25 and Under: Ryan Reign Battles Against the Odds at PWX

by Daniel Johnson


Ryan Reign vs. Chris LeRusso

Ryan Reign, a 23 year-old grappler, wrestling out of Pennsylvania has had an outstanding 2014, perhaps the best year of his career. In January he made his Ring of Honor (ROH) debut in a six man tag team dark match. Reign has also been wrestling more for a company he debuted at last year, Vicious Outcast Wrestling (VOW). Reign even very briefly held the VOW Heavyweight Championship before dropping it to longtime rival Ganon Jones, Jr. at the same show he won it at, VOW August Annihilation.

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Lee T. Lunsford Interview

by Daniel Johnson


Photo Courtesy of Lee T. Lunsford

Interviewer’s Note: Lee T. Lunsford is a writer based out of Dalton, Georgia  who published his debut novel, Roadie in December 2011 through Infinity Publishing. The story details the journey of Luke Turner, who after running into some bad luck pursues his dream job in the professional wrestling industry. The tale’s other primary character is Kelly Banks, a female wrestler who’s name was created by Lunsford by combining the monikers of former WWE diva, Kelly Kelly and former TNA knockout, Payton Banks. Lunsford’s writing draws inspiration from what he loosely defines as a relationship he had from November 2004 to December 2007. A lifelong wrestling fan Lunsford plans to turn the Roadie world into a trilogy with two upcoming novels, When Dreams Come True! and Happily Ever After???. Lunsford can be found on Twitter @leesspfrancise and his YouTube page can be found here. This interview was completed on October 10, 2014. In this interview Lunsford and I focus on the topic of writing his first wrestling novel.

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Wrestling Game StArcade: 4 Ideas for WWE Game Story Modes

by Alex Knapp


Well, WWE 2K15 is upon us. Sure, the last-gen versions were released this past month, but really, with how beefed up the graphics are and the major addition of the MyCareer feature, the next-gen versions are the ones we really care about. That’s why I’m delaying my review of WWE 2K15 for the time being; seeing as how I don’t have a PS4 yet, I will be waiting until Christmastime to play it and Assassin’s Creed: Unity.  But as I’m anticipating playing 2K15 in between bouts of playing Assassin’s Creed: Rogue to tide me over, I got to thinking about the story mode that 2K15 marketed itself around.

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25 and Under: Dale Patricks at EPW Child’s Play

by Daniel Johnson


Dale Patricks vs. Eddy Young

Dale Patricks is a wrestler from Indianapolis, Indiana trained under Billy Roc. Debuting in 2011, just months into his career he had already wrestled for some major independent promotions including Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), CHIKARA and AAW: Professional Wrestling Redefined. This year Patricks worked for more than half a dozen promotions, but spent the bulk of his time in IWA: Mid-South and Evolution Pro Wrestling (EPW).

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MMA: Wrestling’s Distant Cousin 7

by Daniel Johnson



He’s arrogant, provocative and incredibly charismatic. He is Conor McGregor.

If you locked TNA wrestler Rockstar Spud in a dungeon, forced him to work out, fed him nothing but PCP then entered him in a real life version of the movie Bloodsport you might get something close to Conor McGregor, but not quite. After all he still wouldn’t be Irish.

McGregor is a unique and dominating force in the octagon and on the mic so much so that during UFC 180 he was a major talking point for commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg in a fight he had nothing to do with: Ricardo Lamas vs. Dennis Bermudez.

Rogan and Goldberg played up Lamas and Bermudez’s trash talk, claiming McGregor’s attitude was infectious. Whether there was legitimate animosity is debatable, but Lamas shocked Bermudez with a first round submission. Of course it would have looked even more impressive if there weren’t three other fights on the card that ended in the first round, but I digress. McGregor has a magnetism to him that most pro wrestlers, heel or face, could only dream of. This kind of aura also makes him a target

So who is going to be the one to finally shut McGregor up? Let’s take a look at McGregor’s would-be rogues gallery (would-be because McGregor is too much of a loudmouth to classify as a hero who would need a rogues gallery).

