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By The Wrestling Lariat on 2010-12-24 12:24:44
Moonsaults and Mayhem
by Jess McGrath


USWA

There was more office turmoil this past week as Randy Hales announced his resignation from the company. The past year or so has been quite tumultuous for Hales, as he quit last fall before returning by doing a “shoot” angle on the office, and eventually going with the Nation of Domination. Hales had been booking with Kevin Lawler and Bill Dundee, and his influence on the company was still being felt as recently as last week, when Reggie B. Fine debuted with his new persona of King Reginald, an idea that was Hales’. Right now, it looks like the booking is being handled by Dundee and Kevin Lawler, although there are all sorts of rumors flying right now. Kevin was offered the role that Hales once had, that of the “road agent” who goes to the different towns and organizes the shows, but he turned it down.

Television on 2/1 opened not with Corey Macklin, but with local DJs Bud Schroepell and John Rainey. Macklin has also quit the promotion. Apparently, Cory went and asked for a pay raise, and when he was turned down, he quit. Rainey was most remembered for doing a feud with Scott Bowden last year that climaxed in perhaps the worst match of the year. They then immediately jumped into an Eddie Gilbert fake face turn angle with Jamie Dundee. PG-13 came out, but Jamie told Wolfie D to go back to the locker room. Jamie then said he was tired of the NOD gimmick, taking off the NOD clothes and throwing them down. He then asked for his father Bill Dundee to come out, and he apologized to him for his recent behavior. Wolfie then ran out from the locker room with a garbage can and smashed it over Bill’s head, and they left Bill laying. On the way out, Wolfie gave Jamie a $100 bill, saying he lost a bet that Bill wouldn't be stupid enough to fall for it. If this hadn’t come right on the heels of Mo and Mabel’s fake reunion, it might have had more power than it did. Jamie then wrestled “Mexican” wrestler Super Hysteria, with Hysteria winning by DQ due to Wolfie D running in. PG-13 left Hysteria laying.

Billy Travis, who was backstage a couple weeks ago, made his return to the USWA on the TV show, running in during a Wolfie D vs. Bobby Bolton match. In that bout, Bolton had Wolfie pinned after three straight elbows but the referee was distracted by Jamie. Bolton got up to argue with Jamie, which allowed Wolfie the chance to pull a chain from his shorts and nail Bolton with it. Wolfie hit a sunset flip but as the ref was counting the pin, Travis ran in, which caused Bolton to be disqualified. In a post-match semi-shoot interview, Travis said he had spent most of the past two years in drug rehab, and he blamed Wolfie for starting him on drugs. At that time, Bill Dundee came out and agreed to team with Travis against PG-13 at the 2/6 Big One show.

Brian Christopher’s program with Tracy Smothers was wrapped up on TV, but he began a new one with Spellbinder right away. Christopher wrestled Smothers in a TV match with Brian getting a clean pin after a superkick. As Christopher celebrated his victory, Elijah (Spellbinder) came out and offered Brian a spot in the Nation of Domination. Brian said that even though they were good friends and that Spellbinder’s real name is Del Rios, he wouldn’t do it. They argued for a bit before agreeing to an arm-wrestling match. As happens in every arm-wrestling match since the beginning of time, the face was just about to win when the heel attacked him. Ho hum.

Jerry Lawler did a serious interview about the state of Memphis wrestling, which touched on some interesting points. Lawler acknowledged that Memphis used to be the crown jewel of wrestling, and of all sports in general, but that times have changed and now Nashville has taken over the spotlight. He blamed this on “bad things” happening in Memphis. He then went on to detail how his house had been robbed fifteen years ago, and how some robbers stole the tires from his car and left the car up on the jacks. He then said that the reason Larry Finch, coach of the local University of Memphis basketball coach, left the team was because he couldn’t get people to go to the games for fear of their cars being vandalized. He tied this theft storyline in with wrestling by saying how the NOD stole his Unified World title belt, and that he would get it back by defeating the NOD’s newest charge, the Gravedigger. Out came Gravedigger, which was yet another in the long line of cartoonish gimmicks that Lawler is known for creating. He walked around with a shovel and pretended to be digging.

Jesse James showed up and did an interview saying he would be on the Nashville Network to sing “With My Baby Tonight” soon. Mike Samples interrupted the segment and challenged him to a match. Bobby Bolton ran out during the bout and brawled with Samples on the apron, trying to prevent him from using a chain he had pulled from his tights. Jesse James rolled up Samples from behind to get the pin.

A video segment was aired from a guy called “Truth Commission.” He claimed to be from South Africa and spoke with a German accent. Right there, I’m a bit suspicious! He did a spiel about how Americans were sissies and he was coming to the USWA to prove it.

