed version of the spectacle the company offers.

Metamoris held it’s first event in 2012 and produces a slim amount of content compared to the likes of UFC. Yet, it is a case of quality over quantity. Metamoris is a three in one company that has something to offer if you are a pro wrestling fan, a MMA fan or just a fan of straight up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Although not a flat out MMA organization Metamoris offers a great chance in particular for pro wrestling fans to expand their interests into MMA/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu due to it’s fighters, theatrics and spectacle.

 

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30 in 30 Reborn: Gold Rush Pro Wrestling’s Channel

by Daniel Johnson

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Hi pals! Support indie/foreign wrestling and vote for The Crown J here. Also, go here for details on how to win a $25 WWE Shop Gift Card. Information about the 30 in 30 Reborn series can be found here. Contest ends August 31, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.

The full Gold Rush Pro Wrestling (GRPW) YouTube channel can be found here.

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Here are the facts about GRPW’s YouTube channel:

Number of videos: 51

Frequency new videos are added: The channel has not had a single video added to it since July 2013, but back when the channel first launched in February 2012 eight videos were uploaded in one week.

Frequency full shows are added: Most of the full matches on the channel make up a few full shows put on the channel that were spaced out as little as a month apart at one point. The last full show added was in June 2013

Total views of the most popular video: 4,485

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GRPW is a pretty cool promotion based out of Pacifica, California. The thing that makes GRPW particularly neat is that aside from promoting young talent the company has held several fundraisers for various causes around the San Fransisco Bay Area. The man behind the promotion is Sparkey Ballard, a referee who prior to forming the company had refereed more than 2,000 matches, working in the United States and Australia. Although the promotion is largely made up of local talent, workers based outside of California have worked for GRPW as well. Some talent featured on the channel to look out for are AJ Kirsch, Amber O’Neal and Will Rood. The matches on this channel are filmed in two different ways. Some are shot with multiple cameras and others are filmed from one fixed camera. No commentary or onscreen graphics are included, but the lighting and picture quality are decent. The channel passed away in July 2013. Given that GRPW’s official website was updated as recently as April 2014 it is possible the channel could be resurrected, but that is not incredibly likely.

A recommended clip:

D-Torch vs. AJ Kirsch

Despite coming out in a punk rock style jacket D-Torch declares, “Look at all these kids, I feel like Justin Bieber.” AJ Kirsch by contrast is a more serious wrestler and has no such one liners.

Kirsch gets down to business after feeling D-Torch out and takes his opponent down then follows that up with a front face lock. Despite his name and his tights AJ Kirsch is not much like AJ Styles and has a more grounded style. This leaves the high flying of the match to be performed by D-Torch.  Although Kirsch dominates for a little while inside the squared circle when the action spills outside D-Torch wallops Kirsch with a crossbody from the ring to the floor.

As soon as the match goes back inside Kirsch again takes charge until D-Torch rolls him up. When Kirsch kicks out, D-Torch delivers a neckbreaker then when that fails to win him the match D-Torch starts dolling out some stiff sounding kicks. Unfortunately for D-Torch his streak of offense ends when he runs into Kirsch’s big boot. Kirsch then executes a falcon arrow, but D-Torch kicks out at two. Will Rood then comes out prompting Kirsch to ponder allowed, “What the hell are you doing here, Rood?” This is enough of a distraction for D-Torch to finish Kirsch off with a schoolboy.

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25 and Under: Lucky O’Shea Defends Against a Bloodthirsty Vixen

by Daniel Johnson

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Lucky O’Shea vs. Amanda “The Bloodthirsty Vixen”

World Independent Ladies Division (WILD) was a promotion formed in 2010 with it’s own event, but really shined in some showcase matches held on the cards of other promotions. In January 2011 one of these matches was held at California’s Insane Wrestling League (IWL) and featured the then WILD Championship holder, Lucky O’Shea defending against Amanda “The Blood Thirsty Vixen” at IWL New Years Wrestlelution.

This match has an odd dynamic. It is a two out of three falls match where the very first fall can only be by submission, the second fall is by pin and the third fall is a last man standing match. Given that submission is typically viewed as one of, if not the greatest way to completely defeat someone in wrestling today it is odd that, that was placed as the way to determine the first fall. Another odd thing is that after a variation of Bryan Danielson’s old cattle mutilation submission the heel gets the babyface, 1992 born Lucky O’Shea to submit.