Dennis Siver


Whether Dennis Siver will be the one to shove McGregor’s foot in his mouth remains to be seen, but he’ll be the next to get a chance at it. Scheduled to battle McGregor at UFC Fight Night in January 2015, Siver comes off a unanimous decision win over Charles Rosa. Earning the UFC Fight of the Night, this 35 year-old Russian-German 10 year veteran could make a much bigger name for himself with a win over the talkative Irishman. Certainly, Siver has come a long way since fighting in comparatively small venues in Germany and Sweden. That being said Siver doesn’t have the most impressive record with 9 losses, with three fairly decisive ones happening in the past five years.

Ricardo Lamas


UFC could tell an excellent story in the build up with Lamas being the one to step up to loud mouths. Lamas has the personality of a soiled sofa seat so anyone looks more charismatic than him by comparison. Dennis Bermudez was no exception and came off like a captivating jerk leading into their fight despite Lamas having “The Bully” as his nickname. Up against Lamas, McGregor will look like the devil himself. This fight is a no brainer. On top of their polar opposite personalities UFC ranks Lamas fourth for featherweights and McGregor right below him. Lamas stands a good chance at being the one to put the kibosh on McGregor. He may not have nearly the momentum McGregor has been collecting, but Lamas’ only loss in nearly four years came at the hands of UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. And that was only by decision when Lamas went to the limit with Aldo after five rounds.

Cub Swanson

cubswansonOn July 6, 2013 Cub Swanson won by TKO for the third time within 18 months. Since then Swanson has yet to achieve another TKO, but I bet he’d like to add McGregor to his list of victims. Before he has a chance to do it, Swanson first has to go through Frankie Edgar at the next UFC Fight Night. If he can get passed Edgar, which is by no means a given, he could soon be the next UFC Featherweight Champion. Swanson would then become the target for McGregor. Having to possibly fight Aldo and McGregor within a year or so? It’s tough to be envious of Swanson, but if he defeats those two he’ll be well on his way to legend status.

Chad Mendes

chadmendesWhen Chad Mendes recently questioned McGregor’s wrestling ability, the quick witted Irishman came back with “I could rest my balls on your forehead.” If these two fight it’s going to get nasty and I’m not just talking about the pre-fight interviews. Mendes was Aldo’s latest challenger and while he didn’t walk out victorious like Lamas he went the limit with the champ. Unlike Lamas, Mendes would be undefeated in his professional MMA career if it were not for his two fights with Aldo. While Aldo seems to have Mendes’ number time will tell if McGregor does.

Jose Aldo


If McGregor gets a shot at the UFC Featherweight Championship, Jose Aldo is almost certainly the man he will face. Why is that such a sure thing? Because the last time Aldo didn’t get his hand raised after a fight was on November 26, 2005. If McGregor is on a hot streak than Aldo is having a streak in danger of incinerating the planet. Just think of Aldo’s contemporaries with winning streams. Names like The Undertaker. No! Scratch that. I forgot, we’re talking about MMA here. Anyway, names like Jon Jones, Georges St. Pierre, even Anderson Silva before Chris Weidman put an end to him, all had their streaks start after Aldo’s. Even more impressive than the names are the shear numbers. Over a nearly 10 year period Aldo holds a record of 18 wins, 0 losses. Those 18 wins include 6 TKOs. To McGregor’s advantage though he has a longer reach, taller height and is even slightly younger than Aldo. Oh yeah, McGregor also is no stranger to winning by TKOs having racked up 10 of his own in less time.

Regardless of who knocks McGregor’s mouth shut, let’s hope this Irishman’s momentum continues for a while. The guy is just too entertaining to watch.

