Monday, January 21, 2019

Let's Wrestle Rumble Live Report 1/19/2019


After my son's 13th birthday party we picked up Alex and headed north for an evening professional wrestling in Orono, Maine at the American Legion Hall.  Not even the threat at the biggest snowstorm of the year would deter me from enjoying the Let's Wrestle Rumble!  The winner of the match was declared the first ever Let's Wrestle Champion.

We headed out about 4:30 pm heading north, the storm wouldn't start for a few hours so the drive up wasn't an issue.  We stopped at Chick-Fil-A for dinner, Alex had never been, and as always it was excellent.  We had time after dinner to run into the mall for Canaan to use the Game Stop gift cards that he had gotten that day.  He picked up a cool Zelda case for his switch, a Zelda controller, and the new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game.

We got to the venue about 15 minutes before the doors opened, the breezeway was packed so Canaan and I stood outside, it was very cold, below zero with the windchill.  This is a great building for a wrestling show, that last time I had been here was in March 2016 for Limitless Wrestling.  The doors opened 5 minutes early and the show started a few minutes early as well, that always makes me happy.

I had had picked us up front row in advance at only $10 it was well worth it.  General Admission is only $8.  They could up their prices to $15 and $10 and people would still get their money's worth.  It was a big a crowd too over 160 people, considering the pending storm. My buddy Mikey didn't go because of it.  He stayed home and got the XWA Rumble and we messaged each other through out the night.

Roy was there as was Bradford, in fact it was three years ago on January 30, 2016 that I first met Bradford at Limitless Wrestling in this same building to witness Zack Sabre Jr. wrestled Chris Hero.  It was storming that night as well, actually we had a blizzard and the drive home was way worse.

Retro Anthony Greene with the Platinum Hunnies defeated Aiden Aggro

This was the match, other than the rumble match, that I was looking forward to the most.  Both guys are very athletic and are really good in the ring.  Aggro had a different gimmick tonight and it didn't click with me.  Maybe because it's such a huge change from what I'm used to it will take time to adjust, I'm not sure.  He's the man of color, he has Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake type pants and dyed his hair blond.



It was a good match, a lot at the beginning and then they got into it.  Really cool finish with Greene using the ropes for a tornado Tomikaze for the pin.  Post match Greene cut a promo about being the first ever Let's Wrestle Champion and sorry to his Hunnie Ava as she is also in the Rumble.  So gave him two cutters to show him that he needed to worry about her.

Eric Johnson pinned Matt Mahoney

During Mahoney's entrance Johnson jumped him from behind and beat up around the outside of the ring. As both competitors hadn't entered the ring the match hadn't officially started.  Johnson eventually through Mahoney into the ring and at first the referee wasn't going to call for the bell but did so under duress.  Johnson hit a piledriver and pinned Mahoney with a foot on his chest.



Post match Johnson cut a promo that he deserved to be in the Rumble and shouldn't have had to win a match to earn a spot.  So the beating he gave to Mahoney was the home office's fault.

Davienne pinned Channing Thomas

This was a great match!  Lots of chops and terrific back and forth action.  Davienne go the pin with a version of the butterfly suplex.




Maine State Posse: Alexander Lee & DangerKid defeated The Syndicate: BA Tatum & Owen Brody with Murdock

This was a The Syndicate open challenge that was  answered by MSP.  This was also a great match, but I'm not surprised when MSP is involved.  Lee took a beating before making the hot tag to DangerKid who cleared house.  Murdock tried to get involved at one point and got posted for his efforts.  Finish came when DangerKid had Brody up for a Jay-Driller and Lee superkicked him before Kid dropped.




Post match The Syndicate attacked Lee and Kid beating them down until Aggro made the save with a steel chair chasing them away.

Intermission

ClusterJam
Antoine Nicholas defeated Xavier Bell, Vern Vicallo, Cody Blayde, Gene Bauer, & Covey Christ

This was a fun match! I love these 6 way matches that have become a staple of Limitless as a Scramble Match and now here as the ClusterJam.  We got a lot of good action including multiple train wreck dives to the floor.




