Sunday, December 22, 2019

Brandon's 2019 Wrestling Year in Review

In 2019, I attended four live wrestling events. At first, I was a little disappointed that the number was so low, but after spending some time thinking about all that I saw, I’m actually quite satisfied. I managed to attend promotions that I’ve never seen before and experienced a nice variety of wrestling. So, join me in a look back at my 2019 Wrestling Year in Review.

The first event I attended was a NXT house show in Durham, NC at the Durham Armory on January 6th. I had no idea that NXT was coming into my backyard until I ran across a post on r/SquaredCircle from a guy who was looking to sell a front row seat at the last minute. I quickly messaged him and made arrangements and off I went to the best overall “wrestling” show I saw all year.

Top Three Favorite Matches of the Night:
1. Keith Lee vs Dominik Dijakovic
2. Aleister Black & The Velveteen Dream vs Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa
3. Matt Riddle vs Adam Cole

My Personal Favorite Moment of the Night:
Seeing Ricochet in action

The second event I attended was the NWA Crockett Cup in Concord, NC at the Cabarrus Arena & Events Center on April 27th. I never imagined that I would ever attend an NWA event, let alone a Crockett Cup. And if that wasn’t surprising enough, walking into the arena and seeing it decked out like a 1980’s NWA event was enough to take my breath away.

The event was co-promoted by the NWA and Ring of Honor, and featured tag teams from CMLL and NJPW. The actual wrestling was fantastic and the crowd was very hot for the entire show, sadly, the NWA still has some growing pains to work out in regards to fan interaction.

I met Nick Aldis, my only wrestling meet and greet of the year, and it was quite the disappointment. He was extremely uninterested in interacting with the fans and was definitely not worth the $40 I spent to take a picture with him.

This was the first wrestling event my fiancé Brandy had ever attended and it was a great first show. It wasn’t overproduced like the WWE events, but it wasn’t super low budget either. The Crockett Cup was a nice mid-tier event that gave her a great night of wrestling and planted the seed for the fan that she’s become.

Top Three Favorite Matches of the Night:
1. Nick Aldis vs Marty Scrull
2. Villian Enterprises (PCO and Brody King) vs The Briscoe Brothers
3. Bandido and Flip Gordon vs. Guerrero Maya Jr. and Stuka Jr.

My Favorite Moment of the Night:
The World Title Championship Match

The third event I attended was a NXT event at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida on October 23rd. After enjoying the NXT house show earlier in the year so much, I really had high hopes for this live event. Sadly, it was quite the disappointment.

Attending NXT at Full Sail shows you exactly how much of a TV show that the WWE produces vs. a wrestling show. Everything is controlled, manipulated, and micro managed. The crowd wasn’t nearly as hot as it seems on TV, and the matches were not memorable at all. The only real shining moment was Finn Balor’s heel turn, but even that ended the show on a sour note.

Top Match of the Night: (Only one match was worth listing)
1. Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Roderick Strong

My Favorite Moment of the Night:
Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Roderick Strong Match

My fourth and final wrestling event of the year was AEW Dynamite at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, NC on November 6th. This was a fantastic night of wrestling and my favorite wrestling show that I’ve ever attended for a few reasons.

This was the go-home show for Full Gear and AEW brought out the big guns to really sell the pay per view. Cody cut one the greatest promos ever and Omega/Page vs. Jericho/Guevara got out of control and all hell broke loose. It was wonderful and everything I love about wrestling.

What I really think made this event so special is that AEW really brought me back to watching weekly wrestling. It the first time since the late 90’s that I feel like wrestling is must see TV. To make things even better, my fiancée, who I introduced to wrestling at the Crockett Cup, has watched AEW with me every week since its debut and she’s “All In.” So, to attend a live TV event, in the middle of actively watching wrestling and enjoying the heck out of it was truly a great experience and one I didn’t think I’d ever experience again. It was made even better by having someone I love by my side who was enjoying every moment as much as I was.