Photo Credits:

Photos 1-2, 4-6: en.wikipedia.org

Photo 3: sherdog.com


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Old School Flashback: Ivan Rasputin Wrestles Dick Afflis aka Dick The Bruiser

by Daniel Johnson


Ivan Rasputin vs. Dick Afflis

If you’re into vintage beefy and tough wrestlers, but don’t have a lot of time then this clip preserved by Chicago Film Archives through the Russ and Sylvia Davis Collection, 1932-1970 is for you!

Ivan Rasputin was one of the original Soviet baddies as The Cold War was terrifying people worldwide. The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels by Greg Oliver and Steve Johnson has an informative and brief write-up of Rasputin. Unlike some foreign heels of the time, according to the book Rasputin had some legitimate roots as his parents had moved to the United States from Ukraine. Although actually born in Chelsea, Massachusetts and debuting in 1935, before The Cold War was even a thing, Rasputin with his broad, but untoned and hairy body and fearsome beard had a natural heel look for the era.

Before he was mangling up and comers in Detroit, Michigan, Dick the Bruiser, just went by Dick Afflis. While some wrestlers build up their bodies over the course of their career, Bruiser was not one of them. A former lineman for the Green Bay Packers one has to feel sorry for his mother’s womb because this guy was made out of granite.

Afflis may have been out brawling in the streets of Chicago before this match took place because commentator Russ Davis can’t help but notice the future Bruiser has a huge bruise on him. “This is a real grade a mouse, it’s almost rat size that he’s wearing on his left eye,” Davis jokes.

Given the slow pacing, fans at the Chicago International Amphitheatre are not on their feet for the whole encounter, but certainly seem up for a test of strength, which Dick easily wins. Shame. If Rasputin had studied more in Professional Wrestling 101 he would have known to kick Afflis in the gut. Although Rasputin clamps on the bear hug Soviet heels are so infamous for, Afflis escapes and then lets loose with a series of football tackles including one that nearly knocks the referee out of the ring. Go Packers!

Dick wins it with a flying body press and fans of  Fred Kohler’s NWA territory rejoice!

The full match can be seen right here:

For more in the Old School Flashback series showcasing wrestling from Chicago click here and here.

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Alex Alligator Interview

by Daniel Johnson


Photo Courtesy of Alex Alligator

Interviewer’s Note: Alex Alligator is a young wrestler fighting out of Spain. He began his career in 2009 and first sought to become a wrestler while living in Cadiz. He was so determined to wrestle that he moved from the bottom of the Iberian Peninsula to Barcelona, nearly 700 miles away. In Barcelona, Alligator trained at Super Wrestling Alliance (SWA), the Spanish company which has a working agreement with ZERO 1 in Japan and is sometimes referred to as ZERO 1 Spain. Before he was known as Alligator, Alex had his first match with Zack Sabre, Jr. after a nine day training seminar. Since then Alligator has continued to grow as a performer working for five different wrestling promotions in Spain, most recently making his debut for Revolution Championship Wrestling (RCW). Other promotions Alligator has worked for include 3×4 Lucha LibrePro Wrestling Euskadi (PWE) and Consejo Intercontinental de Lucha (CIL). Alligator can be found on Twitter @alexalligator and his YouTube page can be found here. This interview was completed on September 29, 2014. In this interview Alligator and I focus on the topic of being a young wrestler today in Spain.

Daniel Johnson: What is your first memory of being a wrestling fan and how did you first get into pro wrestling?
Alex Alligator: Rey Mysterio vs. JBL on Smackdown, 2006 I think. After 10 years without wrestling on Spanish TV, WWE was coming back with Smackdown and Raw. I was 14 years-old at this moment.

Daniel Johnson: When did you decide you wanted to go from more than a fan and become a pro wrestler?
Alex Alligator: Maybe from the first time that I watched wrestling, I was thinking “I really want to do this.” But in July 2009 I decided to become this, thinking in something real. I traveled to Barcelona for a nine day wrestling seminar managed by Jorge Catalina with the participation of two top European wrestlers: Zack Sabre, Jr. and Andy Wild. After this training I made my debut against Zack Sabre, Jr. These nine days had been one of the best experiences in my life.