Scariest moment was when Antoine Nicholas went for a shooting star press on Xavier Bell and had he jumped forward it would have been beautiful but he went straight up and came down on the turnbuckle and ring post before tumbling to the floor.  Jason Worthing got a video of it and on Sunday it was all over my twitter feed.  He was okay, in fact he was right back in the ring straight away pinning Bell with a small package.  Post match Bell gave Nicholas a last ride style powerbomb.

It was great seeing Bell again, I talked to him before the show and he was saying that he hasn't wrestled a match since May 2017, he just hasn't wanted to.  I thought he was great tonight and I hope to see him more in the future.

"Masshole" Mike McCarthy defeated Mike Montero

There is just something about McCarthy I really enjoy him in the ring.  I'm used to seeing Montero in tag team action as part of The Influence.  This was a good match, pace was a bit slow but it worked for these too.  Finish came when McCarthy sunk in a guillotine choke and the referee called for the bell when Montero passed out.




Let's Wrestle Rumble
Davienne won last eliminating Kalvin Strange to win the Let's Wrestling Championship

This was a fantastic rumble match!  I think they did a minute in between entrants and they did a legit minute between each entrant.  The pace of the match was excellent, a no time was there a lull in the action  and there was some great moments through out.

After Aiden Aggro entered in MSP and The Syndicate had stand off and then the six brawled.  This is no doubt going to lead to a six man tag at the next Let's Wrestle show.

Graves got the lights out, lights on entrance with no music, it was cool.  After clearing house he gave Geno Bauer who was on his knees a short DDT, did a nip up and another short DDT to Bauer.  Wicked friggin cool.

After Davienne threw out by Price she threw out Nicholas who landed on Bishop's back who then carried Nicholas to the back.  After Montero entered the match on the opposite side of the venue Bishop was walking towards the ring with Nicholas still on his back.  Bishop eventually dumped him on some chairs, Nicholas made it to the front row and used them like stilts to get back in the ring.


Alexander Lee and Anthony Greene were battling each other and ended up on the ring apron together and Strange just pushed them off.

Post match McCarthy jumped Davienne from behind until they were separated by officials.  It was announced at the next show Davienne would defend her championship against McCarthy.







Order of Entry and Elimination
1. Kalvin Strange
2. Alan Prophet
Prophet eliminated by Strange
3. Frank Jaegar
4. Danger Kid
5. Owen Brody
6. Eric Johnson
Jaeger eliminated by Johnson
7. Cicero
8. BA Tatum
9. Sierra
10. Alexander Lee
Johnson eliminated by half a dozen guys


Sierra eliminated by BA Tatum
11. Murdock
Cicero by Murdock
12. Jeff James
13. Ethan
Ethan by Brody in seconds
14. Aiden Aggro
Murdock by Aggro & Lee
15. Gene Bauer
James eliminated by Bauer
16. Graves
17. Channing Thomas
Danger Kid eliminated by Graves
BA Tatum eliminated by Graves
18. Royce Bishop
19. Antoine Nicholas
Graves eliminated by Strange
Aggro eliminated by Brody
Brody eliminated by Lee
20. Ava
Thomas eliminated by Ava
21. Lincoln Steen
22. Alex Price
23. Brandino Davis
Bauer eliminated by Davis
24. Dan Terry
25. Verne Vicallo
Ava eliminated by Davis
26. Davienne
Bishop by Davienne
Price by Davienne
27. Xavier Bell
Davis eliminated by Dan Terry
28. Big T
29. Mike Montero
30. Retro Anthony Greene
Verne eliminated by Strange
Terry eliminated by Greene
Steen eliminated by Bell & Lee
Big T eliminated by Greene
Nicholas eliminated by Greene
Xavier Bell eliminated by Greene
Montero eliminated by Strange
Lee & Greene eliminated by Strange
Strange eliminated by Davienne








The drive home was uneventful, the left lane on the interstate was snow covered but the right lane was clear from the vehicles driving on it.  I saw only one vehicle off the road during the drive and it only took about 30 minutes longer than normal.