Top Three Favorite Matches of the Night:
1. Hangman/Omega vs. Jericho/ Guevara
2. Trent vs. Pac
3. Jamie Hayter/Emi Sakura vs. Riho/Shanna

My Favorite Moment of the Night:
Cody’s promo

Overall, 2019 was a great year of wrestling for me. I attended some great shows, got to see a nice variety of wrestling, and was there at the beginning of AEW. I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

WWE Over The Limit 2012 Recap (5/20/2012)

Over the Limit 2012 is the only WWE pay per view I’ve attended outside of WrestleMania 27. I remember getting the leaflet for the show when I attended Smackdown in December 2011, and I was super excited for it. Raleigh has only hosted three WWE pay per views and despite being in the heart of Flair country the city never hosted a big WCW pay per view or event. After only bringing in 8,000 fans for Over the Limit 2012, the WWE has not returned with a PPV and I have a feeling they won't anytime soon.

In 2012, I wasn't watching WWE on a weekly basis, but I kept up with the storylines via results each week. As the card slowly started forming into shape, I realized that this wasn't going to be a wonderful pay per view. Then again, a year earlier I had gone to possibly the worse WrestleMania of all-time, so I knew I couldn't be that disappointed in what was in store. At least this time I didn't have to drive eight hours to be disappointed.

One match really stood out on the card: Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk for the WWE Heavyweight Title. Both contestants said they would do things never before seen in the ring, and promised an old fashioned wrestling match minus all the gimmicks. This was nice because the main event was John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis. Don’t get me wrong, Johnny Ace can wrestle, but by this time, he was older and was featured as an annoying authority figure that no one wanted to see in the ring.

I remember the card wasn’t fully announced before the pay per view and like a lot of the non-major pay per views it featured a lot of throwaway matches. One of the most notable things about this pay per view is the fact that there was no fireworks, pryo, or any real explosion to start off the show. The show just began. Some fireworks were featured after the first match.

I was excited for the Battle Royal that opened the show, but a bit disappointed with the contestants. It reminded me of the Battle Royals at Wrestlemania, where they scrape the bottom to get people onto the show. The only notable entrant was the returning Christian and guess who won the royal for a shot at either the US or Intercontential Championship? That’s right, Christian.

The Raleigh crowd was actually pretty hot that night and stayed connected through a run of the mill tag team match between Kofi Kingston/R-Truth and Ziggler/Swagger. There was the typical bathroom break Divas match between Layla and Beth Phoenix, before finally getting to the World Title Match which was a four way between Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Sheamus, and Alberto Del Rio. It was a very formulaic match, but a decent match nonetheless.

Following the World Title match we were forced to sit through The Miz vs. Brodus Clay. Need I say more?

Christian ended up facing Cody Rhodes for the IC Title. The two worked well together and I remember digging the match, but it was very short and Cody lost the belt. Christian got a huge pop for it, but I really wish they would have skipped the Miz vs. Clay match and give these guys more time to put something together.

Now, it was time for the big match: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan. The match lived up to the hype. The two put on a wrestling clinic and everyone in the crowd was thrilled with it. The WWE gave them plenty time and it was a great match. I remember the ending being a little screwy, but I wasn’t disappointed in that. It was just nice to see some good honest wrestling on a big stage.

The main event was well… not worthy of being a main event. It was more of a comedy skit that the Big Show interfered in. I think the only noteworthy thing that came out of this match was the WWE used footage of one guy in the crowd and the look of utter shock on his face when Cena lost. The WWE replayed this fan and his reaction for weeks on TV and they prior this match they didn't really search the crowds and their reactions. Nowadays this is pretty common, they find that one mega fan in the crowd, zoom in, and then use his/her exaggerated expressions to convey the sort of reaction they were hoping for (and usually don’t get). A lot like the main event at Wrestlemania XVII, the main event here spoiled the excitement for the show and left the fans unhappy. It was a bummer, but I can hardly remember it occurring. The Bryan/Punk match overshadowed it despite going on first.
It was a decent show and I’m glad that I get to say I saw Daniel Bryan and CM Punk in their prime go head-to-head. To be honest, that match was worth the price of admission alone. It’s always fun going out and watching wrestling and this night was no different.