Daniel Johnson: How did you come up with the name Alex Alligator?
Alex Alligator: I didn’t have it in mind when I made my debut after nine days of training. However, I was booked on a show for the last day. My real name is Alex, but I needed something more for my name so my trainers decided to put me this “random” surname, Alligator. Alligator was so successful that I decided to stay with it.

Daniel Johnson: How is it training to become a wrestler in Spain, where did you train?
Alex Alligator: My first training was that nine days that I mentioned. I had to move from Cadiz to Barcelona, 1,100 kilometers. The following summer I decided to bring Zack Sabre, Jr. to Cadiz for 20 days. Another awesome experience with one of the best young European wrestlers of the moment! From 2009 to now I have been wrestling around Spain. In 2013 I was in the first ZERO 1 pro wrestling tryout in Barcelona, with Paul Tracey managing the training and castings.

Daniel Johnson: Are there a lot of wrestling schools in Spain? Are there any you would recommend other than the one you trained at?
Alex Alligator: I began my trainings with SWA, Spain, which currently has an agreement with ZERO 1, Japan. I totally recommend them from my experience. Then there are some more good wrestling schools, where I never trained, but ruled by very good wrestlers with whom I have had the pleasure of wrestling, like 3×4 Lucha Libre and Spanish Pro Wrestling (SPW).

Daniel Johnson: For someone who has never seen you wrestle how would you describe yourself as a performer in a few words?
Alex Alligator: Hit and Jump. I try to dominate with a good amount of kicking, and finish with my high flying arsenal.

Daniel Johnson: You have been wrestling since 2009. What are your memories of your early career and early matches?
Alex Alligator: The debut against Zack was so special, he was a top European wrestler at the moment and I was just a rookie. I got a feel what it is like working with a great wrestling performer and a great wrestling mind from my debut. My next matches against the best Spanish pro wrestlers were a big experience too, I had some good chances to define my style and show to the crowd who Alex Alligator is. I have many memories from these years.

Daniel Johnson: I first saw you wrestle in a match you had for PWE. How did you first get involved with this promotion? Also, is this the promotion you work for most often? If not then what is?
Alex Alligator: Pro Wrestling Euskadi was an awesome project based in Bilbao. The promoter and I had a friend in common, who talked to him about me. He saw some videos and decided to put me on the show against maybe the best Spanish pro wrestler from this generation, La Pulga. Sadly, the first was the last show too, PWE decided to stop running. In December 2014, it looks like PWE will come back with a campus managed by TNA superstar Doug Williams. I really hope they come back as strong as they looked at their first show. The promotion where I wrestle more often is SWA, Super Wrestling Alliance, which now has an arrangement with ZERO 1, Japan. That was my school and the place where I feel at home.

Daniel Johnson: How many promotions in Spain have you worked for so far and what have they been? Also are there any promotions you have yet to work for that you would like to either in Spain or beyond it?
Alex Alligator: I have worked for four Spanish promotions: SWA, 3×4 Lucha Libre, PWE and CIL. And this October 4 I will work with RCW, another big project with a very good look.

Daniel Johnson: I was curious do you think there is anything particularly unique about wrestling fans in Spain? For instance do they enjoy certain parts of wrestling more than other parts?
Alex Alligator: The Spanish fans are especially loud, it gives you the proper atmosphere to make things big. People like El Generico and Paul London have made very good comments about their feelings on Spanish crowds.

Daniel Johnson: Speaking more broadly of wrestling in Spain, aside from yourself I was wondering what other Spanish wrestlers there are that you think readers should check out?
Alex Alligator: In my opinion, there are four big names that you must know in Spanish pro wrestling: Bad Boy, La Pulga, Axel Salazar and Mascara de Leon. Guys from my generation, young wrestlers that evolved and worked very hard for years. I had the opportunity to face all of them and check how hard they trained to be top athletes.

