Beyond Wrestling: Anthony Stone Wrestles Dave Cole at a Secret Show

by Daniel Johnson

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Anthony Stone vs. Dave Cole

Anthony Stone and Dave Cole are well known entities in Beyond Wrestling and certainly are not strangers to one another. At Beyond Wrestling Uncomfortable in June the two wrestled in the second match on the card. Before that though Stone and Cole got to know each other a little better at the April 27, 2014 Beyond Wrestling Secret Show.

This match took place in the regular home of the Renegade Wrestling Alliance (RWA), the RWA Chop Shop and those in attendance were in for a treat. Although the match starts slowly with some headlocks before long Stone is diving at Cole with a flying forearm and then calling for a bulldog only to get crotched on the ropes. This bout is well under 10 minutes so there are not a lot of dead spots. Even when things seem to calm down, Cole wakes the crowd up with a fisherman buster. That isn’t your daddy’s fisherman suplex! Well, actually if your daddy was a wrestling fan he probably saw Mr. Perfect who had pretty much the best fisherman suplex ever. Perfect even. Well, at any rate Cole’s fisherman buster is still good too.

The match comes to a close when the two fight in one corner, which eventually allows Stone to hit a modified goomba stomp!

In more recent news for these two, at the upcoming show, Beyond Wrestling Makin’ Movies, Cole will be wrestling Pinkie Sanchez in a grudge match. The two have been feuding as part of the larger Fear and Loathing in New England/Sex and Candy rivalry. Likewise, Cole’s partner Aaron Epic will be facing Sanchez’s partner, Sugar Dunkerton in another grudge match on that show. Meanwhile Stone has been announced for Beyond Wrestling Makin’ Movies, but what match he will participate in is unknown at this time.

The full match can be seen right here:

The next Beyond Wrestling live event will be Beyond Wrestling Makin’ Movies on September 28 in Providence, Rhode Island. Click here for tickets. A promo for the event from current Ring of Honor (ROH) star and former ROH World Champion Adam Cole can be viewed here.

For the full results of the April 27, 2014 Beyond Wrestling Secret Show click here.

For some more action from Beyond Wrestling click here and here.

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WWE Pay-Per-View Roundtable: Night of Champions 2014

by Daniel Johnson, Kyle Childers, Jason Tolland and Martin Bentley

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Editor’s Note: Martin Bentley the founder of ProWres Land returns to make another guest appearance for the WWE Pay-Per-View Roundtable. Also, making up the roundtable this month is Kyle Childers/Hawk Jefferson, author of the Hawkeye’s Hangout series on The Johnson Transcript and contributor to the Freakin’  Awesome Network (FAN) whose work on FAN can be viewed here. Rounding out the table is Jason Tolland who has written The TNA Scouting Report for The Johnson Transcript.

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The Usos (c) vs. Gold and Stardust for the WWE Tag Team Championship

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Daniel Johnson: Goldust and his bro need the win in this one. As illogical as their heel turn has been if WWE wants to get anything out of them, the edge this team has developed really has to be emphasized. Jimmy Uso and Jay Uso have had some pretty good matches, but in current WWE holding the WWE Tag Team Championship for 200 days is more than enough time to spend with these titles. It actually seems a lot longer since there are so few actual teams to go around. Gold and Stardust will likely win this one and the titles though I expect Stardust/Cody Rhodes to continue to not be used to his potential. That is kind of unavoidable for as long as this team exists.

Kyle Childers: Holy acid trip Batman, how kooky are these Rhodes boys? I love it and it seems like I’m not alone. Meanwhile, the brothers Uce(OH!) are still doing their Samoan warrior thing and it’s still relatively fun. We’ve seen this match enough times to know it’ll be solid and it’s happened so many times that the Dust brothers almost have to win.

Jason Tolland: I may be alone in thinking that Stardust is hilarious and Goldust is still on top of his game. The Usos have been great champions since March but I think it’s time to freshen things up a little and give someone else a chance at holding the gold while The Usos potentially chase the gold or feud with a new, fresh team (The Ascension). I really don’t need to see The Usos defeat the Wyatts again in the future…again. Winners: Gold and Stardust.

Martin Bentley: Gold and Stardust, such a ridiculous team name. Remember last year when they were the hottest team in the WWE and were having some of the best matches in the company? Now they’re the latest heel team (and it’s ridiculous they turned too) to challenge The Usos, and considering WWE didn’t put the belts on Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, it’d be kind of crazy to change the belts here. Yet, The Usos have been champions since March, and aren’t as hot as they were in the Wyatts feud, so who knows? I think for change’s sake, they do flip the titles over to the Rhodes brothers.

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Mark Henry vs. Rusev (with “The Ravishing Russian” Lana)

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Daniel Johnson: I’d prefer to see Mark Henry used better preferably in his team with The Big Show destroying stuff as either heels or faces. That being said I get it. As a bonafied American Olympian, Henry makes an obvious target for Rusev. Likewise given that Rusev is a muscle man and Henry is a big dude this match will undoubtedly act as a showcase for Rusev’s freakish strength. WWE has always had to have matches like this since the time of Andre The Giant. Rusev wins this one easy and clean.

Kyle Childers: AMERICA! YEAH! Okay, so that’s out of the way. This angle is really weird you guys. It’s like Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna levels of Americana camp and it’s really wonderful in a nostalgic way. It’s also pretty horrifying from a geopolitical standpoint but you come to Hawk Jefferson for wrestling jokes, not serious politics so I’ll go ahead and say that I think Rusev gets the win so he can co-star in the “How John Cena Got His Groove Back” angle that’s sure to play out this fall.

Jason Tolland: Hey, this got the main event spot on Raw! Good for them. The match should be fine and Rusev should continue winning on his way to a feud with John Cena or another real American, Hulk Hogan. Winner: Rusev.

