Monday, March 30, 2015

WrestleMania XXXI Reaction

WrestleMania XXXI was the best WrestleMania that the WWE has had in a long time.  I can't say that I completely happy with the results of all the matches, but it was a solid show from top to bottom.

The kick off pre-show featured two matches, the fatal four way for the World Tag Team Championships and the second annual Andre the Giant Battle Royal.   The commentary team for the night was Michael Cole, JBL, & Jerry "The King" Lawler.

The tag team match was chaos from start to finish, it was hard at times to tell who was the legal man in the ring and it became a bit clustery with spot after spot.  I was glad that Kidd & Cesaro retained the titles and the end played out well.  I'm not a New Day fan, Big E Langston looks awkward and out of place smiling and clapping where as Woods and Kingston it seems natural.  Also their finisher maneuver is dumb, Big E's big ending while the little guy jumps off the top rope and pushes down on the opponent.  If anything Woods and Kingston should be a tag team with Big E going solo. 

The Andre the Giant Battle Royal was up next.  As far as battle royals go it was a decent one.  The ending with Miz & Sandow finally coming to a head was excellent and even though Sandow lost he looked strong against Big Show.  Hideo Itami won a tournament at Axxess to earn the right to compete in the match and had a HUGE fan response including a Hideo chant. 

Michael Cole continues to amaze me with how dumb he sounds on commentary.  Maybe he's being told what to say and doesn't have a choice but in the end he is still making the ridiculous comments about Hideo Itami referring to him as a "Young up and comer from NXT" and  upon being eliminated "Welcome to the big leagues."  Hideo has been wrestling for 15 years all over the world, he invented the GTS that CMP Punk borrowed, and he was the NOAH World Heavyweight, Tag Team, Junior Heavyweight, and Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion.  When Hideo was brought into the WWE they made his signing a huge ordeal including having Hulk Hogan fly to Japan for a ceremonial in ring contract signing.  I can't imagine they would have Michael Cole say what he did to essentially belittle Hideo by dismissing him as nothing more than an average rookie.  I realize that he hasn't made huge strides in the WWE, yet, but he will.

I really enjoyed the opening packaged for the show and I like how WWE always goes with America the Beautiful in place of the National Anthem.

The Ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship was fantastic!  The finish with Bryan and Ziggler atop the ladder violently headbutting each other was insane and I loved it!  I'm was glad that Bryan won the match and I hope he brings prestige back to the Championship, not that Barrett wasn't a good champion, but Daniel Bryan will be able to elevate it better.  During the match Dean Ambrose took a powerbomb onto a ladder that was rigged to break upon impact which I feel resulted in him taking a worse bump than if he has just taken a fall onto a standard ladder.

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins was a solid match and the finish reversing the curb stomp into and RKO was phenomenal!

It surprised me that Sting vs. Triple H was 3rd match on the main card, I figured it would happen later in the show considering what a huge deal Sting finally wrestling in the WWE is.  This was probably the weakest match on the card in my opinion.  Sting had very little offense but he did his standard Sting stuff.  The real highlight of the match was the appearance of DX: Billy Gunn, Road Dog, & X-Pac to run interference when Sting had the upper hand, then the nWo: Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan, & Scott Hall appeared to even the odds.  The highlight of the match was Shawn Michaels then appearing and superkicking Sting!!!  My dream match for the last 20 years has been Sting vs. Shawn Michaels, that might be the most we ever get, but I can hope that maybe this match will still happen.  Sting's loss also surprised me, I realize now the story they were telling was Raw vs. Nitro with DX vs. The nWo and WCW lost.  I would hope Sting wrestles again in the WWE, I would hate to have this match be his only match.  I wasn't a fan of either Sting or Triple H's entrances either.

AJ Lee & Paige over the Bella's was way better than I thought it would be. Not because of the lack of talent in the match but because WWE doesn't usually let their Diva's show than can wrestle.  NXT has great woman's matches, but they do call it woman's down there and not Divas which is interesting.

Rusev has this big pro Russian entrance, which was pretty neat but I really like Rusev's entrance music as it is and honestly that would have works just as well.  Before Cena's entrance they did this whole patriotic entrance video, then he comes out with his own music, not flag insight and people weren't chanting USA, they were instead booing Cena and chanting "John Cena Sucks" along with his music.  As much as they tried, this wasn't the old school USA vs. evil foreigner this was Cena vs. Rusev.  I a big fan of Rusev, he's great in the ring, has great heat, and has had good matches with everyone he's been in the ring with.  Cena is Cena, he didn't need the win, didn't need the championship, basically no one cared.  They wasted Rusev getting his first loss to someone the fans didn't care that he lost too, not to mention he lost after bumping into Lana and a single attitude adjustment making him look weak.  The match was decent, the finish was terrible.