Daniel Johnson: On a similar topic what do you consider to be your best match so far and why?
Alex Alligator: It is always difficult to answer, but I would say that my match against Bad Boy in Barcelona at SWA. I took part in a storyline to stop him, and I really needed to give my best to succeed. After all, I did.

Daniel Johnson: You have worked with some internationally known wrestlers like Zack Sabre Jr. and La Pulga. What has it been like to work with that quality of talent?
Alex Alligator: A big chance for learning. Professional people like them always make you better.

Daniel Johnson: On a similar subject I was curious who your dream opponent would be?
Alex Alligator: Big names like Daniel Bryan, Kurt Angle and AJ Styles are obvious. But there is a European pro wrestler that I really want to work with and his name is Tommy End. I am a big fan of his wrestling vision and to have a match with him is one of my big goals.

Daniel Johnson: This is kind of a random question, but I have not been able to see your more recent matches. I was curious do you still use this as your entrance music? Also, what made you pick that as a theme song?
Alex Alligator: Well, the truth is that this song is a joke. I have never really used it. A good friend of mine found this on the Internet and made me this video. I thought that the song was funny and I shared it. I used to enter to “Kill Humans” by Dubsidia.

Daniel Johnson: How do you feel you have grown as a performer since debuting in 2009?
Alex Alligator: I have a better athletic condition and more experience, but there is still a long way.

Daniel Johnson: Looking to the future what do you hope to accomplish in the remainder of 2014 and even looking forward to 2015?
Alex Alligator: The RCW debut is a big chance to make a new partner and work more often. I hope to keep this connection in 2015 and as long as I can. I really want to end 2015 traveling to England too.

Daniel Johnson: Before I get into my final series of questions I was curious if there was anything else you would like to say about the wrestling scene in Spain?
Alex Alligator: I ask for readers to keep an eye on Spanish wrestling, a young generation which is called to put Spain on the wrestling world map.

Daniel Johnson: I like to end each interview with five non-wrestling questions followed by a few more short questions. First, what is the last book you read and would you recommend it?
Alex Alligator: The Shadow Out of Time by H.P. Lovecraft. If you like science fiction it is a must read.

Daniel Johnson: What has been your favorite movie to come out in the last year?
Alex Alligator: Guardians of the Galaxy.

Daniel Johnson: Along the same lines what do you enjoy watching on television these days?
Alex Alligator: With Utopia and Game of Thrones filming; I like to watch The Big Bang Theory, Family Guy or just something that makes me laugh.

Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite song to come out in the last year?
Alex Alligator: “Immunity” by Zomboy.

Daniel Johnson: Have you tried any new foods in the past year? If so what has been the food that you have enjoyed the most?
Alex Alligator: Boar chops, just awesome.

Daniel Johnson: Ending with just a few more wrestling questions who is one wrestler 25 or younger that you think readers should know about?
Alex Alligator: Mark Andrews, a British high flyer who is young, talented and even experienced.

Daniel Johnson: Ribs and road stories are almost always fun. Do you have any that you could share?
Alex Alligator: Maybe check out how scary Bad Bones is live in Barcelona.

Daniel Johnson: This may be a bit of an odd question, but I’m always curious to find out what people think about is weird. What, if anything, do you think is the weirdest part of being a wrestler in Spain?
Alex Alligator: When I’m asked the question, ‘Wrestling? What is this?’

Daniel Johnson: My final question is, is there anything you would like to add?
Alex Alligator: I would like to thank you and your readers for the interest, and ask them again to support Spanish wrestling and get a great surprise. If you want to know more about me and Spanish wrestling, find me on Twitter as @alexalligator and on Youtube as Alex Alligator. Thank you again and mucha lucha!

Check out Alex Alligator in action! In this match Alligator wrestles the man with a devastating package piledriver, Axel Storm, as part of the SWA King of the Ring 2010:

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25 and Under: Miguel Ramirez at NEW in Germany

by Daniel Johnson


Miguel Ramirez vs. Adrian Severe

Don’t let the name fool you. Miguel Ramirez is an Austrian wrestler who debuted in 2011, but before he did he slapped on a mask and put together the first two latino sounding names he could think of. Regardless of how generic and inauthentic Ramirez’s name may be, this 5’7″, 160 lbs performer has a solid build given his small frame and is a beyond decent high flyer especially considering he is just 19 years-old.