Here are the results of the entire card:
Pre-Show: Kane defeated Zack Ryder (6:52)

Christian won a 20 Man "People Power" Battle Royal where the winner gets his choice of a United States or Intercontinental Championship match later in the show. (13:12)

The other participants were: David Otunga, Tyson Kidd, Alex Riley, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, William Regal, The Great Khali, Heath Slater, Titus O'Neil, Darren Young, Ezekiel Jackson, Jinder Mahal, Tyler Reks, Drew McIntyre, Curt Hawkins, Michael McGillicutty, JTG and Yoshi Tatsu.

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth (c) defeated Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship (12:12)

Layla (c) defeated Beth Phoenix to retain the WWE Divas Championship (7:08)

Sheamus (c) defeated Alberto Del Rio, Chris Jericho & Randy Orton in Fatal 4-Way Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship (15:52)

Brodus Clay (w/ Cameron and Naomi) defeated The Miz (4:08)

Christian defeated Cody Rhodes (c) to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship (7:18)

CM Punk (c) defeated Daniel Bryan to retain the WWE Championship (24:04)

Ryback defeated Camacho (1:48)

John Laurinaitis defeated John Cena (17:04)
If John Cena wins, John Laurinaitis will be terminated. Any superstar who interferes will be terminated.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Visiting Jerry Lawler's Memphis BBQ Company

This past Thanksgiving, I made a trip to Memphis, Tennessee to visit some family and friends. It was my first time back in Memphis in fourteen years and I had one place at the top of my “to see” list. No, it wasn’t Graceland, but Jerry Lawler’s Memphis BBQ Company. Having opened in January 2017, Jerry Lawler’s BBQ has managed to stay afloat in a city where barbecue restaurants can be found on every corner. A friend of mine sent me a bottle of sauce that the restaurant uses and I really enjoyed it, so I was excited to try out their food for myself.

The restaurant in located in Cordova, TN and is attached at the end of a strip mall. It’s a small building that is decorated with newspaper clippings, posters, and photos from Lawler’s career.

The folding chairs have Mid-South Coliseum painted across the back, in one corner plays a TV of Jerry Lawler’s greatest moments, and the entire menu is wrestling themed with sandwiches called slammwiches for example. It truly is a wrestling themed experience and I love that I got to experience it.

As for the service and food… well, that could have gone better. I don’t eat beef or pork, so I settled with the diced chicken breast and my fiancée went with the grilled chicken sandwich. Neither of us were very happy with our selections. The food was bland, not very hot, and mine was extremely tough. It was arguably the worse piece of chicken I’ve eaten in my entire life.

The french fries were great, the mac n cheese tasty, and I particularly liked an appetizer we got which consisted of sweet potato waffle fries, coated in powder sugar, and dipped in maple syrup. It was like having some weird fair food, and I enjoyed every bite of it. Unfortunately, I was the only one.

As for the sauces, I enjoyed the original sauce the most (I’m typically a sweet fan, but the original is sweet enough) and I purchased a bottle of the original rub and took home a sampler of the pecan rub.

I was a little bummed that no wrestling memorabilia was to be found at Jerry Lawler’s BBQ. I was hoping for a chair from the Mid-South Coliseum, a shirt, or an old program encased in a glass. Instead, it feels like a generic BBQ spot that just has a Jerry Lawler branding over the top of it, with very little effort actually going into making the restaurant unique. Don’t get me wrong, a wrestling themed restaurant is rare, but there was room to make this so much more and no one has taken steps to do so.

I don’t see myself revisiting Jerry Lawler’s Memphis BBQ Company in the future, because there are dozens upon dozens of better BBQ spots in Memphis, but I’m glad to say I’ve been there and done that. From here on out, I’ll just put some of the sauce on the properly cooked chicken I have at home.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Limitless Wrestling: Twilight Zone Live Report 11/29/2019

Black Friday, November 29th Limitless Wrestling returned to Yarmouth, Maine for their first ever live streaming show on IWTV with Twilight Zone!!