Martin Bentley: The latest man to stand up for America against the Russian sympathizer Rusev is Mark Henry, who looks to succeed where several have so far failed. Yet only some Olympic high jumper believes in him. If reports are to be believed, Rusev is being groomed for a big program with John Cena (hence this feud’s placing as the show-closing angle on Raw this week), so it seems inevitable that Henry is the latest American monster he slays before he gets to “The champ.”

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Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. The Miz for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

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Daniel Johnson: My interest in this feud has cooled down substantially. Their first match in this program was epic and their WWE SummerSlam 2014 encounter was at least worth a look. Yet, since then nothing has happened to keep me engaged in the animosity between these two or gotten me particularly excited about these two wrestling yet again. That being said Dolph Ziggler is still Dolph Ziggler and could deliver a sleeper hit. Working with The Miz though I’m just not feeling it. Ziggler will retain and hopefully move onto a more interesting opponent.

Kyle Childers: I’m going to confess something, I’m really starting to like The Miz again. This Hollywood stuff is exactly what he should have been doing years ago and it fits him like a glove. On the other side of things, perpetual Hawk Jefferson guy, Dolph Ziggler has stagnated and that’s really sad. It could go either way, but I think Mizdow related shenanigans lead to Miz regaining the title so this feud can keep going another month and WWE can’t seem to book a feud any other way.

Jason Tolland: Why do I have a feeling this match won’t happen, and they’ll swap them out with their stunt doubles? It would be terrible. If the match does actually happen though, I see them keeping it on Ziggler. The reason? Just a feeling. They see both of them as goofs anyway so it doesn’t matter in the long run. Winner: Dolph Ziggler.

Martin Bentley: Their match at SummerSlam was a solid opener, and I think they’ll have another fine match here. The problem is, who will care, and how much will Damien Sandow and R-Truth be involved? The fact that Ziggler has had a couple of wins over The Miz on TV since SummerSlam is pretty crummy booking, and has me feeling pretty detached from this one. Let’s say Ziggler retains, and everyone moves on to something new…or at least Sandow winning the title in the future.

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Sheamus (c) vs. Cesaro for the WWE United States Championship

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Daniel Johnson: Sheamus and Cesaro should have just a no nonsense, hard fought old school wrestling match here. With how the bout has been built up fans are left to expect nothing less. Speaking of the build, it has been pretty quiet hasn’t it? The only thing concerning about this match is Sheamus and Cesaro may not be given enough time to create the match that the two are capable of having with each other. As for the winner, Sheamus has fallen down the card considerably since he got injured in August 2013, but not far enough to where WWE wil put Cesaro over him. At least not on this night.

Kyle Childers: How awesome is it going to be when the crowd chants “USA!”? I’m actually pretty excited to see what we’re going to get from an in-ring perspective here because I have complete faith in these two having a real barn burner of a bout, but the angle leaves a lot to be desired. I’m going to put my entirely irrational prediction hat on and say Cesaro wins and then re-debuts the WWE European Championship for a short run before it’s unified with the WWE Intercontinental Championship at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2014.

Jason Tolland: Now, this should be good! But didn’t I just see this championship match at WWE Payback 2014 a few short months ago? Shame they aren’t consistent with their booking of him. How hard it is to build up a challenger with VICTORIES before his title match? Oh well, I feel this is going to potentially steal the show. Winner: Cesaro.

Martin Bentley: Two more cold characters, yet I like the physical matches these two have with each other. Sheamus is best suited with guys who can take it to him in a clobbering battle, and Cesaro certainly offers him that opportunity. WWE completely dropped the ball with Cesaro following WWE WrestleMania XXX, when it seemed that they were preparing him to be one of the next top stars, only to suddenly cool off on him. Stop-start pushes are the absolute worst, as trust diminishes every time a new push starts. As for this one, Sheamus has done nothing with the United States title (admittedly the previous champion Dean Ambrose never defended it, but he barely lost), so it’s time to give Cesaro the nod…probably so that they continue to beat him again. The way the current world works.

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Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton

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Daniel Johnson: A match between clearly just doing it for the money and exposure, Chris Jericho and we’re lucky if he’s motivated even when he’s main eventing, Randy Orton? Thank goodness the WWE Network exists and those ridiculous pay-per-view prices of yesterday are out the window. Otherwise I’d be even more bothered by this getting any time whatsoever on a pay-per-view. I’ll always be a Jericho fan at heart, but no. Just no. Nothing about this match intrigues me. Orton wins and Jericho leaves until he gets a hankering for another fat WWE paycheck.

Kyle Childers: This is happening because of a few jokes and a couple of attacks. I’m going to put as much effort into writing this as was put into the storyline. Orton wins because Jericho doesn’t.

Jason Tolland: Orton needs the victory. Jericho is leaving. Winner: Randy Orton.

Martin Bentley: The continuation of a recent tradition that is using Randy Orton to write Chris Jericho off TV. Y2J is reportedly off to go on tour with Fozzy after this pay-per-view, and recently dropped a feud with Bray Wyatt (who himself appears to be damaged goods these days), so him going over Orton hardly does anyone any good. Orton wins with an RKO and a punt to send Jericho away for another few months…or maybe for good this time?

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Paige (c) vs. AJ Lee vs. Nikki Bella for the WWE Divas Championship

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Daniel Johnson: Hopefully, Paige and AJ Lee carry this one. Or maybe just have Paige carry the entire thing. Actually, Paige and AJ’s matches haven’t been anything to write home about so far. This is a little baffling given Paige’s skill set and AJ’s ability to have a decent match. Unfortunately, Nikki Bella will win this one through shenanigans.

Kyle Childers: This is a mess. Just a weird mess. Why do almost all the feuds have to be title feuds? Why not just have the Bellas have a personal feud before facing off for a title shot while AJ and Paige settle their differences? Because I don’t see this angle going away soon and all the results can lead us in equally nutty directions, let’s pick Nikki Bella because that’s going to be amazing.