In July 2013, Ramirez opened the NEW Deadline 2013 card for former WCW talent, Alex Wright’s promotion, New European Championship Wrestling (NEW). Ramirez’s match was also the first bout in the NEW Deadline Tournament 2013. The premise of this tournament was that 10 singles matches were held and limited to 10 minutes. The winner of each of these matches would then advance to a multi-person ladder match with the winner of that performance being the tournament winner.

For Ramirez’s match his opponent was Adrian Severe who at the time held the NEW World Heavyweight Championship. Despite just being 6’0″ Severe towers over Ramirez, which makes his agility all the more surprising. This allows for some nifty spots the best of which is when Severe springs off the middle of the top rope only to get super kicked. The move looks about as impressive as when Shawn Michaels blew away Shelton Benjamin with the same style kick on an episode of WWE Monday Night Raw many moons ago. Severe really gives Ramirez a chance to shine when he misses a frogsplash then eats a tilt-a-whirl DDT from the faux luchador.

As good as Ramirez looks in this match it ends with Severe performing a fallaway slam for the victory.

The full match can be seen right here:

The next NEW show will be NEW Internet Wars 2 on December 6 in Hessdorf, Bavaria, Germany. Click here for tickets (site is in German).

For the full results of NEW Deadline 2013 click here.

For more in the 25 and Under series featuring Europeans colliding click here and here.

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Site News 11/18/14

by Daniel Johnson


Hey there! The Johnson Transcript is finishing up 2014, but plans to go out with a bang!

First, there is a brand new series I’ve put together entitled 6 Tremendous Wrestlers Under 26. The thought behind this series is that The Johnson Transcript is meant to highlight young talent, especially foreign and indie performers such as has been done with the 25 and Under series. I always thought a great and direct way to do this was to feature the matches and include some background/thoughts on them. The problem with that is not all talented young wrestlers have clips online or more often they might, but then the footage may have some issues with it. For instance, it may come from an unofficial source that can’t be posted here, be of poor video quality or have any number of other problems. Many of these videos also don’t stay up forever and get yanked down leaving write-ups on here confusing. So rather than just ignore these performers, 6 Tremendous Wrestlers Under 26 will give you the scoop on six stars a shot. These are not necessarily the six best indie/foreign talents out there, but rather six that may have been overlooked and are worth checking out.

In the debut piece for November 2014 listed in no particular order of skill are Fenix, Will Ospreay, Eita Kobayashi, Konosuke Takeshita, Astral and Chii Tomiya. Read it here!

A second series entitled Another 6 Tremendous Wrestlers Under 26 will also debut next week. The pieces are broken up for shorter and more enjoyable reads. Tentatively, each month a new installment of each will be published.

This brings me to my next bit of news, which is that daily updates for The Johnson Transcript are just not possible at this time nor is a set schedule. I am currently working to put together a consistent schedule for 2015. In the meantime that doesn’t mean updates will stop. Far from it! In fact, The Johnson Transcript has a slew of content slated for November, December and January! I’ll keep from giving away everything at once, but here are a couple of things to look forward to.

The first interview since October was posted yesterday. I chatted with IWF Heavyweight Champion, Ilya Malkin and he had a lot of neat stuff to say, so check that out here. Another interview is scheduled to be posted tomorrow! Look out for some more interesting reads with great talent soon!

In addition to interviews returning so will voting for The Johnson Transcript Surging Star Award! Voting will be held in January 2014 and close on January 31 at 1:00 p.m. If you never heard of The Johnson Transcript Surging Star Award or The Crown J then what you should know can be found in this post about last year’s award. Look out for a new post about this year’s eligible talent on December 1!

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