Monday, July 15, 2019

Live Report: WWE Augusta, Maine July 12, 2019

For the third year in a row the WWE returned to the Augusta Civic Center for a night of wrestling.  WWE comes to Maine at least once every year and typically it's in Portland and Bangor but they go through spurts running in Augusta: 1996, 2002 & 2003, 2012 & 2013, and 2017 - current.  It's a great venue for wrestling, WWE even had a TV taping here back on December 15, 1993, and my favorite part is that it is only twenty minutes from my house.

In total five of us went to the show, my son Canaan, cousin Paul, my nephew AJ who is 8 years old and attending his first ever wrestling show, and for the first time since June 4, 1989, my Dad.   We grabbed some dinner at the KFC before the show.  If you get a chance try to Cheetoh's Popcorn Chicken, holy cow it's good!

We got the venue and our seats, we have a great view of the ring and entrance way and could appreciate all the nights festivities.  As it was AJ's first show I bought him something from the merchandise table, he wanted a hat and with three to chose from, Cena, Reigns and Becky Lynch he went with The Man.

Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder defeated Raw Tag Team Champions: The Revival: Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder by disqualification at 5:25

I was the most excited to see The Revival tonight, it was my first time seeing them live and they have a reputation of putting on killer house show matches.  Tonight was not one of them.  The match with the former Major Brothers was just okay and after Ryder hit Rough Ryder on Dash and Dawson pulled the referee out before he could complete the three count with generate the DQ.  This frustrates me to no end as on TV or PPV the ref never calls for the bell.

The Viking Raiders came down and attacked Hawkins and Ryder with The Revival.  The Usos ran out and made the save which lead to...

The Usos: Jimmy & Jey and Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder defeated Raw Tag Team Champions: The Revival: Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder and The Viking Raiders: Ivar & Erik at 9:29

The Revival wanted no part of this match but were coerced into it by the Vikings.  This was a much better match than the opening one.  After several minutes we got one of those fantastic everyone takes turn hitting a high spot on someone spots and that lead to and Uso pinning Dash after a splash from the top rope.

No Way Joe pinned Mojo Rawley at 3:25

Mojo sorta looks like and indy jobber with his black MVP style gear and lightning face paint.  This match felt longer than it was but the pin came out of no where with a quick roll up.

Mojo cut a promo calling Augusta Disgusta, he's not wrong, and saying he's not going down like and issued and open challenge which lead to...

Titus O'Neil pinned Mojo Rawley in 24 seconds

Mojo jumped Titus as he got in the ring beating him down in the corner.  The ref made Rawley step back allowing Titus to get up and he called for the bell.  Not to long later we got Clash of the Titus and a three count

Mojo cut another promo, once again saying he wasn't going down like that.  These promo's were actually quite hilarious and well done.  Braun Strowman answered the challenge this time.  After Braun got in the ring Mojo said he challenged any man and as Braun is a monster he can't answer the challenge.  Mojo then tried to attack Braun and...

Braun Strowman pinned Mojo Rawley in 13 seconds

Not much to say, he hit him a couple times and nailed Mojo with the powerslam for the pin.  Braun was scheduled to wrestle Bobby Lashley tonight but he didn't appear.  The fans were super pumped to see Braun.  After the match he signed a lot of autographs at ringside making his way to the back.  It's nice to see the wrestlers doing that.

The first two matches lead to five matches which was half the card

Dana Brooke & Naomi defeated Tamina & Sara Logan at 7:32

Talk about two throw together tag teams, but I enjoyed the match and it's all thanks for Dana Brooke.  She spent about five minutes in the ring, looked awesome on offense with some great acrobatic moves and sold her ass off on defense.  I would love to see her on TV for more than a minute in her matches.

Dana timed her hot tag to Naomi perfectly who came in and cleaned house getting the pin on Tamina after a split-leg and moonsault.  When Naomi landed her knee struck Tamina right directly in the face, it was wicked!  Naomi knew straight away something was wrong and after the three count alerted the referee who looked at Tamina and threw up the X.