Let's Wrestle returns March 23rd at the American Legion in Orono featuring Davienne defending the Let's Wrestle Championship against "Masshole" Mike McCarthy.


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. 

Later Readers!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Signed Trading Cards: Hangman Page, Briscoe Brothers, Joey Eastman, & Vanessa Borne

Here are some of my newest signed cards of both in person and through the mail success.


Hangman Page

This card is from the All In set that was released through Highspots and I believe that this is Hangman's first trading card.  I got this signed in person at the Ring Of Honor show in Lewiston, Maine that I attended on November 7, 2018. You can read about ROH's first ever show in Maine here.




Briscoe Brothers

I met Mark and Jay Briscoe  at the Ring Of Honor show in Lewiston, Maine that I attended on November 7, 2018. This card is also from the All In card set from Highspots.  The Briscoe's have cards from the Filsinger set and IPW set. You can read about ROH's first ever show in Maine here.




Joey Eastman

I first met Joey back at a Front Row Wrestling show in Rochester, New Hampshire back in November 2007.  That night he competed in a Managers Challenge where he lost a tug of war, a swimsuit competition, and the talent portion of the event to the Vanity Vixxxen.  I laughed so hard that my face and stomach hurt from it.  Joey is one of, if not the best wrestling Manager on the scene, he would have fit into the WWF 1980's stable of Managers with Fred Blassie, The Grand Wizard, & Captain Lou Albano.  This card is from the 2018 Limitless Wrestling set.



Vanessa Borne

This card is from the 2018 Topps WWE set, I mailed it to the Performance Center on November 13, 2018 and got it back on January 7, 2019.

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. 

Later Readers!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Rags, Paper and Pins: The Merchandising of Memphis Wrestling


A couple of years ago, I purchased a copy of Jim Cornette and Mark James’ Rags, Paper, and Pins: The Merchandising of Memphis Wrestling. The book fascinated me, because it was unlike any wrestling book that I had seen. Instead of focusing on feuds and behind the scene stories, this book was 350 pages of pictures and brief stories regarding how the merchandising of Memphis Wrestling was created and how it evolved over the years.

Author Jim Cornette was in the middle of the merchandising explosion in the 80’s and had a front row seat to all the changes that came with that. This included printing glossy color photos to sell at tables instead of cheap stock black and white cards and finding ways to sell pictures and stories to wrestling magazines here in the United States and in Japan. Like always, Jim Cornette is upfront and honest about the business and discusses the finances in great details which fascinating to read. He talks about how as a teenager he was able to convince Christine Jarrett to sell his photos at the merchandise tables, and how he found a printer who’d print the pictures for X amount of money, in order for both he and the company to both profit. It’s basic business, but it’s interesting to see how it all worked out on the pro wrestling side, especially during the territory days.




The book discusses everything from programs, magazines, pictures, pins, and even records. The majority of the book is made up of photos of all of these interesting pieces of merchandising, but sadly it’s all in black and white. The cost to print a book this size and in full color on a limited run would be astronomical, so I understand why they went the route that they did, but damn I wish they would have uploaded the full color photos somewhere as a companion website.


Also inside, are full scans of programs that Jim Cornette made, complete with the stories he wrote along with the outlines he made for the design of the programs. This is just the type of thing you won’t find in other books.

Rags, Paper and Pins: The Merchandising of Memphis Wrestling is definitely made for a niche audience, but I think any fan of wrestling history will enjoy it. There are way more pictures than text, but I found the book to be well balanced. I got enough background and history behind everything shown in the book and it almost felt like I was on a virtual tour in a museum curated by Jim Cornette.




