Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mauro Ranallo

In January I was very excited to lean that Mauro Ranallo and his legendary voice would become the lead announcer on Smackdown when it debuted on the USA Network.

I first heard Mauro when he and Bas Rutten called Pride Fighting Championship, my favorite MMA League.  Mauro has a very unique and exciting voice and I truly enjoy listening to him call the action.  He also provided commentary on EliteXC, ShoXC, Invicta Fighting Championship, Glory Kickboxing and Showtime Championship Boxing.  If it's a combat sport he has guided with his insightful play by play.

Many may think that WWE is his first time he has called wrestling, they would be wrong.  Most recently he and Josh Barnett called New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS.  His first foray into wrestling was at the young age of 16 in 1989 for All Star Wrestling in his native Canada and then later Stampede Wrestling from 1999 - 2000.

I have never been a fan of Michael Cole, I realize he has spent 19 years in the WWE and has put in his dues to get to where he is.  I also realize he had big shoes to step into taking over for Jim Ross but that's not why I'm not a fan, I simply do not like how he calls matches.  I didn't like his time on Smackdown with JBL but that was only because JBL would rip on Cole all show long.

Currently I love how Kevin Owens jumps all over Michael Cole before, during, and after his matches.  I don't know if it's a work or a shoot, but I like it.

My feeling is, and my hope is, is that talent will shine through and Ranallo will eventually become the lead announcer for all WWE programming.

You can find out more about Mauro at his website and check out his blog with Bas Rutten called Rutten and Ranallo, available at soundclound and Itunes.  It's only up to 7 episodes, but it has fast become one of my favorite podcasts.  Bas Rutten is another guy I love listening too, he tells great stories and has loads of charisma.  These two together are simply fantastic.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

WWE Fastlane Feedback

You see what I did there.....

Greetings and thanks for stopping by the Wrestling Insomniac for my thoughts on this WWE Pay Per View.  Did we still call them Pay Per View's?  Should we start calling them Supershows or Mega Events?


2 out of 3 Falls United States Championship
Champion Kalisto defeated Alberto Del Rio 2 falls to 1
Good match, Del Rio is really good and Kalisto was able to show himself off more in this match than he had previously.  Del Rio was disqualified after attacking Kalisto with a chair to lose the first fall.  He quickly got the pin for the second fall after a second rope double foot stomp.  The third fall and win went to Kalisto with a school boy.


Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch defeated Naomi & Tamina
Banks submitted Tamina with the Bank statement.  I wasn't expecting much from this match but it was really good.  All 4 woman fought hard putting on a great match.

Intercontinental Champion: Kevin Owens defeated Dolph Ziggler
Such a great match, seriously a toss up between this and AJ vs. Jericho for match of the night.  Owens had just won the Championship Monday night in a 5 way match.  I am such a huge fan of Kevin Owens, probably my favorite wrestler in the WWE right now.  He is so good in the ring and I love his trash talking during the match, telling Dolph "Your hometown likes me better than you" and his hatred of Michael Cole.  I hope we see the package piledriver again!

Big Show, Kane & Ryback defeated the Wyatt Family
Ryback pinned Luke Harper with a botched version of his finish that appeared to injure Harper's shoulder.  The ending of this was pretty good, but it was an ok match.

Diva's Champion: Charlotte w/ Ric Flair defeated Brie Bella
Charlotte submitted her with the figure 8.  I really hated that Brie is using Bryan's gimmicks with the YES chant, kicks, YES lock and everything else she stole from her husband to get herself over.  Charlotte looked good in the ring, not surprising.

AJ Styles submitted Chris Jericho
A truly fantastic match indeed!  Their third and by far their best match.  I hated that Jericho kicked out of the Styles Clash, but they seem to be phasing that move out for the Calf Crusher.  Styles showed in this match why he deserves to debut in the WWE bypassing NXT and getting an immediate push.  Styles and Okada share the honor of the best dropkick in wrestling.
Jericho once again botched AJ's springboard backflip into a reverse DDT spot.

Cutting Edge/Peep Show segment with Edge & Christian and guest New Day
A waste of time, I didn't find it overly funny and all it did was build towards a New Day vs. League of Nations feud.

Curtis Axel w/ Social Outcasts defeated R-Truth
and unadvertised match that could have stayed off the card.  Goldust came out to help Truth but inadvertently caused Truth the match.