Bray Wyatt was the perfect opponent for The Undertaker.  It was a good match, giving Taker the win he needed after last years loss.  I doubt this will be Taker's last match, in fact he looked physically better than he has in the last few years.  It would be cool to see him stick around this year on a regular schedule.

I didn't expect much for the main event, I wanted Lesnar to win and figured and Reigns would win the Championship.  I was pleasantly surprised at just how good the match was, and with Rollins cashing in and the way he did it, was fantastic.  I truly enjoyed the physicality between Lesnar and Reigns.  I would like to see them wrestle again.

In the end it was one of the best WrestleMania's and one of the best WWE big events in a long time. I hope they can continue with this momentum into Raw tonight and onward this year.

Later Readers! 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Clash of the Champions and WrestleMania Ponderings

We've had Wesley home for a week now and I've spent a few of those nights watching Clash of the Champions.  Specifically seventeen through twenty which took place between November 1991 & September 1992.  These years in WCW I refer to as the Ric Flairless years of WCW. 

During this time WCW experienced their most turbulent post Jim Crockett Promotions period with leadership changing from Jim Herd to Kip Frye to "Cowboy" Bill Watts.  You can see the difference based on match booking, who was being pushed, and even how the shows looked on TV. 

Coincidentally the time frame is also when the short lived WCW Light Heavyweight Championship existed, October 1991 - September 1992.  We only got one match Clash XVII 11/19/1991 with champion Brian Pillman defending against Johnny B Badd.

The talent at that time was so good!  Barry Windham, Steve Austin, Brian Pillman, Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Jushin Liger, Sting, Rick Rude, Cactus Jack, Vader, and more!

Of course some terrible gimmicks like Super Invader, you can tell it's Hercules and he has the stupidest gear and mask on.  It's just terrible

Clash of the Champions XX marked the final television appearance of Andre the Giant. It almost seems wrong that it was with WCW and not the WWF.

Tonight is the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony.  This years class is Kevin Nash, Randy Savage, Larry Zbyszko, Alundra Blayze, The Bushwackers, Tatsumi Fujinami, Rikishi, & Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I'm surprised that Blayze is getting in because of her throwing the WWF Women's Championship in the trash on Nitro.  It's good that they made amends. 
The Bushwackers is a surprise for another reason.  The definitely deserve it the wrestled as a tag team all over the world for 37 years from 1964 until 2001 when Butch Miller was forced to retire due to illness.  The reason I am surprised is because their are other tag teams that probably should be inducted that haven't been like, The Rock n' Roll Express or Demolition.

WrestleMania XXXI is tomorrow, and finally Sting will be wrestling in a WWE ring!  My dream would be against Shawn Michaels but Triple H will be a great opponent.  The Undertaker needs to have an outstanding match to comeback from last years crushing loss. I don't mean the end of the streak, as shocking as that was, I'm referring to how bad the match was.  Granted he was knocked out a few minutes into the match, so he did the best he could, but that's not the match that he can go out on.

 So here are my official WrestleMania XXXI picks:

Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Championship: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro retain

Andre The Giant Battle Royal: Hideo Itami

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins: Seth Rollins

US Champion: Rusev vs. John Cena: Rusev

Bella Twins vs AJ Lee & Paige: AJ Lee & Paige

Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Daniel Bryan

Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt: Undertaker

Sting vs. Triple H: Sting

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns: Brock Lesnar

This is who I want to win not who I think is going to win.

Enjoy WrestleMania everyone!

Later Readers!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wesley, First Matches, & WrestleMania

So it's been 8 days since my last post normally I don't plan on that much time between posts but I had a good reason this time, my son was born.  That's right Kate and I welcomed Wesley Rugen Labbe to the world on March 21st after a lengthy induced labor.  But you can read about that on my other blog Wicked Clevah Title.

Once we got home and important decision had to be made once that I do not take lightly.  That decision was what is the first wrestling match that I am going to watch with Wesley.  Now I realize that he will never remember watching it, but it's important to me. 

With Canaan we watched the historic "I Quit" Match featuring Magnum TA vs. Tully Blanchard at Starrcade 1985.  This match is my all time favorite wrestling match.  Two phenomenal wrestlers in peak shape at the height of their feud putting everything that they had into this match. 

With Addison we watched some Lucha Libre women's action featuring Marcela then some Joshi with Ayako Hamada. Historically women's wrestling in the United States has been treated as a side attraction and not that of a serious contest while in Japan and Mexico it has always been treated with reverence.

For Wesley I decided to go with one of my all time favorite wrestlers, a match that was supposed to be his last, and one that I attended live.  WrestleMania XXIV March 30, 2008 Orlando, FL "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels vs. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.  When that was over I put on Clash of the Champions XXVII from November 19, 1991. 