Jason Tolland: It’s really hard to pick against Nikki here. Unless they want to continue the Bella feud without the belt, which is a possibility, there’s no way Nikki doesn’t win here. The AJ/Paige feud is dead in the water and forced lesbianism doesn’t help that cause at all. I’d hate to see that feud continue without the title being involved. What reason would they have for playing mind games anymore? The match should be decent though. Winner: Nikki Bella.

Martin Bentley: The horrifying thought most of us had when the two top divas feuds merged, and we thought they’d make the Bellas rivalry for the title? Some still think that, yet the fact only Nikki is in this match eases my worries. Yes the sucktitude of the Brie Bella/Nikki program has infected the at times promising AJ/Paige feud, and now we have this triple threat match. But for anyone concerned that this will cut Paige off at the knees again, I don’t think so. Brie’s not in the match for a reason (other than sucking). Nikki has the match won, Brie gets involved, and in the melee, Paige sneaks the pin to retain. The feuds then split up hopefully for good.

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Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins

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Daniel Johnson: At last, Roman Reigns sets his sights on Seth Rollins! Actually, can’t say I’m too excited for this match, which is saying something given how well the members of The Shield were built up at one point. However, Reigns needed to come off of his feud with Randy Orton stronger than he did and given the talent of Ambrose and Rollins their feud up to now has been incredibly underwhelming. After Ambrose comes back from filming Lockdown he can resume his feud with Rollins and perhaps keep Reigns involved in it all. In the meantime Rollins will cheat to win this one.

Kyle Childers: I kind of feel like I should be more excited about this but I’m just not. Since The Shield split, the interesting part of Rollins’ character has only really been able to shine in his program with Ambrose. With that being on the back burner for a month, we’ve seen a mostly stripped down Mr. Money in the Bank, just goonin’ around with The Authority. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns is getting huge pops for basically working four spots a match. My big prediction for this one? Major apathy as Roman applies his fourth resthold before Rollins sneaks a win.

Jason Tolland: What? Why? Winner: No match; Ambrose returns to attack Seth.

Martin Bentley: This would have been a nice first time pay-per-view matchup between former Shield members… and then they did the match on Raw, with Reigns winning clean as a sheet. So what purpose does this rematch serve exactly? Well, I believe it’ll be as a device to reintroduce Dean Ambrose. So let’s say Rollins uses Kane to beat Reigns down, and then Ambrose returns, Reigns neutralizes Kane, and Ambrose beats the holy hell out of Rollins, to the point where you think Rollins is done for the night. I’ll call this a disqualification win for Reigns (via the Kane interference), and we’ll move on from there.

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Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

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Daniel Johnson: Brock Lesnar would look like a real chump if he dropped the WWE World Heavyweight Championship right back to John Cena after a month. I fully expect Lesnar to win this match though I expect it to be much more competitive than the mauling Lesnar gave Cena at SummerSlam. Speaking of that match it was kind of neat that Lesnar destroyed Cena (those suplexes!), but that did not make for a great match. Any truly epic match needs to be somewhat competitive so Lesnar is going to have to sell a little in this main event. Perhaps not sell like he did for Shawn Michaels when taking a super kick all those years ago, but at least look somewhat vulnerable. In any event I wouldn’t be surprised if Lesnar carries the strap at least until WWE Royal Rumble 2015.

Kyle Childers: Lesnar wins. You know how I know that? Because if John Cena was going to tie the 16 title reigns WWE acknowledges then you better believe they’d be hammering that home. Instead we’ve got Cena on his heels which is surely going to lead to an absolute mauling yet again at Night of Champions so Cena can beat on the upper midcard for a while longer before ultimately winning the title back in the spring.

Jason Tolland: Oh boy. Depending on the outcome, this will either be absolutely phenomenal or absolutely disastrous. I like Cena a lot but there’s no way he should be winning this match after the beating he took at SummerSlam. Lesnar needs to be the unstoppable force all the way through until WWE WrestleMania 31 so him beating the streak and destroying the face of the company, Cena make sense. If he loses here then it was all a waste and for nothing. Forgetting the result though, this should be a highly entertaining match. I love Cena and Lesnar is probably my favorite wrestler of all time: A realistic badass in the world of the gimmicky WWE. It’s awesome to watch. They’re finally booking him right and it only took two years. Lesnar needs to retain and carry the title into WrestleMania 31. Winner: Brock Lesnar.

Martin Bentley: Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard many pundits say the most surprising and totally dumb thing possible, and sadly it appears it may happen, that John Cena wins the title back. Brock Lesnar’s dominant win at SummerSlam, where Cena barely got sustained offense in, was proved redundant a week later when Cena returned perfectly fine, and since then, he’s been booked like Superman once again. For months, the belief was that Lesnar would be champion until WrestleMania, where in the meantime, they would groom Roman Reigns to be the man to dethrone the man who tore apart Cena and ended The Undertaker’s undefeated streak, making him the top guy for the next decade. So if the belief now is that Cena wins the title back, then does this change WWE’s stock in Reigns? The one reason I can see Cena winning, and WWE actually going ahead with this nonsensical booking, is that after his win, Lesnar tears Cena apart…and then Seth Rollins hobbles in to cash in Money in the Bank briefcase to take the title. This appears to be a massive show of faith in Rollins to be a top main event heel, but when you have Lesnar, you can’t really afford to then go with someone not even half as proven as him on top. Unless this means that WWE aren’t seeing Reigns as the top guy, but another former Shield member. So to cut a long story short, ideally I’d want Brock to retain, but certain recent booking decisions make me think they’ll take the Cena route and then Rollins.