Roman Reigns defeated Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose
Reigns pinned Ambrose to win the match and to face Triple H at WrestleMania for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  This match was really good, and the finishing sequence was great.  It was obvious Reigns was going to win.  Storyline wise it makes sense for Reigns and Triple H to wrestle at WrestleMania I just don't think the WWE Championship needed to be involved.

The biggest pops of the night were for AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Lesnar, & Ambrose.  The Crowd was hot all night so that makes it better.

Going forward I think we will definitely see Ambrose vs, Lesnar at Mania and I'd like to see AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens.

After the PPV WWE announced the NXT Signing of Shinsuke Nakamura.  I cannot wait to see him on the main roster, I think we have the first Japanese guy that is going to be a main eventer in WWE and possible win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Finally, Mauro Ronallo called the pre-show match with JBL and Byron Saxton, seriously he is so much better than Michael Cole that I like watching Smackdown more just to hear Mauro call the action.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Last Match - Promotions Gone By

This will be a unique list of Last Matches as it will reflect the last matches of promotions and their major TV shows, if I can find the results.

Jim Crockett Promotions
Ran 1931 – November 2, 1988
November 1, 1988 Savannah, GA Civic Center
NWA World Tag Team Champions: The Road Warriors: Hawk & Animal defeated The Midnight Express: Beautiful Bobby & Sweet Stan
JCP was sold to Ted Turner on November 2, 1988 and even though from the fans perspective the transition was seamless this was the final JCP show.

World Championship Wrestling
Ran November 2, 1988 – March 26, 2001
WCW’s final match was at the final episode of Monday Nitro

WCW Monday Nitro
First broadcast September 4, 1995
March 26, 2001
Panama City, FL Boardwalk Beach Resort
Sting submitted “Nature Boy” Ric Flair with the scorpion death lock

WCW Thunder
First broadcast January 8, 1998
Aired March 21, 2001 Taped March 19, 2001
Gainesville, FL
Jeff Jarrett & United States Champion: Rick Steiner defeated Dustin Rhodes in a handicap match

WCW Saturday Night
First broadcast December 25, 1971
Aired August 19, 2000 as recap show
Final original match April 1, 2000
WCW Hardcore Championship on a pole match
Champion: Brian Knobbs defeated Norman Smiley, The Dog, Rick Fuller, Adrian Byrd, & David Burkhead

WCW Worldwide
First broadcast in 1975 as JCP Wide World Wrestling
Aired February 24, 2001 Taped December 22, 2000
Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, TN
Ron & Don Harris defeated Jung Dragons: Yang & Kaz Hayashi

WCW House Show
March 4, 2001
Freedom Hall, Johnson City, TN
Diamond Dallas Page & Dustin Rhodes defeated World Champion: Scott Steiner & Jeff Jarrett

Final Champions:
World Champion: Booker T won March 26, 2001
United States Champion: Booker T won March 18, 2001
Cruiserweight Champion: Shane Helms won March 18, 2001
World Tag Team Champions: Natural Born Thrillers: Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire won January 14, 2001
Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions: Filthy Animals: Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio  won March 26, 2001

Extreme Championship Wrestling
a.k.a.  Eastern Championship Wrestling
Ran April 25, 1992 – April 4, 2001
January 13, 2001 Pine Bluff, AR Convention Center
The Sandman pinned Justin Credible w/ Francine with a pile driver

Final Champions:
World Champion: Rhino won January 7, 2001
World TV Champion: Rhino won September 9, 2000
World Tag Team Champions: Danny Doring & Amish Roadkill won December 3, 2000

Smoky Mountain Wrestling
Ran: October 30, 1991 – December 1995
November 26, 1995 Cookeville, TN Community Center
Ricky Morton, Dirty White Boy, & Tracy Smothers vs. Tag Team Champions: The Heavenly Bodies Dr. Tom Prichard & Jimmy Del Ray, & Robert Gibson

Final Champions
Heavyweight Champion: “Wildfire” Tommy Rich won November 25, 1995

Tag Team Champions: The Heavenly Bodies: Dr. Tom Prichard & Jimmy Del Ray won August 4, 1995

American Wrestling Association
Ran 1960 - 1991

Last TV taping August 11, 1990

House Show
May 3, 1991 Bloomington, MN  Kennedy High School
Greg Gagne & Wahoo McDaniel defeated Destruction Crew: Wayne Bloom & Mike Enos

Final Champions:
World Champion: Larry Zbyszko won April 8, 1990 officially stripped December 12, 1990
World Tag Team Champions: DJ Peterson & The Trooper won August 11, 1990
Women's Champion: Candi Devine won December 6, 1989

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Signed Cards: Drew Gulak, Trevor Lee, and other independents

Normally all my signed cards I get myself either through the mail or in person from the wrestlers directly, I do not buy signed cards from anyone except the wrestlers.