WrestleMania XXXI is this coming Sunday and it's shaping up to be a decent card.  Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar defending the WWE Championship against Roman Reigns, and Intercontinental Championship Ladder match, that is basically the return of Money in the Bank except this is for the Championship instead of the title match.   What I'm really looking forward to though is Sting's in ring WWE debut.  It's going to be so surreal to finally see him wrestling in a WWE Ring.  He is the last guy that was really big in WCW that has never wrestled in the WWE.

I don't think he will ever be around long enough to do so, but if he ever was able to get a reign as WWE Champion he would be the only guy in history to hold the NWA, WCW, TNA, & WWE Championships.

I mailed off a couple cards to be signed by Brian Myers aka Curt Hawkins.

I'm going to try to mail off a few more this week, haven't worked out who yet.

Later Readers!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Starrcade 1990 & the Pat O'Connor International Tag Team Tournament

 I'm watching Starrcade 1990 and it features the Pat O'Connor International Tag Team Tournament.  I remember watching this back after it came out on home video as my Dad rented all the wrestling home videos for me back then and being surprised at all the wrestlers that I've never heard of before that were in it.

Starting with 1990 WCW was never been shy of having a major card, either a Pay Per View or Clash of the Champions, and either bringing in non-roster wrestlers for a one shot, or debuting a wrestler rather than highlight their full time roster talent.  Starrcade was the first time they did it on such a grand scale. 

The United States was represented by the Steiner Brothers and need not to be talked about, others in the tournament I'm familiar with now but at the time, except for The Great Muta I wasn't.  Here are the teams and what I found out about them:

South Africa: Sgt Krueger & Col. DeKlerk
Sgt Kreuger better known as Ray Apollo who also portrayed Doink the Clown in the WWE.  Real name Ray Liccachell, Apollo wrestled as enhancement Talent in the WWE for many years before he was asked to become Doink the Clown after Matt Borne was released.  Apollo was paired with Tiger Jackson as Dink and had a nice run in the WWE has a fan favorite. 

Col DeKlerk was none other than "Flyboy" Rocco Rock, Ted Petty.  At the time of the tournament Ted Petty has been wrestling for 12 years and had yet make an impact in the United States.  Three years later he would be teamed with Johnny Grunge to form the Public Enemy where they would go one to be ECW & WCW World Tag Team Champions.

At Clash of the Champions XIII on November 20, 1990 Sgt. Krueger & Col. DeKlerk defeated Kalua & the Botswana Beast to advance to the Pat O'Connor International Tag Team Tournament to represent South Africa.  This is the only official qualifying match that I could find for this tournament.  It was noted in the team bios on the PPV that all the teams qualified for this tournament.

Great Britain: Norman Smiley & Chris Adams
Norman Smiley debuted in 1985 wrestling in the Florida Independents, Japan, & Mexico's CMLL before he debuted in WCW in 1997.  However back in 1990 he had this one match at Starrcade teaming with Chris Adams.  I find it odd that it took him seven years to return.

Chris Adams was well known as a headliner in World Class Championship Wrestling having major feuds with just about everyone during the hey day of World Class.  After WCCW closed down Adams has this one match in WCW where he received quite the pop upon his introduction.  Adams is also now well known for training Steve Austin and their initial feud in World Class and the USWA.  Adams would return to WCW in 1997 for a two year run where he was used primarily as a jobber.  This match would be his only WCW Pay Per View appearance. 

Mexico: Konnan & Rey Misterio
Konnan debuted in 1987 wrestling in Mexico for CMLL and later AAA.  He made his US television debut teaming with his trainer in this tournament.  He also wrestled a couple house shows for leading up to this PPV.  Konnan would reach phenomenal heights in Mexico before returning to WCW in 1996.

Rey Misterio debuted in 1976 in Mexico becoming a major star.  He began training wrestlers in 1987 training some of the greatest names in Lucha Libre including his nephew Rey Mysterio Jr.  This event was his major American debut and his only matches in WCW.  He still competes as a headliner in Mexico.

USSR: Victor Zangiev & Salman Hashimikov
Victor Zangiev is a well established amateur wrestler winning several tournaments and cups before leaving amateur wrestling in 1988.  Zangiev debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1989 after training with Antonio Inoki.  He also competed in the UWFI in 1994.  This event would be his only known matches in the United States.  It should be noted that he was ranked #71 in the 1991 PWI 500.

Salman Hashimikov
Salman Hashimikov is also an established amateur wrestler winning the gold medal at the World Championships in freestyle wrestling from 1979 - 1983.  In 1989 he moved to Japan and trained with Antonio Inoki for New Japan Pro Wrestling later wrestling for UWFI before retiring in 1994.  This event was his only North American wrestling appearance.  On May 25, 1989 Hashimikov defeated Big Van Vader to capture the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.  RIGHT!  He would hold the title for 48 days before losing it to Riki Choshu.  I'm actually quite surprised the neither Jim Ross nor Paul Heyman mentioned that he was a former IWGP Champion, instead just discussing his amateur credentials.  