I recommend checking out Rags, Paper and Pins: The Merchandising of Memphis Wrestling if you have any interest in Memphis wrestling history or wrestling merchandise history. It truly is a unique book and I doubt we’ll ever see anything like it again.

You can buy Rags, Paper and Pins: The Merchandising of Memphis Wrestling at JimCornette.com.

Monday, January 7, 2019

NXT Live Report - Durham, NC (January 6th, 2018)

Okay, I’ll be honest; I didn’t even know NXT was coming to Durham until this past Wednesday. I’m not sure how I missed the announcement that NXT would be in my own backyard, but I did. However, fate was on my side, because I discovered this NXT Live event while scrolling through r/Squared Circle from a fellow redditor who had an extra ringside ticket available.

It was an impulse decision, but after missing out on attending CWF’s Battlecade the weekend before, I was really jonesing for some live wrestling. 2019 is shaping up to be a fantastic year of wrestling here in North Carolina with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Evolve, Ring of Honor, NWA’s Crockett Cup, and possibly an All Elite Wrestling event all occurring. I already have tickets for NJPW and plan on attending the Crockett Cup and any AEW event close by, so the thought adding NXT to the list of promotions I see this year was too much to resist. So, I contacted the redditor and we made plans to attend NXT Live this past Sunday at the Durham Armory in Durham, North Carolina.


The Durham Armory is a wonderful building that was built back in the 1930’s during the WPA (Work Progress Administration) days. The building was transformed into a civic center in the 1950’s, has a great look, and frequently hosts kickboxing and MMA bouts, but surprisingly not much wresting. The only evidence I can find of any professional wrestling events being held at the Durham Armory was back in 2012 when an all-female group called the Luchadoras held a show at the venue.


Well, the WWE did well and picked a great venue for this type of show. It was intimate, unique, and everything I like in a wrestling venue. It didn’t feel cookie-cutter at all and that’s a word that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to WWE produced events. I loved the look and feel of the venue, and my only true complaint is there were no concessions. I get not serving hot food, but a cooler with some water bottles would have gone a long way in making things a little more enjoyable.

Let’s take a quick look at the matches from the event.

Matt Riddle defeated Adam Cole



Now this is how you start a wrestling show! Wow… just seeing these two face-off was worth the price of admission, but they actually put on a great match with a fantastic finish that saw Matt Riddle getting the win with a vicious powerbomb.

Kairi Sane & Xia Li defeated Lacey Evans & Aliyah.






So, right after bringing out Cole/Riddle, they decide to bring out Kairi Sane and Xi Li, which really made my night. The match wasn’t a classic, but it was great to see all four of these women in the ring. Aliyah ate the Sane Elbow to give Sane/Li the win. Aliyah is in need of some major time at the Performance Center though and Evans didn’t really get much of a pop. I’m not sure how smart it is to call her up right now. Sane was insanely over.

Following the match, Sane/Li brought Lacey Evans into the ring and hugged her. It was her final NXT match before being called up to the main roster.

Keith Lee defeated Dominik Dijakovic


Keith Lee is a beast, and Dijakovic didn’t look great when the match started. But once these two got rolling, it was arguably the most entertaining match of the evening. A “This is Awesome” chant broke out and these two big men put on a classic big man match that got the crowd pumped. I was super impressed with the match placement, as these first three matches offered something different and really got the night going. Keith Lee got the win after catching Dijakovic in the air, flipping him over, and hitting him with a powerslam.

Brennan Williams defeated Kona Reeves



he only dud on the card was this. Kona came out insulting the crowd and spent way too much time on the mic. Williams finally came out after maybe ten minutes of Kona going on and on. He brought a UNC Tarheels towel to the ring which wasn’t well thought out. For those who don’t know, North Carolina lives for college basketball. All three ACC rivals (NC State, Duke, UNC) are within twenty minutes of each other, and residents here are fiercely divided on their favorite teams. Duke University is located in Durham, which is where this event took place. So coming out with a UNC towel, didn’t exactly win over the crowd. Instead it split the crowd, ruined Kona’s heat, and then it didn’t help that Kona got back on the mic to try and salvage things.