King Reginald was out sitting on a huge throne this week. Reggie won’t be getting as big of a push as originally anticipated. At one point, he was going to feud in the headline matches with Lawler, but it looks like he'll stay at mid-card level for now.

They used Tony Friedman, the regular USWA house show ring announcer, on television as the ring announcer.

The lineup for the 2/6 Big One show includes: Lawler vs. Gravedigger, PG-13 vs. Dundee and Travis, Christopher vs. Elijah for the USWA title, King Reginald vs. Jesse James, Mike Samples vs. Brickhouse Brown, and Bobby Bolton vs. Super Hysteria.

Lance Russell will probably be coming back on a part-time basis.

Larry Burton had been talking to some people over the past week about filling the color commentator job alongside Cory Macklin. Since Macklin has quit, it remains unclear what will happen.

Expect Bobby Bolton to be pushed to the moon.

IWA

The latest effort from this group on 1/30 drew 343 (which is down only four people from the previous week), with the crowd consisting of a lot of new faces. These newcomers, many of whom were drawn by a package on a local news station highlighting the violence of the group, were said to be rather quiet until the main event. That bout once again pushed the bounds of sanity, as Ox Harley wrestled Mad Man Pondo in a thumb tacks death match. They did a ton of brawling with weapons, among which were Ian Rotten’s barbed-wire baseball bat, an ironing board, and a VCR, before the finish, which was absolutely nuts. Harley was laid out on the mat, so Pondo set up two chairs over Ox’s head, and on those chairs he put eight fluorescent lighting tubes. Pondo then jumped off, but Harley moved, and Pondo went butt-first into the tubes, shattering them. Harley then hit Pondo with a moonsault to get the pin. The crowd was really into this match, more so than any other on the card. After the bout, Rotten came out and announced that Harley and Pondo would have a rematch next week in a no-ropes, barbed-wire, insulation match. Just what is an insulation match, you ask? Well, they are going to put fiberglass insulation in the ring and wrap it with barbed-wire, and guys will take bumps into that.

There were some interesting occurrences on the undercard, but nothing that stands out as extremely noteworthy. Terik the Great and American Kickboxer had another of their series of matches. This one was very good but a notch below some of their other recent encounters. Terik won when he hit a reverse DDT in mid-air on Kickboxer. They did a 12-minute shoot fight match between Rotten and Tom Burton (who has experience working that style, since he did a few bouts with UWFI). The bout was very tight and went to the time-limit, so they will do a rematch on 2/6 with a 30-minute time limit. “Macho Warrior” Ric Hogan did an interview where he shed the Hogan persona, saying that after the match last week, he had seen the light, and he didn’t want to be the character that the USWA wanted him to be, so from now on, he wanted to be called by his old ring name, Tower of Doom. Tower did some work for North American All-Star Wrestling and indy groups in the Cincinnati area in the past. Tower then lost to Tommy Rich. Chris Comet (Chris Michaels) and “Too Sexy” Sean Casey worked against each other again, without Todd Morton. Morton had been scheduled to wrestle those two in a triangle match, but he worked for the USWA on 1/28 in Louisville against Rip Rogers, so he’ll be gone from here for at least a little bit. They continued to tease the breakup of Casey and his valet Dava (not Diva as I reported previously; the reason she is called Dava is because that’s Brian Christopher’s real-life girlfriend’s name, and Casey is doing a Christopher knockoff gimmick). Casey tried to take a chain from Dava but she refused to let him have it. When she let go, he was rolled over by Comet for the pin. Casey then backslapped Dava before Comet saved her. Comet and Dava left together.

In addition to Rotten vs. Burton 30:00 time limit and Harley vs. Pondo in the insulation match, they will have Tracy Smothers vs. Gator McAllister on 2/6. McAllister’s injuries were legit and he was supposed to take off for six weeks, but after about ten days he was back working some of the smaller indies throughout Kentucky, including Tony Falk’s show in Paducah on 1/23.

The Eddie Gilbert Memorial Show has been postponed until 3/13. This is because Doug and Tommy Gilbert had a previous non-wrestling commitment which they were unable to break, and they will not be available until mid-March at the earliest. It looks like the Ian and Axl Rotten reunion deal has fallen through, as Ian will now team with Mad Man Pondo to face Tommy Rich and Ricky Morton. Luna Vachon’s opponent will now be Debbie Combs instead of Billy the P.

There was a meeting with the Kentucky State Athletic Commission this past week regarding all the violence at wrestling shows. There was a lot of fear going into the meeting that the Commission might ban the use of gimmicks, which would all but kill the IWA, but in the end, Ian Rotten agreed to voluntarily stop allowing children under 12 to attend his shows. That rule will go into effect on 3/1.