Canada: Troy Montour & Danny Johnson
Try as I might I can't find much on either of these two.  Johnson was apparently a second generation wrestler and was featured a lot in the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada area. He is apparently in the Slam! Canadian Wrestling Hall of Fame. He died in 2003 from liver problems.  I can't find even less on Troy Montour, he may have been a full blooded Native Canadian Indian other than this event I've got nothing on him wrestling anywhere.  Considering the number of fantastic wrestlers that are from Canada I'm also surprised that these two are who they went with. 

Japan: Mr. Saito & The Great Muta
Mr. Saito was not unknown the United States wrestling fans as he held the WWF Tag Team Championship with Mr. Fuji.  He was later involved in a major public incident that resulted in his arrest.  Mr. Saito would later capture the AWA World Heavyweight Championship.  This event and Starrcade 1995 marked Saito's only appearances in WCW.

The Great Muta, if you don't know who The Great Muta is then you are sadly missing out.

New Zealand:  The Royal Family: Rip Morgan & Jacko Victory
Morgan and Victory were actually very well known to the fans of WCW at this time and regularly competed there through out the year.  Rip Morgan wrestled primarily in New Zealand but did have a two year run in WCW.  He is currently still promoting wrestling in New Zealand.  Jack Victory is probably best know for his time in Extreme Championship Wrestling. 

I hope you found this as interesting as I did!

Later Readers!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Champions that weren't Wrestlers

I’m sure everyone will remembers the illustrious 12 day reign that David Arquette had as WCW World Champion, but what most may not remember is that he is not the only non-wrestler to win a Championship in one of the major companies.   There have been others, and some may even surprise you.  My definition of a non-wrestler is someone who may be involved in the wrestling industry but has never been considered a full time competitor or a wrestler in the traditional sense.

David Arquette
On the April 25, 2000 edition of Thunder Arquette pinned fellow non-wrestler Eric Bischoff in a tag team match that also featured Jeff Jarrett and then champion Diamond Dallas Page to win the title.  Arquette then turned on Page at Slamboree on May 7, 2000 in a triple cage match to aid Jeff Jarrett in winning his second WCW World Championship.

Judy Bagwell
Rick Steiner and Buff Bagwell won the WCW World Tag Team Championships on October 25, 1998 in Las Vegas at the WCW Halloween Havoc PPV.  During the match Bagwell turned on Steiner and leaving him on his own, when Steiner won he was allowed to pick his own tag team partner.  Initially he chose Kenny Kaos and on the October 26th Nitro in Phoenix they successfully defended the titles against The Giant & Stevie Ray.  Shortly thereafter  Kaos was injured and Steiner was allowed to choose his next partner.  On November 9, 1998 Steiner chose Buff’s mother Judy Bagwell to be his partner and she is officially recognized as a WCW World Tag Team Champion.   They never teamed to defend the titles and on January 4, 1999 Steiner was stripped of the titles after he was legit injured.

Oklahoma aka Ed Ferrara
On January 16, 2000 at the Souled Out PPV in Cincinnati, OH Oklahoma defeated Madusa to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship in a 3 minute “match” that was terrible.  He was forced to relinquish the championship on the January 19th edition of WCW Thunder for exceeding the weight limit of the title.  Wouldn’t that have made him ineligible to have a match for the title to begin with?

Eric Bischoff
On June 5, 2000 at Nitro in Atlanta, GA Eric Bischoff defeated Terry Funk for the WCW Hardcore Championship.  That just seems wrong to type those words.  Granted Bischoff had help from Big Vito, Johnny the Bull and The Cat, but still, wrong.  On Thunder that week he awarded the championship to both Big Vito and Johnny the Bull announcing the Freebird rule would be in effect for their joint reign. 

Pacman Jones
At the TNA No Surrender PPV on September 9, 2007 in Orlando, FL Pacman Jones and Ron Killings defeated Sting and Kurt Angle to win the TNA World Tag Team Championships, yup that is as wrong as it sounds.  While on suspension from the NFL Jones and perennial mid-carder Ron Killings beat two of the all-time greatest wrestlers in Sting and Kurt Angle.  Granted Angle attacked Sting which led to the victory, but I mean what else were they supposed to do, Jones was only allowed to appear in a non-physical role.  The champs lot their titles to AJ Styles and Tomko at Bound For Glory on October 14th with Consequences Creed wrestling in Jones’ place. 