She lay in the ring for several minutes while medical staff attended to her.  She eventually left the ring on her own power but it was nasty.  I'm glad she appears to be okay.

United States Champion: Ricochet pinned Cesaro at 11:13

This was a great match as I expected it to be.  The action was fast paced with Ricochet showing off his high flying mastery and Cesaro his technical prowess and uncanny strength.  Ricochet got the pin after a standing shooting star press.

Cedric Alexander pinned Robert Roode at 12:44

Another really good match that was far more competitive than I thought it would be, but with Cedric getting the clean pin after a lumbar check it appears that he is in for a push.  He hasn't done much of anything since leaving 205 Live for Raw brand.

Lacey Evans pinned Nattie Neidhart at the 7 minute mark

My Dad was super excited to see Lacey Evans, he's a big fan.  Me not so much, but she is getting better and look good.  I really think that Natayla needs to leave the promotion and wrestle elsewhere.  Right now all she does is put people over, which is fine but I think she could do well for herself on the indies or even in AEW or Impact.

"Street Fight" WWE Universal Champion: Seth Rollins pinned Baron Corbin at 16:46

This was billed as an Augusta Street Fight, but I've seen actual street fights in Augusta that were better than this.  They barely fought outside the ring, the didn't even break the rules and when the kendo stick was introduced Corbin gave Rollins two weak ass shots across the back that could barely be heard over Corbin stomping his feet, same thing for the single chair shot the back that made a barely audible "tink" upon impact.

Yes they broke two tables but they were pre-cut and it was not impressive.  Just don't have a street fight if this is what you are going to do.  Just have a normal match give us a good wrestling display.  This is precisely what turns me off to WWE house shows, when the main event talent just goes through the motions.  These two guys looked like they were rehearsing at the PC in front of no one.  Rollins pinned Corbin after a curb stump.

In the end though we all had a good time and AJ loved the show, and that's all that really matters, that the 8 year old had fun and his first live wrestling experience was a positive one.

WWE is returning to Bangor and Portland at the end of August, I will not be going. Not because of this show but because of work and other plans I have.

I took all the photos with my phone and the match times are from @CPGOAT on twitter.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Until next time!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Signed Trading Cards: Dr. Tom Prichard, Steve O, & Jim Cornette

Here are some through the mail successes that I've had.

Dr. Tom Prichard

I mailed these cards on March 1, 2019 and got them back signed on March 8th!  This is the fastest turn around I have ever had when I've mailed cards to someone.

The card on the left is from the Topps 2016 WWE Then, Now, Forever set and shows Prichard as his character Zip when he was one half of the Body Donnas.  The card on the right is from the 1995 WWF Action Packed card set.  Sadly Jimmy Del Ray passed away in 2014.

Steve O

Steven Olsonoski was trained by Verne Gagne and debuted in the AWA in 1978.  He is known for this time in the AWA and Georgia Championship Wrestling.   This card is from the Series A 1982 Wrestling All Stars trading cards set.  I mailed this out on April 29, 2019 and got it back on May 17, 2019.

Jim Cornette

One of the greatest wrestling personalities of all time that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the years.  I already have a few cards signed by Mr. Cornette but when I came across this card of him holding the NWA World's Championship I just had to ask him to sign it.  To me he is synonymous the tradition of the NWA and it just seemed fitting.  This card is from the 2008 TriStar TNA Impact Cross the Line series.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Until next time!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Reflections of a 40 year old Wrestling Fan.

Back on June 24th I turned 40 years old and honestly I'm having a hard time with it.  Over the years I have I've picked up and put down a lot of interests and hobbies, some of them I just lose interest in and others I feel like I'm "too old" for.  One thing that I have never given a single thought to stop watching is professional wrestling.