The babyface is then positioned as an underdog and after a headscissors take down and a dropkick from the second rope she evens up the score. In the segment to determine the deciding fall is when Amanda really shines as a heel. First she complains about having an injured boob. Amanda is of course just playing possum because she attacks O’Shea from behind and punishes her with some forearms and hair pulling. Amanda further cheats by having her manager, Katie Locke choke O’Shea while the referee is not looking. Locke bends the rules a little more by later distracting O’Shea allowing Amanda to achieve more strikes then put her away with a slam. However, this cheating was just a little too much to take for the folks running WILD. Amanda may have gotten the win, but is not awarded the WILD Championship.

O’Shea’s reign eventually came to an end in another showcase match held at IWL Cross Out when Amanda beat her decisively. Amanda went on to have a fabulous 2011 wrestling around the country and notably working with Mickie Knuckles.

The full match can be seen right here:

WILD has since closed it’s doors as far as I can tell. IWL on the other hand is still around and the promotion’s next show will be IWL New Era 9 on September 28 in Monrovia, California. Click here for tickets.

The full results of IWL New Years Wrestlelution can be found here.

For more in the 25 and Under series with action from the golden state click here and here.

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Site News 8/28/14

by Daniel Johnson

Hey pals and palettes! With just a few days left of voting for The Johnson Transcript Surging Star Award the top five spots are as follows:

1. Reed Bentley (24.58%)
2. Adam Cole (19.49%)
3. Barrett Brown (7.63%)
4. Chris Jones (5.93%)
4. Osby Tomlin (5.93%)

Time is running out to vote and to enter to win a WWE Shop Gift Card! To enter just vote for The Johnson Transcript Surging Star Award aka The Crown J here and e-mail me at dcj2112@columbia.edu with a one sentence e-mail naming who you voted for and why. Contest ends August 31, 2014 at 1:00p p.m.

In other news:

*The MMA: Wrestling’s Distant Cousin series will return tomorrow with a whopper of piece. Come back then to find out just what it’s all about.

*Speaking of all of the different series the site has, if you have not done so yet check out 5 Alternate Realities of Pro Wrestling…That Almost Happened by Jeremy Cundiff aka Madman Szalinski. Part II went up on Wednesday and is all about Yokozuna potentially going to WCW. A new part should be up next Wednesday so stay tuned for that.

*Next week Alex Knapp will also have a new edition of his series Wrestling Game StArcade. A new piece in this series will continue to pop up on the site every two weeks on Friday.

To end this update there is still plenty of time to vote for The Johnson Transcript Surging Star Award for 2013. An incredible amount of 177 people are eligible for the award this year including:

Aaron Matthews
Ace Haven
Ace Hawkins
Ace Jordan
Adam Brooks
Adam Cole
Adam Page
Adan Reyes
Addy Starr
Adrian Storm
AJ Evers
AJ Istria
Alex Avgerinos
Alex Haize
Alex Pain
Alexi Papadopoulos
Amanda Fox
Andrew Everett
Andy Bird
Andy Wu
Angel Blue
Angel Lopez
Anthony Greene
Anton Deryabin
Anton LeVeigh
April Davids
Argon
Aron Frost
Arya Daivari
Ashton Vuitton
Athena
Barbi Hayden
Barrett Brown
Barry Ryte
Ben Dover
Berserk
BJ Hancock
Bonnie
Brad Landen
Brady Pierce
Brandon Watts
Brian Rich
Brittany Wonder
Bryant Woods
Cadillac Burns
Carmell Jacob
Cash Money Erkan
Cedric Alexander
Cem Kaplan
Chase Matthews
Chase Owens
Chris Brookes
Chris Egan
Chris Jones
CJ Banks
Cody Hall
Corey Dye
Daichi Hashimoto
DASH Chisako
David Starr
Derek Cornell
Dick Justice
Dustin Knight
Elia Markopoulos
Elliot Russell
Elliot Sexton
Ethan Page
Evan Daniels
Evie
Flying Dragon Jr.
Freddy Stahl
Frightmare
FVN
Green Ant
Heavy Metal
Hiromu Takahashi
Ibo Ten
Ilja Dragunov
Jake Logan
Jake O’Neil
Jay Skillet
Jeff Orcut
Jenny Rose
Jeremy Foster
Jessica Love
Jessie McKay
JJ Garrett
JJ Sanchez
Joel Bateman
Joey Hegland
Joey O’Riley
Johnny Knieval
Johnny Miyagi
Johnny Wave
Jojo Bravo
Jonah Rock
Jonathan Gresham
Jordan Devlin
Jordan Jensen
JT Dunn
Julian Starr
Justin Overstreet
Katsuhiko Nakajima
Kay Lee Ray
Kazuaki Mihara
Ken Kerbis
Ken Lee
Kevin Perry
Kimber Lee
Koray
Kris Kahoz
La Sombra
Lance Anoa’i
Liberty
LT Falk
Lucky Kid
Makoto
Mark Andrews
Mark Angel
Marti Belle
Mat Fitchett
Mat Russo
Matt Cage
Matt Conard
Matt Knicks
Matt Tremont
Mia Yim
Mike Hitchman
Mike Montero
Mitch McCarthy
Nate Knox
Nathan Cruz
Nick Primo
Nick Marchand
Nick Westgate
Nikita Naridian
Noam Dar
Osby Tomlin
Pascal Spalter
Reed Bentley
Rex Lawless
Rich Swann
Ricky Martinez
Ricky Medeiros
Ricochet
Robbie Eagles
Robert Dreissker
Robert Schild
Roger Ruiz
Rory Mondo
Ryan Justice
Ryan Kidd
Sara Elektra
Sara-Marie Taylor
Scotty O’Shea
Scotty Young
Seleziya Sparx
Sendai Sachiko
Sexy Jessie
Shayne Hawke
Shazza McKenzie
Shynron
Siren Monroe
Su Yung
Supafli
Takumi Iroha
Terra Calaway
The Tower
The White Leopard
TJ Marconi
Trent Adams
Tyler Colton
Usurper
Vincent Schild
Vladimir Joseph
Zakk Sawyers
Zombified