It was a great night a wrestling and a fantastic end of the year for Limitless Wrestling.  The live stream had a couple hiccups through out the night and dropped once but I for the most post there is a lot of positive talk on Twitter about the show.

Independent Wrestling TV Champion: Warhorse vs. John Silver

Decent opening match, this was Warhorses 15th title defense and I like the fact that they made a point the announce that.  It gives importance to the championship and proves he a fighting champion.  Good back and forth match, there was a split crowd with Silver being a Limitless regular.  Warhorse retained his title with a double foot stomp.

Christian Casanova vs. Myron Reed

Nova continued his winning ways proving he belongs in the title picture.  Reed looked good tonight, a little off at times. I'd like to see him back in Limitless.  Reed hit went for a very impressive 450 splash, but Casanova got the knees up and rolled him up for the small package pin.

James Drake vs. "The Prize" Alec Price

This was supposed to be Drake vs. Dan Maff, but he couldn't attend because of a death in the family.  The surprise opponent was Alec Price.  Boy oh boy did the Prize shine bright tonight!  I have to give Randy a lot of credit for putting Prize in the match, it was the right choice. 

This was a fantastic match, lots of hard hitting action, very fast paced at times, and the big man James Drake nailed a moonsault for the pin.  If last months pre-show got is foot in the door, tonight's performance should guarantee Price a permanent roster spot.

Masha Slamovich vs. Jody Threat

This was tough for me as I'm a fan of both of the ladies.  I've seen Masha in singles action with Let's Wrestle, but this match was their singles debut in Limitless.  I really enjoyed this match, lots of hard hitting, a bunch of suplexs from both ladies and in the end the Russian Dynamite needed to put her feet on the ropes for leverage to hold Threat down for the three count.  I hope to see them both back in Limitless.  

Take Me Home Tonight: Limitless Wrestling World Champion: "Retro" Anthony Greene & Ace Romero vs. Maine State Posse: Danger Kid & Aiden Aggro

Yup.  This was as awesome as I expected it to be!  Just go to IWTV, sign up for the 20 free trial using the code Limitless and watch this match.  You won't regret it.  Action was inside and outside the ring, lots of back and forth action.  No one team had the upper hand for any extended period of time.  Ace pinned Danger Kid with a package piledriver.

Post match got on the mic, put over MSP and then challenged AG to a title match in January.  Casanova came to the ring, said he deserved a title shot.  AG accepted both of their challenges for a triple threat match on January 24th.

Scramble Match: CJ Cruz vs. Kevin Ku vs. One Called Manders vs. Oswald Projects vs. Pinkie Sanchez

This match felt like something was off to me.  I don't think we got to see very much from Oswald other than he can take a beating eat a shit ton of chops.  What little we did see from Oswald looked good.
I want Manders back for a one on one match with Matthew Justice or Dan Maff or Jake Something.   CJ Cruz got the surprise win with his missile drop kick on Kevin Ku.  I think I need to go back and watch this on IWTV.  

JT Dunn vs. Jake Somthing

This match was awesome!  They were different in the fact that stayed in the ring with a stiff and snug match.  Jake Something was over huge and the people hate JT Dunn.  I really dug this match a lot and I really hope we get more of Jake Something next year.  Dunn got the pin with death by elbow.

Last Creature Standing: Kris Statlander vs. Ashley Vox

This did not disappoint.  We got brutality, we got broken furniture, we got the ring boards exposed, and both ladies busted open.  Ashley Vox won, that's all I'm going to say, go watch it, you will not regret it.

Limitless Wrestling returns on January 24, 2020 in Yarmouth, Maine with Brian Pilman Jr., Danhausen and a triple threat match for the Limitless Wrestling World Championship as AG defends against Ace Romero and Christian Casanova.

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!