My love of wrestling has never waned, in fact my passion for professional wrestling has grown over the years.  My collection of wrestling memorabilia and collection habits has changed tremendously though.  Beginning with getting my first job and driver's license at age 16 and until the majority of my collection was destroyed in a basement flood I collected everything and anything wrestling that I could get my hands on.  Side note, you can read about the flood and how it lead to me getting a tour of Titan Towers here: My Tour of Titan Towers.

My buddy Jay and I had a weekend route that we would take hitting up a half dozen flea markets, KB Toys, yards sales, and other places looking for anything wrestling.  After the flood wrecked everything I became a bit depressed and really thought what do I need with all this stuff anyhow.  At the end of the day no one cares about it besides me and the reason it was in the basement to begin with is because when we moved into this house I didn't have a space of my own to display it.  Before have kids I had a wrestling room where I stored it all, now I didn't have that.

My collection is much more scaled down and I'm a lot more selective about what I spend my money on.  Especially when it comes to wrestling figures, they are so damn expensive now!  The two things that I collect the most are my ticket stubs from events that I have attended and my signed trading cards.  I also have a large collection of wrestling related books and DVD's, however, my I don't buy nearly as many DVD's as I used to.  I like to buy wrestling documentaries over full events.

My favorite time of wrestling to watch is the mid 1980's Jim Crockett Promotions / NWA at the height of the Horsemen.  There is just something about the style of wrestling that appeals to me the most.  My buddy Jay and I over the last 25 years frequently talked about how great it would have been to go to a Jim Crockett Promotions / NWA event or an AWA show.  Sadly we never made the journey to see the original ECW, a regret.  Hell it took us 24 years to go to finally go to Madison Square Garden.

I do feel fortunate though that I was able to attend two WCW shows in the late 1990's.  Nitro in Boston on June 9, 1997 and a WCW Saturday Night taping in Portland, Maine on May 19, 1998.  I've also attended two TNA shows first on June 24, 2007 at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom in New Hampshire and then on December 4, 2009 in Portland, Maine.  In the last three years I've attended four Ring of Honor shows, two Pay Per Views which I had front row for, and two house shows including their debut in Maine.  I also attended the NJPW & ROH G1 Supercard at Madison Square Garden.  I'm not sure how other people feel about it but I really like going to shows from different promotions.

On the WWE side of things I've been to a few dozen events including 6 PPV's, WrestleMania 14 & 24,  Backlash 2005, SummerSlam 2006, Survivor Series 2008, & Royal Rumble 2011.  Also a five hour WWF TV taping in 1995, and Monday Night Raw in 2005.  Also a WW-ECW house show when they first relaunched as their own brand.  I haven't been to a Smackdown TV taping by I'm not sure that matters. I'd like to go to an NXT show someday.

At this point in my wrestling fandom I still have a list of wrestling events, wrestlers, promotions, and venues that I want to go to and see.  Some of them are more realistic than others but here goes:

Go to a show in another country, to expand on this I also want to attend any Lucha Libre show in Mexico. I'm spending 4 nights outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada this September and I'm hoping to check this one off

A lot of historic wrestling buildings like The Omni & The Sportatorium have been demolished.  Others like the Greensboro Coliseum and Cow Palace no longer run wrestling shows with regularity. Venues I'd like to see a show at include: ECW Arena, Maple Leaf Gardens (now Mattamy Athletic Centre) and the Hamburg Fieldhouse & Mid-Hudson Civic Center where WWF taped their television shows.  Pipe dream venues are the Tokyo Dome, Korakuen Hall, and Arena Mexico.

Promotions and events I want to go to include: an official NWA show, Chikara's King of Trios, any PWG show but Battle of Los Angeles specifically, Progress Wrestling, CZW Tournament of Death, and others.