Independent Notes

The monthly MEWF card on 2/2 in Baltimore was highlighted by Stevie Richards defeating Axl Rotten to win the heavyweight title. Richards was also named the group’s Most Popular Wrestler in their year-end awards, which were distributed during the show. Underneath there were a couple of strange angles. First, Royce Prophet (who was voted Manager of the Year) said that he had gone to Washington, DC, and the “copyright office,” and that he now had the rights to the ring name “Earl the Pearl.” He said he would now refer to Johnny Desire as Earl the Pearl. When the “new” Earl came to the ring for a match, the “original” Earl came out and attacked him, so his bout never took place. Later in the show, the Head Bangers, after defeating the Samoan Gangsta Party (Matty Smalls and Coco Samoa) to retain the tag team belts, announced they were vacating the titles in order to compete full-time in the WWF. The Bangers then turned on their manager, Jeff Jones, and proceeded to beat the crap out of him (it just wasn’t Jones’ weekend, was it?). A tag team tournament will start at the 3/2 show to determine new champions. Among the other highlights: Chris Candido defeating Cpl. Punishment. Patricia managed Candido, and turned on him during the match, but it didn’t affect the outcome. The light heavyweight title was held up after a match between Quinn Nash and Adam Flash ended with Steve Corino, who had thrown powder in the ref’s eyes, getting pinned by Nash. The new champion will be decided in a three-way ladder match between Nash, Flash, and Corino on 3/2. Jason Knight, Jimmy Cicero, Cueball Carmichael, and Pablo “El Puerto Ricano” Marquez also were on the card.

Dick Caricofe’s National Wrestling League ran on 2/1 in Keyser, WV, before a near-sellout crowd that was really into the matches. The main event was a cage match for the vacant heavyweight title last held by the late Neil Superior, as John Rambo defeated Bob Starr to win the belt. The rules in the match were that a wrestler had to both pin his opponent and escape the cage in order to win. After both guys had scored pins, Rambo got out first. This is the same Rambo from the Pacific Northwest, and he’s moving back to the Maryland-West Virginia area so expect to see him appear on more Northeast indy shows. The other cage match had the Grungers defeat Shane Shadows and Switchblade when Shadows turned on Switchblade, allowing the Grungers to climb out. Mabel beat King Kong Bundy by DQ due to Big Slam Vader’s interference. Also on the show, Julio Sanchez won over Professor Egon Ecton, and the Samoan Gangsta Party defeated Jason Knight and Mr. Puerto Rico. They will return on 3/15 with Rambo vs. Mankind on top, plus Konnan 2000 (with Missy Hyatt) against Big Slam Vader. Expect a match down the line with Rambo vs. Shadows. They set that up by having Shadows interrupt a speech by Rambo before the matches and issues a challenge.

Dennis Coralluzzo’s NWA has announced that they will be promoting their second annual Eddie Gilbert Memorial Brawl and Tribute show on 4/14. They will have a luncheon from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Cherry Hill, NJ Holiday Inn. A convention will follow from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The actual card will be at Cherry Hill West High School, about a mile away, at 8 p.m. Tickets for the luncheon are $35 and allows you to get into the convention. The line-up is not worked out yet, but Coralluzzo plans on having Dan Severn, Dory Funk Jr., and some WWF workers. Tickets for the show are $25 for ringside, $15 for reserved, and $10 for general admission in the bleachers. You can contact the NWA at [deleted].  The NWA has rescheduled their date for Paulsboro at the Hill Theatre from 2/15 to 3/8. They also have Dory Funk Jr. vs. Dan Severn for the NWA title on 2/22 in Yardville, NJ.

All-Pro Wrestling out in Hayward, CA, ran their Gym Wars show. On top, APW champion Robert Thompson and “Dazzlin’” Donovan Morgan (who does a lot of Rey Misterio Jr.-like spots) defeated Michael Modest (a Ray Stevens look-alike, and that gimmick certainly works out in California, Stevens’ old stomping grounds) and Steve Rizzono in two straight falls to capture the tag team titles. Donovan took bumps through some windshields in the parking lot and was covered in blood. He legit went to the hospital after the show. They also did an angle between Rizzono’s valets Gina and Brenda, who don’t get along (shades of Beulah and Francine?), which ended in a catfight. The shows are held in a tiny gym which seats about 135.

Sunflower State Wrestling ran their biweekly card in Wichita, KS, on 1/25 with some recognizable names, and some ridiculous names too. In that latter category would have to fall worker Rick Rudy. Boy, that is lame. He’s joined by Willie D. Charisma, who had a brief stint with Bert Prentice’s group a couple years ago. On the other hand, Justin St. John, Scotty McKeever (former SMW jobber and West Virginia area promoter), and Big Butch Bronson (Giant Warrior) were all on the card. Sunflower State, which is promoted by Dan Adams, has been running since 1989.