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30 in 30 Reborn: Lucha Xtreme Wrestling Entertainment’s Channel

by Daniel Johnson

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Hola amigos! Support independent/foreign wrestling and vote for The Crown J here. Also, go here for details on how to win a $25 WWE Shop Gift Card. Details regarding the 30 in 30 Reborn series can be found here. Contest ends August 31, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.

The full Lucha Xtreme Wrestling Entertainment’s (LX) YouTube channel can be found here.

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Here are the facts about LX’s YouTube channel:

Number of videos: 41

Frequency new videos are added: The frequency varies a good deal as there have been as many as seven videos added in a month’s time and other months where not a single video is added.

Frequency full shows are added: There are three full Lucha Xtreme episodes from season 2 and season 3 of the promotion’s television series. These were all added about a year ago one right after the other.

Total views of the most popular video: 1,365

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LX is an American promotion based in Fresno, California. As the name probably makes it clear to you this promotion showcases lucha libre over more traditional American wrestling. Actually, the way some of the matches play out they look very much like a regular American wrestling match. I guess, the same thing can be said about how current AAA and CMLL are booked, but I digress. At any rate the channel features full matches and a full show called simply Lucha Xtreme. LX pimps out it’s paid online service LX TV nearly as much as the WWE promotes the WWE Network. Heck, even during the full matches the clip will cut to a commercial for LX TV and let you know that for just $4.99 you have access to all of their content. That being said with a paid service setup, you just know LX’s best stuff isn’t on a free YouTube channel. Still, what is there is pretty fun. Matches are shot with multiple cameras and have good production quality, which is further supported by commentary in English. Some of the more prominently featured talent includes Kratos, Wiseguy and Jeff Cobb. Also, another cool thing about LX is that they use the old school WWF style vignettes to introduce new stars. This introduction allows for an early impression as well as some character development.

A recommended clip:

Al Azar vs. Wiseguy

This match is for the LX United States Championship held by Wiseguy. The match starts off slowly and respectfully, but that’s not what the fans want and they even boo a handshake between Al Azar and Wiseguy. Well, I guess good sportsmanship isn’t big in Fresno. At any rate the two feel each other out, hit some suplexes and then there is a commercial break for LX TV.

Luckily this match picks up exactly where it left off before the commercial, but unluckily for Azar, Wiseguy soon plants his neck across the ropes in a stun gun fashion. The commentator refers to this as a clothesline for some reason.Wiseguy can’t keep control of this one and after Azar charges, the masked man hits the champion with a neckbreaker. Wiseguy comes back and hits a Rocker dropper on Azar from the top rope. Azar must have figured, “I’m the one with the mask on. I should be doing the high flying!” As such Azar goes up top and connects with a shoulder block….and by connects I mean he hits the referee. Each man gets a three count while the referee is down. I guess in the long term this could add some interest to the title’s division since each man would have some claim to the strap.