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Photo Credits:

Photos 1-4, 6, 8: en.wikipedia.org

Photos 5, 7: Daniel Johnson / Johnsontranscript.com

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Wrestling Game StArcade: WWE All Stars

by Alex Knapp

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WWE All Stars
Year: 2011
Systems: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 2
Developer: THQ
Publisher: THQ

Being a fan of wrestling video games hasn’t been an easy thing within the past decade or so. Just like how a lack of serious competition has made the WWE complacent and content to rotate John Cena and Randy Orton around the main event for years on end rather than create new stars, mainstream wrestling games were dominated for years by the WWE SmackDown vs. Raw series, which soon resigned itself to essentially trotting out the same old shit year after year.

But then, at E3 2010, two new wrestling games were announced. One of them was WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011. Not that it looked bad or anything, but…whoopee.

The other one, though, was different, a funny-looking thing entitled WWE All Stars. Gone were the realistic wrestler renditions and real-life move simulation of SmackDown vs. Raw. In their place was a series of musclebound, action figure-like caricatures of our favorite wrestlers, leaping into the air and spinning each other around in an over-the-top fashion not seen since WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game.

A few were apprehensive about this less serious, deliberately unrealistic approach to wrestling games, but a lot of others were intrigued. After years of the SmackDown vs. Raw games being recycled over and over, we finally were seeing something new, something which dared to be quirky and present something different. And when it was released, we weren’t disappointed.

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Past vs. present is the theme of WWE All Stars. The roster presents some of the biggest present-day WWE superstars, such as John Cena, Randy Orton and CM Punk, side-by-side with some of its biggest legends from the past. These include longtime legend roster mainstays such as The Rock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Bret Hart, but also contain some pleasant surprises. Hulk Hogan is included, despite the fact that he was in TNA by this time, The Ultimate Warrior is featured, and on top of that, “Macho Man” Randy Savage makes his long-awaited return to WWE gaming after years of being on the outs with Vince McMahon. While it’s bittersweet in hindsight that both of the latter two would no longer be with us just a short time afterwards, it’s nice to see an indication that some fences were slowly being mended between the WWE and two of its greatest past stars.

The gameplay provides exactly what we saw in the previews: Over-the-top, fast-paced action. Moves and actions have loads of personality, you have the chance to quickly follow up your moves with arcade-like juggling, and the laws of physics are conveniently disregarded for you to better enjoy sending your opponents flying and bouncing across the mat.

However, don’t let the goofy graphics give you any misconceptions about how to play it: The controls are legit. Grapples and strikes are simple to carry out and have both strong and weak options, and the play mechanics aren’t that different from the modern-day WWE games. You have the chance to switch up your grapple moves to keep your opponent guessing, and the reversal system involves pressing the right button at the right time to defend yourself, much like the mainstream games. Clearly, THQ correctly realized that when it came to controls, there was no need to fix what wasn’t broken, making All Stars accessible to pick up, while still offering a fresh experience.

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The gaming modes run full throttle with the game’s themes: Arcade-like action, and pitting past against present. In Path of Champions mode, you embark on an arcade-style tournament for the title. You can fight your way through current superstars to face Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, take on a series of legends to challenge The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight title, or pair two of your guys up to face combinations of past and present wrestlers on your way to defeat the original DX duo of Shawn Michaels and HHH for the WWE Tag Team titles. Along the way, the champs will air videos taunting you and promising that you’ll never be able to beat them.  It’s reminiscent of the old WWF arcade games, like WWF Superstars and WWF WrestleFest, where beating your opponents is supplemented by building up to the confrontation with the final boss to win the belt. The campaigns themselves are linear, but filled with personality, and encourage you to replay them in order to get many of the game’s unlockables.

Meanwhile, Fantasy Warfare mode brings the clash of wrestling generations to the forefront. A series of one-on-one matches is presented, pitting one Legend against one comparable modern WWE superstar to square off in fantasy matches, and who you choose to play as and win is up to you. You have Hulk Hogan vs. John Cena in a dream match between top headliners, The Big Show vs. Andre The Giant in a titanic clash of giants, Bret Hart vs. Edge to find out who is the superior ring technician, and more. Each match is accompanied by some surprisingly well-made video packages, introducing each wrestler, comparing and contrasting their careers and characters, illustrating a hypothetical feud with them using creative edits of old footage, and setting the stage for their match. My favorite is the one for the CM Punk vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in a superior lifestyle match. The feud just writes itself, and the video runs right ahead in contrasting these two diametrically opposed characters. The matches themselves are straightforward, but a lot of effort clearly went into the presentation, helping to spice up the experience.

Some people dismissed WWE All Stars as overly cartoonish for their tastes, and that’s to be expected. Some people like these types of unrealistic arcade-type wrestling games, and others just can’t get into them. But for me, All Stars was the first time I had, had fun with a wrestling game in years. It was a fresh, unique approach that stepped outside of the comfort zone THQ had been restricting itself to. It is unfortunate that there haven’t been more games like this within the past several years, and hopefully, WWE will opt to explore this style again in the future. Sure, we all like to see realistic games that closely capture the in-ring product. But at the same time, sometimes the simple pleasures are the best, and all we need is something to excite us and give us a good time. Playing WWE All Stars always puts a smile on my face, and at the end of the day, that’s all I can ask for.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Photo Credits:

Photo 1: en.wikipedia.org

Photo 2: theguardian.com

Photo 3: justpushstart.com

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25 and Under: Brandon Parker at NWA Hollywood

by Daniel Johnson

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Brandon Parker vs. Joey Ryan

Brandon Parker has had a quiet couple of years since last performing for NWA Hollywood, the promotion that would break off from the NWA and become Championship Wrestling from Hollywood (CWFH). By that I mean I have been unable to find really anything about him since he had his last match for that promotion in April 2012. It is a shame too because this Jesse Hernandez trained youngster showed a lot of promise, in particular in his team with Todd Chandler as Young Hollywood.