Vince McMahon
On September 14, 1999 (aired 9/16) in Las Vegas at a Smackdown taping Mr. McMahon defeated Triple H to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with his son Shane McMahon as special guest referee.  This was part of the storyline where Triple H drugged and married Stephanie.  Mr. McMahon vacated the title on the September 20th RAW in Houston, TX

At Backlash in Atlanta, GA on April 29, 2007 Mr. McMahon would capture the (WW)ECW Championship defeating champion Bobby Lashley in a handicapped match with partners Shane McMahon and Umaga.  He would lose the title back to Lashley in a Street Fight at One Night Stand on June 3rd in Jacksonville, FL.

Harvey Wippleman
Disguised as Hervina, Harvey Wippleman won a limberjill snowbunny match on the January 31, 2000 RAW from Pittsburgh to win the WWE Women’s Championship.   It would be a short reign lasting just 1 day, 3 days in tv time, as Jacqueline would win the title on Smackdown from Detroit, MI.

Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
Stephanie would topple Jacqueline at the March 28, 2000 Smackdown taping in San Antonio, TX which aired on March 30th to win the Women’s Championship.  Stephanie would go on to hold the championship for 146 days, not defending it once, until she lost the title to Lita on Raw in Lafayette, LA on August 21, 2000. 

Shane McMahon
Off all the McMahon’s it can be argued that Shane was a wrestler on the active wrestler.  I even saw him compete in a house show street fight match against Kane at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine.  However at the time when he won the European Championship he was not an active wrestler.  Shane won the title on February 15, 1999 in Birmingham, AL on RAW pinning X-Pac in a tag team match pitting Shane & Kane vs. Triple H & X-Pac.  Shane did defend the title a few times before retiring the championship on Sunday Night Heat in Uniondale, NY taped March 30, 1999 aired April 4th.  On June 21st of that year Shane would aware Mideon the Championship after Mideon found it in Shane’s duffel bag.  The title would be retired for good on July 22, 2002 when it was unified with the Intercontinental Championship.

Hardcore Championship
The hardcore championship changed hands 235 times in its less than 4 year existence before being unified with the Intercontinental Championship.  Tommy Dreamer was the last defending champion before losing it to Rob Van Dam.  Surprisingly there were only two instances when a non-wrestler won the championship although there were several attempts by non-wrestlers to do so.   Yes Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson both held the Hardcore Championship but I can’t consider then non-wrestlers.

May 15, 2000 Godfather’s Ho aka Bobcat pinned Crash Holly in Cleveland, OH, Crash won it back moments later
May 27, 2002 Terri Runnels pinned Steve Richards in Edmonton, Alberta, Richards won it back moments later

If you’re interested Raven held the Hardcore championship the most with 27 reigns combined for 94 days whereas Steve Blackman held it for the most combined days of 172 over 6 reigns.  The longest single reign was The Undertaker at 58 days.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Obsession with Signed Wrestling Trading Cards

There were a few factors that started me down the road to collecting signed cards.  The first ever wrestling signing that I went to was in March of 1997.  Jay and I had gone down to Boston to buy Nitro tickets for their debut at the Fleetcenter, now TD Garden.   Later that day at Filenes at the Natick Mall Ric Flair was doing an autograph signing.  What were the chances that the“Nature Boy” Jay and I’s all-time favorite wrestler was doing a signing!   We headed over to Filene’s and the place was packed, we stood in line for well over two hours, but Filenes to their credit played WCW’s Great American Bash 1996 on the hanging TV’s.  The Giant, now the Big Show, was an unadvertised surprise and was there to sign autographs as well.  I had brought with me a WCW 1995 CARDZ trading card for Ric to sign as I didn’t know if he would have anything to sign; it features Flair applying the Figure Four leg lock to Hulk Hogan.  He signed it but I also got an 8X10 of Flair too.  So my first ever signed wrestling card was a Ric Flair one, seems right.

After that I assumed that people would always have something for me to buy for them to sign and they did.  For the next several years whenever I would go to a show wrestlers would have photos to buy and I began collecting signed photos.  Then in September of 2003 I went to Danbury, CT to meet Terry Funk and he had nothing but t-shirts for sale, none of the vendors there had anything Terry Funk that I could buy to get signed.  I was pleased that I got my picture taken with him, it came out exceptionally well, but I walked away with no autograph.

At this same time I was collecting autograph photos of celebrities through the mail where you would send a blank over sized envelope and a letter requesting a signed photo.  I discovered that if you mailed them something you would have a better chance to get it signed as opposed to just asking them to supply a photo. 

Combining these two I came to the conclusion that it was cheaper to mail trading cards to request to get signed and easier to bring trading cards to shows to get signed, and they could display better in a binder fitting up to 18 cards per page instead of two photos per page. 

At one point though if a wrestler has a WCW and WWF or other card I wanted to have them both or all signed.  Also if they had different gimmicks well I wanted those signed too.   For instance Barry Darsow; I have 5 cards signed by him in 4 different gimmicks, A 1985 All Stars Krusher Kruschev, two 1990 WWF Demolition Smash cards released by Classic, a 1992 WWF Repo-Man released by Merlin, and a 1995 WCW CARDZ Black Top Bully.