Some Southern States Wrestling notes to go along with Tim Whitehead’s report elsewhere in this issue. They announced that Dan Cooley had defeated K.C. Thunder for the heavyweight title on an indy show in Shawsville, VA, last week. That is a fictitious title switch, brought about because Thunder was having trouble making the shows. Steve Flynn will probably have to retire due to the back injury he suffered a month or so ago. Flynn’s tag partner, Justin St. John, has finished with the area, and is keeping himself busy in other areas such as Sunflower State.

Dexter Holly is promoting a card in Roanoke, VA, on 2/8, which features a tournament to determine the NWA United States heavyweight champion.

We had listed a show for 2/14 in New Britain, CT, as an IPW event. Now, we’ve been told the card is being promoted in conjunction with Tony Rumble, and not Ed Zohn and crew. IPW is tentatively scheduled to return to the building in March.

Bert Prentice has reopened North American All-Star Wrestling, this time based out of Nashville, TN. Colorado Kid is still the North American champion, and they are now on television down there. I’ll have more on this in the next few weeks.

I finally saw a tape of the fabled Woodbridge, VA, show from 12/8/96. At the time the incident occurred, I made very little comment about the goings-on, as I wanted to see them for myself before making a judgment. Now that I’ve seen it, I can surely say that I consider the actions of a lot of those workers extremely unprofessional. I realize the money man disappeared, but there was a very viable option before them: go home. For people who supposedly love the business, these workers sure did a good job exposing it and driving another nail in its coffin. I don’t mean to blow the incident out of proportion, since only 100 people were there to see it, but it makes me wonder what ever happened to the so-called credo of the wrestler, that “I work as hard in front of 100 people as I do in front of 100,000.” What makes it worse in my eyes was that there were a lot of the indy guys there who tried to give the fans a good show, but they were fighting an uphill battle against the goof-offs. The indy guys who tried deserve a lot of credit, and the ones who screwed around lost a lot of respect in my eyes.

Japanese Thoughts

For the first time in a while, I got a chance to look at some of the recent Japanese TV shows from both All Japan and New Japan. There’s been a lot of good action from over there, perhaps highlighted by the annual 1/4 Tokyo Dome show. Hashimoto vs. Choshu was a really basic match, with perhaps the fanciest move being the finishing brainbuster. But it told a really good story and the people were into it. The ending was great, with Choshu struggling as hard as he could to avoid going up in the brainbuster. Underneath, I was impressed by the tag team title match with Fujinami and Kimura regaining the belts. The work was kind of sloppy but again, it had a really good story. Liger vs. Ultimo Dragon was disappointing. Maybe I’m spoiled, but I’ve come to expect a lot more from these two. The referee counted very slow in the match, which brought the excitement down a notch. I also happened to catch a recent TV show where Satoshi Kojima and Manabu Nakanishi (Kurosawa from WCW) beat Hashimoto and Junji Hirata. The match got really good at the end, particularly when Kojima was kicking out of everything in sight. Kojima seems to have a good amount of charisma and the celebration after the pinfall was great, with Kojima so excited that he fell off the ropes.

I also watched some All-Japan matches from the past month. It’s almost night and day, the differences between the main events and the undercard bouts. For example, the Real World Tag League finals, where Kawada and Taue beat Misawa and Akiyama, is my easy choice for Match of the Year, simply because it was perfect. On the other hand, anything involving Giant Kimala II probably won’t receive too many votes outside of the insane asylums. They’d be better off getting Kimala I, because II is just the pits. In one of the tag matches I watched, II got the pin on Dan Kroffat. Does the phrase “miscarriage of justice” come to mind? There was also a six-man tag from the 24th anniversary special show with Giant Baba, Akira Taue, and Dory Funk Jr. defeating Misawa, Akiyama, and Jumbo Tsuruta. It’s really sad to see what happened to Tsuruta. He had trouble executing a Thesz press. And Baba has slowed down another five steps since the last time I saw him, which means he’s practically moving in reverse now. Hiro Hase’s debut with the group against Kentaro Shiga was a good match. I liked it a lot because it was a basic singles bout which got over both Hase (who won) and his signature moves, the giant swing and Northern lights suplex. The crowd was really behind Shiga for most of it. That same TV show also had the annual battle royal. Pinfall battle royals have a little more credibility than over-the-top battle royals because it’s a lot easier to believe fifteen guys piling on somebody for the pin than it is that people just fly over the top easily. But that’s only a LITTLE more credibility. When Izumida and Omori are the last two left, you have to think something’s wrong.

Thanks!
Thanks to the following people for helping out with info this week: Chris Bell, Brian Tramel, Todd Neal, Jeff Amdur, Mike DiMuzio, Dr. Mike Lano, Allan Barrie.


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