Parker had a short yet wonderful match with Joey Ryan on an episode of NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood filmed December 4, 2011. One thing about Ryan that makes him such an asset to independent wrestling is while he has a high profile what with the longevity of his career and even being in TNA for a while, the dude is completely selfless. He is not afraid to look weak or give a lot in his matches and this is obvious in this encounter. Chandler accompanied Parker and Lucky O’Shea accompanied Ryan for this bout and got to watch as Parker gave Ryan a spin kick seconds into this match. Parker then hit a cross body from the top rope to the floor and a double stomp from the ring apron to the floor. After missing a second double stomp inside the ring Ryan targeted Parker’s leg and eventually got the win with a choke.

Parker should not be confused with a more heavily bearded wrestler with the same name who has a higher profile these days thanks in part to cutting hilarious promos.

The full match can be seen right here:

NWA Hollywood is no more, but CWFH lives! The next CWFH show will be a live event on September 26 in Pomona, California. Click here for tickets.

For the full results of this NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood show that took place on December 4, 2011 click here.

For more in the 25 and Under series featuring California’s best and brightest click here and here.

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WCW Breaking News 9/18/14

by Daniel Johnson

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*The launch of the WCW Network went off without a problem. Not! Adam Copeland aka Edge former holder of the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship in WWE was open to doing some talking head interviews for the new online service. However, when Copeland got word his jobber match against Meng from an old WCW Pro was being featured in a compilation aimed to bury WWE talent he broke off negotiations with the company. In better news streaming for the WCW Tuesday Nitro After Show had no reports of buffering. Probably because so few people are interested in watching a WCW after show.

*Vince Russo has officially rejoined WCW and will now be the company’s co-head booker along with Tony Schiavone. Fans tuning into next week’s WCW Tuesday Nitro will get their first taste of what the Russo/Schiavone era has in store for wrestling fans. Rumor is that since the main event is a non-war games match the two are scrambling to fit as much insanity as they can muster into the other marquee match for WCW Fall Brawl 2014. Sources say that all of the titles aside from the WCW World Heavyweight Championship will be up for grabs in this one. Given that, some likely names to feature in this match are the holders of the WCW United States Championship (Buff Bagwell), WCW World Television Championship (Burn aka Tokyo Magnum), WCW World Tag Team Championship (High Voltage 2.0: Kenny Kaos and Jimmy Yang), WCW Hardcore Championship (Crowbar) and WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship (Lenny Lane and Lodi). The WCW Cruiserweight Championship has long been vacant, but perhaps that will be up for grabs too while we’re at it. Given that war games are typically decided by one team surrendering how title changes will be made in this match is anyone’s guess.

*The story behind the main event of next Sunday’s WCW Fall Brawl 2014 being Bill Goldberg and Scott Norton in a two ring cage match is a complicated one and stems from the backstage demands of the participants. When this week’s WCW Tuesday Nitro started Goldberg was scheduled to defend his WCW World Heavyweight Championship in a ladder match against Ultimo Dragon at the big event. However, over the course of the show Goldberg was said to be irate and declared he had no interest in wrestling in a ladder match or with Ultimo Dragon, who he has shown respect for in the past, but does not consider in his league. Norton was then hot shotted into replace Dragon, but under the condition that the match not exceed a currently unknown amount of time and that it not be a ladder match. Despite the war games match often getting the top spot on the card at WCW Fall Brawl, Goldberg refused to work anything lower than the main event.

*In other Norton news, as previously reported WCW is looking to do whatever they can with the big man while he has five months remaining on his huge contract. Sources say Norton was approached to be WCW’s MMA guy who they have been searching for since July as previously reported. The latest development in this search is that WCW brass is looking for someone to actually fight Bobby Lashley possibly at a Bellator event after the Shark Fights Heavyweight Championship holder successfully debuted for this company. Norton’s response was said to be short and to the point, “Go to Hell.” Perhaps Norton saw how that Lashley fight ended.

*My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fans can rejoice as at this past WCW Tuesday Nitro the brony inspired Pinkie World Order (PWO) debuted by attacking Burn aka Tokyo Magnum. Sources say the core group, which consists of Disqojack aka Disco Inferno and the returning Pinkie Parka aka La Parka  and Psicosis aka Psicosis Sparkle will add new members and more than double in size by next month. Burn’s super push has died down considerably since as previously reported Goldberg threatened to walk unless he was put over the Japanese star. Expect Burn to drop the WCW World Television Championship to one of the members of this stable, most likely the Hulk Hogan of the group, Pinkie Parka.

*Rumors that WCW Head of Talent Relations, Kevin Nash has been in talks to bring in Rob Van Dam are false. Apparently Nash thinks of RVD as just another vanilla midget. Instead Nash had actually been in talks with Jean-Claude Van Damme about appearing on a future episode of WCW Tusday Nitro in a promotional tie-in for the sumer hit, The Expendables 3. Although Van Damme has not appeared in the franchise since the second installment Nash is said to be looking to save WCW money when they bring in outside talent. In related news Nash’s contract renewal resulted in another six figure raise for the former Vinnie Vegas.

*Speaking of stables, MTV never cared about the long forgotten Wrestling Society X (WSX) promotion before, but is now suing WCW over copyright infringement after the teaser promo for Kevin Sullivan’s new stable featured old WSX footage on WCW Tuesday Nitro. Sullivan’s stable is expected to continue, but be renamed as The Dungeon of Doom X. As previously reported plans for a WSX invasion had been nixed way back in November 2012 before being revisited in July.

Disclaimer: Unless you’ve been stuck in the Ultimo Dragon’s dragon sleeper or took a bad frankensteiner from Scott Steiner you should know that none of this actually happened. The real WCW was purchased in 2001 by the company that would become WWE.