The following cards were acquired for me by my buddy Roy in person at various wrestling events that he attended in the later half of 2015.

IPW Cards
Released in 2015 I found out from Chris Hero that the manufacturer didn't ask some or all of the wrestlers for permission to use their likeness on the cards.  Although he didn't have a problem with it he said others did and the manufacturer quickly sold off his supply.

The card on the left featured stand out Trevor Lee and the right Drew Gulak.  I believe Roy got both cards signed at a Beyond Wrestling show.

"Funny Man" Devin Blaze
One half of the M1nute Men Blaze had a deck of cards made with his photo on them and nickname on the back.  Although not a trading card per-say it sure is a clever bit of merchandise.  I do wish he would have signed the front of the card on his photo instead of the back.

Kenny Roberts
Roy got me this card at an IWE show in Brewer.  I do not know much about it other than it was made in 2015 by and independent company in New York state.  The back of the card is plain white.  I have no idea what other cards or how many are in this set.

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Signed Cards: Savio Vega and Kwang

Savio Vega

I got these cards at different times.  The above cards were manufactured by Comic Images in 1998 for the WWF.  The card of the left features Los Boricuas while the card on the right is a solo Savio Vegas card.  I got these cards signed on April 30, 2010 at an IWE event in Fairfield.

This Kwang card my buddy Roy got signed for me at an IWE event at the end of November 2015.  Kwang was played by Savio Vega when he debuted in the WWE in January 1994.  He played the character until April 1995.

This card was released in 1995 by the Merlin company in Germany.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Signed Cards: Chris Hero & Zack Sabre Jr

I recently attended Limitless Wrestling Under Fire event in Orono, Maine featuring Zack Sabre Jr vs. Chris Hero.  It was at this show that I got two of the following cards signed.

Chris Hero
The card on the left was released by the Pacific Trading Card company in 2004 it was TNA's first card set.  I got it signed several years ago by Hero when I mailed it to him and he graciously signed it and mail it back.  The card on the right was released in 2015 by IPW cards Chris Hero showed me and told me about the card at the Boston Pro Wrestling Marathon in March of 2015.  I found the manufacturer and managed to buy a few different cards off of him.  Then suddenly he said he wasn't selling them anymore.

When I presented Hero with the card he initially thought it was the TNA one, he was surprised to see I had the other.  He then told me that the guy that put out the IPW cards apparently didn't permission of the wrestlers, Hero didn't have a problem with it, but I guess others did.

Zack Sabre Jr. 
I ordered this card from the UK at the beginning of the month after I learned that he was booked to appear.  I'm not sure when it was released, I'm thinking 2014.  I bought it off of this website: checking it now though it appears the card is no longer available.

Sabre was impressed that I had the card and I told him I ordered it from the UK when he asked where I got it.  He signed it for free because he said I already paid for the card.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Limitless Wrestling "Under Fire" Results

Limitless Wrestling returned to the Limitless Arena January 30th for their 3rd event "Under Fire" headlined by Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Chris Hero.

Mikey and I rode up to Orono parking at the venue and walking to the Orono House of Pizza for dinner.  There we met up with Roy, Josh, Jesse and others before heading over to wait in line for the show to start. 

Once inside I got my photo taken with Zack Sabre Jr. and he signed a card for me.  Chris Hero also signed a card for me.  Mikey and I secured our front row seats in the same spot Canaan and I sat in at Killin' & Thrillin' in November. 

The opening match was AR Fox vs. Ace Romero in a fast paced and hard hitting match up.  Fox nailed Romero with so many of his aerial moves including his ultra impressive dive over the corner post to the floor.  Ace got the win in one his best matches I have ever seen.