Neither man gets a clear victory as it is because heel Brian Tannen runs in and starts laying the smack down on both men. Top face Kratos doesn’t take kindly to this, charges the ring and gives Tannen what for!

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Old School Flashback: Tracy Smothers Fights The Devil

by Daniel Johnson

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Tracy Smothers vs. El Diablo

Tracey Smothers’ introduction by The Crowe opens this clips so El Diablo gets the jobbers entrance by being already in his ring. Well, Diablo was facing someone the caliber of Tracy Smothers who was hot off of a WCW run working with Steve Armstrong…about three years before this match took place. At any rate the folks at Pro Wrestling International (PWI) in Indianapolis, Indiana were booking someone who had made it to the big time so of course someone was going to do the honors for Smothers.

By just looking at the names you know who is going to win. Unless you suffered a head injury worse than any suffered by Smothers’ paisan in ECW’s Full Blooded Italians, JT Smith. Nevertheless this is hardly a squash match and a lot of fun to watch.

El Diablo may have started in the ring, but as soon as Smothers comes in Diablo and his manager Damien Anderson hop out. When Diablo gets back in he complains a heck of a lot throughout the match. It’s mostly because Smothers keeps kicking his tookus with simple moves like an armdrag and a hip toss. Diablo gets some offense in though and at one point the masked man even bites Smothers. Diablo’s big move is a kneelift, but this ends up backfiring on him when he tries it a second time. The wild eyed southern boy plans ahead and pins Diablo with a schoolboy.

The full match can be seen right here:

Not every Old School Flashback clip can feature Tracy Smothers fighting Satan himself. If this match didn’t overwhelm you too much then you can find more PWI action here and here.

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5 Alternate Realities of Pro Wrestling…That Almost Happened: Part II

by Jeremy Cundiff

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2. Yokozuna, WCW’s Original Gangsta

Thank you for your bandwidth. I just love staring at that fuckin’ dinosaur in the banner. Speaking of dinosaurs, we all remember Rodney Anao’i aka Yokozuna, right?

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Yokozuna was 555 lbs when he debuted. This would be his lightest weight in the WWF. As his tenure progressed, Vince McMahon wanted him to be less of a figurative monster and more of a literal one. Yokozuna just wasn’t big enough, so Vince somehow convinced him to put on an extra 200  lbs. No, I am not making this shit up. Yokozuna was upwards of 650 lbs the last time we saw him in a WWF ring (which was the pre-show for SummerSlam 1996, in which he pulled the top rope off the buckle when he climbed up to deliver the Banzai drop to his opponent, the 1996 King of the Ring, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

So yeah, he was big. Big enough that WCW tried to sign him away during those Monday Night Wars we keep hearing about, but never have really seen since Vince pretty much publically executed WCW while staring down every other wrestling promoter in the world with a grin on his face. So we probably won’t ever see a time in pro wrestling where two companies of equal stature bid for each other’s wrestlers so vigorously, they’ll even try to get people to sign via phone call. Major League Wrestling (MLW) got this out of Konnan on an episode of MLW Radio.

“One time Scott [Hall] was with (Eric) Bischoff and he [said to Yokozuna], ‘Man Bischoff is right here. Let’s make this happen.’ Yoko said, ‘I don’t roll like that. You don’t just put someone on the phone and tell me to sign.’ He got offended and he never came in,” he said.

That’s right. Eric Bischoff tried to sign Yokozuna via telephone. However, Rodney was loyal to Vince McMahon as half his family cashed paychecks signed by Vinnie Mac at some point in their lives (remember, every Samoan in wrestling is related, he’s cousins with The Rock and Rikishi.) So Yokozuna had no intentions of jumping ship. But what if he had?

Konnan continued, “Yoko was gangster. I went to L.A. with him once and he was like the godfather of South Central. He was telling me stories about him sneaking drugs through airport security. He was well connected. He was a gangster. I looked up to him a lot. He loved my character in the nWo and we were actually going to get him to come in as a Samoan gangster and have my back.”

Go Google “BSK WWF 1995” and see if there’s any truth to that or not. And then take a moment to un-shit yourself at the thought of it. Now, while you’re changing into clean underwear, let’s think about Yokozuna…a legit gangsta…going into a sleaze-ball company like WCW…to play a legit gangsta. We all know where this was going to go: UP IN FUCKING FLAMES. IF the worst happened and Yokozuna found himself working for WCW, you really think that any of the bullies and politics would have worked on him? He’d had experience dealing with Hulk Hogan before, and Lex Luger as well. You think Eric Bischoff was going to be the one to tell him bad news? What if he and somebody like Scott Steiner had a go in the back? What if he and somebody like Scott Steiner had a go DURING A MATCH?