I do not buy cards signed off of the Internet, at shows, or EBay.  All my cards come signed from the wrestles themselves either in person or through the mail.  I’ve had a lot success in locating some of the hard to find wrestlers or lesser known wrestlers to get cards signed.  I always try to ask first before I send anything, but a lot of the times that’s just not possible.  I send the card or cards, a handwritten letter, and an S.A.S.E. to whomever I am requesting signatures from.  It’s always exciting to check my mail and find an S.A.S.E. waiting for me.  Most of the time I just get the cards back signed, other times they will have written a letter or small note, occasionally it comes back return to sender, and some cards I never get back.  

Currently I have well over 450 signed cards, the majority wrestling but I have a few non-wrestling ones as well.  My plan is from this point forward whenever I get new ones to post it on here to share with others.  From time to time I may post some cards from the past if I feel they are especially cool.

Later Readers!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Newest Signed Cards: FBI, Cabana, Edwards, Kevin Sullivan, Kaz, & Curry Man

Over the weekend at the Boston Pro Wrestling Marathon I managed to add 12 signed trading cards to my already large collection of cards.

This Curry Man card is from the TNA Cross the Line set released by TriStar in 2008.  Quite possibly "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels is the man under the mask, at the end he forged the signature for me.

Frankie Kazarian: The first card was released in 2004 by Pacific Trading Cards and the second in 2008 by Tristar for the Impact card series.

This Eddie Edwards card was made by Custom Sports Cards for Connecticut Wrestling Entertainment in 2012. 

"Taskmaster" Kevin Sullivan signed both of these cards for me.  The first a NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) card released in 1989 for Jim Crockett Promotions by Wonderama International.  The second released in 1995 as part of the WCW CARDZ series.

This card was already signed by 2 Cold Scorpio and at the Boston Pro Wrestling Marathon I was able to get Mosh & Thrasher The Headbangers to sign it as well.  It was released in 1998 by Comic Images as part of the WWF Superstarz line.  

This Colt Cabana card was made by Custom Sports Cards for Connecticut Wrestling Entertainment in 2012. 

These cards were signed bu The FBI: Full Blooded Italians.  The first card was released by the WWF in 2003 made by Fleer and signed by Little Guido as his Nunzio character.  The second card was released in 2000 by San Francisco Toymakers along with an ECW Figure is signed by Little Guido.  The third card signed by Tony Mamaluke was released in the United Kingdom in 2005 as part of the WWF Payback card game series. The final card was released in 2010 by TriStar for TNA Impact Wrestling featuring the FBI from their match against Kid Kash, Simon Diamond, & Johnny Swinger from the Hardcore Justice PPV.  This card is signed by both Mamaluke and Little Guido, neither of them had ever seen it before and Mamaluke was very excited by it.  I referred them to Huskerhavs which is where I get pretty much all of my cards.

Later Readers

Boston Pro Wrestling Marathon

The weekend of March 6 - 8th was the Boston Pro Wrestling Marathon in Abington, Massachusetts.  It was a great weekend of wrestling even though the last day was cancelled abruptly Saturday night, more on that later.

Friday Josh, Jesse, Mikey, & Roy arrived at the house before noon for our journey south for a fantastic weekend of professional wrestling.  After I made them look at all my stuff, I don't get to show off my wrestling collection, we headed out.  Roy made up this game where you pick a championship title, for instance the European championship, and we take turns guessing who held the championship and are awarded point based on title reigns.  In this case Shawn Michaels is worth 5 points for his single title run where as D'Lo Brown is worth 20 points for his 4 title reigns.  It was a pretty awesome game and it made the 3 hour drive fly by.

Jay was already at the hotel when we got there.  We got checked in and spent couple hours kicking back and in our room Jay, Mikey, and I watched some PWG.  As we had Bodyslam Packages we got in two hours before show time.  It took us 45 minutes to drive the 7.4 miles from the hotel to the venue because of rush hour traffic.

Doors opened 15 minutes late and it was cold outside but it's independent wrestling so that's expected.  Once we got in we picked out our seats and I sat in the same seat through-out the weekend.  The first thing that I noticed was how low the ceiling was.  I was very surprised as to me this was not a good venue for wrestling, you can't come of the top rope so high flying was right out the door straight away.  In the second match of the night Friday Devin Blaze did a corkscrew plancha from the ring to the floor and kicked a chandelier breaking the glass which cut a fan on the face.  However, other than this instance and a few times some feet hit the ceiling tiles the wrestlers did a great job working around this major obstacle and presented some great wrestling matches.