Honestly when I first saw Ace in 2013 he was in a tag team and I didn't think much of him and wasn't impressed at all.  That all changed when I saw Ace in a singles match July 2014 against Graves.  Then in September in a losing effort against Scott Wild I became a fan.  I have to give him all the credit in the world for busting his ass to improve and now he's one of the guys I look forward to seeing the most, and he killed it this night with AR Fox. 

The Fatal Four way match for the House of Glory Tag Team Championships was my favorite kind, an elimination match with Lucha Rules.  Alexander Lee was forced to team with Danger Kid and after being eliminated first Lee blamed Kid and the two battled to the back.  No doubt we will see a singles match between them in the future.  Next eliminated was the Herbal Corps.  In a very impressive move JGeorge nailed a swinging full nelson, I love it when someone busts out classic never seen moves.  Private Party retained, Isiah Kassidy is young and is wicked good, can't wait to see more of him.

House of Glory Elite Champion: Anthony Gangone successfully defended his championship against a very game Sonya Strong.  This is only the second time I have seen Sonya and she is fantastic.  Not only that but she is one tough lady.  Gangone won with what looked a combination of a cobra clutch and cattle mutilation, the referee stopped the match after Sonya's had dropped 3 times.  I would love to see Sonya at future shows against the likes of Heidi Lovelace, Tessa Blanchard, Kimber Lee and others.

"Firebrand" Brian Fury waged war with Xavier Bell submitting bell with a vicious Boston crab.  This match spent more time on the floor than in the ring and the welts and bruised on both men showed this.  Fury has been around a long time and has always delivered in the ring.  He is finally getting some much deserved attention from Ring of Honor advancing in the Top Prospects tournament.  Bell is, I believe, a student of Biff Busick and he demonstrates a level of intensity reflecting this.  I'm anxious to see Bell in more singles matches.

The Influence vs. M1nute Men was the first match back from intermission.  These two teams just didn't click for me tonight.  The match wasn't bad it just wasn't that good.  The timing which made it not flow very well. 

Scott Wild picked up a win coming out on top of a wild 1 fall Fatal Four Way match that also featured Christian Casanova, Kris Pyro, & Ken Broadway.

"The Carnivore" Alex Mason continued his losing ways, his record now 0 - 3 in Limitless after Brick Mastone got the pin.  After the mach Mason snapped beating down Mastone with a chair and even attacking the referee post match for counting the fall.

The main event of the evening could be a main event on any card around the world as Zack Sabre Jr. wrestled Chris Hero in the greatest matches I have ever seen in person.  Being in Maine I'm used to "names" coming in and going through the motions of a match and this was not the case at all.  They seemed to hold nothing back battling in and out of the ring hitting each other some very stiff shots and painful looking holds.  After 24 minutes and 10 seconds of competition Sabre scored the pin for the win.  Both wrestlers received a much deserved standing ovation for their efforts.

After the show I got my photo taken with Hero & Sabre to commemorate the awesomeness of the match.

The event was recorded by TC Tapes, so you know it's going to look good, and live commentary was done throughout the night mostly with Steve "The Turtle" Weiner and one of the wrestlers.  For instance Chris Hero during the Ace Romero vs. AR Fox match.

Limitless Wrestling returns March 19th in Orono with Brian Meyers, Chris Dickinson, Donovan Dijark, Anthony Greene, Sonya Strong and more.

It started snowing and the interstate sucked.  It took Mikey and I over an hour to go 35 miles then suddenly the snow just stopped and the roads were drive.  I got to work about 1am, it was a fantastic evening!

Quick Results
Announcer: Rich Palladino
Attendance: 250

Ace Romero pinned AR Fox
Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match: House of Glory Tag Team Champions: Private Party: Marq Quen & Isiah Kassidy defeated Cuban Rum Crisis: “Top Shelf” Troy Nelson & JGeorge, Alexander Lee & Danger Kid, and Herbal Corps: Rembrandt Lewis & Adam Falcon last eliminating Cuban Rum Crisis
House of Glory Elite Champion: Anthony Gangone defeated Sonya Strong
“Firebrand” Brian Fury submitted Xavier Bell
The Influence: Mike Montero & Jason Devine defeated M1nute Men: Devin Blaze & Tommy Trainwreck
Fatal Four Way: “White Delight” Scott Wild defeated Kris Pyro, Christian Casanova, & Ken Broadway
Brick Mastone pinned “Carnivore” Alex Mason
Zack Sabre Jr. pinned Chris Hero in 24 minutes 10 seconds

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