After another wasted five minutes, Williams hit Kona with a scissors kick and the match was over in one move. Total waste of time and Williams’ Lenny Kravitz look is terrible.

EC3 & War Raiders (Hanson & Rowe) defeated The Undisputed ERA (Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong)





Awesome, awesome match! EC3 came out in war paint and all six men were incredibly over. The Undisputed ERA took a beating in this one, and the War Raiders put their agility on display. This was a great way to get things back on track, right before the intermission.

WWE NXT North American Championship Match
Ricochet (c) defeated Shane Thorne






It’s safe to say Ricochet had the loudest pop of the night. Throne played the heel well with one classic moment coming early on where he attempted to grab Ricochet’s hair. Ricochet mocked him since he didn’t have hair, so Shane reached up and grabbed his beard.

Ricochet got a few cool flips in, including one off the stage and he picked up the win with a frankensteiner into a modified driver for the win.


It’s worth mentioning, television does not do the North American title justice. That belt is absolutely gorgeous.

Bianca Belair defeated Rhea Ripley


While watching this match the only thing I could think of is this should have been swapped with the women’s tag match earlier on. I know it was a cool down match prior to the main event, but these two ladies just never really got going. The match itself might have been better than the tag match, and the crowd reaction to both ladies was nice, but I was no impressed. I am a fan of Rhea Ripley’s look and ability; I just think she just needed a different opponent.

Aleister Black & The Velveteen Dream defeated Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa



Wow… I was not expecting to see DIY in action! Ciampa and Gargano were never 100% on the same page, since they clearly did not trust each other, but moments would pop up and you’d see that classic DIY chemistry shine. It was incredible to watch these two men put so much psychology into a tag team situation like this. 


Dream had some great comedy spots, while Black played the intimidating straight man. Overall it was a very good match that got the crowd to chant “This is Awesome.” Gargano accidently kicked Ciampa twice, which gave Dream time to kick Gargano and then Black time to finish him off with another vicious kick.

Following the match, Ciampa and Gargano teamed up on Dream and Ricochet came out to make the save. Within moments, the Undisputed ERA was in the ring attacking Ricochet, which brought out EC3, the War Raiders, and Matt Riddle. The faces cleared the ring of everyone but Adam Cole, who was treated to several punches, and even a mini-superkick party. Ricochet hit Cole with the Rock Bottom and teased a People’s Elbow before hitting a backflip on Cole. Riddle put Cole in a figure four and Dream hit him with a leg drop while the War Raiders kept the rest of the heels away from the ring.


Afterwards, Ricochet got on the mic and thanked the crowd and then handed the stick off to Dream who talked about NXT and his appreciation for the brand, before finally handing the mic off to EC3 to say some departing words since he had just wrestled his final NXT match.

The only negatives I have to say about the entire experience are (1) the lack of concessions was disappointing and you heard a lot of mumbling throughout the crowd, especially during the fifteen minute intermission. (2) The commercials. I know the WWE runs commercials during Raw/Smackdown and all that, but they were really badly placed in between the matches and to be honest, no one in attendance needed to see a commercial for the Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania. (3) There was a security guy who was constantly in the way. He was a WWE employee and sat next to the announcer, but after every match he stood up and blocked the view. Someone who worked there told him he needed to sit down and not block the fans, but it didn’t stop him. He’d just stand up and text on his phone or sit down and put his hands behind his head and block a significant part of the action at times. Here are a couple pictures of what I mean.



Overall, this was probably the best top-to-bottom wrestling show I’ve ever attended. There was very little time wasted and it wasn’t so overproduced like a typical live WWE event. Instead, it was just a bunch of talented wrestlers given time in the ring to do what they do best, and that’s the type of wrestling I love. I will definitely be on the lookout for NXT’s return to Durham and I highly recommend checking out their house shows if you find yourself near one.