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Old School Flashback: Vittorio Apollo Dazzles in his Match with Miguel Torres

by Daniel Johnson

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Vittorio Apollo vs. Miguel Torres

I was recently on the Freakin’ Awesome Network (FAN) and came across an interesting thread regarding over 100 matches from Fred Kohler’s NWA territory based out of Chicago, Illinois that had been uploaded to YouTube by Chicago Film Archives. Needless to say I didn’t spend much more time on FAN and instead hopped over to YouTube to spend hours watching footage from the NWA of the 1950s and 1960s. This stuff is top notch and aside from featuring clear video, commentary is also provided by Russ Davis. Russ and his wife, Sylvia Davis are actually hugely responsible for these matches being around as this footage comes from the Russ and Sylvia Davis Collection, 1932-1970. To read more about this collection click here.

It is tricky to find a good point of entry for this 1950s and 1960s footage since wrestling was so different back then. This bout between Vittorio Apollo aka Vincente Denigris and Miguel Torres from the April 14, 1961 card at the Chicago International Amphitheatre may be better than most. I’ve heard some fans complain about wrestling from the 1970s and earlier claiming it is too slow and different from the current product to enjoy. Likewise while the amateur wrestling in bouts from this era by greats like Verne Gagne, Lou Thesz and Buddy Rogers may be loved by some (including myself) it would bore others to tears.

Apollo and Torres will shatter these preconceived notions of wrestling from the 1950s and 1960s that any such fans may have. It is a quick five minute bout and Apollo dazzles the crowd and hopefully modern spectators alike with his acrobatics. Some of what Apollo performs is so unusual that Davis has no idea how to call it. Actually, the majority of the moves Apollo pulls off Davis has no idea how to call. At one point Apollo has Torres in a submission, Davis refers to as as the Argentine hot squat. Another point this clip illustrates is that not all of this footage is incredibly politically correct. The Chicago fans boo Torres when he is announced as being from Mexico and later Davis says, “Torres is not used to getting up this early in the day to wrestle. It’s obvious.” Davis then does a cartoonish Mexican impersonation that would get WWE in hot water if one of their commentators did it today. Such were the times.

After a leap frog from Apollo off of the second rope, Apollo wins with what is described as a reverse body press. The influence of Antonino Rocca aka Argentina Rocca on the Argentina born Apollo is obvious and gets pointed out by Davis. Apollo would wrestle for well over a decade after this match gaining more fame under the name Argentina Apollo before retiring  in 1975.

For those looking forward to/dreading entries in the Old School Flashback series featuring the aforementioned Verne Gagne, Lou Thesz and Buddy Rogers, don’t worry they’re coming!

For some matches in the Old School Flashback series that took place decades later click here and here.

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Tristan Archer Interview

by Daniel Johnson

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Photo Courtesy of Tristan Archer

Interviewer’s Note: Tristan Archer is a French wrestler who has been performing since 2009. Archer was trained by Lance Storm and began his career in Canada having just one match in front of a paying crowd before heading back to France to hone his craft. Archer has worked for a variety of promotions in France including the International Catch Wrestling Alliance (ICWA), N’Catch and Europe Catch Tour Association (ECTA). Titles this man has held include the ICWA French Championship, N’Catch Major Championship and the ECTA Championship. Archer has also had additional training after working with Storm from Jesse Hernandez and Joey Ryan. Archer has also worked beyond France and throughout the world with appearances for the Empire Wrestling Federation (EWF) in California, Pro Wrestling Showdown (PWS) in the Netherlands and Irish Whip Wrestling (IWW) in Northern Ireland among others. This interview was completed on August 23, 2014. In this interview Archer and I focus on the topic of wrestling in France.

Daniel Johnson: My first question is, and correct me if I’m wrong, but you were born in France in 1985. Was wrestling popular where you lived growing up? How did you first get into it?
Tristan Archer: Wrestling was popular until around 1995. From that date, no more wrestling at all on any channel at all in France. My father is a big fan of wrestling so everytime he was in front of the TV for it, I was too.

Daniel Johnson: What are your earliest memories of being a wrestling fan?
Tristan Archer: My first memory was the entrance of The Undertaker! Scary at this time!

Daniel Johnson: I was wondering if seeing who your father enjoyed made you enjoy similar wrestlers?
Tristan Archer: Not really, we never really liked the same kind of wrestler. He’s really more into the old school.

Daniel Johnson: When did you know you wanted to make the leap from being a fan to becoming a pro wrestler?
Tristan Archer: Since I was 10! But unfortunatly for me, there’s no wrestling school in France so I had to finish my studies and work for a year until I saved enough money for Lance Storm’s class.

Daniel Johnson: Was Lance your very first trainer? Also, what was a normal day of training like?
Tristan Archer: Yes he was. This man is incredible. He taught me everything I needed to know about wrestling. I have a lot of respect for the man, the wrestler and the teacher. We trained everyday, around three hours a day. A lot of bumps, drills, promos, etc. Then in the afternoon two hours or more in the gym!

Daniel Johnson: Aside from Lance I believe you also trained with Jesse Hernandez and Joey Ryan. What were these experiences like?
Tristan Archer: Jesse Hernandez is more about lucha so completely different, but I really enjoyed it. Joey Ryan helped me to strengthen my basics.

Daniel Johnson: Getting more into your career, for people who have never watched a Tristan Archer match how would you describe yourself as a performer in a few words?
Tristan Archer: It will be one word: All-rounder. I like to adapt my style to the opponent. I can be technical, high flying, comedic, striking, etc.

Daniel Johnson: Cool, I was curious since you first trained with Storm when did you have your first match in front of a paying crowd? Was it in Canada or France? Also, what do you remember about this match?
Tristan Archer: My first match was in Canada for Prairie Wrestling Alliance (PWA) just a few days before getting back home. It was a rumble match and I will always remenber Johnny Devine told me after the match that I had a very good performance for my first time I stepping in the ring.

Daniel Johnson: Cool, did you have any other matches in Canada or was that the only one?
Tristan Archer: No, the only one.

Daniel Johnson: What was it like wrestling in front of a crowd in France for the first time? Was it any different than from wrestling in Canada?
Tristan Archer: The first show was very stressful, but it went well! It was really amazing to hear a French crowd cheering for me! The difference is quite big. People in France come to a show just to have fun, in Canada they come because they love wrestling.