The list of wrestlers I want to see wrestle live that I haven't is huge but there are some more than others including: The Rock n' Roll Express (this door is closing), British Strong Style, Toni Storm, Jimmy Havoc, The Von Erichs, Rickey Shane Page, Josh Alexander, Christi Jaynes, and so many more.

So far I have been to 240 wrestling events in 11 different states.  I once had considered trying to go to a show in every state but that would be very expensive, so now if it works out then it works out.  For those wondering its Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, & Florida.

I've seen a lot in wrestling over the years and I feel very fortunate for the shows I have been to and the places I have been.  As you can see there is so much more that I want to see and experience.

Talking to my friends our next big wrestling trip is going to the ECW Arena.  A couple times a year they have a wrestling convention during the day and a wrestling show in the evening. That is what we are looking at doing as it makes the trip there worth it.   

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Until next time!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Last Match: Stars of the 1950's

It's the return of The Last Match and in this post I take a look at wrestling stars of the 1950's.

Haystacks Calhoun
August 29, 1980 Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada AGPW: Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling
defeated Goldie Rogers

Born William Calhoun on August 3, 1934 in McKinney, Texas he began wrestling in 1955 under former NWA World Champion Orville Brown.  During his 25 year career he captured several tag team championships including the NWA Florida, NWA Canadian, Mid Atlantic, WWA, and WWF tag titles.  He held the WWF titles with Tony Garea for 104 days.   He passed away on December 7, 1989 at the age of 55.

This was his last singles match, he won two battle royals on September 4 & 18 in New Glaslow & Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Gorgeous George
November 7, 1962 Los Angeles, California WWA: World Wrestling Alliance
was defeated by The Destroyer in a Mask vs. Hair match

Born George Wagner on March 24, 1915 and got his start in wrestling at the age of 14 working the carnival circuit.  After becoming a solid in ring worker he debuted his Human Orchid persona in 1941 fast becoming the top heel where ever he appeared.  Sadly George suffered from alcoholism which brought not only is in ring career but his life to and end.  He passed away on December 26, 1963 at the young age of 48.

Antonino Rocca
October 16, 1976 Bayamon, Puerto Rico WWC: World Wrestling Council
with Jose Miguel Perez they were defeated by Higo Hamaguchi & Gordon Nelson for the NWA North American Tag Team Championships

Born in Italy on April 13, 1921 he moved to Argentina before World War II, it was here that he was trained in the ring by Stanislaus Zbyszko.  He moved to the Texas area in the 1940's and in 1949 the New York territory for Capitol Wrestling, the precursor to the now WWE.  He headlined Madison Square Garden and became a huge box office draw in New York during the 1950's.  In the 1960's and 1970's he worked in Japan first as a wrestler and then a referee and was one of the first foreign wrestlers in New Japan Pro Wrestling.  He passed away at the age of 55 on March 15. 1977

Ricki Starr
August 7, 1975 Jersey City, New Jersey IWA: International Wrestling Association
defeated Bull Johnson

Born Bernard Herman in 1931 he became an amateur boxer winning numerous championships before becoming a celebrated ballet dancer touring Europe.  He transitioned this dance style into his wrestling matches when he debuted in 1953.  He was a high flyer long before they became popular.  He toured the United Kingdom as well as Germany, France, Turkey and other countries.  After retiring from wrestling in the 1970's he stayed in he UK.  He died September 20, 2014 at the age of 83.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Until next time!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

History Has Been Made 2: More Title Changes That I Have Seen Live

Way back in March 2017 I posted History Has Been Made!: The Titles Changes I've Seen which looked at all the titles changes I saw in the WWE, WCW, & Ring of Honor from 1998 to 2016. Even though it's only been a couple years and I'm only talking about two wrestling events, I thought it was time to post an update.