We all got autographs and photos with different wrestlers this evening before bell time.  Myself I got photos with Tessa Blanchard, Colt Cabana, Biff Busick, & Frankie Kazarian.  I also got one with Chris Hero but retook it Saturday as the focus was off.  I also got a few cards signed, and Colt signed my Wrestling Road Diaries Too DVD insert.

It was a great night of professional wrestling.  I was super happy to see Tessa Blanchard wrestle live as she just maybe the greatest woman wrestling on the American independent scene.  She and Alexxis Neveah had a great contest where unfortunately Tessa lost.  I'm sure she won't last long on the indy's before WWE signs her to a developmental deal, but I hope to see her again in the future.

I was also very pleased to see veteran Maverick Wild in action one more time even though it was a loss to upstart Anthony Greene.  Greene is excellent in the ring and his star is only going to rise as the years go on.

The Main Event was the Boston Classic Tag Team Gauntlet featuring The Kingdom, Team Friendship, Spirit Squad, Biff & Ted's Excellent Podcast Adventure, and The Addiction.  It was a great tag match with the Addiction getting the win last eliminating Biff & Ted.  During the scrum with Biff & Ted vs. The Kingdom they wrestled all around the ring, Ted was whipped into the guardrail in front of me and it smashed into my knee and that hurt a lot!  My knee bruised and swelled causing me discomfort the rest of the weekend.  It's not the first time something like this has happened to me at a show and it won't be the last. 

The show got out late and by the time we got back to the hotel not even domino's would deliver as they were short staffed and too busy.  After the stunning revelation that Mikey wanted pepperoni and cheese on his pie I drove to guys over to pick the garbage up.  We finished the night watching some more PWG.

Friday Night results:

“The Dynasty” Beau Douglas & Tim Lennox defeated “Boston Bad Boy” Jason Rumble & Dan Terry when Lennox pinned Rumble
Matt Magnum pinned Devin Blaze with a powerbomb

Main Show
“All Good” Anthony Greene pinned Maverick Wild
Alexxis Neveah pinned Tessa Blanchard
Michael Sain defeated Jason Blade
Alex Chamberlain pinned Julian Starr
Vinny Marseglia defeated Sean Burke
Bob Evans pinned Nick Westgate
The Boston Classic Tag Team Gauntlet
The Kingdom: Mike Bennet & Matt Taven w/ Maria defeated Team Friendship: Mark Shurman & Scott Slade
Biff & Ted’s Excellent Podcast Aventure defeated The Kingdom
Biff & Ted defeated The Spirit Squad: Kenny & Mikey
The Addiction: Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian defeated Biff & Ted to win the match.

Saturday I was up and ready to go early as I was anxious for our second day of wrestling.  The intercontinental breakfast was quite good and had a nice variety.  I made sure to fill my belly as I knew it was going to be a long day.

We were able to get into the Venue at 11am for the afternoon matches.  Today I got several cards signed and my photo with Kevin Sullivan, Ted (Gregory) Edwards, and we got a group shot with Biff Busick, Biff is the man!  The FBI signed a TNA card that neither had ever seen and Tony Mamaluke was really excited about it.  I referred him to Huskerhav's to get one.  The FBI and Joel Gertner were so cool to talk with, as was everyone.  I found no one to be unapproachable at all, all weekend.  

The opening match was Biff Busick vs. Mike Mondo in a phenomenal match up that went to a time limit draw and in overtime Biff got the pin for the win.  This was the match of the weekend with out a doubt.  The guys and I are all really into Biff Busick so we were very vocal for Biff and I feel that our energy was spread through the rest of the crowd as they were so loud and lively that afternoon.  

The main event saw The FBI: Little Guido Maritano & Tony Mamaluke drop a tag team match to Justin Credible and The Masshole Mike McCarthy.  It was cool ECW style match and Credible got the pin on Guido.  

Saturday Afternoon results

Biff Busick pinned Mike Mondo
JB Elf defeated Romona Ramano w/ “Pimp Daddy” Mike Paiva
Joel Gertner promo
"Real Deal" Brandon Lock w/ Adam Barisano defeated Alex Chamberlain
Happy Birthday Rap by Oscar of Men on a Mission
"Kingpin" Brian Milonas pinned Nick Westgate
Handicapped Match: Michael Sain defeated The Heavy Hitters: Shady Shay & Frank Champion
Justin Credible & Mike McCarthy defeated The FBI: Little Guido Maritano & Tony Mamaluke

We had 45 minutes before the Art of Wrestling live podcast taping began and this was something that I was not going to miss, other than Chris Hero and the Rock N Roll Express the podcast was one of the things I was most excited about.  

We left the hall to find something to eat and stopped at the first place we came it.  It was quite unimpressive on the outside with a sign that read Roast Beef and Pizza.  Inside though was a different matter.  It was clean, smelled great, and had large and reasonably priced menu.  I got a large bacon italian with pickles, extra tomatoes, cheese, and mayo.  Talk about good, damn!  And it was packed with tomatoes!  So good!  Everyone liked was they got in fact.  I was anxious to get back so I only ate half before heading back into the venue to get seats, we manged front row, excellent!