Just saying…WCW was NOT a well-oiled machine. It’s a good metaphor really. WWF is the nice suburb of Greenwich, while WCW was the worn down ghetto of Atlanta. The grounds were very fertile there for anything to happen, and Yokozuna was the guy that could have done damn near whatever he wanted to…or, whatever he had to. Maybe he would have formed his own crew.

Maybe Yokozuna in WCW wouldn’t have been so bad after all.

Source: Konnan

Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org

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30 in 30 Reborn: Florida Pro Wrestling’s Channel

by Daniel Johnson

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Greetings readers! Show your love for independent/foreign wrestling and vote for The Crown J here. Also, go here for details on how to win a $25 WWE Shop Gift Card. Details concerning the 30 in 30 Reborn series can be found here. Contest ends August 31, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.

The full Florida Pro Wrestling (FPW) YouTube channel can be found here.

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Here are the facts about FPW’s YouTube channel:

Number of videos: 158

Frequency new videos are added: This varies greatly. Right now the last video was added a month ago, but there have been times when a slew of videos are added all at once.

Frequency full shows are added: Full or mostly full shows were added in parts beginning in February 2012. At one point a full show was added about once a week, but the time between full shows being added became longer and longer before stopping altogether in August 2012.

Total views of the most popular video: 770

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One thing I admire about FPW is the brass balls the people running the promotion must have. If you are unfamiliar with independent wrestling in Florida this takes a little explaining. Basically, it can be summed up by saying if you throw a rock in certain parts of the sunshine state then you are almost bound to hit a wrestling promoter. There are just that many indies there! So for FPW to declare itself simply Florida Pro Wrestling is quite the boast. As for the content of the channel there is a ton of stuff including many full matches. Shorter bits are also present and clips range from the very first video hyping FPW crowning the inaugural FPW Heavyweight Champion to a standard promo package to some dude getting hit with a fireball. Wrestlers to look out for are former NWA World Heavyweight Champion “The Tokyo Monster” Kahagas, Jerome Hendrix and Joe Cool (the same guy that got hit with that fire ball). FPW also has some generic indie wrestling gimmicks like American Superstar, who is essentially just another guy playing The Patriot. Most of the videos of matches are just the raw footage filmed from events cut up into parts. Some videos are filmed by a moving camera person while others are just from one fixed angle.

A recommended clip:

Donnie Abel vs. Viper

Viper starts this clip off by running his mouth and picking on Donnie Abel for his ring attire. Able is apparently very into his fashion because despite being considerably smaller, Abel charges Viper and takes him down. Viper reponds by simply retreating though after some jeering from fans he summons up the courage to get back in the ring.

Abel continues to control the match until he charges at Viper a second time and runs right into a big boot. Viper then goes to the ropes and comes off with a double axe handle on Abel. The heel Viper continues the assault with a pretty lengthy stalling suplex then starts to argue with the crowd. As Viper is picking fights with members of the audience he continues this one with Abel by choking and stomping on him.

There is an old school ending teased when Viper has Abel in a full nelson submission, but Abel doesn’t tap. Instead Viper looks to put him away with a big splash into a corner of the ring. However, when Viper leaps at Abel, Abel jumps out of the way. Abel then kicks the bigger man is the stomach, gets him to hunch over and wallops him with a DDT.

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25 and Under: Aoi Kizuki in Ice Ribbon

by Daniel Johnson

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Aoi Kizuki vs. Kasey Owens

This match between then 24 year-old Aoi Kizuki and world traveled veteran Kasey Owens took place on August 23, 2013 at an Ice Ribbon New Aisuhiro show. Despite being only 24 Kizuki had been wrestling for over eight years when this match took place.

Like Owens, Kizuki is also a wrestling veteran and has been wrestling on and off with Ice Ribbon since the promotion was first founded in 2006. Kizuki has since wrestled over 90 matches for Ice Ribbon, but does not limit herself to one promotion. Last year Kizuki debuted for Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) and the year before that she had her first matches for Japan’s Stardom promotion. In the early years of Kizuki’s career she also wrestled for Japanese Women’s Pro Wrestling Project (JWP) and had the chance to wrestle with some competitors who performed way back on the 1990’s joshi scene like Sachie Abe, Kayoko Haruyama and KAZUKI. Having a leg up in her quality of opponents over many other wrestlers, her skill has developed at an amazing speed and just continues to grow. Kizuki is well skilled in technical wrestling with some high flying talent adding to the mix. Oh yeah, Kizuki also includes a ton of comedy in her matches.