June 23, 2017 Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, MA
Ring of Honor: Best in the World 2017

Dalton Castle and The Boys defeated World Six-Man Tag Team Champions: Bully Ray and The Brisco Brothers: Mark & Jay to win the championships

Dalton Castle's entrance is just amazing!  It's just a fantastic visual when the opens up his cape and it is enhanced by the fans throwing streamers at just the right time!
This match was set up when Castle was teaming with Bully and the Brisco's and the Boys pushed Castle out of the way so Bushi ended up spitting mist in Jay's face causing him to be pinned.  He out to kill The Boys.

The match was great, Bully busted out some comedy that I wasn't expecting.  Dalton had his usual hilarious theatrics.  Once Jay got his hands on the Boys he beat the absolute tar out of them!  I mean he lit them up with chops and you could see the bruises on their chests.

Ultimately it was Jay's anger towards the Boys that cost them the match and the titles.  While he was out chasing them, Bully Ray was trying to talk him down, Dalton rolled up Mark in a small package for the three count crowning new Six Man Tag Team Champions.
The crowd popped big time on this finish with a you deserve it chant breaking out.  It was pretty awesome.

"American Nightmare" Cody Rhodes pinned World Heavyweight Champion: "The Almighty" Christopher Daniels to win the championship

Another great match to close out a night of pretty damn fantastic wrestling.  Cody had his lip busted open early on in the match up but it didn't slow him down.  At one point Marty ran down to help out Cody after referee Todd Sinclair was knocked down, but Frankie Kazarian came out to make the save battling Marty to the back.
Rhodes dodged the Best Moonsault Ever and survived Angels Wings hitting two Cross Rhodes to get the pin and capture the Championship.

I feel very honored, no pun intended, to have been present to see Cody Rhodes win his first World Heavyweight Championship.  His emotional reaction when he won, which I was able to capture on camera, was what I hoped it would be.  He truly appreciates it and it means something to him to be World Champion.

April 6, 2019 Madison Square Garden
New Japan Pro Wrestling & Ring of Honor
G1 Supercard

ROH: World Television Champion: Jeff Cobb defeated NEVER Openweight Champion: Will Ospreay

This was a double titles match that kicked off the main card of the show.  It was an excellent match and it capped off the weekend for seeing Will Ospreay live in three stand out matches.  He wasn't able to pick up the win in this match, which surprised me.

Kelly Klein defeated Women of Honor World Champion: Mayu Iwatani

This match and the aftermatch of it was just okay for me.

Dragon Lee defeated Bandido, and  IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion: Taiji Ishimori

This triple threat match was amazing!  All these guys are so good and the meshed together well.  It's a shame that it only went 9 minutes because I could have watched this all night.  Dragon Lee is ridiculously fast in the ring.

IWGP Tag Team Champions: Guerrillas of Destiny: Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa defeated The Briscoe Brothers: Mark & Jay and Los Ingobernables de Japon: EVIL & Sanada and ROH World Tag Team Champions: Villain Enterprises: PCO & Brody King

This was a fatal four-way for all the tag gold making GOD double champs.  This was another great match that was just two short based on the talent that was in the ring.  I was quite surprised that GOD won the ROH belts as I don't see them working ROH shows ever.

Kota Ibushi defeated IWGP Intercontinental Champion: Tetsuya Naito

This match was beyond amazing!  There was been some tremendous rivalries in wrestling where you don't get tired of watching two guys wrestle each other and Ibushi vs. Naito is one of them.  The fact that I got to see them wrestle each other live and on such a large stage as Madison Square Garden I feel truly lucky.

Ladder Match: Matt Taven defeated Marty Scurll & ROH World Champion: Jay Lethal

This match was awesome, the best pure ROH match on the card this night.  I still can't believe that Matt Taven won the title.  As far as ladder matches goes it in the top ten no doubt.

Kazuchika Okada defeated IWGP Champion: Jay White with Gedo

Tremendous match and a great match to closeout not only the show but my indymania weekend as well.  This was the first time the IWGP Championship changed hands outside of Japan, this also marked the beginning of Okada's 5th title reign.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Until next time!