The podcast recording was everything I though and hoped it would be.  I was tasked with being the official photographer to tweet him photos of the recording and Mikey was asked to give his impersonation of Tony Atlas' laugh.  We didn't know who the guest were and was surprised as he called each on up.  Justin Credible, Mike Mondo, Oscar, Biff Busick, and Chris Hero as the closer.  The podcast ran just over 90 minutes which I was pleasantly surprised about.  I wonder how long the final podcast he releases will be. 

The end of the podcast basically coincided with the time the doors would open for the Bodyslam Package VIP's so we just stayed in the building.  I got a my image captured with Chris Hero and I got a couple cards signed.  At the end of the weekend I got 12 cards signed to add to my collection.  Josh was my official photographer as he was able to properly take photos to my liking.

Their were a couple vendors with various wrestling collectibles for sale.  I bough the new Candice and Joey Highspots DVD special that just came out last month for $5, and it was an original copy and not a bootleg.  I'm not 100% sure how many DVD's Roy bought, but I'm guessing 8 - 10, which is pretty low for him.  Both Mikey and Josh bought both of Colt Cabana's Wrestling Road Diaries documentaries which were wise purchases as I have them both and they are fantastic.

The Saturday night matches was a great night of wrestling.  Colt Cabana and Chris Hero had a great match that started with some comedy and then got into a serious wrestling match and ended with Colt getting a quick pin on Hero.  It really showed what two seasoned ring veterans can do and make it look so effortless while they do it.  We got to see Biff wrestle for a 3rd time this weekend which was just awesome.  Main event was a falls count anywhere match that saw "Real Deal" Brandon Locke get the upset victory over the "Taskmaster" Kevin Sullivan.  It was cool to see Sullivan wrestle live but at 65 years old it was what it was.  

Saturday Night results

Antonio Atama defeated TK O’Ryan

Main Show
Keanu The Flying Hawaiian pinned Kenny Dykstra
Michael Sain pinned Steven Verano
Kongo pinned Mikaze
Colt “Boom Boom” Cabana pinned “Knockout Artist” Chris Hero
Biff & Ted’s Excellent Podcast Adventure defeated Dave Cole & Billy King w/ Marshall McNiel
Tatanka pinned Brian Milonas
Falls Count Anywhere: “Real Deal” Brandon Locke w/ Adam Barisano pinned “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan

When we got back to the hotel I messaged Spencer to see what time the Q&A Luncheon was Sunday as I hadn't seen what time it was scheduled only that the last set of matches started at 4pm.  I was quite surprised when Spencer replied that he was cancelling all of Sunday's events.  Sunday morning I read on Facebook that basically they didn't make enough money on Friday and Saturday to pay for Sunday.  

We were all pretty pissed off because we paid for a full weekend of shows, essentially 6 events with the 4 wrestling shows, the podcast, and the luncheon Q&A and a third of those events were cancelled at the last minute.  I don't promote wrestling shows because I can't take that risk of losing money, but to me if you are planning an event like this for a year I would think that it would be paid for, or at least the majority of it, before tickets went on sale and not rely on ticket sales and monies received the first two days of a 3 day event to pay for day three. 

I will admit that Friday and Saturday were fantastic, and Saturday was one of if not the best day of wrestling I have ever experienced.  However besides the podcast the big selling point of the weekend for me was being able to see the Rock n' Roll Express wrestle live and that didn't happen.  It probably will never happen now.  

Jay won the 50/50 raffle on both Friday night and Saturday afternoon shows, which is just absurd.  It was also nice to see JD, Ceej, Scott King, Mad Dog, and others, also nice to meet Tanya of TC Tapes as I used to buy tapes from her back in the day. 

On the ride home more fallout from the abrupt cancelling came out on twitter and Facebook and I'll let you find those for yourself.  Needless to say the rumors of what did or didn't happened spread fast. 

On the ride home we had to stopped in Boston to get Kate an Italian Night Club sub from Jimmy John's as she had been craving it since January and there was no way I was going to not get my pregnant wife this.  I didn't take into consideration that PAX East was literally right around the corner from the Jimmy John's I went to so parking was difficult.  

I was also shocked out terrible Massachusetts was at plowing and removing snow, they are a New England state, but they have no concept of snow removal or pushing back the snowbanks. 

We stopped at Kowloon for a bite to eat that added to the mystique of the wrestling weekend as this is and was a hot spot for WWE wrestlers to eat at when they are in the area.  Their are signed photos and posters all over the entrance way of wrestlers and other celebrities.

It was a great weekend of wrestling that will sadly, mostly be overshadowed by the fact the last day was cancelled so abruptly.