Before Owens and Kizuki engage in this encounter the two get the crowd going with some dueling chants. Although Kizuki wins the popularity contest, Owens soon takes her down with a snapemare. From there Owens goes after Kizuki’s arms, but Kizuki counters her. Kizuki inserts a little comedy in this when she has one of Owens’ arm in hand and she keeps ducking behind her then going back around to Owens’ front to say hello. She does this, not once, not twice, but five freaking times! Kizuki also later on manages to playful stomp on Owens. Something tells me Vader stomping on someone could never be described as playful, but since Kizuki looks considerably different from how Vader looks, she can get away with it. As the match winds down the two end up slugging it out in a far less humorous exchange, but Kizuki ends that by catching Owens with a clothesline then hitting a twisting splash from the top rope.

The full match can be seen right here:

The next Ice Ribbon show will be Ice Ribbon Ice in Wonderland 2014 on August 31 in Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan. Click here for more information (site is in Japanese).

For the full results of the Ice Ribbon New Aisuhiro August 23, 2013 show click here.

For more in the 25 and Under series featuring joshi action click here and here.

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Random Ramblings: You Know, RVD Isn’t That Different From Old Hardcore Holly These Days

by Daniel Johnson

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Rob Van Dam just lost to Cesaro in a number one contender’s match for the WWE United States Championship on WWE Monday Night Raw. Exactly one week before RVD won a match. A six man match where he was just used to get a pop and was in no ongoing storyline to speak of. It makes me think, “RVD isn’t that different from Hardcore Holly these days.”

Now, some Hardcore Holly haters or HHHs (no one is using that acronymn, right?) may take this as a slight against RVD, but in actuality it is nothing of the sort. If you attended a WWE house show in the the 2000s and Hardcore Holly wrestled you can probably attest that Holly always got a reaction from a live crowd. I’m not just talking cheers as a result of him being a wrestler in the Attitude Era, but vocal pops well into 2008. The RVD and Holly comparison is not a perfect one, but on the surface there are similarities and even digging further more can be found.

In their respective time frames both have/had been wrestling for about 20 years, both looked younger than their respective ages and both even had signature poses that crowds reacted to. RVD’s pose is of course much more obvious as he repeatedly points to himself and declares, “R…V…D.” Yet, I remember seeing Holly for the first time during his Hardcore era and was shocked how many cheers he got just by clenching his fist and shaking it a little or pointing to the sky with two fingers.

Looking deeper into these poses it is easy to see why these actions get the reactions they do. RVD and Holly each have had distinctive looks and plainly look like performers. People who are meant to get a reaction. All they need is that little extra push that telegraphs to the audience, most importantly the casual fans, “cheer now.” There move sets evoke similar responses despite being considerably different. Whether it is five star frogsplash or an Alabama slam the message is clear. “This is a big move. Cheer now.” This is further assisted by the slight delay each of these moves has just to get that last little bit out of the crowd.

The ability of RVD to get a reaction no matter what makes him an ideal person for WWE to tuck into matches they feel need just a little more oomph. Even if his participation in them makes little to no sense. Remember him being shoehorned into the Cesaro/Jack Swagger feud at WWE Extreme Rules 2014? Wait, a second what does that remind me of?

Yes, when the folks in the WWF didn’t have nearly as much faith in Chris Jericho as they do today and Chyna was…well Chyna, the WWF sent Hardcore Holly to the rescue. Heck, in a pinch WWE has even inserted each of these forever over guys into main events when it made little sense to do so. Admittedly, RVD’s main eventing WWE Money in the Bank 2013 was a hell of a better decision than when Holly was placed into the main event scene. The less said about  Holly’s match with Brock Lesnar at WWE Royal Rumble 2004 for the WWE Championship, the better.

And oh yeah before I forget it is worth pointing out both men have used the same theme music forever. Forever. You may vaguely recall RVD using “Walk” by Pantera or Holly having a theme to match his former race car driver gimmick, but that was before forever. Somehow.

Overall, most of us will never be in the position of a wrestling veteran who is permanently, over seemingly no matter what, but still doesn’t have to be put in high pressure main event storylines. I guess we can only imagine how sweet it must be.

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