Daniel Johnson: This is a broad question, but is there anything that makes French wrestling fans unique from wrestling fans elsewhere. If so then what is it?
Tristan Archer: Nothing special really. A real wrestling fan is kind of the same between different countries.

Daniel Johnson: Getting into the French wrestling scene how many promotions have you worked for so far based in France?
Tristan Archer: So many, at one point there were around 30 differents promotions in France. Most of them closed, but I think I worked for all of them except Wrestling Star.

Daniel Johnson: Who are some of your favorite French opponents to work with? Also, are there any wrestlers who are big names in France that outsiders may be less familiar with? If so who are they?
Tristan Archer: My favorite opponents are Peter Fisher, Damien Barone and Jack Spayne! There are not really big names in France except maybe Peter Fisher and Lucas Di Leo who wrestle as The French Flavor across Europe, and Booster who has traveled a lot too.

Daniel Johnson: Are there any places online you would suggest readers can go to learn more about French wrestling and stay current with the industry?
Tristan Archer: Not really, it’s a very weak point here in France, no one does that kind of work.

Daniel Johnson: What wrestling airs on French television? Is it pretty much just WWE or do other programs air as well?
Tristan Archer: WWE of course. TNA too, but that’s all!

Daniel Johnson: Are there any fans of non-American foreign wrestling in France? What about some of the bigger independent promotions around the world? Do they have a fan base in France?
Tristan Archer: Yes of course, there are a lot of WWE fans, but also some indie fans. They follow a lot of different promotions like Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), Ring of Honor (ROH), Westside Xtreme Wrestling (WXW) and of course those fans follow non-American wrestlers.

Daniel Johnson: Cool, getting more into your recent career you debuted back in 2009. How has wrestling changed since then for you?
Tristan Archer: Less promotions and less wrestlers in France, but a better quality.

Daniel Johnson: Speaking of quality promotions what is your favorite promotion in France to work for currently if you had to pick one. What makes this promotion stand out? If you can’t pick just one then what are a few?
Tristan Archer: Honestly, I can’t pick one. The promotions which have survived over the years made it because they put good stuff on the line!

Daniel Johnson: One promotion you have worked for a lot is N’Catch based in Tourcoing, France. How did you get involved with this promotion?
Tristan Archer: This promotion closed two years ago. The first time I was contacted by this promotion was just after my first show. The promoter was there as a speaker and really liked my work so he offered me a booking for the second show of the promotion. Since then, I was booked on every single show and after a year and a half I beat the champion to become the last N’Catch Major Champion.

Daniel Johnson: You wrestled Alexei Petrovitch in that match. Anything in particular stand out about that particular match for you? What was it like to be a company’s final champion?
Tristan Archer: It was during Paris Manga, it’s a huge event with a big crowd, the reaction when I won the title was amazing. I would prefer to have more matches as a champion.

Daniel Johnson: Speaking of titles what are the most important championships you have held. Was the N’Catch title the most important championship you have held? If not then what was?
Tristan Archer: The most important is the ICWA French Championship! It was held by some very big names here in France and also in Europe. I also hold the ECTA Championship which is very good for me, if you check the roster you will see how good it is.

Daniel Johnson: What do you consider to be some of the best matches you’ve had for each title? What made those matches stand out for you?
Tristan Archer: For N’Catch I will pick up two matches: One against Jon Gresham and the other one against Tommy End. Those two matchs taught me so much stuff. Tommy and Jon are really amazing. For ECTA: Against Robin Lekime. The match was really intense and brutal. For ICWA: Against Peter Fisher because he’s my favorite French oppenent.

Daniel Johnson: Cool, speaking of Jonathan Gresham and Tommy End I know both can work great catch style matches. Catch seems to be very popular in France. Why do you think this is and how do you feel about catch wrestling in general?
Tristan Archer: I really like it too. I think it’s something different and it can make the difference in a show if it used properly. I remember having a 15 minute match with Jonathan and it was all about catch wrestling.

Daniel Johnson: Looking to the future are there any French wrestlers you have yet to work with that you would like to? If so then who?
Tristan Archer: I would like to have more matches with Tyson Furia and Damien Barone.

Daniel Johnson: Cool, going beyond France and Canada what other countries have you worked in so far? Also, are there any memories you have of working outside of France that stick out to you in particular?
Tristan Archer: I’ve worked in California, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Ireland and Germany so far.

Daniel Johnson: Wow, I had no idea you worked in California. Where did you work in California and how many matches did you have there?
Tristan Archer: I don’t know about the matches, I should say around 12. I worked for Mach One Wrestling (M1W) and EWF.

Daniel Johnson: Speaking of working different countries and promotions are there any other places you have yet to work for that you would like to in the near future? If so then where?
Tristan Archer: Japan would be amazing.

Daniel Johnson: Awesome, any particular Japanese promotions stand out to you? Are you a NJPW, AJPW or NOAH guy?
Tristan Archer: NJPW or ZERO 1.

Daniel Johnson: Cool, I like to end interviews with five non-wrestling related questions followed by a few more short wrestling questions. First, what is your favorite movie to come out in the last year?
Tristan Archer: Guardians of the Galaxy.

Daniel Johnson: Similarly, what do you enjoy watching on television these days?
Tristan Archer: Supernatural, The Walking Dead and The Originals.

Daniel Johnson: Have you tried any food for the first time this year? If so what has been your favorite?
Tristan Archer: Nothing new, but I love sushi.

Daniel Johnson: What do you think is the best song to come out in the last year?
Tristan Archer: I don’t know sorry! Did “Mirrors” [by Justin Timberlake] come out this year?

Daniel Johnson: I think a little further back, but that’s okay. Anyway, what is the last book you read and would you recommend it?
Tristan Archer: The Walking Dead Volume 20: All Out War—Part One and yes I would recommend it!

Daniel Johnson: Getting back to wrestling are there any French wrestlers you have yet to mention you think wrestling fans should check out? If so then who are they?
Tristan Archer: A few names: Lucas Di Leo, Blue Falcon, Marc Sebire.

Daniel Johnson: What do you think the weirdest part about being a wrestler in France is?
Tristan Archer: Nothing weird about being a wrestler in France.

Daniel Johnson: No problem, who is one wrestler 25 or younger that you think readers should know about?
Tristan Archer: Damien Barone and Tyson Furia.

Daniel Johnson: I’m always interested in hearing ribs and road stories. Do you have any that you could share?
Tristan Archer: Nothing special sorry.

Daniel Johnson: That’s alright. My last question is, is there anything you would like to add?
Tristan Archer: Thank you for this interview, and if any of your readers see me at a show, come and say hello!

Check out Tristan Archer in action! In this match Archer puts his N’Catch Major Championship on the line against Jonathan Gresham:

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25 and Under: Jasmin at UCW

by Daniel Johnson

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Jasmin vs. Arella Angel

Jasmin is a 19 year-old wrestler coming out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada who began her career in January 2013 working for Canadian based Squared Circle Wrestling (SCW) and the Pure Wrestling Association (PWA). Since then Jasmin has already crossed into the American border to work for a number of promotions including Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), New England Championship Wrestling (NECW) and Ultimate Championship Wrestling (UCW). At UCW she let her heel side show in this match with Arella Angel.

This match doesn’t last long before a woman interferes and pulls Angel down by the hair. The video quality on this clip isn’t great, but I’m thinking it’s Alexis Nicole. Anyway, Angel’s attacker keeps coming back inside the ring to fight right in front of the referee. Apparently this is legal in the province of Ontario. In between this, Jasmin performs some moves great at generating heat such as pulling Angel up by the arms while Jasmin is standing on her hair. The ending is a little botched and awkward as Angel hits a rolling version of the Rocker dropper. Well, I’m sure Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty botched that move themselves plenty of times back in their partying days as The Rockers so it’s tough to give Angel crap about it.

Jasmin has gone on to have a worthwhile 2014. She held the PWA Elite Women’s Championship until January and in Classic Championship Wrestling (CCW) she held the CCW Ladies Championship up until May.

The full match can be seen right here:

UCW isn’t currently promoting any upcoming shows, but a UCW show just took place this past Saturday. To check out a poster for that event click here.

I have not been able to find full results for this UCW show. If you have them or know where to find them drop me a line here.

For more in the 25 and Under series showcasing some dastardly women click here and here.

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25 and Under: “The Pumpkin Queen” Sage Sin at SBW

by Daniel Johnson

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“The Pumpkin Queen” Sage Sin vs. New York Knockout Nikki

 Santino Bros. Wrestling (SBW) has been a great place to enjoy young talent from California and the state’s surrounding areas since SBW opened up shop in 2008. So it makes sense that the 1992 born “The Pumpkin Queen”  Sage Sin would want to hone her craft in this company while making the rounds in southern California’s indie scene. At the March 7, 2014 SBW Showcase she took on veteran New York Knockout Nikki in a match where Nikki had over a decade more experience than her opponent.

This is far from a squash match, but by the end of it New York Knockout Nikki slaughters Sin like Nikki Bella slaughters the dramatic arts. Nikki starts off by going for Sin’s legs. After this Nikki insults her by picking apart her nickname and calling her a pumpkin head rather than “The Pumpkin Queen.” If Nikki really wanted to put her down though she should have called her Pumpkinhead II or even gone with a full throttle putdown and called her Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings. God that movie sucked!

At any rate while Sin doesn’t get much offense in she is pretty good at selling. Also, Nikki is quite funny when she slams the referee by calling him out over his slow counting. At one point she looks at him in mock seriousness and says, “You know what comes after two?”

For the finish Nikki takes a page out of TAKA Michonku’s playbook and hits her young opponent with the finisher of the former WWF Light Heavyweight Champion.

The full match can be seen right here:

The next SBW Showcase will take place on September 26 in Bell Gardens, California. Click here for more information.

For the full results of the March 7, 2014 SBW Showcase click here.

For more in the 25 and Under series highlighting California based talent click here and here.

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Old School Flashback: “Playboy” Johnnie Lee Takes On a Man Twice His Size

by Daniel Johnson

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“Playboy” Johnnie Lee vs. Eric Von Blitzcreig

The contrast in size between “Playboy” Johnnie Lee and Eric Von Blitzcreig is immediately noticeable in this Pro Wrestling International (PWI) presentation. Lee is clearly not over the 200 lbs mark while commentator Dallas James at one point says that Blitzcreig has to be 400 lbs.

Regardless of their sizes Lee doesn’t give Eric Von Blitzcreig (spelled in the onscreen graphics as Eric Von Blitzcreek) an inch. Although Blitzcreig starts off by shoving Lee in a corner, Lee pulls the same schtick and gets the big man to back up. Lee eventually gets Blitzcreig down and lands a leg drop before clamping on a headlock. The big “German” doesn’t stay down and punishes Lee with some shoulders in one corner of the ring before hitting a King Kong Bundy avalanche in another.

The mistake Blitzcreig makes is when he sends Lee down he also goes down with him. Since Blitzcreig has considerably more weight on him he can’t just bounce back up like Bam Bam Bigelow in his prime so Lee is already knocking him silly with strikes while the bulky dude is on his knees. Lee caps this one off for the PWI TV crowd with a couple of running elbows for good measure.

A little known fact about Blitzcreig is that a few years later he lost 200 lbs, changed the spelling of his name, put on a mask and was one of the best damn cruiserweights WCW ever saw.

The full match can be seen right here:

For more in the Old School Flashback series featuring some big bad PWI dudes click here and here.

 

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